OU PRSSA Takes on Downtown Dallas

This past weekend, I joined other OU PRSSA students on the Dallas trip. We met with several agencies in downtown Dallas to tour and get our foot in the door with companies that many of us hope to work for in the future. From learning about how to polish a resume to meeting and talking directly to employees, we spent our Friday visiting SPM, Ketchum, Fleishman Hillard and the Richards Group.

 OU PRSSA Members pose at SPM.

OU PRSSA Members pose at SPM.

SPM

SPM is ranked as the 5th Independent Public Relations Firm in Texas. We met with this agency first and learned what they look for in personal interviews, resume tips and an overall idea of what they do as an agency.

First, we took a tour of their office. It was very modern- every office space in the building had a white desk, and the walls were painted in bright colors. Each employee had a personal desk placed in smaller office rooms aligning the building. In the middle of the building was a big conference room, where we eventually all sat down to watch a slideshow presentation put on by each employee in the office.

The employees spoke about their roles within the company and the names of their clients, including Mimi’s, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Cici’s Pizza. Two of the employees are former OU graduates, and one of the interns graduated from OU in 2017. The intern, Shelby, was the secretary of PRSSA when she was a senior at OU. One unique thing I noticed about this company is that it is very dog friendly. Everyone is allowed to bring their dogs to work, so there were several dogs hanging out around us. Overall, I left with these tips below…

In-Person Interviews

  • Bring in personal resume

  • Research interview questions before

  • Prepare at least 3 questions

  • Look professional (women: have your nails done)

  • Be responsive

Resume Tips

  • No more than 1 page

  • Be descriptive about what you have done (sent press release to [list specific company])

  • Find a mentor to read over your resume before you turn it in

  • Send a great email with an attached resume

  • Cover letters are not too big of a deal

Ketchum

The next agency we visited was Ketchum. This agency is 95 years old and is part of Omnicom. They have teams and resources in over 70 offices around the world. We met in their conference room with two Senior Account Executives, the retail sector, the head of Influencer Relations and three new employees that had just finished the summer fellows internship program.

 OU PRSSA Members pose at Ketchum.

OU PRSSA Members pose at Ketchum.

The employees discussed their roles at the agency and told us which clients they worked with directly. The retail sector employee, Jamey Peters, welcomed us with the history of the company. Sr. Account Executive Amy Baker discussed the work she had done with Wendy’s, including a Wendy’s Twitter campaign that targeted millennials and eventually appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.

Amy achieved this with the help of Carter Wilkerson, who made Twitter history on his post about Wendy’s. With 18 million retweets, Carter Wilkerson surpassed Ellen DeGeneres’ Guinness World Record of retweets.

Gabby Caballero, the influencer relations at Ketchum, spoke to us about her role at this agency. She personally works with the client Orange Theory, where she connects with bloggers who she hopes will post positive things about Orange Theory. Another Senior Account Executive, Madilene Lake, discussed issues and crisis management that she works on with the company Exxonmobil.

Finally, the three new employees spoke to us about the Summer Fellows Internship Program. Their biggest advice to us was to begin building connections. Below are the notes I jotted down about the Summer Fellows Program…

Summer Fellows Program

Fleishman Hillard

The next agency we visited was Fleishman Hillard. This agency is located on the 34th floor of a building in downtown. They greeted us with fresh warm cookies when we arrived, and there was a full kitchen in the conference room that was available for the employees to use on a regular basis. One of the employees told me how many of them joke about getting the “Fleishman Hillard 15” in relation to the “freshman 15”, as they have people constantly making sweets in the kitchen.

 OU PRSSA Spring President Demery Pennington presents at Fleishman Hillard in collaboration with one of the agency’s employees.

OU PRSSA Spring President Demery Pennington presents at Fleishman Hillard in collaboration with one of the agency’s employees.

Overall, the employees were diverse yet shared the same value of providing quality work to their clients. We had several employees discuss work they have completed with clients such as Longhorn Steakhouse, Lowe’s and Google. Below are a few facts the employees shared with us...

Facts

  • 92% of consumers are likely to trust peers over advertising

  • The people are who consumers look at for inspiration or advice

  • You can’t force an influencer to say something positive; therefore, building strong relationships is important

  • When writing a press release, use the strategy of “and, but, therefore” to get your point across clearly

Two employees spoke to us about what an average day looked like as a Fleishman Hillard employee:

Day in the Life of Fleishman Hillard Employees

  1. Reading and replying to many emails

  2. Spreadsheets

  3. Stalking companies to make a scoring process

  4. Building product sheets

  5. Creating and producing case studies based on research

The Richards Group

Lastly, we visited The Richards Group, a branding agency that endears brands to people. This agency is located in a beautiful building over Central Expressway. It was designed by the CEO with special intentions behind each piece of the building. Two job recruiters gave us a tour of the agency and pointed out each design that the CEO created. Listed below are some of the designs I wrote down…

Building Designs

  • Each room is named after one of the longest working employees currently in the office (honoring them for their committed years spent with the company)

  • The printers are located by the kitchen so people could multitask

  • The elevators are located on the outside of the building, so there is a 360-degree view of the Dallas skyline on every floor

  • No offices are closed off because the CEO believes in an open-door policy

  • The top floor of the building is a workout facility, spin studio, yoga studio, juice bar and nap room, because the CEO is passionate about health

This agency is composed of 750 employees that work amongst themselves, so everyone is valued in the agency, and they don’t have corporate titles. Some of their major clients are Fruit of the Loom, Home Depot and Zales. After the tour, we met with three new employees that gave us advice for getting a job at an agency like the Richards Group. Below are the notes I took…

Tips to Get a Job At The Richards Group

 OU PRSSA members pose at The Richards Group.

OU PRSSA members pose at The Richards Group.

  • Attend networking events at your school

  • Take an accounting class; you use these skills often

  • Build a LinkedIn profile and use a professional picture

  • Make a website for yourself

  • Learn about different companies

  • Use a traditional resume when you apply for the job


This trip was a great experience, and we learned a lot about the different agencies. As we left, we were all astonished by the amount of things we learned in one day. It was truly an enlightening experience, and I encourage more OU students to get involved with OU PRSSA, because it gives you opportunities to learn more about companies and network with them, further preparing you for a future career in PR.

-Elizabeth Clarke

A Memorable Meeting to End the Semester

On Tuesday, November 27, we had our last PRSSA meeting of the Fall 2018 semester. Although it feels like this semester flew by, the meetings we had were filled with exceptional speakers and helpful information.

We finished off our last meeting with an appearance from our three incredible professional advisors. Not every PRSSA chapter has a professional advisor, but ours is lucky enough to have three- Sandra Longcrier, Alyson Moses and Jennifer Dennis-Smith.

These women have been very successful and have an impressive amount of experience working in the PR field. Sandra Longcrier owns Longcrier Communications, Alyson Moses works at Autodesk and Jennifer Dennis-Smith owns Spontaneous Pop.

 From left to right: Jennifer Dennis-Smith, Alyson Moses and Sandra Longcrier shared their advice about how to succeed in the PR field.

From left to right: Jennifer Dennis-Smith, Alyson Moses and Sandra Longcrier shared their advice about how to succeed in the PR field.

They gave us a brief history of how they each started their careers, where they have been, and what they have accomplished, while also giving advice throughout their presentation. A profound thing they all agreed on is how every work day within the world of PR is different, which makes the job interesting and exciting.

Here is some of the advice they shared:

  • “The ability to understand what or who you are working for is very important to me while working in the Public Relations field.” -Sandra Longcrier

  • “It is very important to see a task from beginning to end and to be a very responsible person and employee in the PR industry.” -Alyson Moses

  • “A sense of humor is a necessary trait while working in the Public Relations field.” -Jennifer Dennis-Smith

Hearing from our very own professional advisors was beneficial for our entire chapter. It was interesting to hear the opinions and insights from three different people about what working in the PR field is like.

Undoubtedly, we all learned something from these women that we will be able to apply in our future PR endeavors. We are thankful for our professional advisers and the wisdom they shared, and continue to share, with our chapter.

PRSA-OKC Career Day Mingle Event

 From left to right: Haley Carson (Historian), Chelsea Journee (President), Alyssa Danley (Digital Coordinator), Jensen Armstrong (Treasurer), Pritch Pritchard (pro adviser & PRSA board member), Emory Hood (PRSSA member).

From left to right: Haley Carson (Historian), Chelsea Journee (President), Alyssa Danley (Digital Coordinator), Jensen Armstrong (Treasurer), Pritch Pritchard (pro adviser & PRSA board member), Emory Hood (PRSSA member).

On Wednesday, November 14, PRSA-OKC held an event for PR professionals and students at Remington Park in Oklahoma City. It was a night filled with networking, eating, playing bingo and winning raffle prizes.

Four of our exec members and one PRSSA member attended the event. Our professional adviser Pritch Pritchard was also present, as he serves on the board for PRSA.

The room was lively and brimming with conversation from the moment the event began to the end. An unexpected horse race occurred during the event, which made the night even more exciting.

 Some of our exec and PRSSA members attended the PRSA-OKC Career Day event held at Remington Park.

Some of our exec and PRSSA members attended the PRSA-OKC Career Day event held at Remington Park.

There were representatives from Gooden Group, Koch Communications, Smirk New Media, VI Marketing and Branding, e-ventures, OG&E, Candor PR, Saxum Communications, Visit OKC, and more. Students had the opportunity to share their resumes, chat with PR professionals, exchange business cards and learn more about the local PR industry as a whole.

The Jingle Mingle is the next PRSA-OKC networking event on December 6. This event will feature a cash bar, food, Santa pictures, raffles and prizes, and will serve as another opportunity for students and members of the PR community to connect with local PR professionals. All of the proceeds will benefit the Dream Fund, a charity that has helped PRSA colleagues in Oklahoma.

We are looking forward to this upcoming event and encourage our members and other Gaylord students to attend!

In the wise words of our adviser Professor Pritch: “If you don’t leave without at least three business cards in hand, you aren’t networking enough.”



An Open Letter from OU PRSSA

To the OU family -

 The statue by Tom Otterness sits outside of Gaylord College. ( OU Daily, 2018 )

The statue by Tom Otterness sits outside of Gaylord College. (OU Daily, 2018)

We, members of the Stewart Harrel Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America in Gaylord College at the University of Oklahoma, wish to register our disapproval of the installation of Tom Otterness’ ‘Covered Wagon’ statue, a donation by William Obering, located on the front lawn of Gaylord College. As young public relations professionals, we are taught that transparency is critical to an organization’s reputation and are particularly concerned about the lack of transparency which preceded the installment of the statue, as well as what we have come to learn about the artist’s past.

As one of the nation’s top journalism and mass communications programs, we are very proud of our public image and the successful recruitment efforts which have contributed to our success. We believe the statue and its placement outside Gaylord Hall will negatively impact the image of our college, our recruiting efforts and potential donor and alumni support. Most of all, we want to express our solidarity with members of the OU community who feel disrespected by the statue’s reference to Oklahoma’s colonialist past, as well as the artist’s mistreatment of animals.

Art is a wonderful way to enhance the beauty of our campus. We also know that beauty often lies in the eye of the beholder. However, we are confident that this statue has not and will not be viewed in a positive light nor will it enhance our campus community.

Sincerely,

The Public Relations Student Society of America

Steward Harrel Chapter at the University of Oklahoma

CO-SPONSORS:

Gaylord Ambassadors

Lindsey + Asp Agency

National Association of Black Journalists, OU Chapter

National Association of Hispanic Journalists, OU Chapter

Society of Professional Journalists, OU Chapter

On your marks... get set... GO! : Speed Networking Fall 2018

 Students and representatives communicate about the PR industry and what to expect after graduation  (OU PRSSA, 2018).

Students and representatives communicate about the PR industry and what to expect after graduation (OU PRSSA, 2018).

On Tuesday, November 6, we held our annual Speed Networking event in the Gaylord Library. There were several representatives from local companies who chatted with various OU PRSSA members and Gaylord students.

We were honored to have representatives from OKC Dodgers, Oklahoma Blood Institute, Brides of Oklahoma, StellaNova and Candor PR, as well as Micayla Payne, a recent graduate from Gaylord College who currently works in the entertainment PR industry.

Students had the opportunity to speak with each representative in a group setting for 15 minutes. They rotated from table to table in order to connect with each representative and share their resumes.

Topics of conversation included information about each company that was present, tips and tricks to make it in the PR industry, what to expect after graduation and other valuable insight from experienced individuals who have worked in the PR industry.

 Back row (from L to R): Lauren Snodgrass & Jennifer Mathis (Brides of Oklahoma), Larisha Hunter (Candor PR), Alex Freedman (OKC Dodgers), Micayla Payne (Chesapeake, BOK), Lacy Young (StellaNova), Heather Browne (OBI)  Front row (from L to R): Lisa Johnson (OKC Dodgers), Lauren Gensheimer (Programming Chair), Programming Committee: Caroline Baker, Amanda Huse, Madi Quine, Jarrett Sipes, Naomi Walker

Back row (from L to R): Lauren Snodgrass & Jennifer Mathis (Brides of Oklahoma), Larisha Hunter (Candor PR), Alex Freedman (OKC Dodgers), Micayla Payne (Chesapeake, BOK), Lacy Young (StellaNova), Heather Browne (OBI)

Front row (from L to R): Lisa Johnson (OKC Dodgers), Lauren Gensheimer (Programming Chair), Programming Committee: Caroline Baker, Amanda Huse, Madi Quine, Jarrett Sipes, Naomi Walker

Not only did the students enjoy the experience, but Jennifer Mathis from Brides of Oklahoma said that it was one of the best networking events she has been to, and Larisha Hunter from Candor PR asked us to send her pictures from the event. We were pleased to see all representatives and students engaged for the entire two hours, and our executive members even participated in the fun.

Our fall Programming Chair Lauren Gensheimer was in charge of planning and organizing the event, and her Programming Committee worked tirelessly to help make it the best Speed Networking event we have had up to date.

We know how important networking is in the field of PR, so we hope that every student made meaningful connections with each representative so that potential future opportunities can unfold.

We would like to thank all representatives, students and PRSSA members that attended, Chick-fil-A for catering, and Lauren and her committee for putting their plans into action. We look forward to next year’s Speed Networking event and the many to follow.





Our Diversity + Inclusion Committee Hosts Tango PR

This past Tuesday, we had the pleasure of hosting Brenda and Jorge Hernandez from Tango PR as a part of our first Diversity +Inclusion meeting. Tango PR is a public relations firm that caters to the Hispanic community of Oklahoma.

They handle their service bilingually in both Spanish and English. They boast of a clientele that ranges from OG&E to THUNDER. This small firm is truly doing everything it can to help their community and support growth within it as well.

 Brenda and Jorge explain their roles at Tango PR and the origin of their company.

Brenda and Jorge explain their roles at Tango PR and the origin of their company.

Tango PR also aids in creating community events for the Hispanic society. Their main goal is to create an environment where everyone from various countries can come together to bond through their culture and traditions. They want people who have left their houses in each of their respective countries to be able find a place that feels like home. Even for the people who don’t have families, these communities allow them to have a family and to find people that they can call their own.

There are two aspects of Tango PR that are incredibly unique to them. The first is that they tend to use numerous colors and images within their graphics. This works very well with the community that they cater to as well.

 OU PRSSA’s Diversity + Inclusion committee poses with Brenda and Jorge.

OU PRSSA’s Diversity + Inclusion committee poses with Brenda and Jorge.

The second is their name. When explaining how they settled on Tango PR, George narrated the story himself. He explained that he initially wanted to name the company Mambo PR, but it was already taken.

He was still firm on the idea that if they were going to cater to a Hispanic audience, then the name needed to be something that related to their culture. Then, they came across “tango”. George mentioned that he fell in love with the idea immediately. In his mind, “tango” was something that intimately connected two people passionately and also related to their proud Latin culture.

Thus, Tango PR was born! The main takeaway from Tango PR is their story. They sprouted from a humble beginning, worked immensely hard and had good intentions that grew to success.

One piece of advice that they left us with was a three-step process. It consisted of having great ideas, working hard to develop those ideas and then ensuring that results are gained from those initial ideas. Tango PR is truly a testament to giving back to your community and being proud of your culture and representing it with all your heart.

We are so thankful to Brenda and George for taking the time out of their busy day to come and speak to our OU PRSSA chapter, and we can’t wait for our next guest speakers.

Anglin PR's Lori Johnson Shares her Not-so-Fishy Words of Wisdom

Our guest speaker for our meeting on October 9 was Lori Johnson from Anglin Public Relations. She is a senior account executive and has been working with Anglin for 7 years. Johnson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. She also received her Master’s in Strategic Communications.

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Anglin PR is a full-service PR agency that works with people with big ideas. Anglin is located in Oklahoma City where they provide many different services such as PR counseling, social media, media relations, grassroots PR, materials production and market research. One of the big things that Johnson does for Anglin PR is create media pitches.

Johnson’s presentation covered the rights and wrongs of media pitches and gave tips on creating and drafting the perfect pitch. One piece of advice that she gave our members was to add visuals to pitches. This is “essential to catching the eye of reporters” and helps them better understand the newsworthy piece.

Johnson stated that there are four important pieces to a “Perfect Pitch”:

1. It has to be Newsworthy

2. The pitch must be customized

3. The pitch must be concise and straight to the point

4. It has to be visually interesting

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We had another guest speaker, John Schmeltzer, accompany Lori Johnson in her presentation. Schmeltzer is our very own Journalism professor, and he gave us the journalist insight on some of the media pitches that Johnson discussed during her presentation.

Schmeltzer is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who held numerous positions during his 35-year career at the Chicago Tribune, from political writer to assistant business editor. At the end of Johnson’s presentation, both Johnson and Schmeltzer analyzed media pitches to help our members understand the correct way to draft media pitches.

Hearing from both a PR professional and a professional Journalist was an amazing experience for our chapter! As our chapter learned more about media pitching, we will remember that at the end of the day, it is important to be human when giving a pitch.


OU PRSSA Takes on National Conference

On Thursday, October 4, Jensen Armstrong and I traveled to Austin, TX to represent our Chapter at National Conference. National Conference is a yearly event, which is held in a new city every year; last year National Conference was held in Boston, MA.

 (Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

(Jason Mollica speaking at PRSSA National Conference)

The weekend is packed with networking, agency tours, resume critiques, career and Chapter development sessions and award ceremonies. Students who attend National Conference are also highly encouraged to attend PRSA’s International Conference, which is happening at the same time in the same city.

On Saturday, October 6, I attended a personal development session called, “Personal Branding, Digital Analytics and Your Future Success.” Jason Mollica, a professor from American University, led the session. Mollica stressed the importance of how developing your own personal brand never stops, even when you are out in the professional world.  

Mollica stated that as PR professionals, we should always be defining and redefining our brand because even after graduation, you should always be a student who is eager and willing to learn new information. Because of this, your brand should constantly be evolving.

 (From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

(From Left to Right: University of Nevada Chapter President Daniel Long, SUNY Plattsburg New York Chapter President Haily Dang, University of Oklahoma Chapter President Chelsea Journee, University of Central Oklahoma President Marc Estuche)

Sometimes, we forget to think about our own brand because we are constantly thinking about our clients’ brands. It is important to care about your brand and be proud of who you are. Don’t be afraid of being passionate about something; use your passions to brand yourself.  

Mollica also talked about analyzing your brand. I personally think that is a step that most people forget about because as PR professionals, we are constantly monitoring our clients’ brands on social media and seeing the sentiment of mentions, comments, etc. It is important to take the time to audit yourself.

Remember to audit what you are posting and what you are putting out on the Internet. Tools that Mollica mentioned to successfully analyze your brand included Klear (https://klear.com/), Talk Walker (https://www.talkwalker.com/) and Meltwater (https://www.meltwater.com/).

My favorite thing about PRSSA national events is connecting with students from all over the nation. Jensen Armstrong and I had the privilege of meeting student leaders and Chapter members from California, Nevada, New York, Florida, Alabama, and the list goes on and on.

 (Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

(Treasurer Jensen Armstrong and President Chelsea Journee at National Conference)

I highly encourage students from our chapter to attend National Conference next year. PRSSA’s National Conference will be held in sunny San Diego in 2019. 

If you have any questions about National Conference, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  chelseajournee@ou.edu 

Our Meeting with OU Alum Jared Deimund

Our guest speaker at Tuesday’s meeting was Jared Deimund, an Account Executive specializing in Public and Political Affairs from Saxum in Oklahoma City. Deimund graduated from our very own Gaylord College in 2016 with a public relations degree, so we were so excited to hear about the work he has done.

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Diemund’s three main clients at Saxum are the Oklahoma Beer Alliance, Oklahoma’s For Criminal Justice Reform and the Oklahoma Lottery. His main focuses at the meeting Tuesday were how to choose between a small and large agency and the transition from college to the business world. He gave us these 5 tips to think about when trying to decide where you want to work:

1. Location- Where do you want to be?

2. What kind of culture do you crave?

3. Who are you going to be working with or for?

4. What kind of work do you want to do? In five years? In ten years?

5. Do I see this agency as a place I want to be for a while or simply as a stepping stone?

Along with this advice, Diemund also spoke about his experience transitioning from college to the business world and gave these 5 tips:

1. Relax. You’re not expected to be the CEO already.

2. First three months are vital

3. Be excited to learn.

4. Work is work.

5. Have fun.

So, whether you are transitioning into the business world, college or somewhere in between, Diemund’s advice is very helpful and, as always, it is good to hear from another successful Gaylord graduate.

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Erika's Summer Internship Experience: Influencer Marketing

Summer has come to an end, which means it’s time to reflect on what I learned during my summer internship. I had the incredible opportunity to be the public relations intern at i.d.e.a. - an integrated creative agency in sunny San Diego! Most of my time was spent conducting influencer marketing research where I learned a few things. Not only was this type of marketing fun for me to dive into, but it’s a growing aspect of public relations that young PR professionals need to keep in mind as they enter the workforce.

Influencer marketing - this form of marketing focuses on the use of influential people rather than directly marketing to whole publics. Whether you’re using an influencer database such as GroupHigh or doing organic research, there’s a few things PR practitioners need to keep in mind when making their recommendations to their client.

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1. Before you begin your research. Always keep in mind your client’s overall brand, goals and purpose before diving into the research. Your goal should be to find an influencer who can relate to the brand authentically so they can in turn share content that will resonate with their followers.

2. Budget. Influencer marketing is a growing industry with costs ranging from the hundreds to the thousands. It’s important to know your budget before beginning your research so you know what you’re working with. During this time you can establish how you will measure your return on investment (ROI). Are you really getting the most bang for your buck?

3. Social. In the world of technology, social media following and engagement is crucial. The more followers and positive sentiment an influencer has, the more likely your client will reach a bigger audience. It’s always a good idea to scan through the followers an influencer has too. Avoid being misled with bought followers.

4. Bloggers. It’s also important to check if the influencer has a blog. Depending on the client, product or service, blogs may not be as important. Bloggers really come into play in travel and food industries. You’ll want to research the number of unique visitors per month (UVM) the blog has. Resources such as Cision can help identify this number. Much like social following, UVM is important in determining the potential reach an influencer has.

5. Media landscape. If an influencer is big enough, they may have been featured in regional and local news. Do a quick Google search to check if their reach goes beyond social and blogging.

Influencer marketing is a growing trend within the public relations industry and although these tips are not all encompassing, they can be used as you begin learning more about and researching influencers.

Happy to talk more about my experience with you. Let’s grab coffee and chat. Contact me at erika.fierro-1@ou.edu.