What I have learned from Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association and my service-learning PR class this semester

Photo taken from Texaslendinghearts.org

I think I speak for most of my fellow classmates when I say that the first day of Dr. Moore’s public relations writing class made me want to turn around screaming and run out the door. Despite all of the long, stressful nights and countless cups of coffee, I am glad that I did not do that because I have probably learned more this semester than all of my other semesters at LSU combined. I think the thing that helped me the most was the service-learning project with a real client. I have learned so much from Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. The most vital lesson I learned was the importance of communication and clarity with clients. You can waste a whole lot of time planning and preparing a project to just find out in the end that it is not what they wanted. Working with clients also shed light on what a job in PR actually entails. To be successful you have to have a collaboration of skills in writing, communication and creativity.

I also learned the importance of teamwork this semester. Many people think that public relations is handled all by one person but I have learned that for a campaign to be successful, you need the help of others to make it great. It was very rewarding working with my group, Prism Communications, and it has shown me a taste of what working for a PR agency is like. It was great taking on a campaign like this and following it from start to finish. The thing that makes this class different is that you actually get the opportunity to bring your great ideas to life. I have seen some wonderful things come from these projects and I hope that we can bring the same success to our client.

The constant flow of assignments in this class has been brutal but I am glad I have hung in there and made it to the end of this semester. It has been quite a ride but I think I have come out better because of it. I hope that I am rewarded more for the experience I have gained than for the grade I may receive. I could have maybe gotten an easy A in another course, but I feel like I have gained experience this semester that I will actually be able to use in the future. I used to be terrified about heading into PR because I honestly had no idea what the job entailed. I am now proud to say that if I can make it through this course with Dr. Moore, then I am ready for whatever else may come my way.

Stay tuned on LNQTA’s Facebook page and my blog to find out how our SCVNGR event goes on Sunday. Thanks for a great semester everybody.

 

What I have learned about ethics and professionalism in PR so far, and how I am applying it to my service-learning project with LNQTA

Public relations professionals often get pinned as being unethical due to poor information or societal stereotypes. Terms like spin doctor and flack also contribute to these misconceptions. These stereotypes are partly due to the way PR is portrayed in television and movies. It also does not help that the stories that get brought up most in the media are about how unethical a PR person acted.

Photo taken from spinsucks.com

As a PR student, I feel like it is my personal responsibility to challenge this stereotype by proving to society that public relations is a reputable profession. I can start doing this by acting ethically in both my professional and personal life. I am currently in a media ethics class this semester and I have learned that sometimes what is ethical or moral might be different for each person, depending on the ethical principle they apply. I personally think that every ethical situation is different, and sometimes you have to choose which ethical principle is most applicable to that situation.

Many times in PR you have to decide if you would be able to overlook personal morals by working for a company that you don’t necessarily believe in. In “Thank You For Smoking,” the main character Nick Naylor faces the ethical dilemma of being the PR spokesperson for a cigarette company while also trying to remain a role model for his son. In the video below, Naylor is explaining what he does to his son and he spins his argument by saying “If it’s your job to be right, then you’re never wrong.” This is why PR professionals get a bad name because it appears that Naylor has no morals and that he tricks people into buying cigarettes. His other argument is sound though by saying every corporation deserves to be represented.

It was interesting to see this balance and it really made me think about if I would be able to represent a client that I did not agree with or believe in. That’s the thing about PR though, it is important to remember that you don’t only represent yourself anymore. You now are the face and voice for your client, and you have to reflect their views in your work.

I have learned about the importance of ethics and professionalism through my group’s work with Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. It is important to have a thorough understanding of what your client wants before you start on a project so that the important details can be cleared up ahead of time. I feel like my group and I have acted in a very professional manner whenever we converse with our client. We definitely show them respect by running our ideas by them, and discussing every aspect of the project in great detail.

Follow my last blog of the semester next week to read about the finishing touches that my group will be putting on our project with LNQTA. You can also keep up-to-date on our SCVNGR event by visiting the LNQTA Facebook page.

How my project with Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association and SCVNGR has helped teach me the true meaning of PR

I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying by. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I am about to head into my last semester at the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication. All of my classes have kept me very busy, but the SCVNGR project with Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association (LNQTA) has definitely been the project to keep me on my toes this semester. It was difficult working with a group on such a big project at first, but I think as the semester is coming to an end, we have all come together to try and make something great for our client. This has taught me how important it is for us to be able to work together as a team because like it has been pointed out several times before, public relations is not achieved by an individual person; it takes a team effort for a campaign to be successful.

While working with my group and LNQTA, I have learned a lot about what public relations is all about. When I first decided to major in PR, I was probably like most of the people in my major and had no clue what I was getting myself in to. It definitely is not what I thought it was going to be, but I am pleasantly surprised to see that I have fallen in love with it. It’s a lot more work than Hollywood tends to portray it as, but I personally cannot wait to get started with my career in May.

Our work so far with LNQTA has taught me how much time and hard work it takes to make a successful campaign for a client. I am also learning the importance of communication with the public and your client. I have already had to personally communicate with LNQTA multiple times concerning the event for the launch of our SCVNGR “trek” in Ponchatoula, La. I am enjoying the experience of planning an event, and I have learned that sometimes you have to tell your client that their ideas are just not realistic for the project. That was difficult to learn at first, but I realized that it’s all about compromising with them to try to find a solution that is both realistic, and one that they can be happy with.

Two of the most important qualities in PR that I hope to perfect by graduation are my writing and speaking skills. I have learned that these are the things that are most important in PR, so if I can figure out how to master these skills, I should become successful in no time. I have also learned how important social media is becoming in PR every day. I think that between my PR writing class and my campaigns class, I should be well-prepared for a PR career by May.

This video is a humorous depiction of common terms used by PR professionals in the usual work day. I think that one of the funniest things about this video is that it is mostly true. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

My group is just putting the finishing touches on our SCVNGR “trek,” so stay tuned on my blog and the LNQTA Facebook page and website to learn more about our upcoming event on Dec. 2, 2012.

How Prism Communications uses social media to boost awareness for Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association

Social media is slowly beginning to take up most of my life. It is now getting to the point that I don’t really remember what life was like before social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were around. In the beginning of this semester I exclusively used Facebook, with the occasional “tweet” every now and again. Now I find myself blogging every week and putting out a Twitter post almost every day, in addition to the Facebook addiction I already had.

Prism Communications is trying to harness the power of social media to get the word out about the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association. LNQTA already had a Facebook page and website set up, so we were hoping to help them make it more effective. When we met with some board members, we expressed how we wanted to help them with their social media presence, but they informed us that they had just hired someone to start running their Facebook page and website. Although we tried to get them involved with a blog or Twitter, they told us that they were not interested in those things. One thing that LNQTA wants us to do is to create a social media plan that will try to grasp the attention of Louisiana tour groups.

We will also use the SCVNGR app to make a “trek” for LNQTA featuring all of the quilt blocks on their quilt trails. To introduce the “trek” to the community we will have an event on Dec. 2 in Ponchatoula, La from 3:00- 5:00 p.m. Those who attend the event will be encouraged to form teams, and then the team who finishes the “trek” first with the most points will win a prize. Before participants start the “trek” we will hold a short tutorial session where we will demonstrate how to use SCVNGR, and we will also give each team a handout with basic directions. After everyone completes the “trek” there will be a small reception at The Art Station with food and drinks.

LNQTA also wants us to create an online store for their newly opened Quilt Trail Shoppe. This will be a great opportunity for us to learn how to create an online store, and it will also bring in profits for LNQTA. Whenever anyone completes a “trek” for LNQTA, it will earn them a 10 percent off coupon for the Quilt Trail Shoppe. This will be a good motivation for people to complete the “trek”, and it will also bring in business for the Quilt Trail Shoppe.

We have many plans to get started on for this event, but it will be a great journey every step of the way. Stay tuned on my blog to follow the progress Prism Communications makes on this project!

Student-run PR agency works with Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association

As part of my MC 4001 public relations writing class at LSU, each student was divided into a group, and each group was given a service-learning opportunity to create their own public relations agency. The groups were also all assigned a local nonprofit as their client. My group got paired up with the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association, which is a nonprofit based in Ponchatoula, La.

Our group chose the name Prism Communications for our agency because a prism has many sides, and that is representative of the many attributes that our agency has to offer. A prism is also an object that reflects light in all directions, and that is something we do when we use our skills and abilities to reflect what our client wants. We used the color purple in our logo because our company is based in Baton Rouge, La., which has a very strong connection to purple because of LSU.

Prism Communications consists of Kristyn Harris as the account liaison, Amelia Walsh as the writing director, Tran Tran as the design director and Caroline Downer and I as the strategy directors. We will be working with the smartphone application SCVNGR on this project to help promote a more interactive relationship between our client and its consumers.

SCVNGR is a smartphone application that allows users to check-in at locations and participate in challenges and scavenger hunts. On completion of these challenges, users can then unlock different rewards such as prizes or deals related to the location they checked in at.

Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association is a nonprofit that showcases the historical beauty of the Louisiana north shore and the cultural significance of quilt making. We hope that getting this nonprofit involved with SCVNGR will help them to be able to get the word out about their purpose and what it is that they are trying to do in their community. I think that getting this nonprofit involved with SCVNGR will also help with their goal of connecting the communities of Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston, St. Helena and Washington with their Quilt Trails. Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail Association started the first Quilt Trail in Louisiana in 2012, and they already have four trails all across the Louisiana north shore area.

Their Purpose:

  • “To encourage tourism of the Louisiana north shore
  • To promote community and corporate participation to connect the north shore region
  • To strengthen community spirit and pride
  • To foster education and an appreciation of the quilting arts
  • To develop cooperative relationships among artisans including artists, quilt-makers and contractors
  • To procure private and public funding for advertising and administrative costs”

To follow how the Louisiana Northshore Quilt Trail’s current projects are going, you can “like” their Facebook page.