A Conference to Remember
ISU members posing at National Conference in San Fransisco, Calif.
A monthly publication of Illinios State University’s PRSSA
By Kaitie Ries
As many of you know, ISU PRSSA recently attended PRSSA National Conference in San Francisco, Calif. Every year our Chapter attends this conference because it is a great opportunity for students to learn from public relations and communication professionals. For four days attendees can choose to attend various sessions regarding the multiple aspects of the PR industry. From sports PR to media training to travel, it’s highly unlikely that attendees aren’t excited about at least one portion of the conference. However, as the departure date approached, I was more nervous than excited. Why? Because our executive board was actually chosen to be a session presenter. We had been working on our presentation and practicing twice a week for months, and the date was finally near. I decided to submit a proposal for what is called a Chapter Development Session back in April. The proposal asked me to describe how our Chapter was qualified to present and the details and history of our Chapter. It also asked for a brief description and outline of the presentation, and why I was choosing the topic. I decided on our topic, “Tips for Building a Strong Executive Board,” after I attended the 2011 National Conference in Orlando, Fla. When I attended the vice president breakout session, I noticed that many Chapters had issues that could be traced back to the executive board. Some complained that their president didn’t attend meetings, and when I asked them if they had a contract Continued on page 3 A look inside.... Taking a Look at Corporate PR How PRSSA Benefits All Majors Letter from Executive Board
If the Social Media Platform Fits
Meet Dr. Carr
Taking a Look at Corporate PR By Becky Oraham
On Friday, Oct. 26, Illinois State
University’s PRSSA Chapter stayed local and toured two corporate communication divisions, one at at State Farm and one at COUNTRY Financial in Bloomington, Ill. This was my first PRSSA tour as a dues-paying member, and I did not know what to expect. I have also never been to a corporate office or building, and I was not sure if I was even interested in corporate PR, but I could not pass up the opportunity. I was overwhelmed when we first stepped foot into State Farm’s building because it was huge. Once we passed the entrance, we Members posing in the Visitor Center’s newly renovated waiting room at State Farm’s immediately walked into the new and improved Corporate office. atrium. Dan Barringer, State Farm archivist, led the tour through the building, while also sharing the history and stories of State Farm and how the building became as it is today. After the building tour of State Farm, we met with a few members of the digital media team. They told us about their journey into the field and about the campaigns they received Silver Anvil awards for this year. The Silver Anvil Award is the public relations profession’s most prestigious honor given by the Public Relations Society of America. These projects included a safety campaign video with William Shatner about turkey frying safety called, “Eat, Fry, Love,” and the State Farm Bank for a “financial town hall” tour that brought experts to talk to Latino communities. The next stop on the tour was COUNTRY Financial. Kaitie Ries, ISU PRSSA president, is an intern at COUNTRY this year, and she helped lead our tour along with Brittin Haury, a community activities analyst. We went into a comfortable conference room, where we were introduced to members of the corporate communications team. This team of employees, along with Haury and Ries, gave us an inside look on the daily life of a COUNTRY employee. We were provided with a background on each person and then listened to them discuss what their favorite projects are and how their jobs overlap with each other to benefit Members posing after touring COUNTRY Financial Corporate office. the company. Chapter members asked questions, and the speakers offered us useful tips and advice. The questions ranged from how the employees got into the PR field to whether they think graduate school is necessary for our future careers. Continued on page 5
A Conference to Remember (cont’d) to hold that person accountable, they said no. There were other Chapters who had similar problems, so I was able to share a lot of our executive board’s best practices with the other vice presidents. After submitting the proposal, I didn’t know what to expect. There are roughly 280 Chapters, and only eight would be chosen to present. When I found out our proposal had been selected, I couldn’t believe it. I called Dr. Smudde right away to share my excitement, and we got to work on the presentation right away. The executive board and I spent a lot of time revising the presentation to make sure we were giving plenty of information paired with real-life examples so attendees could stay engaged. After the presentation, people asked a lot of questions, and the moderator actually had to cut off the Q&A because of time constraints. Attendees were also tweeting about the presentation, congratulating us and quoting their favorite tips, which was a great feeling. We’ve also been receiving emails asking for examples of our documents because other Chapters want to implement our ideas. Knowing that our presentation is helping other Chapters with their issues is incredibly gratifying. I’ve learned so much from PRSSA, so being able to give back through our presentation was a great feeling.
I want to thank the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 executive boards and Dr. Smudde for the work they put in to creating so many helpful documents during their term because it really built the foundation of our presentation. The overall focus was that organization and documentation are the key factors for a Tweets from people who attended the ISU PRSSA session. successful executive board and therefore, Chapter. Without things like the contract, handbook, absence guidelines, and other documents, our presentation would not have been as effective. With each new executive board, documents will be modified, ideas will be formed, and the success of our Chapter will continue to grow. Presenting at National Conference was such a rewarding experience and I am so proud to be part of such a dedicated and successful Chapter. Thank you to everyone who was involved in this, I really appreciate it!
How PRSSA Benefits All Majors By Roth Vowels
One of the first assumptions about PRSSA is that the organization is for public relations majors only. However, there are many students, like me, who are not affiliated with PR at all. Despite the inclusion of “public relations” within its title, PRSSA is one of the great registered student organizations (RSOs) here at Illinois State University open to students of all majors. So what is it about PRSSA that appeals to such a variety of students? To start, the most obvious of reasons for joining PRSSA is because this RSO is an excellent resume builder. There comes a point in every undergraduate’s college career when he or she begins the task of creating his or her first professional resume. For many students, it becomes apparent very quickly that it is time to start becoming more involved in campus organizations and activities. PRSSA, no matter what a student’s major may be, is an RSO that comes fully loaded with opportunities to build the credentials and reputation that prospective employers are seeking. One of my favorite reasons for becoming involved in PRSSA is networking and being socially enriched. At my first PRSSA meeting I had met more people who became my friends than I ever met at any campus meeting or event. No matter your major, it is essential to be surrounded by a strong cast of supportive and enthusiastic people that authentically care about your success. Although, I cannot guarantee that you will find a new BFF when joining, there are some more realistic and concrete benefits that are associated with PRSSA that are for students of all majors. PRSSA invites guest speakers who provide us with unique insights or elaborate on subjects that have a direct influence on our future academic and professional careers. Whether the speakers discuss prospective internships or an AP style overview, there are opportunities to be shared by students of all majors. Another bonus is the confidence you may get from putting yourself in a new and uncomfortable situation. Student organizations, as with many college experiences, can at first be something unfamiliar and, therefore, intimidating. However, learning to take the chances we may otherwise not have can lead to unanticipated success. From the perspective of a student who has never joined an organization before, the feeling of accomplishment that results from excelling in a new environment, such as PRSSA, is one that will motivate you to pursue further activities throughout your academic and professional career—regardless of your major.
Member of the M o n t h This member of the month is a brunette She likes to write features for the Daily Vidette To narrow it down, she was a Conference attendee She sports teal and yellow and is really quite trendy With a minor in theater, she’s pretty refined And though she is quiet, she will speak her mind She loves her internship and she’s very ambitious And we both love Cheese-Its, because they’re delicious I can tell you’re all anxious, so I’ll end the suspense Brittany Tepper is the winner, it only makes sense!
Congratulations to Brittany Tepper!
If the Social Media Platform Fits By Shelby Ray
Companies are always looking for new ways to get noticed. Aldo, a famous shoe retailer, is no exception. The company created quite the public relations stunt to get its business on consumers’ radar. The shoe retailer’s campaign convinced pedestrians to take pictures of their shoes at an Aldo kiosk and upload the images to the new trending social network, Instagram. In the post, participants included the picture and a caption with their shoe size and the hashtag, #Aldo. Once they did this, each participant was surprised with a free pair of Aldo shoes. What makes this even better is that participants did not know they would be rewarded for their involvement. Using digital and social media is one of the new ways businesses are getting noticed. With so many social media platforms, the different ways of promoting a business through this medium can be limitless. Instagram is a fairly new social network and photo editor, which allows members to follow their friends and other members’ uploaded pictures. It is dedicated exclusively for pictures and captions that can include hashtags. If a large amount of members use the same hashtag, then the hashtag will be a trending topic which is how Aldo used Instagram to their advantage. Over 800,000 interactions were made from the nearly 500 pictures posted during their campaign. Campaigns like this receive a lot of buzz because of the use of social media technology. The PR
industry is ever evolving, and as technology advances, it is important to stay updated with the social media platforms. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, as well as many others are not only for personal use, but also for businesses. However, companies must realize that not all social media outlets are for their use. Learning about your where your target audience is spending their time online is crucial when integrating a social media platform into a campaign. Strategic planning is essential to deciding how to achieve PR objectives. Aldo’s campaign is a prime example of what happens when social media and public relations are used together to create a successful campaign.
Taking a Look at Corporate PR (cont’d) After the discussion with some of COUNTRY’s corporate communications team members, we were given a tour of the building. The building featured its own credit union and nursing station for employees. I have a different mindset on corporate public relations after touring State Farm and COUNTRY Financial. I realized that just because it is a corporation does not mean it is necessarily all office work; PR pros there also have fun and have employee outings as well.
While PR agency employees serve numerous clients at once, employees at State Farm and COUNTRY devote their efforts to smaller projects all within their respective companies. I am glad I went on this tour for the experience and to be able to see these corporate offices. It was fascinating to learn about their companies outside of just a career fair or an internship fair, and I look forward to doing more tours with PRSSA this year!
Meet Dr. Carr By Kelsey Nevius
Before classes began, I heard the rumor floating
around the School of Communication about a new associate professor joining the program. Dr. Caleb Carr is a fresh, new face to SoC, and he is bringing energy and humor to his classes. Originally from Michigan, Carr received his bachelor’s degree from Alma College and received his master’s degree at Central Michigan University. He then earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University. After teaching for about ten years at a number of different universities all over the country, Carr has landed at Illinois State University. “I like that at ISU there are proportionately more students who really are interested in what they think they want to be doing than anywhere else that I have been,” Carr said. “There are more students that say, ‘this is what I think I want to do with my life,’ and are really actively engaging in pursuing it and not just trying to get into the field but being darn good at it.” When Carr is not teaching students and grading papers, he researches how people communicate individually and how they communicate in different contexts. The areas he currently focuses his research on are online and social media communication. “For one of my big areas, I am interested in how people take advantage of tools and technologies in social media to present themselves,” Carr said. “How do I know who you are based on your Facebook profile or based on your tweets?” Another area he focuses on in research is the World of Warcraft. “I have no other job that will pay for me to go online to figure out how people present themselves, interact with others, and interact with groups in the World of Warcraft,” Carr said. “Part of my job is to get online and raid. It is awesome!”
I have Dr. Carr as a professor for the Foundations of Organizational Communication and would recommend it to anyone looking for another communication class. He constantly keeps students interested by supplementing the material with YouTube videos and with assignments about unique things, such as exploding whales. To experience having a new professor at ISU who keeps students entertained, keep an eye out for courses Dr. Carr will be teaching in the spring and fall semesters. As of right now, he will be teaching COM 227 Organizational and Professional Speaking and COM 297 Communication Research Methods for the spring 2013 semester; however, course offerings may be subject to change. Keep in mind that all SoC professors are always interested in getting to know students, helping them with course content and serving as a resource. Developing professional relationships with professors allows you the benefit of having the knowledge and expertise of professors in the communications industry right at your fingertips.
Letter from Executive Board By Kyle Slamans, Chapter National Leasion
In every issue of PRemier, this column features a short article by one of the Chapter’s executive board
members. The purposes of this column are to introduce you to the person holding a particular e-board position and summarize the work that person does through the role he or she fills. members who are attending the National Conference. This packet informs members about various aspects of the trip, such as an event schedule, speaker biographies, the hotel, transportation options, and locations of famous attractions and surrounding restaurants. Because I prepared the packet using InDesign, I had the opportunity to practice my design skills and produce something useful for conference attendees. Now that you have heard a little bit of the planning or members to attend the National Conference, I want to touch on a few benefits of attending National Conference 2013, which will be held in Philadelphia, Pa.
If you’ve been wondering what my title, “national liaison” means, you’re probably not the only one. Executive board titles and job descriptions can differ from Chapter to Chapter, and it’s up to each one decide what positions and specific responsibilities they see necessary for their Chapter. My duties as the national liaison for our PRSSA Chapter include organizing for our Chapter to attend PRSSA’s National Conference, Regional Conference, National Assembly and all networking dinners. Planning for the Chapter members to attend the National Conference is my biggest responsibility because it is an out-of-state event. This year the PRSSA National Conference was October 12-16 in San Francisco, Calif., and 18 Chapter members attended. For this event, I was the main contact person for our Chapter, so anytime a member had a question or issue, I answered them. Though it is an exciting event to plan for, there is a lot of work that goes into planning this trip that many people do not think about. In addition to booking the hotel and assisting members in purchasing airfare, each year the national liaison prepares a packet of information for all
The opportunity to learn from successful PR professionals and other PRSSA members The option to network with professionals (you never know when that connection will help you!) Travel experience The excitement of being surrounded by others who are as excited about the field as you are Relationship building with our Chapter members and faculty adviser
Even though attending National Conference is an additional expense in your education, every member who went to San Francisco said it was worth the investment in their future. And check the PRSSA website for information about scholarships or grants to help pay for the trip. So if National Conference 2013 is something you’re interested in, I strongly encourage you to talk with your parents and decide if it is an option for you.