Author Archives: Kadia Scott

The Plan… again

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DISCLAIMER: This post was originally written for my Intro for PR class but for the topic of the field of PR that excites me the most I felt this was appropriate to explain that they all excite me. I want to learn them all!

I just spent my summer in Florida. I typically hate Florida. It’s ridiculously hot! I hate to be that person but it’s a different type of hot. People think Statesboro humidity levels are unbearable. Try walking outside in Florida heat after it just rained (which is just about everyday). It’s like the universe is sweating all over you! The air is so moist sometimes it’s hard to breath. But, I spent my whole summer in Florida and it was one of the best summers of my life.

A year ago, I was talking  to a friend about my plans to become an event planner. I talked about how I was planning to get into Art and Theater event planning. Then, he told me his sister, Natasha, was an event specialist at a company called Sun Nuclear. The company sells medical devices and his sister mostly worked on tradeshows. The company’s marketing department was pretty small and the always needed help. He thought she could really probably use an intern for the summer. It wasn’t exactly the direction I wanted to go in  but I knew the experience would invaluable. I told him to make the connection.

A few months and  an internship acceptance letter later, I got a call from Natasha. She told me that she got offered a better higher paying job and that she would be leaving Sun Nuclear the week after I was to start my internship. I was shocked! I didn’t know what any of it would have meant. Would my offer be revoked? Would I be working on the event myself? Would there be someone else to take her place while I was there? The one thing I knew for sure was that if I got the opportunity to work on this trade show, the biggest one of the year in this industry, I would be beyond excited. She told me that before they decided to keep me on, I was to have one more phone interview with the Human Resources director and the man I would be working under directly, the CEO of the company.

I can’t exactly remember what I said in that interview. I just knew I seemed confident. I tried my hardest to make it seem like I could handle the responsibility of putting this trade show together all by myself as a college junior. I found it easy to convey that since I had no clue what I was actually getting myself  into.

My plan worked. I spent my first week getting an AAPM ( American Association of Physicist in Medicine) crash course. Natasha quickly turned me into her apprentice. We got so much done that first week all while preparing    for the next 10 weeks. (Thankfully, Natasha agreed to come in once a week to check on my progress help me with task, and she composed precise a task list for to follow. She also opened her home to me. Giving me a comfortable place to stay and answering my questions on a daily basis. I don’t have words to fully describe  how much I appreciate Natasha and her husband  for all they’ve done).

The next 10 weeks were a blur. I became immersed in shipping details, Sun Nuclear products, labor, electrical details, and product datasheets. I was  becoming more organized, more proactive, more reliable. I was  not only learning a whole lot about the trades how industry, I was also learning about myself as an event planner. I was  becoming more efficient and Jeff, the CEO of the company and my direct superior noticed.

I think one of the most intimidating thing about the whole thing was working under Jeff. I only was able to get real time with him about twice a week at our 2 weekly meetings. Most weeks at least one of our meetings got canceled.  In those few 1 hour meetings I had to get everything I possibly could approved at that time. This wouldn’t have been that big a deal if I wasn’t responsible for thousands of dollars in fees, forms, and equipment. But, Natasha taught me well. She was my Obie Wan. She taught me how to do the job as if I was a pro and luckily, I picked up fast. As time passed by faster and faster, the more confident I felt about the task at hand. I always had this fear of failure that caused me not to try anything. In the trade show industry, you don’t have time for fear. All you have time for is making things happen and this was one of the most important lesson I learned.

Finally, the trade show came and I felt a little more in my element. I have quite a few years of theater planning under my belt. Trade shows are, shockingly, a lot like putting on a production. Once all your logistics are done and everyone has made it to the show it’s like planning for opening night. First you work with you labor team to get your booth assembled or “Installed”. Install is like building your set. Then you get members from your cast (sales people) all your surfaces cleaned, products and equipment placed, and literature out  and ready. This is all so much like set dressing . And of course the costumes (suits, and Sun Nuclear Button downs) and you cast starts selling the products (which takes some serious acting skills).

I enjoyed every minute of being at the show. Your trade show team becomes a family and we work hard all day and unwind at night. You get to know people pretty quickly. I was also fascinated by the trade show booth. The creativity you get to use in designing those things. I could look at them for hours.

I’ve always been a planner. I always planned my future 5 years in advance. I want _______ job in _______ city getting paid ______. Done. Stick to the plan. Always know exactly what you want. But in my experience as the “world oldest under grad” you would think that, by now, I would have learned the most important rule of event planning (especially trade shows). You can’t plan everything. Things will go wrong but, what makes you a good planner is being able to fix the problem creatively, quickly, and efficiently.

I was convinced I hated Florida.  The heat was unbearable. I was never a beach bum. I hate tourist attractions. But this summer, for a short time, I loved Florida. I never though about working in the medical industry. It was never something that struck my interest. But this summer, for a short time, I was fascinated by it. How the devices worked. What made Sun’s products better ( or in a few cases worst) than our competition? And the trade show industry was a back up plan something I would do if I absolutely had to. But this summer, for a short time, I found the industry that I love the most. An industry that intrigued me and kept me wanting more.

My future career path? I’m not a thousand percent sure yet. I want to try another internship in a completely different industry. I would like to explore. The best part about PR is that we have so many options so many different paths we can take. I didn’t learn what career path I want this summer, I learned that I have all the options in the world that I just found an amazing option for my exciting future.

Media matters: Building the relationship

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It seems like common sense. Of course we, as PR professionals need the media. We need that relationship to get the word out about our events, new products, and limited time offers. We need journalist to not find us annoying, we need them to want to tell our stories. Many people believe that with social media emerging, the relationship between PR professionals and journalist is becoming less important but that is extremely false. After all how can you tweet a link to an article that hasn’t been written?

PR professional are not as trusted by the public because we are advocates for our companies. Our jobs are to represent them as a link between our companies and our consumers. As such, we need journalist to tell our stories. Journalist are advocates for the people. There job is to tell them the facts objectively. Our stories from their mouths automatically seem more objective and less cheesy. We need the media validate our stories and make them more believable.

PR grows like wildfire…

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I’ve been telling people what my major is lately and to my surprise i DON’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHAT PR IS!

Wha?!

CRAZY!

It feels like just like year when I would say I was getting into PR people would respond with a blank stare, but now people know what I’m talking about! There misconceptions that come to their minds. How did this happen so quickly? it feels like some kind of weird over night sensation, but it’s not. The public relations field has been growing rapidly for years. I’ve so many reasons why and I’ve narrowed it to few that I find to be the most poignant.

  1. A PR campaign is WAY cheaper than a marketing campaign and can cultivate the same results.

I heard a saying once “you pay for marketing, you pray for PR”. After the financial disaster that was 2008 many companies                                                                 needed to cut their budgets but grow their client list. Marketing budgets are ridiculously  large and PR budgets are so much cheaper. With the right firm/practitioner you garner the same, or in some cases, better results than if you want with an extremely expensive marketing campaign.

2. Social Media is becoming more important everyday.

I follow Dr.Pepper on twitter. I like Modcloth on Facebook. Social media has become the most effective way of building and maintaining personal and professional relationships. So it’s a no brainer that this is in the PR blanket. The look and feel of a companies blog is becoming just as important as the look and feel of their stores. We, as PR professionals need social media to help build relationships with our consumers. Corporations need PR professionals to build these relationships… it’s a no brainer.

3. PR is taking over television

With shows like Scandal gaining popularity PR professionals are finally stepping into the spotlight unlike before when we just hid in the background. These shows my be over dramatic but it gives people a general idea about what it is we actually do.

 

Newsworthy comes as it’s happening

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We read in our books the many characteristics that makes a story worthy of the news. From the bizarre to the local were included but, I think in this day and age the most important characteristic is timeliness. With most of our generation getting the news through the Internet, it has become a dog fight for journalist to break a story first. I just recently finished the netflix series House of Cards ( I suggest you watch it if you haven’t already). The show posed a very important new issue developed due to social media. The journalist in the show made her career by posting huge news stories first through her twitter account. Getting the news while it happens, for me, makes the story seem so much more important. The sense of urgency of a story makes it seem so important because it seems the public needs to immediately. On top of the fact that important news will be reported by all news outlets but the one who breaks it first seems more on top of the current news cycle. Currency seems almost more important than having all the details right away the story will develop and assuming you still have your original source, you’ll be able to report developments first.

The job search…. AAAAAUUUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

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I’m looking for employment…

It …

Is….

Frustrating…

I’ve being applying online…

Unreliable…

This process is intimidating… I always find myself a tad bit over whelmed.

So many questions.

90% are the same question over and over again!

It’s like a interrogation!

“Where did you graduate high school?”

2 questions later…

“Where did you graduate high school?”

2 questions later…

“ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE NOT LYING ABOUT GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL?!”

2 questions later…

**”WE KNOW YOU’RE LYING! WHERE ARE YOU HOUSING THE NUCLEAR WEAPONS!!!”

Nonetheless this is definitely an experience…

In other related news:

Twitter recently released their video sharing app vine. I LOVE IT! But, it doesn’t seem to have many users yet. I made this ridiculous video as a reaction to my job search stress.  I personally find it to be a like the video version of a tweet. What do you guys think of vine?

Employment

Videos like that are probably why Vine isn’t popular yet…That is fair…

**This is a slight exaggeration

AP style: why we use it

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To every college student, AP style is just another hassle. Essentially, up until last semester, I referred to it as AP: A PAIN. But, it is extremely important in the PR field. We, as PR professionals, work very closely with journalist and journalist base their life’s work around AP style. But why? As far as I can tell, it’s for uniformity’s sake. AP style gives us a standard to live by. In the english language, their are so many different ways of saying things, of writing titles. AP style provides a way for the mass to understand what we mean and what we say.

I picked PR and then I chose it…

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I have a firm belief that there is a difference between picking something and choosing it. Picking, in my opinion, takes very little time or decision. You pick what socks to wear in the morning. You pick what pen to use in class. No thought just action. Choosing requires time (maybe a pros an cons list?). Serious decisions require a choice. You choose a significant other, a college and, hopefully, you choose a major. I picked one, well, I picked many, but this is not about the many. This is about how I picked PR and then I chose it.

When I first discovered PR I was a junior multi-media communications major. I was trying to become a film editor. I picked that major because I had previous experience with editing and editing equipment and I enjoyed films. Keyword: Picked. I didn’t know I picked it yet, I thought it was chosen. What should have realized is that I was fishing for information on another major. I was looking for something that would peek all my interest. I love art, film, creativity, and a little bit of style. I didn’t want the limelight but at the same time, I wanted some recognition. I wanted to lead and follow at the same time. And, most of all, at the end of the day I wanted to feel accomplished and proud. Editing offered me only half of the things I wanted. I didn’t know that at first, after all I picked it. Keyword: Picked.

In my introduction to communication class we went in to the various careers fields involving communications. It was close to the end of the semester when  the  T.A. of that class taught a lecture about her major, Public Relations. Before that lecture, the only information I received up until that point is what I learn from Samantha Jones from Sex and The City. This being said, my view was a little skewed

When I learned what PR actually was, I immediately thought “I should do that!” . Why? Maybe because I already had some experience with putting together theatre productions so the event planning aspect aspect drew me in. Maybe it was the idea that I could find the opportunity to write ALL THE TIME. Maybe I knew I had a meeting with my advisor the next day. Maybe it was the the fact the my T.A.  just seemed so excited talking about it. I’m not entirely sure what drew me to it so suddenly but it did. I changed my major the next day. I took about a week  to think “HOLY CRAP! I JUST COMPLETELY CHANGED MY MAJOR.”  I became worried about whether or not I made the right decision. After all, I had only seen one lecture on the subject to go off of. I spent weeks freaking out and furiously google searching.

I took my Intro  to PR  class the same time, oddly enough, as I was Directing and coordinating the Rocky Horror Picture show. This could could not have been better timing. That class helped me so much during promotions and coordination during the planning phase on of the show. During this show I learned that I didn’t enjoy participating in those theater projects just because they were fun, but I realized I loved the feeling of putting something together  and problem solving  and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of an event. At the beginning of that semester I was contemplating changing back. It wasn’t too long before I realized that I had mad the right choice. Public relations allows me to be creative, artistic, organized, and crafty. Every problem in front of you becomes a fun puzzle instead of an obstacle. So I final chose to pursue a career in  Public Relation  instead of just randomly picking. I was lucky enough to trip right over it and find something I truly enjoy. I am fortunate enough to have “picked” it.