Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I'm fairly new to the PR campaign as a college student and so far have really only been presented with "Hey, here's our brand and our message, can you do this?" or "Well we branded ourselves like this and have been using this message, but aren't getting the results we wanted. We need help re-branding and developing a new message." So, as I'm helping come up with ideas for a PR campaign for this startup company, I feel as though I'm "preveloping". There is no brand, there is no message-- only an idea and a product. I think this is why I'm so interested in this venture because I've never had the opportunity to see a company actually be created. It's been really intriguing to listen to all those involved talk about the product, the business plan, the patenting process, etc. It makes me want to nerd out and research best PR practices for up and coming businesses, particularly in relation to social media and crowdsourcing. Wanting to learn everything I can about social media, I went to Barnes & Noble last night and bought Social Media Marketing For Dummies. I love it! It has everything you could possibly want to know about social media sites, liking multiple sites, how to utilize them for personal and/or business use, and explains all the ins and outs of functions I haven't nailed down yet. I can't wait until I have time to actually go through all of it. Helping to lay out a PR campaign plan for the product launch is going to be interesting and will definitely be a learning experience. Just from reading articles under the "startups" tab on Mashable and entrepreneur.com I've gotten a ton of ideas to pitch that will hopefully help make this a successful campaign.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Talking Logos

Now that the group has temporarily decided on a name, coming up with company logo concepts is next on the list. First they talked about what they wanted the logo to represent, what style they wanted to go with, and how complicated/simple they wanted it to be. They determined simple would be best, and we all started coming up with sketches of ideas. We tried different fonts, played with capitalization and color, and tried to come up with simple graphics to embody the concept of the product. We started doing research as well not only to find inspiration, but also to see what other notable companies have done and how they have evolved in recent years.  Simply Googling "technology company logos" was helpful in seeing what types of graphics and fonts other companies in the industry are using, and an article on the evolution of 20 corporate logos was a great place to see what format popular logos are going toward. After the group gets together to discuss the sketches everyone has come up with and decides what they like or don't like and want and don't want, I can send all of their information to my friend who's a great graphic designer. This way they can narrow down their ideas first, and then the designer can come up with a few designs that meet the criteria they come up with. Once the name and logo come together, the company will be looking less like a concept and more like an actual business.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Lately I've been trying to help my boyfriend come up with a name for the startup company he and a few of his family members are involved in. It's coming to the point where "the project" just isn't cutting it anymore, and they want to make it seem a little more tangible with an actual name. Okay, I'm a PR person, no big deal, right? I've come up with campaign names and concepts, team names and event names so it should just take a little brainstorming. Wow-- it is an entirely different story when you dive into something that is outside of your comfort zone, and for me computer hardware and programming is exactly that. I definitely had to be creative and get a little help from web articles and a thesaurus. Some articles I found really helpful were: How to Pick a Company Name: Tips From the Trenches and 10 Company Name Types on TechCrunch: Pros and Cons. From this I decided the best way to go about it would be to first generate a list of words. Next I took longer words and broke them into two pieces so I could see if two split words would go together, or if part of one word would fit with another whole word. This way I could include multiple concepts the group wanted in the name while also creating unique names that are not already in use. This was a lengthy process and out of a fairly long list I found through Google searching that about 75 percent were already in use. As frustrating as this was it forced me to get more creative and more specific to this group's ideas and product. After coming up with another lengthy list I weeded out the ones I wasn't happy with, pulled the couple that stuck out to me, and added a few I wasn't sure about to share with the group. The next step is to put all of our brainstorms together, cut it down to a manageable number of names, and then create a survey to get thoughts from potential clients. This will help ensure that the name of the company will be as effective and client-friendly as the product it represents.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blog Stalk

Assignment: Blog Review

Review five or more blogs from the list provided and write about two or three of the blogs you reviewed.

After visiting several blogs on the list provided, I decided to really take a look at three: Mashable, AdFreak and Fahlgren Mortine, all of which stood out to me and caught my interest. The commonalities I found among the three were things like simple design, user-friendly content, applicable information, catchy titles and subtitles, and a particularly conversational tone. This was one of the major weaknesses I found in some of the other blogs I visited; they didn't seem to quite get the idea of a blog and what it's used for. I understand a blogger may have a more targeted audience, but if I want to read a plain-Jane business article I'll go to the paper or the company's annual report. I'm going to a blog to take a break from traditional, straight-forward and professional writing and am looking to have a more relaxing yet still informative reading experience. A few of the blogs I did not choose to look further into also lacked graphics, unique topics and an aesthetically pleasing design.

I particularly liked the information found in the said chosen blogs because they are either applicable to me and my career or they were about something that sucked me in enough that I had to read it. I feel a blog post has definitely succeeded with me as a reader if I feel the need to re-tweet it, and particularly with Mashable, I did. I was actually familiar with Mashable prior to this assignment and find myself on it frequently while searching for social media tips and other bits of advice, and I've actually re-tweeted something I've stumbled on almost every time I visit. I was immediately attracted to AdFreak as I have always been intrigued by the world of advertising and find myself analyzing ads while watching TV, trying to figure out how the idea came to someone, what message the company was going for and how it relates to their overall brand experience, and who the message was targeted toward. Being a Strategic Communication major I'm sure I'm abnormally interested in ads, but either way the content on AdFreak is informative and entertaining and the blog is a great place to find noteworthy ads I may have missed. Fahlgren Mortine's blog doesn't seem to be on quite as grand of a scale as the other two, but the content again was pertinent to me and not too stuffy. They offer great advice to PR professionals, interns and students, and the titles really make readers stop and at least read the first few lines. I also liked that an image was paired with each post so that a simple design was maintained while also having some element of visual interest.

I think while at first glance one might write these blogs off as only being significant to PR, marketing and advertising professionals, they are actually pertainable and appealing to a much broader audience. For
example, one of the instances when I was searching for something and landed on Mashable, I was helping out a friend who is trying to increase sales at his family's hotels in a small town where most of the hotels are within the same radius of points of interest and are all at about the same price point. Mashable had great tips on utilizing social media to make a small business grow, and also had a fantastic article on a small hotel that broke through the clutter of New York City to become a hotel known
for social media. This shows that blogs like this can be of service not only to those in marketing-related fields, but also to businessmen and women and anyone looking for advice on improving sales, a brand, an event or a message. Even if one is only looking for entertainment, I know many people who are interesting in advertising and marketing topics who are in fairly unrelated fields. 

The contributors on Fahlgren Mortine, AdFreak and Mashable are all employees of their respective companies, but with Fahlgren it's a bit different because "employee" means they have an entirely different set of responsibilities outside of the blog as vice presidents and senior counselors of the advertising agency. Those who work for AdWeek and Mashable are writers and though they do things with other sites through their companies, they are primarily editors and writers.

Though I got a little more personality and fun from the contributors of Mashable and AdFreak, those of Fahlgren Mortine still did a nice job of keeping things light and conversational. This makes sense as Mashable and AdFreak are devoted to blogging and other media-based tasks, and Fahlgren is an agency that has a reputation aside from and greater than its blog. The bloggers of all three are apparently well informed and well-versed in the topics they write about.

I would visit all three of these blogs again. Though I am most likely to continue to revisit Mashable as I have already done so, I feel AdFreak is entertaining and would help me keep tabs on what's going on in the realm of advertising, and Fahlgren holds useful information in the industry I'm pursuing, and it comes from current public relations and advertising specialists.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thinking About Twitter from a Personal & Professional Standpoint

Assignment: A Week of Twitter

For this assignment your job is to evaluate and participate in the Twitter-verse. At the end of the week, you will blog about the experience.

Follow at least 10 accounts in each: media, local business, local people/events/information & marketing/PR resources.

Prior to this assignment I had already been active on Twitter, and though I sometimes use it for personal use, I mainly use it as a professional and keep that in mind when posting Tweets. I was actually reluctant to use Twitter, but was asked to create an account last year when I joined the Ohio State public relations Firm, The PRactice, and have found it interesting. It's a really unique tool and it's amazing how quickly you get information on a wide variety of topics. I think it's particularly helpful for communication professionals because it's basically free marketing that's fairly effective and easy to use when put into practice properly.

Twitter can also be of value for individuals whether they are using it personally or professionally. This is a way to brand yourself and really let your personality and/or skills shine to whomever you choose too share your account with. Unlike a profile page or resume, this shows your interests and activity on a regular basis and is constantly providing your viewers with new and current information. It's also a great way to encourage feedback, advice and questions.

From the list we were asked to follow, I took interest in the way news personalities like @Kurt10TV communicate news in a more personal way. It's more like a friend is telling me about something they heard about than a TV station broadcasting a story. He is more relatable than the station itself. However, I am amazed at the responsiveness and frequency of Tweets by TV stations, and have actually used this to get more timely updates when I'm stuck in traffic for example.

When comparing businesses and individuals I found that although businesses don't mainly tweet to promote themselves and are fairly good about Tweeting a variety of topics, it still seemed as though individuals have more freedom with what they are Tweeting about and have less of an agenda. It makes sense that an individual would have more of a personality than a business, even via Twitter. I would say that media would fall under both individuals and media depending on whether it was the outlet itself or a personality from an outlet.

I find Twitter to be an incredibly useful tool from a professional individual standpoint, and also as someone going into the field of communication. This can be used to brand yourself, your business, a company, organization or event for free. It's a great way to raise awareness among followers and can be helpful in distributing information and news. There are many ways to use Twitter, but no matter how it is utilized, it can be a great marketing agent.

I would recommend following Mashable because it is one of the Kings of social media and always offers great tips and articles. I also recommend @RShotel because this hotel used social media to break through the hotel clutter in NYC and is a great example of successful social media marketing. News sources are great to follow because they send out news at lightning speed via Twitter, and also any local businesses and organizations are nice to keep tabs on because they are always Tweeting about contests, happy hours, specials and more sweet deals that shouldn't be missed out on.

I am definitely going to continue using Twitter, and will work to stay current on new and improved ways to use it effectively for personal and professional branding.