Sunday, April 29, 2007

Vespanomics: U.S. Becomes More Environmentally Friendly

In 2005, Piaggio USA hired Cooper Katz & Co. (CK) to help them to increase recognition for their Vespa brand scooter. CK produced a campaign called “Vespanomics”, which was a communication proposal that intended to broaden Piaggio’s target market. The objectives of this campaign were widespread since Vespa felt they had a lot to accomplish in the United States. Piagggio and CK thought it was important to increase brand awareness, sales, as well as market share. One of Piaggio’s biggest selling points is that the Vespa scooters are environmentally-friendly, as well as able to help save gas money. Since the launch of the Vespa in the United States in 2001, gas prices have been sky-rocketing. Using this increase in price as a selling point is a great example of how CK applied current events to better the success of their client. Also, it CK was able to identify with the Vespa’s target market (which was the American public).

I believe that launching this product at a time when there is a lot of concern about global warming is an example of how CK used timeliness as a public relations strategy in their campaign. In comparison to the Department of Energy’s national average use of gasoline, Vespa could, “reduce national fuel consumption by 12 million gallons of gasoline per day and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 324 million lbs. per day” (Vespanomics). There has been a recent interest in environmental concerns, which has been re-enforced by celebrities such a Sheryl Crow who recently sang on a “Stop Global Warming Tour” to raise awareness about the issue. Vespa could make it big in the next few years if the United States continues to become as environmentally friendly as European countries such as France, which now uses all florescent lighting in order to save energy.

For more information about the Vespanomics case study, visit:

Best Practices in Public Relations

Throughout the semester, my Advanced Communications class has learned about the ins and outs of the public relations industry. Our professor, Nina Flournoy, has dedicated herself to preparing us seniors for “real world PR”. She has taught us what we really need to know in order to enter and be successful in the PR industry. These are some helpful tips that I have gathered throughout the semester:

1) Be Current. Keeping up on the news is one of those reminders that has constantly popped up throughout my college career. I remember when Harold Burson of Burson Marstellar came to speak at SMU last fall. I intently hung onto every word he said, as he is one of fathers of today’s PR world. Someone from the audience asked him, “What is one piece of advice you can give us students who are entering the PR field”. He answered, “Read the newspaper”. That piece of information alone is very valuable and relevant in this industry. In order to have a press release read, or your client heard, you must be time worthy to be newsworthy. Russel Page, the Utah-based public relations and media director at Decade Media, wrote the article, “Getting Media Coverage For Your Business in Connect Magazine. One of his PR Tips is Timeliness, as he states, “Read the paper. Watch television. Identify the current hot topics the news media is covering. The growing economy, increasing home prices, rising interest rates, and steady job growth all seem to be hot topics lately because they are happening now, and they affect everyday people.”

To read more about Russel Page’s PR Tips, visit

2) Have Strong Verbal/ Writing Skills. It is imperative to have good writing and communication skills in the public relations industry. As a college senior, I feel that the majority of my writing skills classes have been at the beginning of the college career. However, taking this Advanced Communications class has really made me tap back into my world of MLA documentation and press releases. Having these skills is not only required for the PR industry, but are lifelong skills that everyone should posses. The National Commission on Writing (NCW) is adamant about having all people who work for the government to be able to write effectively. In fact, in a recent press release from the College Boards’ NCW, the announced that the States will spend $221 million annually on teaching writing skills due tot its extraordinary importance. According to the NCW’s press release, “More than 75 percent of respondents report taking writing into account in hiring and promoting state employees. ‘I'd say there's a premium placed on well-developed writing skills,’ said one human resources director”.

Secondly, being able to communicate verbally is something that is not only a social skill, but also a professional skill. In order for people to listen to you, whether it’s in a lecture, brief conversation, or conference call, being able to effectively communicate clearly to others is essential.

To read more about the States spending on teaching writing skills, please visit

3) Blog. Blogging is the new thing when it comes to public relations. Many professionals in the journalism or public relations industry are blogging these days. Not to mention: PR students! It is the new way to get out what you want to say in a more honest, concise way. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project’s December 2006 survey, 70% of American adults use the Internet, which accounts for approximately 141 million people. Also, according to the December 2006 survey, the percentage of people who “read someone else’s online journal, web log, or blog” is 39 percent. Considering this statistic, almost 55 million American Internet users read other people’s blogs. This is huge percentage of America’s consumer population. Roger Park, “who has worked as the Web Editor for Emap/USA Outdoor Group and was responsible for editing articles for several publications”, wrote an article for about a PRSA (public Relations Society of America) seminar on blogging ( Park’s article, entitled “Blogs, RSS, and PR Professionals” spoke about what bloging is doing to the PR world today. Park states, “blogs are reshaping the communications industry”.

To find out more about internet statistics, vistit:

To read Roger Park’s article “Blogs, RSS, and PR Professionals”, visit

4) Know Your Audience. During my first semester this year, I did a country profile project on Chile. It included tips for International businesses looking to expand to Chile. During my studies, I wrote about a case study concerning Home Depot opening its doors in Chile. Home Depot’s move to South America was unsuccessful due to lack of a target market in Chile for a do-it-yourself hardware store. Home Depot closed its doors and said goodbye to South America; costing them money and their International reputation. This example re-iterates the importance of knowing your audience, whether it’s for a press release, retail store, or marketing campaign. In August 2004, Ann S. Murphy, Vice-President of Boston-based PR firm O’Neill and Associates, wrote an article in Boston Women’s Business called “Employ Strategies of Public Relations Campaigns to Achieve Goals”. Murphy states in her article,“The No. 1 task at hand when beginning a public relations campaign is to determine who will be listening to your message”. Without an audience, you don’t have a product. Sending your message to the right people is key to the success of any campaign.

To read Ann S. Murphy’s article, visit:

5) Maintain Media Relationships. Having connections and relationships with reporters in the media is essential to success in the PR field. These relationships will lead to having someone who trusts your message is newsworthy, and will help you to deliver it. Misukanis & Odden, a public relations firm in Spring Park, Minnesota, knows how to market themselves to their clients. Included in their mission statement reads, “public relations specialists have built tenured media relationships with national, regional, trade and broadcast publications to ensure that your message is delivered in the timeliness manner”. Misukanis & Odden have recognized the importance of building and maintaining media relationships, and use them as a way to sway clients in their direction. Posted on Silicon Strategies Marketing’s homepage, their analyst relations page reads, “the media analysts are your allies. When coxed correctly, they promote and defend your product and positioning. Keeping them educated and enthusiastic is an essential element of your promotional strategy”. Silicon strategies quotes Shoe on their website stating, “Never pick a fight with a guy that buys ink by the barrel”.

To learn more about Misukanis & Odden, visit

To learn more about Silicon Strategies Marketing’s analyst relations tips, visit:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Entrepreneurs Everywhere

Being a student at SMU in Dallas, Texas, I can feel the entreprenurial vibe this city omits. My father went to college and graduate school at SMU as well, and he always talks about the "drive for success the SMU student body posesses". He, himself, did not start his own business, but has thrived in his line of business. Once my dad started to compare and contrast the incredible drive that SMU students have versus my brother's Ivy League University, which bred a less competitive student body, I began to really take a look around and see what he's talking about.

When I was a sophmore, I heard about one of my sorority sisters, Kacky Pritchard, who was interning at Kate Spade in New York City. She had also began to design and sell her own clothing at the sorority house and at trunk shows. Kacky now co-owns a store in Dallas called Kacky and Carl. Her store sells fashionable clothing, furniture, and gifts. You can visit her store at

Two other sorority sisters of mine started their own accessory line called Two Olives the same year. Being around peers with such admirable work ethics at such a young age was very motivational for me. It motivated me to go to New York City last summer to persue an internship in fashion public relations, which is my ultimate dream job. With more entrepreneurs surfacing in the business world everyday, I believe that more and more people will be motivated to make a name for themselves at a young age. I know it's already gotten me thinking...

Another good link to find out about more SMU entrepreneurs is

Thursday, February 22, 2007

How to Heal

When researching Heal Magazine, a magazine for cancer survivors, I thought about what topics I would want to be informed about if I were a cancer survivor. Given that I am a young adult at the age of 21, I would most likely find myself in the minority of the population of cancer survivors age-wise. Many of the online sites meant to inform and support, and promote survivorship have pictures of middle-aged men and women and talk about topics that might interest an older generation. Not only would I want to be informed, but maybe even talking to other people my age would be an effective way for me to become involved with my survivorship.

While researching the net on cancer survivorship programs, I did seem to find two websites that were youth-based. I found and Both of these are appealing to a younger generation, one that might not have very many immediate friends of their age who they can relate to. I would suggest to Heal Magazine to possibly put these websites as sidebars, and to definitely create their blog to be user-friendly for all ages.

Also, I suggest that Heal Magazine put a sidebar on their blog regarding survivor programs to become involved with. When I was a sophomore in high school, I had a friend whose mother had been in remission from breast cancer for 8 years. During Thanksgiving, she felt ill again and found out her cancer was back full force. She passed away before New Year’s. She hadn’t seen a doctor in 8 years. Many cancer survivors are afraid to go to doctors once they reach remission because of the emotional and physical pain they go through with the disease and the treatments. However, I think that regularly being able to talk to a doctor and feeling comfortable visiting a doctor is an essential part of staying in remission. Programs to help to promote survivor clinics would be amazing to see on the blog. Two examples are:, and

Third, since celebrities are so over-exposed these days, gaining celebrity support for the blog would be a good idea as well. For example, Lance Armstrong is a testicular cancer survivor. He writes in his own blog regularly through his “Live Strong” website at Also, at, Sheryl Crow talks about how breast cancer has changed her life forever through the American Cancer Society. Because celebrities are looked up to for their talents and they are widely known, involving celebrity cancer survivors would be vary appealing to a large audience.

Since there are cancer survivors of all ages, it’s important for Heal Magazine to be conscious to all ages when creating the blog. Also, the blog should be inspirational. I am not a cancer survivor, but I do think that inspiration is always wonderful for anyone to endure.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Tips for Gaining Media Attention

Gaining media attention requires one to have a good relationship with journalists, reporters, and others who decide what goes in ink, and what doesn’t. Here are some tips on how to attract the media, no matter what your status is in the PR industry:

1) Build online support for you client. It’s fast, easy, and free to build online support for your client. Blog, e-mail, or create a website. Getting a name out there in the internet may get your client further than expected. Because our society is becoming more and more dependent on the Internet as a resource, people who would be interested in your client have a good chance of finding them online if they are there.

2) Meet the Press. Purposely meeting with the press is one of the best ways a PR Professional can spend their free time. Is there a certain coffee shop? Restaurant? Bar? Where your media hangs out? Get to know your target journalists and you will get published.

3) Find your journalistic audience. When finding a journalist who you want to write about your client or cause, find out who generally writes about it. For example, if I was spear-heading a campaign on saving the rainforest, I would want to look for a journalist who is an advocate for environmental issues. Therefore, a journalist will be more interested in writing my article.

4) Send out a Press Advisory. Press Advisories state the basic information (who, what, where, when, and why) of an upcoming event. They are quick and easy to send to journalists, so you can send a lot of them, and may catch the attention of a reporter interested in the event. Here’s an example:

5) Join a Press Club. Joining a press club can be especially helpful if you’re new to the PR business. There are chapters all over the U.S., so it doesn’t matter what city you are in. This is a good way to network with other PR professionals, and as well as meet new media partners. Think of this is a support system of people who are very educated on PR. The real question is: Why not join? Here are some of the press clubs here in Dallas:

6) Know the News. Knowledge is THE MOST IMPORTANT tool a PR professional can have. Being in the know has never been as important as it is today. It’s fast and easy to know what’s going on in the world today because of the rapid speed of modern-day technology. Always knowing what’s going on is every PR professional’s job. Hook up to news sites whenever you can. Grab a newspaper in the mornings. Be in the know while you go.

7) Write a Press Release. Press releases are the most common way to gain media attention. Journalists are very familiar with getting stories from this PR tactic. Make the document professional, informative, and accessible. Here’s a site to help you write a press release:

8) Offer a News Exclusive. Newspapers like to be the only source that prints information. If you offer a newspaper an exclusive opportunity if they write about you, they could be more inclined to write about your piece.

9) Be Photogenic. Send photos to a journalist. If the story is photo-worthy, and you have good photographic coverage of an event you want to be in the news, by all means, send them! Photos are very appealing in any print media medium. So, if you have the extra prop for getting your story in the news, use it!

10) Network, Network, Network. You can never know too many people in media land. Constantly ask to be introduced to new people. You never know who you will meet and when. Meeting new people is how you get your name circulation. If you are well known, your work will be too.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Blogs and PR Today

As technology advances in our society, so does the Public Relations world. This industry has gone from paper to computer just in the last few years. In order to be PR savvy, it’s very important to know what’s going on in the web world. Blogging has many advantages for the PR industry, such as networking abilities, tracking trends, faster client feedback, personalization of a company, and creating more trust within the industry.

A large number of journalists and news editors have now become regular bloggers, as surfing press releases online is a much faster for finding interesting story ideas. Blogs also provide a more honest and efficient way for companies to communicate with their clients. Public Relations companies have often been said to put a “spin” on information about a company or a product. However, blogs provide honest, open conversation with the world, which puts more trust and credibility into Public Relations professionals. This could help to benefit Public Relations as an industry.

Blogs also give face to a business. They are a more personal and distinctive way to communicate to clients or potential clients about a company. In this sense, blogging has brought a human interaction element to the internet.

Because a huge part of the Public Relations industry is staying up to date on news, blogging has become the dream for any PR professional. It provides a quick, honest, efficient way to get informed, as well as benefits the company and its clients. Creating and reading blogs is perfect for any public relations attempt.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Globalization is a huge part of today's business world. Since interacting with other countries has become so much easier due to the advances in today's technology, it is very important to be knowledgeable about what's going on aroundthe globe. Learning different languages has never been such an immportant asset as it is today. Being familiar with other cultures is very important for doing businesses with other countries. The only way to be successful in moving a business to a globl is to be culturally aware and sensitive. Just beecause a business has flourished in the United States, it does not mean it will do the same elsewhere. Know the market you are entering everywhere you want it to be, know the people, know the traditions, know the expectations, know the culture. It could be the difference between success and failure.