Many Hats

I’ve always wanted a job where I can do everything I want to do.  I think working on an online magazine or doing social media for a store will allow me to wear many different hats including writing, styling, social media outreach, event planning, PR and making short videos.  I have an array of interests and capabilities and I feel like working on just one thing would become stagnant and I would lose interest and drive.  I want to be heavily involved in what I’m doing and that’s how I feel now at my current internship at Dog and Pony.  I’m an intern but I do the job(s) of a social media director, stylist, and event planner.

It’s awesome because I get to treat my internship like it’s my own career baby.  Any idea I have for engaging customers with the store and store culture is always approved.  We’re putting a store mix CD out in December and it’s my job to come up with the artwork, find the bands, and distribute it, all of these things pertain my interests and I love being able to see a successful final product.  I get a lot out of music, art, design, and making people happy.  Not that anyone else’s satisfaction should necessarily be a product of music or art but it’s such a good vibe to see people having a good time or enjoying something that you’ve made or are responsible for.

You definitely have to be interested and invested in who or what you’re working with.  In my internship, you can’t afford to avoid anyone because whoever you’re working with knows someone else who knows someone else, which could affect your ability to move up or network.

Listening

Listening is 50 percent of what makes PR important and successful.  Listening is also a reactionary process and a good response is a product of good listening.

Wal-Mart is notorious for underpaying women and passing them up for promotion.  When some women decided to bring a class-action lawsuit against them, the company responded by launching a 20 billion dollar PR campaign to “empower women” and in effect were able to head off any other future lawsuits.  The Supreme Court blocked the class action suit and the women are now forced to make individual complaints against Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart seemed to only have “heard” women’s outpours of adulation after facing these threats and only put a band-aid on the problem by pledging billions of dollars to women’s small businesses but not addressing any internal issues of equal pay and discrimination.  What would have been more effective is if they showed some initiative to speak to female employees and listen to their work experiences to try to gather more information on how to solve problems instead of throwing money around in order to garner all the positive press they received.

Wal-Mart’s faux hippie counterpart, Whole Foods “Market”, has also been criticized for it’s treatment of employees, inconsistent values and food quality.  One such former employee wrote an epic resignation letter to them, addressing every grievance he and other employees are not allowed to freely and openly express.  This letter and many responses have been published but no follow up or response has been released from WFM.  Although the latter half of the letter in which he personally attacks that store’s employees was tactless and unnecessary, this letter was highly circulated.  Many people read this word for word as well as the response letters that supported and validated his claims.  This should have initiated a dialogue and a course of action between WFM, its employees and its customers.  One good way of doing this would have been to open a forum on Facebook or issuing a press release responding in detail to these accusations.  As of now, from personal experience and from these scathing complaints, my impression of Whole Foods is not much better then that of Wal-Mart.

PR for PR’s Sake?

As the deadline to apply for the republican candidacy closes, it’s becoming clear that we don’t have to worry about Sarah Palin as a serious contender anymore and yet she’s still as visible in the media as ever. But why?

After her reality TV show on TLC, the campaign tour that wasn’t a campaign, and the new scathing Nick Broomfield documentary, it’s no wonder she continues to remain in the spotlight, which makes you wonder about her motivations for this kind of attention if she never planned on running for office, as she says.  Many people still want her to run but it seems as if she’s only interested in maintaining that popular girl persona.  Catherine Shoard of The Guardian reviews Broomfield’s, “You Betcha!” in which she describes how a place (Wasila, AK) can produce personalities: “It’s a city where prom-queen politics can bleed far into adulthood, and one man’s theory about how Palin still acts like ‘the most popular pre-teen girl’ rings right when you hear her giggle at enemies being insulted, or watch her chew gum.  It’s the stuff of high school horror movies: can you stop the most popular girl in school from stabbing you in the back?”

Whatever her politics are remains a mystery we might never crack.  So far all we know is that she is motivated by her religious zeal.  What we do know is that you can’t even pay for the kind of attention she received at her One Nation tour that was abruptly halted after four days on the road.  Reporters were chasing after her as she boarded and drove away, a rare occurrence for politicians, usually reserved only for celebrities.  Palin invites and relishes the hype, with no particular agenda in mind other than “moving our country forward” with conservative Christian values.

Needless to say, very few people take her politics seriously anymore, but she’s still widely supported by those who focus on emotion and ideology rather than rational thought.  It’s fair to say that her fame is comparable to America’s most undeservedly famous Kardashian family in terms of how successful she is in keeping everyone’s attention, despite having nothing to back her image up, which makes her campaigns probably the most successful PR campaigns we see today.

dead dead dead

Yes, social media is taking over the world and it’s becoming a major player in a PR agent’s tool box, but is it replacing the tradition press release?

Probably, but not yet at least.

They still have a wide relevant use when trying to get coverage in any publication but it’s no secret that people respond to Facebook, Twitter and the like more so than anything else.  The ancient technique of word of mouth is very powerful, and with users spending so much of their daily time on the web, it would be foolish not to use those sites to get the word out.

Promotion, market research, and customer outreach seems to encompass everything a PR agency needs but not quite.  There’s still the press, and that will never die.  And the press uses facebook too so the potential for reaching the targeted audience is now streamlined.  The press release won’t go away, it’s still needed but it’s getting a whole new makeover.

The Dreaded Biography

PART TWO OF MY UNCERTAINTY

Part of me wants to just crank this out and get it over with but this is my senior year.  It’s time I ought to take a real personal inventory so I can give myself some framing and “personal goals” for the rest of the year.  Personal goals, eugh.  It sounds so gross but you can’t live without them.  Until last year I had none.  I mean I did have some pretty ambitious goals I had to have several reality checks before I got it all straight.

Today I’m a much different person than I was four years ago when I left my parent’s house and moved to Austin, I’m different than I was six months ago, even three months ago and I’m sure I’ll change in another three months.  I never know how I’m going to change but it’s always positive.  I become more outgoing, confident, inspired and I always learn from my mistakes.  When I see a strong, confident, smart and talented woman with the same interests as myself I am immediately drawn to her prowess.  Not that men are excluded from who I’m inclined to look up to but women with the qualities I strive for are just more relatable simply because that’s what I want to be.  One of the top five people I want to meet is Leslie Arfin, published author and bad ass wise woman.  I read everything she writes about from sex to jobs and relationships for one reason: REALITY CHECKS.

I grew up in the unfortunate suburbs of Houston.  By unfortunate I mean that I was never stimulated the way I wanted to be and any stimulation I found was in the mall or at shows on the weekends.  If I wanted to do anything outside of the bubble I lived in I had to drive at least 30 minutes.  I had really great group of diverse friends though who I still see every once in a while and we did everything together.  It was just hard to deal with living in the most conservative zip code in the country with no variety from strip mall after strip mall.  HOWEVER, I knew that I had to break free from the functional dummies and oil daddy daughters so I strived and struggled to look beyond such strip malls and found little local gems sprinkled behind Office Depot and the day spas.

My father is German and my mother is American.  I was born in Germany and moved from the country side to Houston when I was four.  I love having family on the other side of the world and traditions and interests that are different from everyone else’s.  I lived for a total of six months in New York interning at Vice.  Meeting so many different nut jobs was probably one of the best experiences of my life.  I’m absolutely terrified of how expensive and cold and competitive it is but I’m moving there anyway because I couldn’t believe how inspired I was by everybody.  You have to be out of your mind to really make it in New York without any money and I’m drawn to that ideal and those types of people.  Once again, Leslie Arfin lends her wisdom.

High school was okay.  I had some great teachers and I had some who sat in their supply closets and cried when they couldn’t handle the pressure from 15 year-olds.  I won some awards for journalism and photography but it didn’t really mean anything to me at the time because I put it on my resume for college but I’m glad I didn’t just sit around and wait for the time to pass.  My attitude was that it was just something I had to do and tried to zone out from people and teachers who treated me like a weirdo but I’ve always known that I never fit in.  Not that much has changed but at least I’ve never had to think about that again since I started going to SEU.  I had no idea where I really wanted to be after high school but some how, after four years of figuring it out, it turned out to be the best fit and unlike high school I want to do well here.

I really believe that people should travel as far as they possibly can, even if it’s to another state but I’m really trying to get myself to visit all my friends in Europe next summer in London, Paris, Berlin, and hopefully make it to Sofia where my friend can take me to her home town in Skopje and take a train Istanbul.  Because I’ve already traveled a lot it makes me feel anxious that I haven’t left the country since I was 18.  Well, I went to Toronto when I was 19 but it’s more or less the same as any other American city and I ended up having to stay in and watch every season of Sex and the City.  IT SUCKED.  I didn’t get out and explore like I should have.  I really feel like everyone should be scared at some point.  Not in danger but scared because they’re on their own, making their own decisions in an unknown place where they can’t necessarily find help without reaching out or getting lost.  It’s really humbling and it makes you appreciate home.  People are fascinating to me so getting to experience even the most wacked out cultures is so much fun.

I have a feeling I’m getting very close to finding out what I’m good at and where I want to do it, which is very encouraging.  When that time comes I know that I’m going to be very ambitious.  I get excited when my friends and family are doing something awesome that they love and feel good about themselves as a result.  Nothing disappoints me more than unused potential, which is why I have to keep pushing myself and actively look for more opportunities.

 

My Personal Mission Statement… a very personal mission

PART ONE

A huge part of my core values is to not feel like I have to BS to anyone anywhere… but I just did by holding back and censoring myself.  Buuuut I realize that there is a certain rhetoric that may work in one environment and not another.  What I’m saying is that I feel confident when I feel like I can be real and honest yet still maintain a certain level of professionalism in the work place. I also believe in being adventurous and taking risks in order to find creativity and inspiration.  I feel like being slightly mischievous can open a lot of doors but my biggest lesson in life is to draw the line between mischief and recklessness.  Not that I would be the instigator of any mischief in the work place but it’s this kind of consideration that’s important when making good decisions and pitching great ideas that is productive for the whole of company, not to just a few or yourself.

I want to be known for being able to offer several abilities  and skills while offering creative opinion.  I want to be proficient, not just efficient in different computer programs such as final cut and indesign, social media and press strategies as well as styling and set design experience.  I understand that in this economy, you have to be kind of a renaissance man or woman to be attractive to employers and keep a job as companies down size.  This is why I don’t want to stop learning new skills even after I graduate.

I have short term priorities and long term priorities.  I want to do anything and everything I can to build the best resume I can before I graduate in May.  My goal is to move to New York by next year and start working within six months or less.  To do this I know that I have to get the most experience I can in order to compete and succeed in one of the most competitive cities in the world.

I have the highly valued ability to compartmentalize different parts of my life.  I can easily manage and maintain several tasks that are given to me which is an advantage when conducting social media and shoots.  I can also visualize the next step in what I need to do and finish in a timely manner.  I’m always thinking ahead and have a passion for seeing creativity and inspiration from all kinds of sources.

I’m obligated to myself to succeed but also the final product and goal of what I’m doing.A good delivery is crucial to employers and clients.

My overall purpose is elevate and challenge myself in order to be productive in my personal life and work life.  I want to be useful for different needs and situations because it makes me feel like a billion dollars when I’ve accomplished something that I can be proud of.

I strive to be motivated and inspired in everything I do, which shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.  When I’m working I want to be excited about what my company is doing and what my co-workers are striving for.

I’m committed to working diligently and creatively in an environment that fosters ideals that are important to me as well as the company.  When i was interning at Vice magazine I felt like I actually wanted to be there every day for the first time in life.  They had so many things going on and everybody from different departments could bounce ideas off from each other.

I really hope that after I graduate I can offer myself to any industry, whether it be film, press or social media.  Most of all I feel like I can learn quickly on the job and I hope that my employers see that potential in me.  I can expand off other people’s ideas and find inspiration and solutions in almost anything.  I am extremely resourceful, which is so valuable in this economy.

PR IN MY WORDS

PR is more accessible, omnipresent and ambiguous than advertising and marketing yet it still retains a focus, a goal and a special audience.  Marketing and PR seems to be more like the experimentation of a certain process; who is the audience and how do we tap into their emotions in order to attract them?  AND WILL THIS WORK?  PR puts these questions into practice and any medium is fair game in order to establish an relationship with that specific audience.  You never know if ads or marketing strategies will work but PR strategies, press releases, and events always get the attention you crave from your public.

Okay well hopefully by the end of the semester I’ll be able to look back on this post and say, “boy was I wrong” about my loose guess on what this crazy industry really has up its sleeve.