Improving the User Experience on Cincinnatiprsa.org

By Sara Cullin, APR

Clean. Easy. Organized.

Those were some of the words most frequently used to describe cincinnatiprsa.org in our website survey, conducted earlier in 2018. And yet, the Job Bank, which accounts for more than 60 percent of the site’s total pageviews, is buried in the navigation.

Why does this matter? Launching a revamped website is one of our chapter’s objectives for 2018. It’s just one of the ways we will meet the strategic goal of developing robust, external communication efforts.

About that survey… The feedback wasn’t all positive. Some see the website as “clunky.” Others said it lacks personality, excitement or engagement. Positive or negative, all of these comments have been valuable to the research phase of our website project, led by the Cincinnati PRSA digital committee. I’m amazed--but appreciative--that 28 percent of our survey respondents are not active members. This will be particularly helpful as we rework the membership component of the site.

Our committee also analyzed six other websites, including Midwest PRSA chapters and Cincinnati-based marketing and PR groups. Finally, we took a close look at the site’s analytics and content management system. Our findings determined the overall scope of the project.

We aren’t overhauling the website, but you will notice significant changes that we are making through September: 

·     News and events combined into one section

·     Pictures of our people (“PR is about people,” as one survey respondent noted)

·     Streamlined membership information, designed for the unique journey of a prospective member

·     Refreshed and dynamic home page

I’m thankful to everyone who took time to share input during our survey, including our entire Cincinnati PRSA Leadership Team. I also want to give special thanks to our digital committee members Megan Heimbuch and Erin Rolfes, APR, who have lent their time and experience to this project. Our Chapter President, Darcy Schwass, APR, and Chapter Business Manager, Elliot Campbell, have also been extremely generous with their time.

I hope during your next visit to the site, you’ll find it’s cleaner. Easier. And even more organized. 

Bringing a Community Together: Meet the Leaders of the Greater Cincinnati Black PR Pros Group

The public relations industry, and PR agencies in particular, are not particularly diverse, as noted in this recent Harvard Business Review article. Because of this, African American PR pros face unique challenges in their careers. Earlier this year, some local pros in media, journalism and PR discussed the benefits of establishing a professional organization. Coming out of those conversations, the Greater Cincinnati Black PR Pros was launched. This group was created to unite black PR and communication professionals in the Greater Cincinnati area.

To learn more about this group, I sat down with its founders, Keeyana Avery (founder, Agency Seven PR), Danielle Jones (Assistant VP, Senior Manager, Public Relations and Jenifer Moore (Sr. Public Affairs Specialist, AAA Club Alliance), to get their perspectives on how they can help support and grow the local community of African American PR professionals.

What are the goals for the Greater Cincinnati Black PR Pros?

Jones:  Our goals are multifaceted, but one of our primary areas of focus is to connect with one anotherand offer a safe space for African American PR professionalsto discuss their careers, their challenges and their successes. Through these connections we believe we’ll help each other grow and advance professionally.

Moore: When I moved back to Cincinnati, I didn’t know how many African American PR pros were here. This group allows us to share ideas, network and mentor one another. Our experiences are very different from the broader group of PR professionals, and we can learn from each other.

Are there some challenges the group hopes to address?

Avery: There are times when we walk into a boardroom or meet with a potential client and are dismissed because of our race. We hope that, together, we can help overcome some of those biases.

Jones: We plan to address some of the biases that we are faced with as practitioners of color. We also see our group as a place where we can advocate for one another and help navigate common issues we face. In addition to that, we want to tackle tough topics that are occurring in our industry that specifically affect us.

Moore: We’re also hoping to be a sounding board for the communication community to help vet messages that will be seen by diverse audiences. We’ve seen big national brands produce communications that were insensitive to African Americans and tarnished their reputations.

What activities do you have planned?

Moore: We recently held a happy hour to get to know each other, and it was incredibly successful with a great turnout. We plan to work with the PRSA to offer diversity programs, partner with local university PRSSA chapters and do other activities to help build awareness that there are PR professionals of color in the Greater Cincinnati region.

Avery: We all love PR. We’re interested in this industry and we want to share our passion to help the next generation of PR pros be successful.

Does it cost anything to join?

Jones: Our quarterly meetings are free and our networking events that we host with other local organizations are of minimum charge. We encourage members to get involved with PRSA and other organizations and events in the community.  

Is the group supported by PRSA?

Jones: We are truly blessed, since we not only have the support of the local PRSA chapter, but we are also supported by the Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists. Naturally, having a connection with the reporters and producers we work with regularly is extremely helpful.

How can people get involved?

Email  Gcbprpros@gmail.com to be added to our listserv and receive information on upcoming events.

 

 Danielle Jones, Keeyana Avery and Jenifer Moor at the recent PRSA Black PR Pros happy hour.

Danielle Jones, Keeyana Avery and Jenifer Moor at the recent PRSA Black PR Pros happy hour.

AUG 21: The Flying Pig & Social Media Engagement

Eventbrite - The Flying Pig & Social Media Engagement
flying pig.png

The Flying Pig Marathon has been a national leader in social media activity in the road race industry for a number of years. Jackie Reau of Game Day Communications, who is on the communications team for the Flying Pig Marathon, will share lessons learned on how the Marathon's social strategy has evolved from the early days.

From specialized content developed to meet runner's training schedules to how social has become a main customer service channel and sponsor messaging integration, Jackie will provide insights and analytics for discussion on social media strategy.

All attendees will receive lunch.

Event Details:

Eventbrite - The Flying Pig & Social Media Engagement

When:
Tuesday, August 21
Where:
WCPO Studios 
1720 Gilbert Avenue, Cincinnati
Time:
11:30 a.m. - Doors open for check-in and networking
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - Program and lunch    
Cost:
$15 - PRSA Cincinnati Chapter Members   
$15 - PRSSA Members
$22 - Non-members 
RSVP:
5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15 (this is also the deadline to cancel and receive a refund).
Parking
Information:
 
A limited amount of free parking is available at the WCPO visitor lot. Nearby street parking is also available.

Eventbrite - The Flying Pig & Social Media Engagement

Chapter Kudos: Drew Boehmker Honored

Congratulations to chapter member Drew Boehmker, account executive, Scooter Media, who was recently named a Next Generation Leader award by Legacy. See details here. Great job, Drew!

https://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2018/07/20/greater-cincinnati-yp-group-names-2018-leader.html

 Drew Boehmker

Drew Boehmker

2018 Blacksmiths Lunch 'N Learn - August 9, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Eventbrite - 2018 Blacksmiths Lunch 'N Learn

Do you want to know the secrets to winning a Blacksmith - Cincinnati PRSA's top award? Then join three winners at a Lunch 'N Learn on Thursday, Aug. 9, from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Wordsworth Communications. This is a brown bag, so please bring your own lunch and drink.

Our panel will consist of:

  • Lauren Doyle, APR, Vice President of Wordsworth
  • Allison Schroeder, APR, Founder and Lead Strategist of Pomme Communications
  • Lisa Danford, Community Relations Coordinator for Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services

Each of our panelists have represent organizations that won Blacksmith Awards in 2017, and will share practical tips on assembling a top-notch entry - because even an excellent campaign or tactic may not be recognized if the entry isn't professionally compiled. 

Because this event has been popular in the past, and because of our venue capacity, we ask that no more than two representatives from your organization register. If you are interested in having more representatives attend, please email cincyprsa@gmail.com - if there is additional space after the RSVP deadline, we will contact you to let you know.

Event Details:

Eventbrite - 2018 Blacksmiths Lunch 'N Learn

When:
Thursday, August 9    
Where:
Wordsworth Communications
538 Reading Road, # 100, Cincinnati
Time:
11:30 a.m - Check in and Networking
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. - Presentation and Q & A
Cost:
FREE!
RSVP:
5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 7
Parking
Information:
Street parking is available on Reading Road, as well as other streets surrounding Wordsworth. Free parking is also available across the street at the Jack Casino.

Eventbrite - 2018 Blacksmiths Lunch 'N Learn

Trust Barometer Recap

Fake news. Polarized politics. Social media. Knowing what institutions the public trusts is crucial as we lead public relations campaigns, and in uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to have a sense of the public’s level of trust. With that in mind, PRSA held a discussion analyzing the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer research findings. The annual Trust Barometer research provides a benchmark around organizational trust across 28 markets globally.

 Stephanie Nagy Shewmon, VP, Public Affairs, Edelman

Stephanie Nagy Shewmon, VP, Public Affairs, Edelman

 

To continue the conversations started at our June event, we spoke with Stephanie Nagy Shewmon, VP of Public Affairs at Edelman, to get context around this research and what it means for PR pros.

Question: So, what are the topline findings for this year?

Shewmon: Our research looks at the state of trust in institutions, and this year we found a new trend – trust is becoming increasingly polarized. What that means is, we see that what is driving the trust decline in the U.S. and other markets is actually a battle for truth.

We also were struck by a crash in trust in the U.S., noting:

•  The trust crash among the U.S. general population is the steepest recorded in Trust Barometer history (18 years). Trust fell across all four institutions.

•   Trust in government has declined 30 points for the informed public and 14 points for the general population, dragging down the other institutions with it.

•  These declines in trust occurred across geography, income and gender.

The result is an unsettled and unnerved public at large. Vast swaths of Americans no longer trust their leaders.

Question: Yikes!  Was there any “good” news in the research?

Shewmon: In this world of confusion, we are seeing a rebound in trust toward voices of authority, particularly CEOs (a seven-point gain) and journalists (a 12-point gain). The public often trusts individual journalists more than platforms. Expert voices across business registered broad gains in credibility, with the net effect of technical experts, financial industry analysts, and successful entrepreneurs all enjoying credibility levels of 50 percent or higher today.

Question: What are the implications of this research for PR pros?

Shewmon: I believe there are several. As I shared at the meeting, Edelman’s Trust research shows that business must own its own story. The role that business plays in being a guardian of information quality, an advocate for truth, has never been more critical. In a world filled with fake news and disinformation, being silent is no longer an option.

In this battle for truth, Richard Edelman likes to repeat that silence is a tax on truth, hurting our ability as a society to return to a place where we have a shared understanding of the facts and data on which to base a discussion. Business must own its own story, make sure it’s authentic, and share it with core stakeholders. Be sure to emulate the best parts of quality journalism with clear, citable, and accessible information, and share it on multiple formats. And don’t forget to activate subject matter experts.

 Question: What, in your view, is the best way to act on this research?

Shewmon: I think PR pros can help the organizations they serve by creating credible content like I already mentioned, but also by building relationships with media brands – and journalists - they trust.

Remember to engage your audiences. Conversational engagement is key to credibly informing your stakeholders, and people want to hear from a variety of voices. People find a company’s social media far more believable than its advertising, and the majority believe that both CEOs and also employees should directly participate in their company’s social media efforts. Activating your efforts to inform and engage across the entire organization is the critical final step.

Question: Any other tips?

Shewmon:  Another tip I shared at the meeting was to use peers to reach the disengaged. 65% of people would check out a news story after hearing about it five times or more. Build on what makes peers trustworthy and relatable: 1) They are very honest. They always say what they truly believe. 2) They have nothing to gain from giving me bad information. 3) We see the world and think in the same way.

Question: What if readers would like to see the entire report?

Shewmon: It’s available for download here, along with quite a bit of supportive materials.

 

New Categories Coming to 2018 Blacksmiths!

By Kathleen Williams, APR

It’s never too early to start planning for this year’s Blacksmith Awards!

BlacksmithAwardLogo_website.jpg

We hope to open the contest earlier this year – to give you more time to assemble your entries.

In the meantime, the Blacksmith Committee wanted to share with our PRSA members the 2018 categories, which are based on national PRSA’s Silver (Campaign) and Bronze (Tactics) awards. There are a lot of new categories – including a Budget category in Campaigns; and SEO, Influencer, and Customer Service categories in Tactics.

Our Professional categories have not changed. If you know of a wonderful PR educator, please nominate that person! And if you know students at any of the four PRSSA chapters in Greater Cincinnati – UC, Northern Kentucky, Xavier, and Miami – urge them to consider entering the PRSSA categories this year!

Stay tuned for more information as we get ready to open awards – including everything you need for an award-winning entry!

CAMPAIGNS

These categories recognize public relations campaigns that successfully changed awareness, opinions, attitudes and behaviors, or strengthened community relations. Note: These are based on the 2018 national PRSA Silver Anvil Awards.

A01. COMMUNITY RELATIONS: Campaigns that aim to improve relations with, or seek to win the support or cooperation of, people or organizations in communities in which the sponsoring organization has an interest, need or opportunity.

A02. CONTENT MARKETING: Programs that effectively demonstrate a strategic program that includes creating and distributing valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage target audience(s). Include examples and metrics.

A03. CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns undertaken to deal with an unplanned event that required an immediate response.

A04. EVENTS & OBSERVANCES – MORE THAN 7 DAYS: Includes programs or events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities.

A05. EVENTS & OBSERVANCES – 7 DAYS OR FEWER: Includes programs or events, such as commemorations, observances, openings, yearlong anniversaries, celebrations or other special activities.

A06. FINANCIAL COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns directed to shareowners, other investors and the investment community.

A07. GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS: Includes any type of program, such as Reputation/Brand Management, Marketing or Events and Observances, that demonstrates effective global communications implemented in more than one country.

A08. INFLUENCER MARKETING TO EXPAND AWARENESS: Program that focuses on using paid spokespeople and key leaders to increase awareness and drive your brand's message to the larger market.

A09. INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS: Any campaign that demonstrates leadership of public relations strategies and tactics in a creative and effective integrated campaign, along with other marketing or communications. The program must demonstrate the clear leadership of public relations, along with its integration with other disciplines.

A10. INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS: Campaigns targeted specifically to special publics directly allied with an organization, such as employees, members, affiliated dealers and franchisees.

A11. ISSUES MANAGEMENT: Campaigns undertaken to deal with issues that could extraordinarily affect ongoing business strategy.

A12. MARKETING: Campaigns designed to introduce new products/services, or promote existing products/services to a particular audience.

A13. MOST EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN ON A $5,000-$10,000 BUDGET: Effective campaign delivered within parameters of a limited budget. This does not include staff time and overhead.

A14. MOST EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN ON A $5,000 BUDGET OR LESS: Successful campaign despite constraints of a small budget. This does not include staff time and overhead.

A15. MOST EFFECTIVE CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSBILITY CAMPAIGN: Program that enhances a corporate reputation and demonstrates a business approach to initiatives that positively impact society. Campaigns to highlight the positive impact that they have had delivering economic, social and environmental benefits to stakeholders

A16. MULTICULTURAL & DIVERSITY: For any type of campaign, such as institutional, marketing and community relations, specifically targeted to a cultural group.

A17. PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Campaigns specifically designed to influence public policy and/or affect legislation, regulations, political activities or candidacies — at the local, state or federal government levels — so that the entity funding the program benefits.

A18. PUBLIC SERVICE: Campaigns that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems or concerns.

A19. REPUTATION & BRAND MANAGEMENT: Campaigns designed to enhance, promote or improve the reputation of an organization with its publics or key elements of its publics, either proactively or in response to an issue, event or market occurrence.

A14: PRSSA CAMPAIGN: Any campaign conceived and executed by a PRSSA student or team.

TACTICS

These categories take a closer look at the individual components of your public relations plans, and the tools used to successfully communicate your message. Note: These are based on the 2018 national PRSA Bronze Anvil Awards.

PAID:

B01. BEST SPONSORSHIP ACTIVATION: Sponsorships represent the alignment of shared values and goals, and can be profitable marketing opportunities for building harmonious partnerships. Activation requires a deep understanding of brand synergy to support how affiliations are formed and promoted to vetted demographics. Show how the activation leveraged investment.

B02. MOST EFFECTIVE INFLUENCER PROMOTION: Influencer marketing focuses on an individual the audience sees as a trusted source of information and which can be differentiated far better than through advertising or content marketing. How did you ensure maximization of your ROI with these highly targeted consumers?

B03. BEST SEO: Were you able to improve your brands SEO with paid results on major search platforms? If your team or agency had a successful paid search campaign across one or more search-based advertising platforms that demonstrated improvement and a positive return on investment share your metrics and results.

EARNED:

B04. MEDIA RELATIONS: Tactics, programs and events driven entirely by media relations. Submit press releases, media advisories, pitch letters, requests for coverage, etc., along with the one-page summary that includes measurable objectives and results, such as evidence of the resulting media coverage. Upload or provide YouTube/Vimeo links to any television or radio coverage.

B05. FEATURE STORIES: Feature articles that have been written by a practitioner, and submitted and published through his/her efforts. Submit text of feature article, as well as documentation of publication and placement. The one-page summary should include target audience, measurable objectives and any documented results.

* Feature Stories must be written in their entirety or substantively by the entrant, and not merely “pitched.”  

B06. BLOGGER CAMPAIGNS: A proactive outreach to the blogger community on behalf of a product, service or organization. The one-page summary should include rationale for blogger outreach strategy, statistics or other means of quantifiable measurement to support stated objectives, as well as a copy of (a) the outgoing messages and (b) the resulting blog entries either as uploads and/or the actual site URLs.

B07. EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS: Positioning of an executive at any level across earned, owned, and share platforms. The one-page summary should include information about the executive and stated objectives, quantification of results as well as copies of significant placements, social media, posts or memos.

SHARED:

B08. BEST USE OF SOCIAL STORIES: Did you take social storytelling to another level? How did you use YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat to tell your brand's story? Share screenshots or links to your story and provide the results.

B09. TWITTER ENGAGEMENT: How did you interact with your audience in real time? Show your most interactive Twitter accounts with measurements like Retweets, likes, impressions and clicks. What impression did they leave on your audience?

B10. FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT: How did you use Facebook to share your message and engage your audience? How did it enhance your overall marketing plan? Did it lead to increased activity and viral reach?

B11. YOUTUBE ENGAGEMENT: Did you make a popular YouTube video that persuaded your audience not only to watch but also comment and share the video? Share the videos that you created that combine storytelling and great production. In addition to the video please provide measurable objectives, such as the number of comments, shares and social reach of your video.

B12. INSTAGRAM COMMUNICATIONS: How did you use this visual platform to connect and engage with your audience? Was it used to sell products or share insights? Provide details of the results you have seen

B13. LINKEDIN: Show how you used this social media gateway to optimize the company’s business stature through announcements, engaging articles or other creative ways.

B14. PINTEREST: How did you engage followers and increase brand awareness and sales through use of beautiful graphics? Show links to your Pinterest boards along with metrics.

OWNED

B15. NEW DIGITAL PLATFORM: Did you launch a new website, newsroom, App or other digital platform? How was it launched and how much risk was involved in your marketing plan? What platforms were used? What value did the end user receive and how did it match goals? This entry can be completed by a vendor or the customer.

B16. MOBILE APP: Use of mobile applications as part of a public relations program. Include copy and any images of key pages to support your one-page summary. Additionally, include brief instructions on how to download the application.

B17. BEST USE OF DATA ANALYTICS: How did it uncover hidden patterns, correlations or other insights to help make quicker and more efficient business decisions to gain a competitive edge?

B18. WEBSITES: Use of a website as part of a communications or content marketing program. Include screen grabs or copies of key pages to support your one-page summary. Additionally, include the website URL for external sites.

B19. WORD-OF-MOUTH: Tactics that get key audiences talking or provide an avenue for conversation through the use of different techniques, such as viral marketing, sampling programs, loyalty programs, etc.

B20. CREATIVE TACTICS: Innovative, unconventional, creative tactics or approaches used as part of a public relations program. Documentation of how the tactic specifically contributed to the measurable results of the campaign should be included in the one-page summary. (Photographic and/or video representation of any physical objects should be uploaded.)

B21. ANNUAL REPORTS:  Publications that report on an organization’s annual performance. Upload a sample of one copy of the publication, along with a one-page summary.

B22. BLOGS: Web-based journals, or blogs, that communicate either a corporate, public service or industry position. The one-page summary should include rationale for blogging strategy, target audiences and statistics, or other means of quantifiable measurement to support stated objectives. Screen downloads of the blog being entered, as well as the actual site URL, must be submitted as part of the story.

B23. DIGITAL NEWSLETTERS: Publications designed, written and published periodically to provide brief and timely information to target audiences while supporting an organization’s overall objectives. Upload samples of three consecutive issues, along with a one-page summary.

B.24 DIGITAL PUBLICATIONS: Single-issue publications (newsletters/booklets/calendars) designed for a special purpose. Books and other publications not eligible for consideration in other categories should be entered here. Upload a sample of one copy of the publication along with the one-page summary.

B25. ONLINE VIDEOS: Pre-produced videos distributed online to inform target audiences of an event, product, service, issue or organization. Entries may consist of an edited video and one of any sound bites. The one-page summary should include usage statistics or other means of quantified measurement to support stated objectives.

B26. BEST USE OF BRANDED CONTENT: Use of content generation to promote a particular brand which funds the content's production.

B27: WEBCASTS: Media files distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology. May be live or recorded. Submit the one-page summary and upload or provide YouTube/Vimeo links of the webcast, as well as the actual site URL.

B28: INNOVATION IN CUSTOMER SERVICE: Customers are wielding more power and demanding more from customer service. How did you demonstrate transformative innovation by introducing something new which revolved around the customer’s needs and had a big impact on the company’s service performance? Provide metrics.

B29: PODCASTS: How did you tell your story – was the purpose to teach or share? Was it intended for internal or external audiences and was there engagement on multiple platforms? Provide listener feedback.

B30: MAGAZINES: Publications designed to provide in-depth information about an organization or topic on a regular basis. Magazines typically differentiate from newsletters by the number of pages and length of articles. Upload samples of three consecutive issues along with the one-page summary.

B31: PRSSA TACTIC: Any tactic conceived and executed by a PRSSA student or team.

PROFESSIONAL & TEAM RECOGNITION

The Professional Recognition Summary should provide evidence of traits demonstrating the best in his/her/their field, such as communication skills, public relations expertise, creativity and integrity. See individual categories for specific summary instructions. Additional work samples or documentation such as clips, presentations, etc. may be included. Some categories also must include letters of recommendation.

C01. PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an established practitioner for exceptional leadership and professional accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.

C02. NEW PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR: Recognizes a relative newcomer to public relations for demonstrating exceptional leadership and professional achievements during his/her initial years in the profession. All PR professionals who have been in full-time practice for less than three years are eligible. (This period excludes internships and part-time employment while working on a degree.) Criteria:

C03. INDEPENDENT PRACTITIONER OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an outstanding independent/solo practitioner for his/her accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Individuals may nominate themselves or be nominated by others. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.  

C04. PR EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR: Recognizes an outstanding educator for accomplishments and contributions to academia and the larger PR field during the 2016-2017 school year. May be nominated by students or professionals who have knowledge of the educator’s classroom practices and development of future PR professionals. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.

C05. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- Miami University
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at Miami for his/her accomplishments during the 2016-2017 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C06. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- Northern Kentucky University
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at NKU for his/her accomplishments during the 2016-2017 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C07. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- University of Cincinnati
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at UC for his/her accomplishments during the 2016-2017 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C08. PRSSA STUDENT OF THE YEAR -- Xavier University
Recognizes an outstanding Public Relations Student Society of America member at Xavier for his/her accomplishments during the 2016-2017 year. Teachers and PRSSA advisors may nominate a student whom they believe has demonstrated great leadership and skills in public relations. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible. 

C09. CEO COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR

The CEO Communicator of the Year Award honors the outstanding performance of Cincinnati-area chief executive officers in their roles as chief communicator. The role of the CEO has evolved. Not only do CEOs encourage and adapt to changing business models, but frequently the CEO must also take the lead in communicating with employees, shareholders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to achieve success for his/her organization. PRSA will recognize a CEO who has shown outstanding communications leadership within his/her own company or perhaps in an industry. Nominees must be chief executive officers or hold equivalent positions. Nominations should be based on accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Past Blacksmith winners are not eligible.

C10. COMMUNICATIONS TEAM OF THE YEAR

Recognizes an outstanding communications working group in a company setting (not an agency) for exceptional professional accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. Individuals may nominate their own team or the team may be nominated by others.

C11. SMALL/MID-SIZE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: Recognizes PR agencies that have one to 12 full-time employees. The award will honor an established greater Cincinnati PR agency for its professional accomplishments between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. The award is open to agencies that began operating before Jan. 1, 2015. Agencies must be operated in the Greater Cincinnati area and demonstrate successful PR campaigns and tactics.

C12. LARGE AGENCY OF THE YEAR: The Large Agency of the Year award recognizes PR agencies that have 13+ full-time employees. The award will honor an established Greater Cincinnati PR agency for its professional accomplishments in between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. The award is open to agencies that began operating before Jan. 1, 2015. Agencies must be operated in the greater Cincinnati area and demonstrate successful PR campaigns and tactics.

 

Miami PRSSA Honored in Bateman Competition

The Miami University Bateman team has received an Honorable Mention in the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) national case study competition. The team consisted of five strategic communication majors who worked for most of this school year to plan, implement and evaluate a strategic public relations plan to submit to the competition.

Members of the team were Allison Pierce, Maddie Malloy, Maddie O’Toole, Vivian Drury and Alec Hoelker. Shara Clark, APR, visiting instructor in strategic communications was the team’s adviser. In the fall, the students were in Clark’s Public Relations Planning course and completed preliminary research and planning. The five students were then chosen to implement the plan and represent Miami University on the national stage.

They implemented the plan between February 15 and March 15, 2018, then they evaluated and compiled the results to submit to PRSSA’s national competition. This year, there were 84 entries from universities across the nation which were then judged by panels of seasoned public relations professionals. Miami’s team was one of only 20 to receive an Honorable Mention.

This year, the Bateman Case Study Competition client was With Purpose, a national nonprofit that works tirelessly to raise awareness of childhood cancer and the need for additional research funding. The Miami team approached the challenge with heart and created a theme of #CherishYourChildhood noting that all kids deserve a chance at a childhood free from cancer. The main tactic for their campaign was to gather signatures for a petition that was sent to Miami alum and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and Congressman Warren Davidson to urge them to support increased funding for childhood cancer research. They had a goal of getting 500 signatures but ended the campaign with over 750.

“I’m so proud of the work these students put into the plan. They have spent a considerable amount of time and energy to spread awareness for an important cause,” stated Shara Clark, former Cincinnati PRSA chapter president and the team’s faculty adviser. “This competition gives students an amazing opportunity to see a PR plan through its entirety, giving them hands-on experience that reinforces what they’ve learned in class.”

About the Bateman Case Study Competition

The Public Relations Student Society of America first established the competition as the National Case Study in 1973 and later renamed it to honor the late Carroll J. Bateman, APR. It challenges teams of students to research, plan, implement and evaluate a public relations campaign for an actual client. Students gain real-world experience that can translate to resume additions, portfolio pieces and even jobs.

  Miami University’s Bateman competition team of strategic communication students Allison Pierce, Maddie Malloy, Maddie O'Toole, Vivian Drury (left to right). Not pictured is team member Alec Hoelker.

Miami University’s Bateman competition team of strategic communication students Allison Pierce, Maddie Malloy, Maddie O'Toole, Vivian Drury (left to right). Not pictured is team member Alec Hoelker.

Spend an Afternoon Back in College!

 By Shara Clark, APR

Does spring time ever bring back a yearning for your college years? Seems at this time of year, we are often reminded of those days... stories about Spring Break, college hoops madness, and prepping for graduation. Well, here's a chance to enjoy a little taste of college again while reaching out to and encouraging the next generation of diverse PR pros.

Our annual PRSA Goes to School event will bring 30 high school juniors from Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy to Miami University's campus on Partnering with Miami's PRSSA chapter, we'll be talking with students about what a career in PR can look like, college life, and we'll put their brains to work to tackle a PR challenge!

Interested in helping out? No need to prepare anything - we're just looking for pros who would be willing to share a little about their experience and help teams of students brainstorm during the case study portion of the event. Volunteers are welcome to come participate in the tour and lunch portion (11 a.m.-1 p.m.; bring money for lunch), or just join for the session from 1-3 p.m.

Take over PRSA's Instagram

By Sara Cullin, APR

We just launched a brand new Instagram for the Cincinnati Chapter of PRSA, and we’re planning to tap into your talent to fill it with amazing stories and photos.

Members can pick three consecutive days to “take over” and post photos, videos and stories directly to the account. Here are three ways you can use @Cincinnatiprsa to work on your goals this year. We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Visit our blog for three reasons why you should participate.

1.     Find new talent or clients

Take us behind-the-scenes and show us what makes your company, organization or agency tick! Spare no bit of self-promotion as you hold back the curtain and show us your smiling faces and creative workspaces. Take us to your favorite dining destinations and show us where and how your team collaborates.

This is a great opportunity to show us the empty chair that needs to be filled, so to speak. Our local talent will be watching and picturing themselves in your Instagram photos.

Are you an independent practitioner? Even better! Take us on the road with you for meetings or explore parts of the city that you love. Be sure to check-in to locations, tag other brands or users, and use relevant hashtags so your posts are discovered. This is a great way to connect with potential clients over topics, places and issues that you care about.

2.     Tell your client’s story

Spend some or all over your takeover bragging on your clients! Show us what you’re working on including new products and services our audience may be interested in. Share some fun facts we might not have known about them.

Before your takeover begins, you’ll want to tell your own Instagram followers about the takeover so they can tune in. Use the takeover to plan a story with your client that takes place over the course of three days. It may be hard to present this chronologically in the feed, so you’ll have to get creative!

3.     Take us on a trip or teach us

Are you heading to a conference or trade show this year? Take us with you! We’d love to see your highlights as you participate in PR or related industry events. You could give us a taste of a different city and unveil the work of planning and executing a trade show exhibit.

In showing the world our creative talent, it’s particularly important to think about the next generation of up and coming PR pros. If you’re working through the APR process this year, it would be great to show prospective candidates what they can expect and what you learn along the way.

Cincinnati PRSA mourns the loss of Past President Lauralee Sawyer

We’re sad to share the news that Lauralee Sawyer, longtime member of Cincinnati PRSA, has passed.
 
Lauralee is a past president of the chapter and was the 1994 recipient of the Werner-VonderHaar-Bogart (WVB) Award, the highest honor that the Cincinnati PRSA Chapter can bestow upon a member.
 
She was a longtime leader of our industry and a mentor to countless colleagues. She was also one of our best ambassadors, quick to give a smile and hearty welcome to first timers at our chapter events.
 
Funeral services will be this Friday at Gilligan Funeral Home in Kenwood. Here are more details.
 
May she rest in peace.

When Content Clicks: Three Takeaways from a Study of Twitter

By Shara Clark, APR

Ah, social media. Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay and the good PR pros need to master these channels to effectively communicate. As fast as the rules change, we might feel like we’re furiously treading water under a ginormous waterfall! We judiciously craft great content, release it out to the WWW and hope it makes its way into the hearts and minds of our target audiences.

You probably have a pretty good idea of what works. But, how about some scientific proof? (We all love some good research, right?) I’m currently in Miami University’s Project Dragonfly master’s degree program where I’m combining my interest in communication with conservation and community engagement. As part of a recent project, I got the chance to step back and take an impartial look at how users interact with the World Wildlife Fund’s Twitter content. (Check them out @World_Wildlife.)

I dusted off my content analysis skills and channeled my stats knowledge (why didn’t I pay better attention to that as an undergrad?) and analyzed content two ways. One was the type of post (photo, video, text only, links to outside articles), and the second was the content of the post (general updates, conservation updates or a request for users to take an action).

Here are three scientifically-supported takeaways:

1)   Hit the sweet spot with visual content. (I know, duh!) I was convinced of that already, but now I have statistically significant numbers to back up that claim! Videos received the most engagement, followed by images. What’s really important to note is that they didn’t just get more likes, they got more comments and retweets which helps spread the message beyond an organization’s followers.

2)   Don’t put all your eggs in the social media basket when it comes to action. Requests for action received less interaction than the other content. A click online doesn’t necessarily equal real-world participation. Kapin and Ward used the term “slacktivism” noting that people might be less likely to perform tangible actions, feeling they already supported an effort by engaging online (2013).*

3)   Take advantage of focusing events. During the study, the individual tweets receiving the most interaction were items relating to Earth Day and climate change (I’m sure you noticed an outpouring of media coverage during the Paris Climate Accords!). Focusing events are happenings outside of the norm that draw added attention to a topic (Birkland, 1997).**  

So feel free to tweet away! Be visual and tie to trends to encourage engagement, but don’t forget about all your other communication channels—especially if your objective is spurring people to real-world action.

--

* Kapin, A., & Ward, A. (2013). Social change anytime everywhere: How to implement online multichannel strategies to spark advocacy, raise money, and engage your community. San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

** Birkland, D. (1997). After disaster: Agenda setting, public policy, and focusing events. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

 

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Three Reasons You Need to Attend PRSA’s Coffee Talks

Happy New Year! I attended Cincinnati PRSA’s kick-off Coffee Talk on Jan. 10 at Coffee Emporium in OTR. It was a great experience. It felt like a holiday party, with guests arriving every few minutes and *caffeinated* beverages flowing freely.

1. Casual Networking

The coffee talk provided a perfect setting for making new connections and catching up with old friends. If you prefer a laid back environment, this is a great venue for you. We consistently hear about the value of networking during PRSA programs, and this exceeded my expectations.

2. New Connections

Within an hour, I met several new people who shared exciting updates from the world of Cincinnati PR.

Kristine Glenn, a PRSA member for several years, shared insights about her new agency, Fat Cat Communications. Congratulations and good luck, Kristine!

I learned from Ashley Keith about her efforts to establish a social media presence for Hamilton County Planning & Development. We talked about integrating her experience at UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) into strategic communications.

Video Producer Glenn Hartong and I discussed his time at the Enquirer, specifically stories he covered involving Rumpke’s recycling facility and drivers.

3. Energy for the Day … and the Year

I felt energized after the coffee talk and ready to tackle a stack of work projects. It also reminded me of the importance of PRSA. From a major conference like Media Day in October (I recommend it for everyone) to an informal gathering like this one, PRSA offers tremendous benefits of continuing education, professional development and networking. But you have to go to make the most of it.

Mark your calendars for Jan. 18 or Jan. 25, as a Coffee Talk is coming to a coffee shop near you! See details here.

About the author: Jonathan Kissell, APR, is the communications manager for Rumpke Waste & Recycling and Cincinnati PRSA’s Ethics Director. He is also a part-time instructor at Miami University.

Kissell with PRSA Chapter President Darcy Schwass, APR.

#StuffTheShelf – October Book Drive!

By Shara Clark, APR

Remember going to your bookshelf at home as a child and finding your favorite story? Maybe it was a book that allowed you to immerse yourself in a magical world where you could be anything you wanted to be. Maybe it was a story that made you laugh. One that made you cry? One that gripped you with so much excitement that you couldn’t put it down, and you’d hide under your covers with a flashlight?

 Stuff the Shelf! Donate used kids books in October.

Stuff the Shelf! Donate used kids books in October.

What about kids who don’t have that opportunity? Some children in our region have never had a book of their own. With 400,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati facing challenges with literacy, there are lots of empty bookshelves and kids with no bedtime stories.  

Instilling a love of reading and books in young children can make a significant difference, and you can help! This October Cincinnati PRSA is hosting a book drive to get books in the hands of at-risk kids. We’ll be collecting new and gently-used children’s books that will go to Adopt a Book, a local charity that distributes books to kids in need.

How can you help?

1.     Bring books to Media Day on October 17. You’ll get a raffle entry for each book you bring!

2.     Can’t attend Media Day but want an excuse to clean out your kids’ bookshelf or stroll through your favorite local bookstore? Host a book drive at your office! If you collect at least 20 books, contact Shara Clark, our community services director, and we’ll find a time to come pick them up!

3.     How about a little friendly competition? Do you think your agency or communication team has the biggest love of reading? For the team that collects the most books, you’ll get breakfast, bragging rights and a blog post! (You can bring them to Media Day or contact Shara for a pickup!)

Let’s #StuffTheShelf for local kids!

I’d like to thank the Academy... Nominate Local Pros for WVB Award

By: Carrie Phillippi, APR

When you enter a career in public relations, you pretty much resign yourself to being in the background. A behind-the-scenes player making your clients/bosses look prepared, professional and fabulous. It’s not about you. It shouldn’t be about you. It’s about the message/client/product/service.

 Nominate an outstanding local PR pro for the Werner Vonderhaar Bogart Award. Champagne not included.

Nominate an outstanding local PR pro for the Werner Vonderhaar Bogart Award. Champagne not included.

But occasionally we find ourselves in the spotlight. Winning PRSA’s Werner Vonderhaar Bogart Award (WVB) was my moment and represented a high point of my career. To be honored in front of my husband, parents, peers and colleagues was indeed my Oscar/I’d like to thank the Academy moment.

As I said in my acceptance speech, When I think of the keys to my career, I think about how I take true enjoyment from my work. I love, love, love public relations. Second, is the relationships I’ve built along the way.

The WVB celebrates a career professional who has been dedicated to the Chapter, PRSA and the public relations profession. Candidates not only have a list of committees, events, volunteer activities to their name, but they likely have an extensive network and solid working relationships. The ideal candidate will also love, love, love public relations!

As much as I hate to relinquish my reign, it is an honor (and a nice piece of crystal) that I’ll maintain forever. Now it’s time to let someone else thank the Academy. I’ve assembled a small committee to review WVB nominations for the 2017 winner, to be honored at the Blacksmith Awards.

Who do you know that deserves the Chapter’s recognition? Which member has mentored and helped shape your career? Who has served the Chapter, the profession and PRSA tirelessly? We want to hear about these people!

The WVB nomination window is officially open. Please complete this nomination form by Friday, September 22, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.

So now I’d like to thank the Academy…for any and all nominations!

Empowering Panel: Discussing the Complexities and Opportunities of Being a Woman in PR

 Suzanne Boys, PhD.

Suzanne Boys, PhD.

Although PR professionals work in a female dominated field, many also work in male dominated industries or for predominately male C-suites. According to Jennifer Risi of Ogilvy Public Relations, "Depending on who you ask, women hold anywhere from 61% to 85% of all PR jobs, and 59% of all PR managers are female. And yet, according to the 2014 World PR Report, only 30% of all global PR agencies are run by women." (http://bit.ly/2wQeMPo)

"Add to this ongoing discussions around work-life balance, a persistent gender pay gap, and contradictory advice to 'lean in' but not be too aggressive, and it is clear that being a woman in PR is far from simple."

To address both the complexities of being a woman in PR, Cincinnati PRSA recently convened a panel of local pros for a luncheon discussion. Over 30 local professionals gathered for a discussion led by the following panelists:

Linda Dektas, Creative Storm
Brandy Jones, Metro
Jackie Reau, Game Day Communications
Amy Vaughan, Possible and Women in Digital

Amy Vaughan gave attendees the advice to talk in terms of “we” and to intentionally grow allies, champions and networks. For her, being a team player and being collaborative are essential stepping stones to professional success.

Recently named to the Cincinnati Business Courier’s 2017 Top Forty under 40 class, Metro’s Brandy Jones encouraged participants to have both a mentor and a sponsor. While a mentor may coach and develop your professional skillset, a sponsor will vouch for you and speak up for you.

Referencing her career in (male dominated) sports communications, Jackie Reau advised: “In a booked field, create a niche.”

Brandy Jones advised attendees: “Don’t apologize. Be assertive. Speak up!” On the tails of this advice, Amy Vaughan admitted that not everyone feels confident speaking up. Her advice was to create an environment of support, to watch out for unconscious bias, and to leverage HR training.

On the difficult question of creating work-life balance, Amy Vaughan quipped, “I’m not seeking balance. I’m seeking sanity.” She went on to advise each woman to define what her own “all” in the “having it all” equation might be. She also encouraged women to “embrace the crazy” and not allow themselves to feel guilty as they balance work and life. Linda Dektas added: “You do the best you can in each part of your life. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Women always go the extra mile.” She went on to describe how she does her best, but has learned to set up boundaries both at work and at home. Amy Vaughan agreed with the power of saying no, and of asking for help. Brandy Jones advised women to schedule time for themselves, if necessary. “And,” she added, “when you are home, be home!”

Reflecting on getting her agency certified by WBENC as a women’s business enterprise, Linda Dektas said that the certification process was daunting, but valuable. She emphasized, however, that thriving as an agency is more about delivering excellent work than about being a certified diversity supplier.

Discussing stereotypical gender differences in communication, Jackie Reau admitted that valuing one’s own work is challenging. She recommended PR professionals be bold in asking for a sale and be clear in asking for budget numbers. Amy Vaughan added: “No one is going to give it to you. You have to ask for it.” She also advised women to avoid false modesty, instead taking credit for their work.

Talking about the lack of women in leadership roles across the industry, the panelists agreed that Cincinnati is ahead of the curve. Where there are fewer women in top roles, however, a sense of competition can emerge. Amy Vaughan noted that the more women populate leadership roles, the less exclusivity and (negative) competitiveness there will be. For those who work in less than supportive environments, her advice was clear: “Rise above it. You don’t have to emulate the leadership above you.”

Thanks for all our participants and panelists for a great discussion!

Summer events

The programming didn't stop for PRSA this summer. See images from recent events below!

 

 

 Julie Calvert presents "branding the Cincinnati Region" at Source Cincinnati Aug. 10.

Julie Calvert presents "branding the Cincinnati Region" at Source Cincinnati Aug. 10.

 
 Earlier this summer, Scripps hosted a panel on podcasting.

Earlier this summer, Scripps hosted a panel on podcasting.

Five Tips for a Headshot that Stands Out

  By: Bridget Castellini   Attended the Happy Hour? Get your headshot  here.

By: Bridget Castellini

Attended the Happy Hour? Get your headshot here.

In the long-since past age where business cards were stored in well-worn Rolodexes by the dozens, a first impression usually meant a face-to-face meeting accompanied by a firm handshake and an exchange of pleasantries and introductions. Today, with social media, Google, and an internet that never truly forgets a first impression is formed long before the handshake.

In PR, we know the importance of first impressions. Headshots—the ubiquitous portraits that accompany bylined articles, headline LinkedIn profiles and accompany bio pages—are an important part of establishing great impressions. That’s why when we hosted a happy hour in July with Cincinnati PRSA, we wanted to help our fellow PR pros out with new headshots to help them make great impressions and keep their face fresh on the minds of clients and colleagues. If you were at the happy hour you can download your headshots here.

For those that couldn’t make it, we wanted to provide a few tips and tricks we’ve heard from photographers over the year. Whether you use these for yourself or for your clients, we hope they help you get the best photo for the best impressions. Here are five tips.

Relax, Relax, Relax

Janine Spang, a local photographer (who provided the headshots at our happy hour), encourages her clients to relax. “Body language is everything,” she says. “If you are nervous or self-conscious, it will show.” According to Janine, it can help to practice your smile in the mirror at home so you know what look you want to portray as well as telling yourself to enjoy the process, even if it’s something you absolutely don’t want to do.

Use a Photographer that Makes You Comfortable

The photographer you use plays a huge role in the quality of your headshot. If you are uncomfortable, chances are that will reflect in the pictures. The face has 43 muscles that are largely controlled without you realizing it so it’s important that you feel at ease throughout the process.

Most headshots don’t take long—often five minutes or less—but it’s still enough time for a bad photographer to sour your mood. Talk to your photographer before making an appointment to get a feel for their personality. The best photographers understand that customer service skills are as important as good lighting.

Be Creative, Yet Appropriate for Your Audience

Headshots are an opportunity to reflect your personality (and personal brand), but you also should remember those that will be looking at the pictures and forming opinions that will shape your relationships. Wearing funky glasses and a loud tie, while holding a puppy and jumping on a trampoline might communicate that you’re a fun person—but it might also make an executive at a large organization decide that you aren’t professional or serious enough to work with their organization.

It’s a balancing act and the amount of leeway you have depends on the industry. If you work in the financial sector the expectation of dress and demeanor is a lot stricter than if you’re working for a zoo. To keep up with different audiences, you could choose to have different headshots for different situations. 

Hydrate and Sleep Well

Like it or not, first impressions are often based on looks and even the nicest among us will unconsciously form opinions based on how you look. Because of this, it’s a good idea to look your best for professional photos. This by no means is an instruction to resort to drastic measures to change your appearance, but simple things can make you look your best.

The skin on our face doesn’t lie, and if you’re dehydrated or exhausted, it can show, no matter how big you smile. A photographer once counseled me to drink an extra glass of water (or two) and try to get as much sleep as possible on the night before the photoshoot. Fine lines and pores in your face enlarge if your body isn’t adequately hydrated, and lack of sleep will darken circles under your eyes. Thankfully, there’s always the magic of Photoshop.

Communicate

Your photographer is there to help you get photos you’ll love. It’s important that you outline your expectations to your photographer in an honest way. Discuss background and scenery choices and make sure you decide on something you truly love. During the shoot, speak up if you don’t understand a direction the photographer gives you or if a certain pose is uncomfortable.

… and repeat

Even if you follow every tip above and get a photo you absolutely love, don’t take that headshot and engrave it in stone. No matter how great your picture is (or how much you dislike being in front of a camera), you really should repeat the process every few years. As we age and change careers, it’s important to keep headshots up-to-date. The effort to represent yourself well and make great impressions never truly ends.

 

Source: https://www.facebook.com/WordsworthCommuni...

What Ed Bernays can Teach us About Modern PR

Ed Bernays. The name is synonymous with the birth of public relations. His work moved the profession from press agentry to a practice supported by science (science that came from the pioneering psychology research done by none other than Sigmund Freud, Bernays’ uncle). Digital communications and social media have changed the landscape of PR, and we wondered what Bernays would think about this new world. To get some insights, we spoke with Larry Tye, author of The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations, to get his thoughts.

What drew you to write about Bernays?

I was a journalist for 20 years for various newspapers, and, like many journalists, was dependent on and frustrated by PR professionals. I wanted to explore the profession, and couldn't imagine a better way to do this than to look at the father of PR, a man who thankfully left every piece of paper he generated -- 1,000 boxes of them -- to the Library of Congress.

What did you learn?

I learned what I suspected all along. When done right, PR has the potential to save the world by educating and enlightening the public. In the wrong hands, however, it can be a force of misinformation and misdirection.

Did Bernays’ career reflect this dichotomy?

Yes, he represented the very best and very worst of what PR can do. Consider his work for American Tobacco Company in the early 1900s, when roughly half of the U.S. population -- the male half -- were smokers. He helped convince women that cigarettes were a way to smash gender stereotypes, in this case the taboo that it was “unladylike” to smoke. He did this by staging a march of debutantes down 5th Avenue on Easter Sunday, lighting up what Bernays dubbed their “torches of freedom.” The ladies had no idea that Bernays and American Tobacco were behind the march, which received coverage in newspapers across the country and helped hook a generation of women on deadly cigarettes.

Bernays later said he wouldn’t have advocated smoking if he knew about the dangers, but the papers he left behind show he had known -- and his daughters confirm that, at home, he told them to flush their mother's cigarettes down the toilet.

But if that was an example of PR at its worst, half a century later Bernays showed us how comparable methods could be deployed on the side of the angels. His work for the American Lung Association helped convince American women (and men) that smoking was a deadly habit.

Other beneficiaries of his brilliant blend of PR as art and science included Procter and Gamble (his national soap-sculpting competition helped make Ivory the all-American soap), America's book publishers (he convinced builders to build in bookshelves in every home), and the Multiple Sclerosis Society (he shorted that hard-to-say disease to the easy-to-remember MS).


What would Bernays think about the new tools digital media give PR pros?

He would have loved them. He understood the potential of new technology -- and the nostalgia associated with old. He was an early adopter of everything from teletypes to faxes during his 103-year lifetime. He also was brilliant enough to know when not to rely on technology, sending telegrams when he knew that outmoded mode would stand out. Today, he'd likely pen a hand-written note to ensure it would stand out in an era of overflowing emails and texts.

And, what would he think about our current era of “fake news?”

He would have been dismayed by the way an inept White House is transforming what should be one-day stories into ones that last three or longer.

What can today’s PR pro learn from Bernays?

Done right, Eddie believed, PR starts with the science of psychology -- of understanding why people behave the way they do, as first clarified by Bernays' uncle, Sigmund Freud. Once that's known, he believed in using artistry -- think "Torches of Freedom" march -- to remake those behaviors into ones that benefit your clients. That simple creative approach -- making public relations fun as well as sophisticated -- resonates today at least as much as it did in Bernays' era.