Category Archives: Marcom

Students: The Council of PR Firms asks, “What is the most dangerous idea in PR today?”

Cross-posted from PROpenMic.

Reformed PR practitioner B. L. Ochman writes a review of the recent Council of PR firms (CPR) critical issues forum in her blog, What’s Next.

Read the Council’s take on the event in Dangers Equal Opportunity for Smart Marketers, PR Firms, Lively Annual Public Relations Council Critical Issues Forum Addresses “Most Dangerous Ideas” for Future of PR.

The conversation has actually already become an old one. The paradigm shift caused by the advent of social media software (both free open source and paid platforms) has given voice to the masses in a way never seen before. Word of mouth (WOM) is now digital and spreads like wildfire, or creeps along where no one can see it – then achieves a Groundswell of reach people in PR only dreamed of just 10 years ago.  Continue reading


Diverse International Population of our PR Higher Education Social Network :: PROpenMic

Over on PROpenMic, I’ve posted a run down of the population we’ve developed from countries around the world.

The experience of launching this community, and watching it grow, has been very enjoyable. I deeply appreciate all of the people that have visited the site and signed up. PROpenMic is actually turning into a worldwide social network for public relations and marketing communications worldwide. PROpenMic :: Social Network for PR Higher Ed Worldwide

The post is here: Diversity :: PROpenMic’s Demographics, by Country. An excerpt is below, but you’ll have to visit the site and sign up to read the post. Sorry, but I’m trying to continue to build the community.

As of today, we have 361 members (in a little over 12 days). They hail from 25 nations. There are at least two (2) members from each continent (well, sort of … you’ll have to read it to understand). North America and Europe are the largest contingent, but we’re now reaching other continents, too.

Students are our largest group, 220+. Faculty represent, I believe, some of the most active and creative researchers and experiential educators in the world. That is particularly true with regard to online public relations. We have the honor of welcoming Dr. James E. Grunig, easily the single most prolific public relations researcher and publisher in the world. Our practitioners represent a wide variety of experience and sectors within the broad field of public relations practice. PROpenMic has welcomed people with the title of CEO, President, SVP, and VP from some of the largest PR agencies, as well as some of the most prominent boutique agencies, in the world. Even more Managers, SAEs and AEs have signed up, too. But, just as important, we have practitioners from NGOs, PA/Government practice and local/regional practitioners, too. I won’t even try to represent the broad range of practices they hail from, please just look for yourself. The experience runs the gamut.

I hope you’ll visit the site and consider signing up. We are especially interested in attracting students and faculty from PR/Marcom programs around the world.

FlackLife Reveals Foolish Astroturfing Campaign from Hunter College and Coach Handbags

Definition of astroturfing:

Astroturfing refers to marketing / public relations campaigns which attempt to create the impression of being spontaneous and true, genuine (and representations of *real* people and their opinions) when, in fact, they are not. In all of the standards of practice listed below, this practice is considered to be unethical.

Astroturfing is an interesting topic. I see PR practitioners that defend it as a valuable tool. Others decry it as unethical and bad practice. I’ll place myself in the latter group.

FlackLife blogger, Bob LeDrew, has the story in two posts so far. They are “Now we flacks get students to astroturf for us” and an interview with Hunter College faculty member and “PR expert Stuart Ewen on (the) ‘Heidi Cee’” astroturf blogging, social networks and YouTube video fiasco.

This example from Hunter College and Coach goes beyond simple astroturfing, though. This involves the following (Sources: here and here):

I simply cannot imagine a more definitive example of bad practice than this case. The interference by the president, the campaign tied to a donation to the college, the creation of a course solely to accomplish the deceit, the students (it seems) happily joining in, the faculty and department chair encouraging them along … it just boggles the mind. How stupid can these people be?

Read the links, watch the video. Fake vs. Fakes | Center for Media and Democracy. What do you think of all this? I’ve already seen two PR practitioners in a listserv group defend the practice. Oh, brother.

Update: Ya’ gotta read this great post by Clemson’s Dr. Mihaela Vorvoreanu. In particular, see the class blog she came across for the course. Yikes!

Continue reading

New Rules of Marketing and PR :: Students Feeling A Buzz

Fall semester brings more blogging and social media exercises to my classrooms. This semester, as with all in the past, I’ve tried to do something new with the hope of catching the imagination of each student.

I have a story, but first – some background.

The PR Writing class is reading David Meerman Scott‘s book, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. Then, theyNew Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott are writing about it in their Fall 2007 class blogs. Along the way, the students are also exploring social media releases, online release portals and more. You’ll be happy to know that they are doing a lot of other writing, too. Releases, features and more are weekly exercises. Finally, they will create an online newsroom for a nonprofit client … a real client.

I’ve never said, and never will say, that social media will replace tried and true public relations practices. It does offer a new way, sometimes a more appropriate and successful way, of serving a client’s interests and those of their stakeholders. And, developing an understanding of online release writing and delivery is certainly useful.

So, the story is that – as usual – many students are skeptics. Jackie is was one of them. But, she recently had an ah-ha! experience. Continue reading

Student Digital Resumes and Portfolios :: Summer 2007

Note: All student digital resumes and portfolios are featured at

This summer’s digital resumes and portfolios are complete. Emily2The project wound up being a bit different than usual, due to the short five week mini-mester term. But, the projects have some new aspects which, I believe, make them more appealing.

I appreciate the work of these fourteen students. Hire them and/or select them for internships.

Justin2Each project contains two major sections. First, there is the resume, an HTML version of the usual Word document. Second, you’ll find the digital portfolio. It contains samples from the work product Keriof these students over their college career. Continue reading

Facebook Word-of-Mouth Campaign :: ASCCA Trying Something New

Facebook is an interesting social media community. For ASCCA’s interests of connecting with college students, it seems like the natural community to engage. ASCCA wants college students to work as counselors, program staff and for internships. So, we’re trying something new to reach themcamper and counselor.

ASCCA is going to run approximately 50,000 flyers a day, for three days, targeted at students from the following universities: University of Georgia, University of Florida, Troy State University, Montevallo, University of Alabama-Birmingham, University of North Alabama, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) and Auburn University (Auburn).

This will give us over 150K impressions. Now, realistically, we’d like to run more – and target many more universities. But, the Facebook flyer program does have some limitations. I’ll discuss those. And, just so you’ll know, Camp ASCCA is not paying for this. A new tactic in our strategy of reaching students, I felt it best to cover this myself as a test. We’ll see how well it goes. The cost of this program equals about 1/2 of a week long campership. So, I thought it best to test the process, first. Still, that cost would be a small fraction of what we’d usually spend to advertise in college campus newspapers. More on that in a bit.

sample ASCCA facebook flyerThe image to your left is an example of one of the flyers. That is what students at UGA will see on Sunday through Tuesday when they log in to Facebook. It appears just below their lefthand menu. A nice placement, I think. Click the image and you’ll see all of our flyers. On Facebook, when students click the image, they are sent to a purpose built page on our site that offers greater detail. See ASCCA Public Relations Internships. In the future, I’d actually like to target the top 25 universities with PR programs. Maybe we will, still.

So, what are the limitations of the Facebook flyer program, as I see them? Well, currently you cannot target students beyond simply choosing a specific school, or schools. I find this a bit strange, since Facebook does have the demographic and lifestyle (interests) information of their audience. Ideally, I’d like to use that information to specifically target the students most likely to be interested in what ASCCA has to offer.

For instance, if we wanted to seek male counselors, I should be able to target a specific school, reach only males, and reach only those that have listed interests like: recreation, education, or even special education. Facebook is still relatively young and their flyers and advertising programs are still maturing. Right now, Facebook flyers are more of a broadcast tactic than a targeted one.

You might be wondering, “How effective is the Web for accomplishing ASCCA’s marketing and hiring needs?”

Today, Matt Rickman told me that he has yet to run a single ad in college newspapers during his counselor recruiting process for Summer ’07. That’s remarkable. Even more remarkable, Matt shared that he is ahead of his annual hiring targets. He would usually start college newspaper ads in April. This year, he may not run any of them. So, why is that? What is different this year?

Although we have sketchy data upon which to base this claim, so far the difference seems to be our Web site. Yep, apparently the site is accomplishing the goal of reaching potential counselors – just as we hoped it would. We’ll poll the counselors and program staff this summer to see exactly how many actually found us online.

I’ll report back in a week or so to let you know how our experiment with Facebook went this time around. For now, let me hear from you. What do you think about this tactic? Do you have any suggestions about other processes we may undertake to reach potential interns?

Did you know that Camp ASCCA is in Facebook? If you are too, please go on over and “Friend” Camp ASCCA. This way you may keep up with what we’re doing all the time. Join the Camp ASCCA Facebook group, too.

Good Reading :: Interesting Links for the Week

Foraging for items to read, I’ve come upon the following interesting links.

We have some of the latest from and some interesting links from out on the broader PR Web.

Sarah writes at PR ImPRessions – Nextel Truly Takes Care of Customers. A good example of customer service caring. Next step? Nextel might announce that they are waiving overages to customers in the 36330 and 36331 zip code areas. Or, they could just give them one free week of service for the week after the tornado.

Kristina offers up As You Like It – Product (RED) – Established for Sustainability about the $100M to raise $18M marketing tumble by Bono. Seems to me that the celebs should make up the $82M deficit from their own pockets and give it directly to the initiative in Africa.

Paull Young is still out on the road. See Young PR’s – Keen on a Cool Job with Social Media?. Here’s the kicker … in this post, he’s helping others get a job in Australia. A nice man, indeed.

Andrew Careaga shares his cool autographs. They are payback from employees he sent to the SNCR conference. higher ed marketing – My co-workers went to this conference in Vegas…

Gary Schlee, of Centennial College – Toronto, asks some important PR discipline questions. A Class Act – Topping up the PR grad: can we do it all? With limited time, limited courses, what do we include and what gets left to post-graduate on-the-job training. Also, check out their PoRtFOLIO project, too.

Michael Darragh, Ogilvy in Shanghai, China, brings us the Navigator – India, China lead strong growth in Internet users and interesting news 😉 of a new fragrance for technosexuals. It seems that Calvin Klein’s now spraying bloggers with … um, perfume.

Justin writes, at PR Thoughts, (about) Dovetail, a PR firm in Silicon Valley. Visit Dovetail PR.

Michael, a PR grad student at Royal Roads University, writes in Monkey Flip, about the age old question of seeking an alternative to blogs. So much to read. So little time. Also, he notes some frustration with I try to help.

Around PR blog world…

Jeremy Pepper, of Pop PR Jots! brings us The future is Video … Now. It highlights the growth of online video use in public relations and marketing. Also mentioned is Jeremy’s client video site, I Got Shotgun – Bringing you behind the scenes access to the action surrounding the biggest GM-sponsored sports, entertainment and popculture events. Auburn alumna Emily Melton is working with that project. Cool.

Eric Eggertson, a great writer and author of two must read blogs, comes to us with his Common Sense PR recap: Top Posts of Common Sense PR. Go check them out.

Todd Defren writes of the surreal “RSS feed comes to life” experience that is the SNCR Las Vegas conference. PR Squared: RSS Feed Made Real. Alas, I never get to go to these things.

Richard Bailey has a lovely recollection of a student success story. Fun to read. PR Studies: Great GNER moments

Elizabeth Albrycht is back to her bloggie goodness with CorporatePR: The Joys of Sephora. This new writing frenzy due to the recent happy and celebrated birth of lovely Baby Ellora! Congrats to Mom and Ellora.

And, last but definitely not least, we learn of the happy news that Steven Phenix has made a happy leap to new digs with ViaMetric. Read 10,000 Marshmallows – Marketing Accountability: How to eat 10,000 Marshmallows and ViaMetric – Meet the Team – branding, marketing, sales, market research, lead sales technology. Congratulations to Steven, a very nice guy.

I can’t help but see the visual of the Chubby Bunny game when I read that blog’s title. Chubby Bunny has been played at camps and also at Auburn University’s freshman orientation, Camp War Eagle. A fun game, although the adult in me fears – choking. So, ViaMetric’s “one marshmallow at a time” analogy is even more poignant.

And, if you’d like to see some mock-ups of the new Camp ASCCA • Easter Seals front page, check out that link. It is a work – still – in progress. Since WordPress has now settled in with a stable version, 2.1.2, I’m going to be upgrading all their blogs this weekend. See WordPress 2.1.1 dangerous, Upgrade to 2.1.2. Not to worry, I haven’t upgraded those blogs recently as it always seems wise to wait until the bugs in new versions work their way out. The 2.1.1 scenario seems to prove that policy a wise one to follow.