Not just a buzzword: Storytelling In Action

By Andrea Johnson, Program Chair

A great story is true. Not necessarily because it’s factual, but because it’s consistent and authentic. – Seth Godin

Over 6.6 million viewers tuned in to the Game of Thrones Season 4 premeire on April 6th, 2014 at 9 p.m. Another 1.6 million followed at 11, making it HBO’s most watched episode since the 2007 series finale ofThe Sopranos.

Considering that today’s technology allows us to watch our favorite shows whenever and wherevunnameder we want, those ratings are probably higher. But with so many ways to tune in, people are no longer captive audiences. Marketing and PR teams have to work harder to grasp our attention. Which, in an ADD culture like this one, is no easy feat.

Using a special kind of magic over the last 3 years, Game of Thrones has become one of  America’s favorite television shows.

How? What makes us stop and pay attention? What makes us murderous about Scandal spoilers? What makes us root for the underdog on The Voice who was bullied in elementary school? What keeps our fingers crossed for the stylish wife and her emotionally conflicted lover?

It’s all in the story.

The best stories quickly grab us from the beginning, provide enough mystery to keep us guessing, and affirm every suspicion or surprise us completely. Great storytelling always leaves us wanting more.

It’s also the not-so-secret sauce of marketing and public relations. And while the term “storytelling”  may be overused, its significance will always remain. My boss, your boss, the media–they all want to know, what is compelling about this story? How are we going to make sure it strikes a chord in our audience?

The goal is to craft something interesting enough to open hearts (and maybe wallets, too.)

Storytelling is called an art because some folks make it look effortless.They don’t solely rely on what’s worked in the past. These brands aren’t afraid to experiment a little, laugh at themselves, and find the under-appreciated facets of their product.

Domino’s “Powered by Pizza” campaign is a perfect example. It honors the student, the grassroots activist, and the entrepreneur that “runs” on pizza during the creative process. To which you might say, “Of course we’re powered by pizza, it’s at nearly every study session, gathering, etc!” See? Effortless.

Here are a few more of my favorite ad and PR campaigns.

Guinness: Not your average beer commercial, in fact I was waiting for the joke. Seconds later… heart strings pulled!

Mama Hope: Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential. Revolutionary…although it shouldn’t be. Kudos for looking for the authentic and fresh story line.

Honda: Let’s see what curiosity can do. I’m not sure if they stopped at the ad or made this a full PR campaign. Can you imagine what could be done with that tag? Everything. #hashtagmania

Dove: 10 years ago, this campaign ignited a conversation about “real beauty”. I love the authenticity of the message and what it’s both affirming and cautioning against. Find it here.

Consider me a student. As a practiced rambler, I’m working on telling a story or speech succinctly. (The length is the flair! Right? No?)  I guess that’s why I swoon over clever campaigns and commercials.

Who do you think has done a convincing job with storytelling? What brands have succeeded in drawing you into their world?

P.S. GE’s #6secondsciencefair  Vine campaign takes me back to elementary school!

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Three Reasons Why Every Young Professional Should Serve on a Board

By Jade Stevens, President

Serving on a board is often the last concern of an up and coming professional. I’d like to think that the perception of serving on a board is something that happens once you gain more experience or are older. However, after taking the position as president of Young Professionals, I have learned that this is completely not true.

First and foremost to be on a board allows you make an impact on the things that matter to you most. However, you also gain invaluable skills along the way. From the time I have served on the board, these are the three things that I have benefitted from:

Professional Development- When you serve on a board, you have the opportunity to develop skills that you might not have gained while working on the job. For example, as president I am expected to oversee everything that happens in the organization. From membership and fundraising to social media and events, it is important that I stay in the know of all of the inner workings to make sure the overall organization runs smoothly. This in turn helped me understand how my boss thinks and works (who happens to be the President & CEO of the company I work for).

Build A Professional Network- Serving on the board allows you to interact with individuals who might be outside of your professional network. I have had the opportunity to meet veteran public relations professionals from mixers and board meetings. In addition to expanding my network, I have developed deep relationships with these people because we have done work together. These relationships could in turn become a mentorship or future professional opportunities.

Improved Business Knowledge- Being on a board allows you to gain hands-on experience on how an organization runs. Accounting, ethics, strategic planning, key decisions are all things that young professionals might not have the opportunity to experience when they first start off with a company. However, within a short amount of time, I have been able to experience this and more. It in turn has developed my leadership skills and provided exposure that most people would not get at the stage I am in my career.

I challenge all of my readers to consider serving on a committee or board of an organization that they are passionate about. Rather than sit on the sideline, make a difference and take on a leadership role. If you’re not sure where to begin check out some of these resources below to help get you started.

  • Go to Idealist to learn the difference between volunteering and serving on a board
  • Find board opportunities at Boardnet

If you are looking to serve on a committee with Young Professionals, I am currently looking for people to support through event planning, social media, fundraising and recruitment. If you’re interested email me at

Are you currently serving on a board? Share your experience!

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PRSA-LA Young Professionals Networking Mixer


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February 27, 2014 · 10:47 pm

Resume Critique & Informational Interviewing Workshop

Resume critique invite

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October 16, 2013 · 3:11 pm

Trevett Award

Each year, the Young Professionals (YP) section of PRSA-LA honors two outstanding Young Professionals from the greater Los Angeles area at the PRism Awards.

All young professionals in the greater Los Angeles area who are employed full-time in public relations, have no more than five years of full-time experience and are in good standing with PRSA-LA are eligible to apply for the award.

Selection Process

Applicants must complete the application form here:

Judges will review the entries and identify a small number of finalists. These three judges shall be public relations professionals and must represent one university, one corporation/non-profit organization and one agency. All shall be members of PRSA-LA and at least two must be accredited. The Young Professionals Section of PRSA-LA will select judges.

Finalists will be invited by the judges no later than October 21, 2013 to participate in an oral interview to determine the Award recipients.

Best of luck!!!

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2014 YP PRSA-LA Board Application

Are you interested in becoming a part of the Young Professional’s of PRSA-LA Board? If so, please fill out this 2014 Board Member Application and return it to Evan Nicholson ( by November 30, 2013.

**We are no longer filling the role of Collegiate Outreach Chair.


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Social Media PR: Enabling Two-Way Conversation

By Delia Mendoza

Social Media is full of people trying to sell you something. While promoting products on social media is fine in moderation, constantly touting them to your followers becomes tiresome. Your audience is there to support your brand, and they are essentially self-interested. What’s in it for them?237013-SocialNetworkCREATIVECOMMONS-1314023247-872-640x480

Building support involves facilitating two-way communication. Marketing expert Seth Godin, author of Tribes: We Want You to Lead Us, identifies social media followers as a tribe. Your tribe supports you and they want to be engaged.

More than ever, people are hungry for content. They want something to talk about and information to learn. Think like a content publisher.

Here are some tips on how to produce effective posts:

  • How-to/ Tips and Tricks: Your tribe is interested in the use of your product or the skills involved in your service. What skills or expertise can you share with them?
  • Behind the Scenes: Give your tribe a sneak peek at how your product or service is made. For example, if you are a musician or filmmaker, record a video of you in the studio. Give a play-by-play of what happens in the production process.
  • Contests and Giveaways: These create excitement for your tribe. Set up contests that involve your tribe sharing posts or answering questions. Offer your followers a free sample or preview of your project.
  • Questions: Enable two-way communication by eliciting responses from your audience. For example, ask how they use your product.
  • Sharing News and Media: Did you come across content that was interesting? Sharing links to news, videos, or pictures is great way to engage your tribe.

Audience engagement starts with effective content publishing. Your tribe will feel that it is receiving pertinent information instead of following you only as potential customers. An engaged audience is more likely to support, buy, read or perform a desired action. Mixing up your posts with interesting content builds loyalty, and in turn contributes to your followers making a purchase.

Happy Posting!

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