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Volume 3

November/December 2012

A Hop Around Red Frog Events

November/ December2012

PRemier

A monthly publication of Illinios State University’s PRSSA

By Kaylin Smith

PRSSA members posing on Red Frog’s treehouse.

The Red Frog Events tour was the one I was looking forward to most this

year. After hearing about the creative office spaces from both last years’ tour group and Red Frog’s presentation at a PRSSA meeting earlier this semester, I knew I wanted to see it for myself. On Friday, Nov. 20, PRSSA’s Illinois State University Chapter hopped up to Chicago to tour Red Frog Events’ office. Red Frog Events is an independent event production agency based in Chicago, and the company’s founder is an ISU graduate. The company has 75 full-time employees, called “frogs,” and has a seasonal class of 45 to 120 interns or “tadpoles” throughout the year. The office, like the company, is very innovative. The office, which has expanded to two floors, features a tree house, themed conference rooms, a mess hall, lily pad-themed workspaces, and much more. All of this makes for a fun atmosphere, but it is the work the frogs and tadpoles do that is truly demanding and amazing. Jordan Diehl, the tour frog, and two tadpoles gave our Chapter a presentation revolving around how to become a part of the Camp Red Frog team. The first step is to complete the online application found on the Red Frog website. The next step is to submit a unique cover letter and resume. Red Frog is all about personality and creativity, so the cover letter is where you should insert your interests and unique qualities to help you stand out from the crowd. One of the more creative cover letters Diehl mentioned was a candidate who submitted her cover letter as a rap. This sort of creativity is not required, but is a great way to show off your unique skills and personality, which helps Continued on page 3

A look inside....

Networking Dinner Holding a Director Position in PRi Jockey Scores Touchdown with Tebow Playoff Sweepstakes

Holiday Party Stocking Stuffing Success Letter from the Executive Board


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Networking Dinner: The role of social media in crisis management By Cassie Burica

Members of ISU PRSSA at the networking dinner.

We frequently hear about destruction caused

by natural disasters in the news, but it always seems unlikely something on that scale could happen to us. When I hear a tornado siren, I hardly think twice about it. On Thursday, Nov. 29, ISU PRSSA attended a networking dinner regarding social media tactics during a crisis. Claire Faucett, owner and chief strategist of engage5w, and Melinda Arnold, public relations/marketing director at Dickerson Park Zoo, shared their story about a time when the impossible happened to them and how they used social media and traditional media to keep a bad situation from growing worse. Faucett and Arnold were in Springfield, Mo., when an EF-5 tornado struck the nearby city of Joplin. The tornado hit the center of town and flattened everything in its path, including a hospital. Thousands of homes were destroyed and many lost their lives. Faucett, who is also an interactive media manager at the Spring Chamber of Commerce, dealt with the massive influx of questions after the storm

from her office in Springfield. Because Joplin had no power after the storm, it quickly became Springfield’s responsibility to communicate with the rest of the world. For weeks, the pair worked in Springfield and Joplin to help with various aspects of recovery, including social media and traditional media. Their time assisting Joplin was hectic and the circumstance undesirable, but Faucett and Arnold were able to walk away with a strong understanding of crisis communication. According to the speakers, they learned building a strong social media presence before a crisis ensures an easy flow of communication. Practicing open communication on social media will make people more likely to turn to you for information when there is a disaster and they need information. Faucett and Arnold also emphasized the importance of constant and truthful communication. In the event of the tornado, people across the country were continuously seeking answers. Honesty and sincerity earned the public’s trust on the Twitter and Facebook pages the social media specialists were facilitating. Building a personal network of resource individuals is another important measure to take and is invaluable during a crisis. Knowing people who have worked in similar situations offers guidance, and building a network of contacts is instrumental for having people to rely on during a time of need. The speakers also advocated planning. Thinking of the worst-case scenario and having a backup plan is necessary. Our Chapter also learned to be portable. Continued on page 3


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Networking Dinner: The role of social media in crisis management (cont’d) Having an office that can be easily moved will help during the event of a natural disaster. Making sure that all of the files are on a cloud storage and that you have a laptop charger that can be used in your car are simple steps to take in case you cannot access your office. As a public relations student, I have always known how important crisis management is, whether it is a natural disaster or an internal mistake. Realizing how much planning and execution went into only the social media/public relations side of crisis management was shocking. I think the most important piece of information I took from the networking dinner is to always plan ahead. A disaster will not wait for you to be ready before it strikes.

Executive board members Kyle Slamans, Kelsey Carey, Kaitie Ries and Kim Kowlan at the networking dinner.

A Hop Around Red Frog (cont’d) frogs see how you may contribute to the Red Frog team. The two tadpoles did mention to stay true to yourself. Since they each felt most comfortable submitting a traditional resume and cover letter, that is what they did, and it worked. Once submitting the online application and cover letter, Red Frog will contact you with its decision. Diehl encouraged re-applying if rejected. With thousands of applications being submitted every month, going back and making changes to your application could make all the difference. One of the tadpoles told our Chapter she was rejected the first time she applied, but after re-evaluating her cover letter, she landed the job the next time around. If interested, Red Frog will then schedule a phone interview, which may even lead to an interview at their office. Along with the serious interview questions, Red Frog likes to ask a few off-the-wall questions to see how the interviewee will react. One

of the examples Diehl shared was, “If you were on American Idol, what song would you sing?” It seemed easy enough, but when she put some of our members on the spot to answer, it was harder than expected. Working at Red Frog may seem like all fun and games at first glance, but the fun they have is easily matched by the amount of work they do.


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Holding Director Position in the PRi Committee By Phillip Kawabata

As a senior public relations major and director of PRogressive

Image (PRi), our student-run PR firm, it has been a busy and worthwhile semester. My responsibilities as director of PRi include finding potential clients, interviewing potential account executives, managing committee agendas, and being a liaison between each committee and the executive board. While the workload does add up, I have found that being director is beyond rewarding in my pursuit of a career in public relations. My job as director started over the summer by locating and securing clients for the upcoming school year. I reached out to Illinois State University’s Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), local nonprofits and start-up businesses to see if they were interested in receiving free public relations work from PRi. I met with each potential client to gauge his or her interest, learned about the organization’s goals, and showed them how PRi could help achieve those goals. I submitted a professional proposal of five clients to the e-board, and the board picked our three current PRi clients: Unlimited Dance Team, ISU Lacrosse Club, and Stuff for the Poor. From there, I worked with my e-board advisers, President Kaitie Ries and Secretary Bruce Kennedy, to interview and assign account executives for each client. Everyone we interviewed had outstanding skills and traits, but ultimately we made a selection based on what was best for each client. We selected Cody Walker for Unlimited Dance Team, Kim Kean and Abby Nikolai for ISU Lacrosse Club, and Samantha Arnold for Stuff for the Poor. TJ Syndram also brought us a great client from City Dance. I cannot be happier with the four clients we are working with and with the material produced by each committee. I also want to give credit to all accountant executives; their hard work makes my job fun and easy. Being able to interview account executives was a great opportunity for me to be on the other side of the table, and it was interesting to learn from that new perspective. After account executives were selected, my role has become more of a facilitator. I make sure each committee has an agenda for each meeting, and I approve the work done for each client. It is at this point that I am able to see my hard work from the summer pay off; however, I have to remind myself there is always more I can do for PRi. I took the opportunity to travel to the PRSSA National Conference this year, and I learned plenty of valuable lessons. My big takeaway was learning about Nationally Affiliated Student-run firms and how to apply for National Affiliation through PRSSA National. A Nationally Affiliated Student-run firm is recognized by PRSSA as a firm that is soundly based in three areas: Continued on page 5

Member of the M o n t h This member of the month is incredibly witty And also the director of a PRSSA committee At National Conference he attended many sessions And made sure to take notes to record all the lessons His friends call him “Dragon,” and that is no lie Though to be honest, only few know why On weekends you may see him tending bar And someday his PR skills will help him go far His qualifications are more than substantial Which led to an internship at COUNTRY Financial He’s done tons of PRi work, actually quite a lotta The member of the month is Phil Kawabata!

Congratulations to Phillip Kawabata!


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Holding Director Position (cont’d) (1) A solid PRSSA and PRSA connection (2) A high level of professionalism (3) An effective structure.

My goal for PRi next semester is to apply and receive National Affiliation from PRSSA. National Affiliation will give PRi even more credibility with clients and the chance to win Student-run Firm Awards from PRSSA National. Becoming director of PRi has given me a lot of

experience with PR and being a leader in general. Through my work in PRi, I practice what I learn in many of my public relations classes, plus I get to work with great people at the same time. If anyone wants to get involved with PRi or has any questions about becoming involved in it in any way next year, feel free to contact me or find me at the weekly Chapter meetings!

Jockey Scores Touchdown with Tebow Playoff By Christine Choute

The article, “Jockey Scores Touchdown with

Tebow Playoff Sweepstakes,” from PRWeek US, highlights Jockey’s success with its $1 Million “Super” Challenge. The complete case study can be found on the PRWeek US website. As the 2011-2012 NFL playoffs started, Jockey, a client from Kenosha, Wis., certainly gained attention by placing a $1 million bet on the league’s rising star. Former Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, led his team to a winning streak that season, and the Broncos were on the journey to the playoffs. In support of its spokesperson, Jockey created the $1 million “Super” Challenge. The challenge was simple: If the Broncos won its division championship and the Super Bowl in 2012, Jockey pledged to give away $1 million worth of products to 40,000 fans and $15,000 to one lucky fan. To kick off the campaign, Jockey exclusively broke the news to ESPN reporter, Adam Shefter. Within 24 hours, media coverage of the news spread to 3 million people. To keep fans engaged in the playoffs, Jockey used a few different media tactics to support Tebow. The Twitter hashtag, #IfTebowWins, was created, and it allowed users to say what they would do if Tebow won. The most creative tweet won a $100 Jockey gift card and an autographed football from Tebow, but the prizes did not stop there. Each time the Broncos won a game, fans received coupons and weekly specials

for Jockey products. To add even more fun to the campaign, an online poll asked the public, “Who would you rather see in their underwear?” regarding Tebow and Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots. Despite the Broncos losing to the New England Patriots in the second round of the playoffs, Jockey wanted to thank fans by offering another coupon of its products. To say the campaign was successful is an understatement. The Facebook, Twitter and media impressions reached staggering numbers. An impression is when an article, post, or tweet is viewed by an individual. The Facebook and Twitter impressions reached 27 million, almost 700 news stories ran about the campaign, and it reached 500 million media impressions. The contest received 60,000 entries and about 23,000 people signed up for the Jockey email database. The campaign tactics showed Jockey knew how to keep its audience interested in the brand while also bringing in new customers. As the presence of social media continues to grow stronger, companies can connect with their audiences and advertise their products. At the peak of “Tebowmania,” the “Super” Challenge capitalized on the element of suspense, having all eyes on Jockey to see what fans could win next. Jockey successfully took advantage of the right timing, and its campaign exemplifies a great way of expanding its business.


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Holiday Party PRSSA members got together to celebrate at our annual holiday party. The theme of this years event was Christmas morning. Members came dressed in their holiday pajamas to play “Pin the Decorations on the Snowman,” “Guess the Christmas Song” and participate in the “White Elephant Gift Exchange.” Getting a break right before finals and relaxing at our last meeting of the semester was a great way to end the year.


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Stocking Stuffing Success By Lisa Crocco

‘Tis the season of giving! Our Chapter members

were busy on Wednesday, Nov. 12, volunteering our efforts to help a great local cause, Operation Santa. Operation Santa of Central Illinois is a nonprofit organization that receives donations of personalcare products, candy, and other needed items to stuff stockings for soldiers currently serving oversees. Seventeen PRSSA Chapter members were eager to help out this worthy cause and spent about two hours stuffing and packaging stockings for soldiers. “While stuffing the stockings with the donations I realized how thankful I am for the things I have every day,” said Chapter member, Maggie Ziemann. She also added, “It made me grateful for all the men and women who are fighting and will be away from their families this holiday season.” Our Chapter stuffed and packaged an average of 950 stockings an hour, totaling over 3,400 stockings by the end of the night. The Operation Santa’s leaders were thrilled and said our work was the best that’s ever been done by one group of volunteers. The leaders were also grateful that our members took time to volunteer and even posted photos of us volunteering, with the caption, “ISU Communication Rocks.” At the end of the evening, they said that earlier they were feeling exhausted and worried about everything getting done. They noted that our large

group coming looked like the cavalry riding to the rescue. Their appreciation made the experience all the more rewarding. As of Sunday, Nov. 18, the Bloomington Post Office processed 554 boxes containing 11,020 stockings, and the Peoria Post Office processed boxes containing 5,000 additional stockings. Operation Santa has about 3,000 more stockings to process before the holidays. “Knowing that I can make a difference in these soldiers’ lives makes me happy because I know the moment they open their stockings they will have big smiles on their faces,” said Chapter member, Sarah Dalo. Everyone who volunteered from our Chapter was excited by the results of the night, but they were even more humbled to know they helped soldiers have a very happy holiday season. Dalo said, “I strongly encourage more people to get involved because it is a lot of fun. I’m in a good mood after every PRSSA outside activity.”

Members going down the assembly line stuffing stockings. PRSSA Chapter members after volunteering for Operation Santa and filling over 3,000 stockings.


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Letter from Executive Board By Kim Nowlan, historian

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.

Although the term “historian” has as its root word, “history,” my job description encompasses much more than documenting member and Chapter accomplishments. My duties also include handling the Chapter’s social media accounts, updating the Chapter’s website, photographing Chapter activities, and planning monthly philanthropic events. Along with my duties as historian, I am the adviser for the development committee. The biggest part of my position is constantly updating all of the various outlets. As we move through different events, I must update the website at least once a week, usually more often. The website is the first representation that prospective members are exposed to, so making sure it’s current shows responsibility on the Chapter’s part. The website also provides members with a list of events that we have done in the past and for the future. By publicizing our events, potential members can see that our Chapter is active, which will make them more likely to join and participate. In addition to the website, the PRemier newsletter and alumni newsletter are provided on the website. These documents showcase Chapter members’ writing skills , and provide a way for alumni, professors, and interested members to learn about our organization. Our Chapter contains many ambitious members, and each time they receive an internship and job, I record it.

Because our members are so active, it can be hard to keep up with at times, but I love knowing our Chapter is filled with members who want to learn more about the public relations industry through professional practice. Our Chapter as a whole is as impressive as our members. This past year at the 2012 National Conference in San Francisco, we were awarded the Star Chapter Award. Keeping documentation of these accomplishments and awards is beneficial for future members and shows the triumphs of our Chapter. Everyone is on social media these days, and our Chapter is no exception. The Chapter has Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and LinkedIn accounts that I manage. Providing our social media community with informational articles about the industry, pictures from recent events, internship opportunities, and blog/newsletter updates is important for keeping members involved. As historian, I truly value interaction and engagement between the Chapter and its social media community. One of the main reasons I enjoy my position is I have the opportunity to plan philanthropic events. Most recently we participated in Central Illinois Operation Santa, which was such a success! We had 19 members stuffing, stapling, and packaging stockings for soldiers overseas. The organization was extremely thankful and commended us for our efforts. We helped stuff over 3,000 stockings! Each month there is a new philanthropic event in which members can be involved. In October our Chapter sponsored a premier showing of a new documentary about civic engagement at ISU. I took this opportunity to support a local organization, The Clare House, by organizing a food drive. We raised over 50 pounds of nonperishable food, and the Clare House was very grateful. Seeing members contributing their time and efforts is one of the most fulfilling rewards of my position. The position of historian plays many different roles in the organization. Giving members an opportunity to be involved with philanthropic events, learning more about the industry, increasing involvement in Chapter activities, and providing up-to-date information encompasses the historian’s job that must be taken seriously. And in so doing, the historian also provides members with chances to have fun, lend a helping hand, and see what the Chapter has accomplished in all the ways that it does!

PRemier Newsletter: November/December 2012  
PRemier Newsletter: November/December 2012  

This issue of PRemier includes A Hop Around Red Frog Events, Networking Dinner: The Role of Social Media in Crisis Management, PRi Firm Dire...

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