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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Job - RED SKY Consulting - Marketing Communications and Social Media Strategies Intern

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LaBreche announces new hires and promotion

LaBreche announced the expansion of its team with the addition of two new employees, Jessica Petrie and Krissy Schoenfelder, both of whom have joined the media relations team. The company also promoted team member, Kate Rogers, to manager of written content.

Media relations specialist, Jessica Petrie, joins LaBreche from Perception Ink where she worked as an assistant account executive. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and a minor in business administration. Petrie’s client list includes law alliance Meritas, Capital Safety, Tastefully Simple, Computype and Oak Grove Capital.

Krissy Schoenfelder was also hired as a media relations specialist, and she comes to LaBreche after working as an assistant account executive at Spotlight Media Relations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in both public relations and sociology from the University of St. Thomas. Schoenfelder’s client roster is comprised of MicroCare Medical, Victaulic, Faegre & Benson and Great Clips.

Newly promoted manager of written content, Kate Rogers, began her career as an account executive at LaBreche in October 2010. In her new role, Rogers will oversee content development needs for clients. Rogers is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Her client roster includes Stryker Sustainability Solutions, Oak Grove Capital, Wealth Enhancement Group, Computype, Meritas, and Proto Labs.

Job - Strother Communications Group - Senior Account Executive

Job - Four51 hiring - Social Media/PR Intern

Job - Harvest PR looking for new PR Account Coordinator

Monday, December 26, 2011

Job - Boeckermann, Grafstrom & Mayer - Marketing & PR Internship

B2B Information Technology Marketing And Public Relations Firm KC Associates Strengthens PR Agency Arm With Two Hires

KC Associates (KCA) a b2b information technology marketing and public relations firm announces the addition of Eva Keiser as PR Director and Ali Finer as a PR Manager to the firm’s PR agency arm. Together, they bring more than 30 years of PR and IT industry experience to KCA’s team of highly experienced b2b technology marketing and PR professionals.

As PR Director, Keiser is responsible for working with clients to develop and execute PR strategies as well as overseeing KCA’s PR agency business. A key area of focus for her is to work closely with the firm’s digital marketing and PR director, Tom Pick, to fully integrate social media and online marketing with PR to provide clients with sophisticated digital strategies that result in more pervasive web presences. Reporting to Keiser is KCA’s PR team of media relations professionals, IR Counsel and writers.

As a PR Manager, Finer is responsible for finding and leveraging media opportunities for clients. She also oversees tracking and measurement of PR programs and works closely with Keiser on developing client PR strategies.

”The need for our PR services had begun to outstrip our capacity in a couple of ways,” commented KCA’s principal, Kirsten Chapman. “Our growing client base and our focus on more earned-media results meant that I had to beef up our PR strategy capability and our media relations muscle. I recruited Eva because she’s a phenomenal PR strategist with heavy social media experience and a strong managerial background. I went after Ali because I’ve seen that she does a great job putting technology companies on the national map.”

Prior to KCA, Keiser spent five years as a senior vice president at Risdall McKinney Public Relations, where she was responsible for developing PR strategies and overseeing and managing their tactical execution, using both traditional and social media programs. She also worked on brand strategy development and integrated digital marketing campaigns. Before Risdall, Keiser served for 11 years as an account supervisor at Padilla Speer Beardsley. While there, she led the PR support for a product launch which culminated in the client’s receiving unprecedented industry recognition, including winning an Industry Week Technology the Year award and numerous editorial endorsements. Keiser has also secured publicity that led to contracts with Fortune 500 companies and was responsible for high-profile placements in national, local and business publications.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

From MNPR Blog I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

I hope you can enjoy time off over the holidays to enjoy the things that really matter.

Have safe travels and we will see you next week sometime. Cheers.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Job - Snip-its Corporation - Marketing Internship

Job - Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance - Public Relations and Communication Intern

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Job - Modern Storyteller - Account Executive

Job - City of Woodbury - Communications Intern

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Job - Guthrie Theater - Public Relations Intern

Job - Guthrie Theater - Multimedia Communications Intern

Job - Guthrie Theater - Photography Intern

Henry Schafer Partners hires Tsang as an account executive and social media specialist

announced today that Christine Tsang has been hired as an account executive and social media specialist for the marketing and public relations firm.  She will work in media relations, advocacy and social media for the firm’s business and nonprofit clients.

Christine received a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.  She previously was an intern at Henry Schafer Partners before graduating from the University in 2010. She also worked as public relations intern at LifeScience Alley in the areas of communications and special events. Christine was most recently employed by Martin Williams, an advertising and public relations firm.

Henry Schafer president, Joanne Henry, said, “Christine’s social media and other communications skills will be a valuable addition to our client work. She also brings expertise in special events and community projects that are important to our broad community engagement work.” 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Job - Minnesota AIDS Project - Special Events Intern

Job - Russell Herder is seeking Client Services Professional

Ragaller joins Spyglass Creative as an account manager

Ragaller joins Spyglass
Spyglass Creative has added a new employee to its roster: Sara Ragaller joins the growing team as an account manager. In her new role, Ragaller is currently working with OptumHealth Financial Services to help sharpen their customer engagement strategy, Carlson Wagonlit Travel to launch their first mobile app around the globe, as well as managing branding projects for FedRooms and Reeher.

After receiving an advertising degree and marketing minor from Iowa State University in 2009, Minneapolis native Ragaller moved to Dallas where she served as the web content editor for Flowserve, a world leader in supplying equipment and services to the power, oil, gas and chemical industries. She focused on internal communications reaching the company’s 15,000 employees across 50 countries, writing for the website and intranet, as well as spearheading social media outreach.

During college, Ragaller served in several leadership roles for the Iowa State Advertising Club. She also interned at The Meyocks Group, a Des Moines-based advertising agency.

“We’re excited to have Sara join our growing team,” says Molly Rice, Spyglass Creative co-founder and CEO. “Sara’s skill set as a communicator is a perfect match for our clients who want to quickly and effectively connect with their customers and their own internal teams.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Job - PR / Social Media Internships at the Mall of America

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Job - MPLS.TV - Digital Engagement Internship

Job - Mosaic - Web & Social Media Content Analyst

Monday, December 12, 2011

Job - One Simple Plan accepting applications for a paid internship

Job - Bemidji State University - Director of Communications and Marketing

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Job - Boeckermann, Grafstrom & Mayer - Intern, Marketing Communications/Public Relations

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kohnstamm Communications Helps Lift Malt-O-Meal to Ad Age’s Venerable “Hottest Brands” List

Kohnstamm Communications was credited by Advertising Age Magazine as a key player in the emergence of Malt-O-Meal® as one of “America’s Hottest Brands” in its much-anticipated annual report.

Contributing to Malt-O-Meal’s national reputation, the St. Paul firm helped launch the company’s “Bag The Box” sustainability campaign, which emphasized the environmental benefits of using less packaging. As noted in Ad Age, the green initiative “generated a ton of free media, with articles appearing on, a blog by Fast Company, as well as other spots.” Other accolades include Cooking Light, which honored the line’s Frosted Mini Spooners® as a Grand Prize winner in the magazine’s annual Taste Test Awards; the variety is a best-seller at Walmart. Malt-O-Meal now commands 10 of the top 50 best-selling brands of ready-to-eat cereal.

Advertising Age reported that “despite no advertising, Malt-O-Meal grew sales by 5.1 percent,” outperforming big marketers Kellogg’s, General Mills and Pepsico’s Quaker Oats, and stated that Malt-O-Meal “has found new ways to talk to customers.”

Kohnstamm Communications president Josh Kohnstamm says that Malt-O-Meal became a client four years ago by eschewing advertising and initially turning to PR due to cost.

“It was through the process of embracing PR,” said Kohnstamm, “that the Malt-O-Meal team discovered its upside — that they could dramatically reinvent their brand image in an authentic, savvy way by engaging consumers and influencers as never before.”

Communicating face-to-face less and less

When you have exciting news to tell, chances are you don’t reach for the tlephone anymore to tell your friends and loved ones; you probably log onto Facebook and post a status to your wall, letting all of your Facebook friends see the important news. People are beginning to use social media as their primary source of communication, and in my opinion, this oftentimes leads to inconsistencies in message delivery.

Our society has begun to use face-to-face communication less and less, and this is significantly impacting our society as a whole, especially in areas such as:
  • Business: Many people hide behind emails today. Tracy Crevar Warren, a consultant for the Crevar Group agrees that “…the "younger" generation lack poor social skills and the ability to conduct successful face-to-face meetings because of their virtual interactions” (Can Facebook Kill Face-to-Face Networking?).
  • Family Dynamics: Children are so caught up in social media, they forget to converse with their family, unless it’s through social media.
  • Education: Students are less engaged in school and learning because they are distracted by social media.
  • Communication between Friends: No longer do you call up your friend to hang out, plans are always made through social media.
This crossing over from face-to-face communication to social media can lead to misunderstanding and misconceptions. Because people are interpreting what they are reading rather than taking cues from body language and tone of voice, the true meaning behind a message can be lost between the sender and the receiver, and ugly misreading can take place. 

This happened to me one time. I had written an email to the athletic director at my grade school, where I was employed as a score keeper. I was upset with the way that the scheduling had occurred, so I wrote him a friendly complaint letter. He misinterpreted my email as a direct criticism of him, and he wrote a nasty email back to me. I was only 15 years old, so you can imagine how hurt I was when I received his email back. This is just one example of how social media can hinder communication.

Face-to-face communication is slowly phasing out because of social media, but it is still a skill that is extremely important to have. So the next time that you have important news to tell, I challenge you to call up your friends rather than tweeting or posting about it.

Stacy Amstadt
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment   

Friday, December 09, 2011

Practicing Public Relations to Recruit for Public Relations

Public relations is not machine run, yet, but in a sense it the people must work together like a well-oiled machine with interactive parts. This can only be achieved by recruiting the best possible people for your team, and this can only be achieved by recruiting in new ways. David Spark, of Spark Media Solutions and discussed new recruiting tips for 2012 at the ERE Recruiting Innovation Summit, but here’s the great eight.

1. Find the Best People First, Train Later
Just as candidates are, always be looking for hiring the right people, not just when you need to fill a slot. If people stick out in your mind when you’re not looking, it’s a good sign. When it comes to the Y Generation, many have skills and few the right attitude. Hire for the attitude and train for the skills.

2. Make Sure Everyone Likes the Candidate, Somewhat
Like a well-oiled machine, the parts have to work well together. The correct parts are the most important aspect of the tool. Make sure the other employees like the candidate, somewhat. Find someone who compliments the staff, but doesn’t fit the mold. Organizations that continue to replenish the mold, continue to replenish a way of thinking without being innovative.

3. Assign Homework, Maybe a Little Math
Viktor Nagornyy, founder of Viktorix, requires a little basic math in every submission. If they answer it correctly, it lets him know they are paying attention to details, and it screens out those who refuse to answer.
An unpaid assignment, acts as a mini-unpaid internship. It demonstrates the candidates that are passionate as much about the company as you may be about them. It will weed out numerous candidates, while showing you the candidates’ attention to detail, creativity and how they communicate their ideas.

4. Don’t rely on the Resume
It may show their ability to create a professional document, but it does not demonstrate a person’s passion and communication skills. Follow up

5. Ask Their Favorite Cuss Word
James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio, he says it is so unexpected and catches them off-guard that it will see how they act on their feet. Perhaps if you demonstrate what cuss word is your favorite, it will throw them off so much they cannot recover, or you will be able to experience their sense of humor.

6. You Have the Right, to Probe
Ask what the candidates’ dream job is. It will demonstrate their motivations and their ability to be open and communicative with you. It will also let you know if their motivations compliment that of the company. Even if your offered position is not their dream job, it doesn’t mean that it might not be soon. Also inquire to their past positions. If they seem uncomfortable talking about their past jobs, it could suggest they were fired, or it could show you that they were unwilling to do certain tasks.

7. Practice What You Preach; Conduct a Follow-up
Go beyond the interview. Send not just a follow-up e-mail but also ask to meet up for a cup of coffee. Get to know the potential candidates beyond just the interview.

8. Value Social Networks
“Good talent knows other good talent.” Look to your employees to find the best fit, and look to your top followers. It’s a great start if the people demonstrate a passion for your brand before they are even employed.

Elizabeth Schoenborn
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment  

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Weber Shandwick Promotes Six

The Minneapolis office of Weber Shandwick today announced the promotions of Rachel Camann, Elissa Dingmann, Keith Grauman, Sarah Stakston, Angela Thompson and Jackie Vos within its consumer marketing, corporate, community and public affairs, digital communications, financial services and healthcare practices.

was promoted to account executive in the consumer marketing practice group. Camann joined Weber Shandwick as an intern in 2009, and her insightful and results-focused work has quickly earned praise from consumer marketing clients and colleagues alike. Before Weber Shandwick, she interned with Minnesota Green Communities and served as special projects manager for Children’s Safety Centers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

was promoted to senior account executive in the corporate, community and public affairs practice. Dingmann began as an intern in 2007 and quickly distinguished herself as an exceptional team member. She has become an integral member of the account team for a major agricultural client and effortlessly manages a client website, plans online webinars and helps execute regional crisis drills. Previously, she interned with Fairview Health Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of St. Thomas.
was promoted to Account Executive in the financial services practice. Since joining Weber Shandwick in 2010, he has been a critical player in planning and executing crisis readiness drills for a national agricultural trade group. He has also applied his organizational and PR talents to developing a government website, supporting the launches of three additional sites, and preparing cogent reports for financial services clients. Prior to Weber Shandwick, Grauman worked as a reporter with the Hastings Star Gazette. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
, was promoted to account group manager in the healthcare group. Stakston’s attention to the details of her clients’ work and industry knowledge has helped generate widely recognized successes such as the 13 state and national PR awards won by the American College of Surgeons in 2011. In addition to her accounts work, Stakston has been instrumental in developing potential new business opportunities into current clients throughout 2011. She holds an MBA in marketing from the Carlson School of Management and a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business management from the University of Minnesota.
was promoted to account group manager in the consumer marketing practice. In the last year, Thompson has stepped forward to take over the account lead position on the Army Social Computing Team and to assume leadership roles on other major client teams. Under her management, her teams have won numerous industry awards with programs that continue to exceed client expectations. She holds a master’s degree in strategic communication from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College.
was promoted to account supervisor in the healthcare practice group. After joining Weber Shandwick in 2007, she has proven herself to be a media relations expert, an adept social media strategist, a strategic account leader and a detail-oriented event planner, and has become a vital member of the teams working with accounts including the American College of Surgeons. Vos holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Northern Michigan University.

Job - Padilla Speer is looking for a Director of Research & Insights

Job - Nemer Fieger - ENTERTAINMENT MARKETING - Full-time Paid Internship

FirstEnergy Solutions Removes The Clutter With Its "Short & Sweet" Campaign

Carmichael Lynch and FirstEnergy Solutions want people to know if you make the switch; you'll save. A message this simple deserves a straightforward campaign. The agency took the structure of traditional advertising platforms and made a statement by only using a fraction of the time and space to get the "switch and save" message across. "The other directors we talked with wanted to fill the extra time in the spots with traditional gags, instead of allowing it to just be extra time. We went with Harold Zwart because he got it, and said it was unlike anything he's ever seen. The campaign's uniqueness makes it memorable," Brock Davis, Group Creative Director at Carmichael Lynch. Click here to view the campaign and download the work:

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Job - RSP Marketing - Social Media Marketing Internship Program

Job - Padilla is looking for a Director for our Health Care practice area.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Website vs. Blog: What’s the difference?

Website vs. Blog: What’s the difference? It’s crucial for companies to have both a company website as well as a blog. The two compliment one another. The website is a place where consumers go to get a basic overview of a company whereas the blog is the where they learn more in depth about what your company is doing —the question then becomes how to differentiate what gets published on the website and what gets published on the blog?

A companies website is crucial to their online presence. It’s the first thing that consumers will turn to when searching for your company online. Use your website in a way to introduce yourself to your consumers. Your website should publish content that goes over who you are as a company and what products and/or services you offer. As well as your companies’ history, values, mission statement, and so on.

A companies blog is much different then their website. A blog is a place where consumers can go to, to find out more information about who are and what you are doing. Instead of providing them with the generic information (as would be found on your website), you would provide them with:
  • Consumer testimonies about how great your product is, 
  • Reviews from critics, 
  • Prestigious awards that you won, 
  • Events you are planning 
  • Charities that you are sponsoring,
  • Or introducing them to a new hire within your company
Blogs use a more personal approach. The key here is to write stories that your consumers can relate to. For examples of exceptional blogs, click here. A company website and blog are very much similar in that they are producing content that informs their consumers. The major difference between the two is the approach (generic vs. personal) in which they do so. Remember this simple tip and you are set to go!

Sadie Frauendienst
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Job - ShopNBC - Marketing Communications Intern

Friday, December 02, 2011

Job - Haberman - New Business Development Manager

Is “Quitting” Twitter an Effective PR Strategy?

In the midst of the Jo Paterno scandal, Ashton Kutcher hastily made a tweet about how insulting it was that Jo Pa was fired. He was immediately criticized and ridiculed for his comment. In response to the backlash, Ashton posted on his blog and explained his reasoning for the post. He said that he did not know the full story, and had only seen a headline that Paterno had been fired. Later, when he saw the full story on ESPN, he went back to Twitter to correct his error. Unfortunately, it was far too late. Kutcher said he would quit Twitter. This brings me to a question I’ve been pondering for a while. Does “quitting” Twitter work as an effective public relations crisis management solution?

In Jim Tobin’s book, Social Media is a Cocktail Party, the author states explains that even if you’re not a part of social media, your clients are. This book is focused on social media tools and tips for companies, but can be applied to celebrities as well. Even if Ashton leaves his Twitter account, fans and critics will still be talking about his comment and posting their opinions. Is it better for Ashton to be off of the sites, or would it be more fitting for him to stay online, defend himself, and show that his Twitter feed can be appropriate and informative?

Ashton Kutcher decided to stay on Twitter, but to let his management company take over his posts and control the content. Followers have an issue with this too, as they would prefer honesty and transparency than doctored comments by his management team.

Kutcher is not the first to claim he was dropping his account. Miley Cyrus stated she was quitting Twitter in 2009, due to the lack of privacy. When I checked Twitter today, she had an active account that had posts several times daily. John Mayer quit his account, citing the need for a lack of distractions while recording. Amanda Bynes quit her account without notice, later saying that she was uncomfortable with the lack of privacy. These celebrities currently have active accounts.

Looks like the threat to quit an account is truly just an empty threat. Celebrities must find more reasons to have an account that not, and that part of being a public figure means criticism and negative comments. Some stars have even used their social media platforms for a cause. In 2010, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian and Justin Timberlake stopped posting to raise money for Keep a Child Alive. They vowed to sign out of their accounts until they raised $1 million in donations for the organization. Advertisements were released to promote the cause. The stars raised the amount, and returned to tweeting and posting on Facebook.

Do you think quitting social media helps to quiet celebrities’ mistakes, or does it make fans and critics even more displeased with their actions?

Adreanne Peters
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Klout, Influence, and Impact

For years marketers have tried to understand and track how consumers purchase and what influences buying decisions. From market research to focus groups to creating customer personas, understanding as much as possible about your potential audience is essential. The ability to tailor messages and content appropriately for every individual has always been a smart strategy. Now, with the expansion of social media and customized content, it is more important than ever to provide information that is relevant to the audience or it results in a quick click to delete your efforts.

As marketers seek to understand more about influence in the online world, one of the tools that has emerged and grown rapidly is which “measures influence based on your ability to drive action” online. The simple question: does it work? That’s where it gets complicated.

Klout uses an algorithm to
measure three categories
Reach, Amplification
and Network

uses an algorithm to measure three categories: Reach (the number of people you reach), Amplification (how much you influence people based on responses and shares), and Network (how often do influencers respond to your content) and calculates a score based on these inputs. Ever since the introduction of Klout there has been a significant amount of controversy and some backlash against how the tool assigns value and influence. Some of the issue comes from assigning a numerical value to people, which some disagree with on principle. However, over the last two years, despite seeing hundreds in the social media space question or downright mock the ability of a tool to measure “influence” online there was significant public outcry when Klout changed the formula and many users scores went down. Many who had said Klout was irrelevant or said they didn’t care about their score were suddenly extremely upset about the change. In mid-November Klout posted commentary about the vision of the company to attempt to address some of the questions in the community.

I applaud the effort and thought behind Klout. A company seeking to understand how people make decisions and engage is a tremendous undertaking that every communications and marketing professional should appreciate. That said, there are a few considerations that we collectively need to evaluate to determine how this (or any other) tool can be utilized in our field.

- Quantity versus quality

One concern about a tool like this is how heavily it implies that by posting a great deal that someone is influential. By posting often it impacts the score and also gives more potential for shares/retweets/engagement which also drives a Klout score. However, there are many industry leaders online that simply don’t have the time to post a great deal. They’re busy creating new programs, helping lead client strategy, or working to grow a business.

- Singular number representing all industries and audiences

While Klout attempts to break out categories of influence (attempt is key as I’ve allegedly been influential on topics where I clearly have no idea like Ruby on Rails and Models) it still provides one final score talking about online influence. The danger lies within seeing a high Klout score and really assuming impact. Our job is to dive deeper and provide real counsel for our clients or employers. The fact that Justin Bieber has a Klout score of 100 clearly doesn’t mean he has relevant impact across all audiences or industries. Does he have tremendous influence? Absolutely he has great influence- with teens and particularly teen girls. Would I ever consider paying the beloved Biebs to speak on behalf of a B2B service in the technology market? Not a chance.

- Differing uses of channels

Also consider the fact that even legitimate online influencers use different online channels differently. A heavy Facebook user may have made the strategic decision to focus on that tool as it fits their business model well but does not believe that Twitter is a good fit. In cases like that, users are “penalized” somewhat by not having a presence all over the web though I fundamentally disagree with the premise that ten lousy networks is better than one strong, committed, and engaged two-way network. One of the best examples I’ve seen in illustrating this particular issue was done by Paul Gillin on his blog.

Ultimately, Klout or any other online “influence” tool will inherently have flaws. That doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be mined from the tool. By looking at categories of interest on Klout you may find a decent starting point to look at a topic and people that are discussing the topic online. The key is understanding that there is no magic Web success button where you push it and your perfect audience and influencers pop out the other side. A comprehensive strategy whether online, offline, or a combination of the two needs to begin with a deep understanding of your goals and of the market. This cannot be gleaned from a single data point but requires analysis and context. So use Klout but don’t leave your research skills, analytical thinking, personal experience, and some common sense at home.

-- / Community Business

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How New Media is Changing The Way We Disconnect

What makes a “bad” breakup is changing. A bad breakup is no longer determined by how many dishes were thrown, whether an infidelity was walked in on, or how long a shouting match lasted. What makes the difference now is the medium used to deliver the news.

In Ilana Gershon’s book, , she uses stories and interviews from her students to further explore how exactly new media is being used in the ways people end relationships. 

As the number of ways we communicate and form relationships increases, so do our options for disconnecting from them. Throughout the book, Gershon repeatedly states: the medium is part of the message. The beliefs people have about how medium conveys and structures certain messages, their media ideologies, gives different mediums different values. 

Whether a message is sent from an email, blog, text message, or over Facebook matters and just why it matters various due to a person’s ideology regarding that particular medium. A person’s ideologies make Facebook different than Skype, texting different from phone calls or emails different than letters. Gershon talks to her research subjects about how mishaps with mediums and messages can occur and gathers tragic tales of communication calamities. 

Though the breakup stories can be painful to read about, and the lack of an answer to the question “WHY?!”  It is interesting and a little difficult to think critically about my media ideologies, as well as the ideologies of the people I communicate with, not to mention the role media has played in my own disconnecting from relationships. 

Within the span of writing this post my phone has chirped twice for incoming text messages, I have checked Facebook notifications and sent and read an email. The messages I encounter each have a different purpose and significance based on my relationship with the person and what is being said. Despite the fact that I may be communicating with one person in numerous ways, the content, tones used and medium in which the message is delivered all varies. 

The unspoken about agreement (or in some cases, disagreement) about what types of messages are talked about where can make for smooth connections or outraged disconnections. The easier and more convenient to communicating has become, it is that much harder to understand. New media has turned connecting or disconnecting with others into an unfamiliar, ever evolving experience and a nearly impossible one to understand.  

Although Ilana Gershon was unable to provide standards for the use of different media, or tips on the best way to disconnect with new media, presenting a method to the madness is a welcomed first step. Understanding the “how” and “why” people consider the meaning of messages presented in different mediums to be so different isn’t a quick and easy process. The universal struggle people face when communicating makes reading about mishaps in disconnecting a little less painful and a little more relieving. 

Ayla Benjamin
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment 

Social Media is a Cocktail Party: Are PR Professionals Invited?

In many respects, social media has turned the worlds of marketing, advertising and public relations upside down. The practiced and preached marketing models, which some CEOs are still more comfortable with yet today, have been tossed aside for a completely new two-way communication approach. No more are the days when public relations professionals and marketers pushed out information to consumers, or developed flat campaigns to be disseminated through traditional media approaches. The seemingly one-way tube of communication has been broken. Let’s just say the average consumer now has an invite to the cocktail party…and he’s making a big entrance.

By entering the cocktail party at all, the consumer enters the conversation. This shift in control—or rather, loss of control—for marketers and public relations professions is a difficult thing to grasp at first. The level of transparency only increases from here, and that can sometimes hurt a brand’s image or a campaign’s objective. The voice of one unreasonable individual can be heard by all, and can raise concerns among other consumers. However, when used correctly, social media is truly the beginning of a lasting, meaningful conversation.

Companies should note that there are many, many individuals in the general public who want to speak with or about you. Read the rest of the story here

The Viral Loop: How Web 2.0 Helps Build Brands From Scratch

In just the past few years the world of social media networks has exploded in size and start-up companies are reaping the benefits. When effectively used, social media can put a company’s name on the map and into the homes of their audiences. Adam Penenberg explains how this can be accomplished in his book, “The Viral Loop.”

“To use it, you have to spread it.” This simple concept, developed by Penenberg, is just one of the social networking tips that he has to offer when it comes to marketing a new business or product. What it means is that if you have made the decision to base your marketing plan on a particular social media site, you must let the public know about it and use word-of-mouth. The word-of-mouth strategy is one of the most useful tools that a company can use. As Penenberg states, “Word-of-mouth is the most important form of advertising, and it’s free.” Not only is it easy on your budget, but to a potential customer it is the most trustworthy form of communication. People rely on their family and friends to get reviews and information about products, places and people. If a company can get positive word-of-mouth out in the public, their response rate will be quite successful. When used effectively positive word-of-mouth via social networking sites can be the sole aspect of a particular marketing strategy. Penenberg uses the term “viral coefficient” to track the number users are brought in by existing users. For example, a coefficient of one means that the growth rate is linear. The larger the coefficient number gets, the faster the growth rate speed is.

Because of the vast number of social networking sites on the Internet now, it would be almost impossible to not be able to find one that could efficiently reach your target audience. Whether you’re basing it on gender, income, or race, there is a networking site out there for your market. When you are able to successfully market to your desired target audience this also expedites the growth of a company or product. From Fortune 500 companies to grassroot non-profits, using the power of social media can create and establish an image with audiences and potential customers. Those that do not use the viral networks are seen as old fashions and not up to date with the modern technology compared to others. To make sure that audiences are getting your message clearly companies need to make sure that their social networking sites share these same characteristics; web based, free, user friendly, simple content and layout, and fast adoption. Penenberg found that when these characteristics are put into action they create the most effective and successful “viral expansion loops.” Some examples that match these characteristics include two of the most popular social networking sites on the web; Facebook and Twitter. Both have very simple designs and user friendly features that are easy to learn.

Once the social networking site has been established it is vital that people actually hear about it. Penenberg suggests using emails and lots and lots of networking. First, emailing is a fast and free way to get the word out about your networking sites. It also makes it very easy to forward the information to friends and family who may be interested, thus using positive word-of-mouth. Going along with this, is the concept of networking and using those contacts to your advantage. By letting those people that you have networked with before they pass along your information to their network and so on and so forth. This generates a snowball effect that is directing all traffic to your company and product.

From a public relations perspective Penenberg’s advice can be applied to all sorts of things, including creating an image for a person, place or product, controlling a company crisis, or even the simple news release. Social media can help generate interest for all for these situations. For example, a company can use their Facebook account to make sure that their online customers are satisfied with their service and/or product. Facebook makes it very easy to do this because the format is easy to use and a huge number of people use it. Facebook’s comment feature is also very helpful to give customers instant feedback and responses. Twitter, the other leading social networking site, is also very simple and user friendly. Both Facebook and Twitter allow companies and public figures give audiences updates on upcoming events and important news. PR professionals use social networking sites all the time to stay updated on the wants and needs of their constituents. In today’s society public relations, marketing and social networking all go hand in hand, working with one another and helping each other out.

Penenberg provides some great tips for people looking to start businesses, but his advice also works well in the general sense. I think that the most important piece of information that he expands on is the idea of “to use it, you have to spread it.” This is true because if you have a social network site but no one knows about it, you might as well not have one at all. Getting the word out about your site is crucial in starting that snowball effect of new audiences and customers. PR skills, like networking with other professionals, makes this step easier if you have built up a contact list of people that would be interested in your site.
“The Viral Loop” is a must read for gaining insight into the world of social networking sites and their relationship with companies and products. The relationship that these sites have with each other can be used to properly market a certain brand or person, and they not only help out with marketing but they can be used by PR professionals. With each passing year there are going to be more and more social media sites added to the already incredibly long list, making the viral loop that much larger.

University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment

Job - Minnesota Transportation Alliance seeks a part-time intern

Monday, November 28, 2011

Job - Veterans Affairs Dept - Interactive Media Coordinator

Happy Cyber Monday! Customer Service and my Social Media experience

It is said that a happy customer will tell three people about their experience, and an unhappy customer will tell ten. Now this statement is not exactly true, due to the introduction and acceptance of social media a happy or unhappy customer can tell thousands of people with just one click of their mouse.

For example, I purchased a pair of designer boots last winter. They were beautiful, comfortable and quite expensive. Since they were designer boots I was expecting for them to make it through a few winters for me. After one week of wearing them, the sole began to detach it’s self from the shoe and the hard part of the heel fell off making my boots uneven and awkward to walk in. Being that I had always been satisfied with this brand it was quite upsetting to have my new boots fall apart so soon. So, I did what any unsatisfied customer would do, I wrote a review for the world to see.

Using social media is one of the fastest and newest ways to connect with customers. See the rest of my story here.

Rachel Geertsema
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Job - Fishbowl Solutions - Marketing Intern

Job - Land O' Lakes - Marketing Communications Intern

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Dragonfly Effect

The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive social Change by Jenifer Aaker and Andy Smith incorporates useful ideas to make a lasting impact on society. The premise of the book is from the in sync movements that dragonfly wings make when flying. In fact, the dragonfly’s wings are 20 times more powerful than any other insect’s when they move together.

Similarly, Aaker and Smith contend that when using their four-step approach, you can create unimaginable social change for the better. The four sections include Focus, Grab Attention, Engage, and Take Action. Focus means that you must identify a single, concrete goal that provides guidance throughout the mission. Creating a hook that stands out in an information-overloaded society is the second wing. Engagement happens after people connect with your goal. And finally, the public will take action after responded to the audiences’’ reactions.

The authors further split the “wings” into sub-sections by using acronyms and case studies to exemplify their points. For example, Focus can be split into five elements by using HATCH: Humanistic, Actionable, Testable, Clarity, and Happiness. The most useful message from the book is simple: you must act together to create an impact, similar to the wings of a dragonfly. Overall, I found the book useful for any public relations professional and anyone trying to make an impact on society. For further information on the book, visit

Erika Block
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Election years: public relations 101

With campaigns for the upcoming presidential election beginning to take full swing, we are about to enter a showcase for great, and, well…not so great PR campaigns.  It is a chance for us to learn not from our own mistakes, but from the mistakes of others.  Some of the campaigns we’re about to see, such as Herman Cain’s infamous “smoking” , will leave us speechless and downright confused with what these public relations teams are trying to prove.  We are quickly entering a crash course in public relations, free of charge and provided for us by the hopeful leaders of this country.

It will be easy to pick up on the disastrous outcomes of bad PR because it will be all over the news, and unfortunately this is how we enter the public spotlight.  But as professionals we must scrutinize the campaigns; learn from them by adapting what was done correctly and progressing from what was done wrong. 

One of the most prominent questions to be asked is which campaign will use social media most effectively, and which one will fall short?  Videos and dialogues must be revisited before being released to the public, especially what message the video is trying to convey.  Look back again at the Herman Cain video, does smoking and his unusually long smile appeal to his target audience?  These public relations teams need to remember that the message is everything and can make or break your campaign. 

Politics is an extremely volatile arena for a PR professional, making it very entertaining for us on the outside to sit back and observe their blunders and triumphs.  As we enter this election year, try to keep a watchful eye on each political campaign.  Regard which candidate creates positive PR and which one fails, for the amount of experience we can apply to our own practice is astounding when we learn to gain from the mistakes of others.

Jens Heig 
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment

Campbell Mithun wins Wellmark health insurance account

After a competitive pitch involving nine agencies, has won the opportunity to develop brand strategy and cross-platform integrated creative for Wellmark, a health insurance company serving more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. The win adds an insurance client to the agency’s deep health-related client roster.   

“Wellmark’s brand strategy and creative needs fall right in our sweet spot,” said Rachael Marret, president of Campbell Mithun.  “And with the increasing disruption of communications conventions in the category, there are huge opportunities for a brand to differentiate itself. We’re honored to lead them forward.” 

“With all the change we have experienced and still expect in our industry, it’s more important than ever to be certain our brand communications align with our identity and mission,” said George Hanna, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Wellmark.  “We’re looking forward to working with Campbell Mithun to assist us as we guide our members and communities through this shifting landscape.”

Campbell Mithun’s roster of health-industry clients includes Airborne, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The Mayo Clinic, Scott and White Memorial Hospital, and Sonovion brands (Xopenex, Lunesta).  Former clients include Easter Seals, Eli Lilly, Kimberly-Clark, Novartis, Pfizer and UnitedHealth Group, among others.

Announcement of the Wellmark win comes on the heels of Campbell Mithun announcing its selection as AOR by KeyBank

Monday, November 21, 2011

Job - Keystone Search - Internship

PR in Terms of Football

It is deep into football season and playoffs are on the way. As my family was talking stats and gearing up for today’s Vikings game versus the Green Bay Packers I got to thinking how similar a public relations team and campaign is to football. Both have to practice be for the big game day, both need to work as a team, and both have different players responsible to different parts of the overall objective.

Practice comes first for both teams. A football team needs to practice to prepare for the big game day. A public relations team needs to do secondary research and planning in order to have a successful launch of their campaign.

The coach will primarily direct practice, see to that everything is running smoothly and people are doing what they should be doing. The coach is in relation to the CEO. He will make all of the major calls for the team but ultimately leave them for the quarterback and rest of team to execute.

The Kickoff starts the game and is the first really big exciting part of the game. It fires up the fans and the rest of the team in preparation for the game, whether you think it will be and easy-win or an uphill battle. This is the big launch in a campaign, like the kickoff it gets everyone excited about what is to come.

During the game the quarterback has an extremely important role. He will direct the team and lead them to victory. He is who the players will look to for leadership and guidance. The quarter back is your lead campaign strategist. They are in charge of the campaign and directing where to go next.

Tactics during the campaign relate to game play. This is the body of the game and where you primarily do your scoring. If the entire game is your overall campaign then each play and each touchdown are your smaller tactics within the whole. These are your smaller scale events, press releases, promotions and other campaign awareness and involvement.

Wide receivers and running backs are the quarterback’s options. He can choose to throw or hand off the ball to these players. These positions are your contacts. These could be other professionals, that you have built a relationship with and know you can ask a favor of. These people will try their best to catch that ball for you.

On your team you also have offensive linemen and the defense squad. Offensive linemen are your coworkers who are keeping everything together so the campaign does not fall apart. They will be doing a lot of behind the scenes work. The defense squad is crisis management. They take over when you lose possession of the ball and need to regain control.

The final seconds of the game mark the end of your campaign, and like a close scoring game, a campaign with a large final impact makes for a memorable one. This could be a large event or a grand prize at the end of a contest.

After the game is over and all is said and done, the team will oftentimes review the game at the next practice. The coach will point out things that went well and mistakes that were made. Evaluation of a campaign is important to know how you can improve your future campaigns.

Teamwork is something we can learn as public relations professionals from any sports team. When everyone’s ultimate goal is the same working as a team can only make this an easier game to win.

Rachel Geertsema
University of Minnesota
Jour 3279
Blog Assignment
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