The Circle of Influence

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fixing PR Programs....

Check out this blog giving suggestions for changes that could be made to typical PR programs.
These are some of the skills employers want us to have:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Here's John's recap of the weekend:

The American University PRSSA regional event on April 7 and 8 was a great opportunity to hear directly from PR practitioners about their experiences, strategies and hints for entering and being successful in the PR field. I was amazed at the large number of practitioners who devoted their day to mentoring and lending a helpful ear to students. Approximately 30 PR experts spoke to the students in a variety of settings.

On Friday, participants had the pleasure of attending a tour of one of three PR firms in the area. I, along with Influence PR member Liz, attended Hill & Knowlton. Because I have not had any PR firm experience, I was glad to learn about the structure and environment of one of D.C.’s largest and most prestigious firms. I spoke to Nathan Drevna, an account executive who specializes in automotive media relations. He has only been out of college for about three years and has only had one previous job. He explained that his level is where most new workers start out. Nathan emphasized that a college student should not necessarily focus on what their major is (he has a degree in German and English), but rather to become a well-rounded individual who has plenty of internship experience before starting their first job.

Saturday provided about 16 different and varied breakout sessions. My particular favorite was one led by the Ami Neiberger-Miller, the director of communications for Sister Cities International. This session focused on the challenges and fulfillments of doing PR for a non-profit organization. Ami, who also started her own PR firm out of her home, has a unique arrangement with Sister Cities where she only works on site three days a week. She spoke about what a day might be like for her, but she commented that there is no “typical” day. She usually starts at 8:30 in the morning and ends around 5:30 P.M.

The main tidbit I took away from the conference is that PR practitioners come in all forms. We are a unique group of people because PR is such a diverse field. Since public relations is an umbrella term, with the possibility of working in a firm, non-profit, corporate or governmental setting, we must not limit ourselves to thinking about the practice as one-dimensional. There is more than one way one to achieve your desired PR results. PR is part science, but mostly a creative art form and so we must remember to keep thinking outside of the box.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Organizational Culture is KEY!

Hey everyone,

After going to American University's PRSSA conference, I along with a couple other Influence PR members have learned that the culture of the PR firm you work for can and will determine whether or not you are hired, kept on, and able to grow professionally.

Liz Koslov had the opportunity to tour PR firm Hill & Knowlton. Here's what she had to say:

For me, I think the tour of Hill & Knowlton on Friday was my favorite part of the weekend. It was great to see how a large PR firm functioned. I was surprised to hear how high the turnover is...and the oldest person I saw in the office had graduated four years ago. Everyone said that the best way to get more seniority in a PR firm is to jump around and develop alot of experience with different clients. They emphasized how important it is to only stay somewhere for as long as you are really learning and challenged. Both of the Account Execs said that it was overwhelming at first working at an international PR firm, because of the fastpaced environment and the heavy emphasis on billable hours. Although they tend to get home past 7 at night, they both said they love the work and that they are incredibly close to everyone they work with. They The office environment seemed relaxed and fun and there was alot of collaboration. It definitely made me want to intern at a similar agency.

While Liz toured Hill & Knowlton, I was able to learn a bit about another large firm, APCO Worldwide. Unlike H&K, APCO has a very low turnover rate. The HR director and General Manager for the DC office gave the impression that employees stay with APCO for long periods of time. They said that close to 10 people in the firm are approaching 20yrs with the group and that close to 30 employees have been with them at least 10 yrs. One comment that caught my attention was General Manager's statement about an employee's age while he spoke about the low turnover rate. He said: "Well, Bill came in as an account exec and he's worked his way up. He's a pretty young guy, about 35 years old." That could be his perspective or it could be an indicator of the fact that a number of their employees are much older. You can decide that one, but in the job and internship search, don't forget organizational culture is KEY!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Check this out just for fun.
Put in your favorite website and see if you can notice any differences.


Hotness is the only way I can label this group. They have the coolest guerilla marketing campaigns I know of in America. While I am not a huge fan of Boston, I think I would enjoy working with these people at their Boston headquarters to see the creative process in action.
Check out this article about ALT TERRAIN and one of their static cling campaigns.