Monthly Archives: April 2014

PRSSA 2nd Annual Conference

By Jade Stevens, President

On Saturday, April 12, PRSA-LA’s Young Professionals (YP) made an appearance at PRSSA 2nd  Annual Conference. Hosted at Loyola Marymount University, the one-day conference was jam packed with informative panel discussions featuring veteran communications professionals from agencies including Allison + Partners, H+K Strategies, The LAGRANT Foundation, NBC Universal, among others. President Jade Stevens, Program Co-Chair VaShon Pruitt and Collegiate Outreach Chair Kaylee Weatherly spoke to the students during their lunch about personal experiences of working in the industry. Having all recently entered the communications arena, the students felt connected to board members’ honest advice.
If you are interested in volunteering and helping out YP email jade@prsala.org. For upcoming events, follow us on Twitter at @YPofPRSALA and Facebook Young Professionals of PRSA- Los Angeles.

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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! https://www.youtube.com/embed/xwndLOKQTDs?feature=player_embedded

Mama Hope: Stop the Pity. Unlock the Potential. Revolutionary…although it shouldn’t be. Kudos for looking for the authentic and fresh story line. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Ww9tksKKH-Y?feature=player_embedded

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 https://www.youtube.com/embed/Dxy4n0UT82o?feature=player_embedded

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 jadestevens@lagrant.com

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

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