PRSA Assembly Highlights 2012 #prsaicon

PRSA Assembly Highlights 2012 
Submitted by Andra Bennett House, APR

National Board 
Even though the PRSA Southwest District does not have a district rep on the board (because no one ran), Blake Lewis, APR of Dallas was elected as National Treasurer. Blake will be an excellent “go-to” person for our district, if the need arises.

PRServing America PRServing America is a competition for the best pro-bono community service project by a chapter. PRSSA can participate as well. For 1st place, the prize is $2,500 and the prize amounts go down from there. Our Chapter could think about a pro bono project that would be a possible submission for this recognition and reward.

Advocacy 
PRSA submitted an op-ed to Roll Call re: Senate inquiry into federal agencies and contractors payments to PR firms.

PRSA advocated on behalf of PR pros being able to edit Wikipedia for clients. The owner of Wikipedia apparently was against this. The name of the Facebook group in favor of it is called Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wiki Engagement (CREWE).

Get more PRSA advocacy news.

Business Case of PR 
PRSA wrote Forbes op-ed for business schools including reputation management in MBA programs. (MBA Initiative)

Commission on Public Relations Education gave a lengthy presentation on the disparity of what colleges require for PR degrees.

Membership 
Currently PRSA National has 21,378 members. This is down from 2008 highs, but steadily climbing back up.

Free webinars this year – 63 have been offered, with 6,500 participants, exponentially up from any previous time.

Chapter resources – document sharing platform is being developed for online. No more chapters keeping stuff in shoeboxes!

Next year, ALL Members will be able to pay dues quarterly for a $15 processing fee. This will be optional for chapters to allow members to do this or not. It may allow more members to join, but could affect chapter cash flow.

Issues & Trends emails have been upgraded to be more user friendly and quickly read.

Priorities for 2013 are Ethics, Diversity, Advocacy and the Brand: One PRSA.

Unconference
Value of Districts – upshot of discussion was that National should look at possibly re-drawing the Districts into smaller territories, separating it from board representation, or subsidizing districts to help pay for regional conferences. There are members who do not belong to Chapters, yet chapters fund the Districts, so some members are benefiting without contributing.

Member Benefits – Districts could help aggregate benefit information for the Districts and provide it in a canned fashion for the chapters for newsletters, luncheon announcements, etc. Districts could help pen op-eds and localize the advocacy efforts of National for chapters to submit to their local publications.

Many topics discussed and videotaped – National to condense and make available soon.

Town Hall
Many delegates expressed concern that the Assembly did not vote on anything except the board slate. We listened to reports and gave feedback, but some did not feel the expense of the travel was worth being there in person, and did not feel the Assembly “accomplished” much.

I predict if there is no “beefy” agenda next year, and only voting on board nominees, many chapters will send proxies vs. delegates unless they are staying for the conference.

Thank you to Andra Bennett House, APR and Holly Ellman for representing the Greater Ft. Worth Chapter of PRSA as delegates to the Assembly during the 2012 PRSA International Conference.

Worthy Award Filing Tips

By Carolyn Bobo, APR, Fellow


The Worthy Awards – a first for our chapter are designed to provide area communications, marketing and public relations professionals with an opportunity to celebrate creativity, strategic thinking and professional ability.


Don’t be hesitant about entering. Think about your activities since 2010 (as a first-time contest, we have a broad entry time frame) and go for it. Here are some tips for preparing your entry.


A solid entry will address these points:

· What was done?

· Why did it matter?

· How was it measured?


Here’s how to prepare your entry.


Carefully read the entry parameters.

The judges (Central Michigan chapter) will look at each required area and base their scoring on how well the four entry areas are explained. Entrants should address each required point, and thoughtfully explain their good work so that it is excruciatingly clear to judges not familiar with our area.


Rationale (Tactics) and Research (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain any type of research, and why it was used. A textbook campaign would include formal, original research, but that isn’t always feasible or necessary. Judges know this, so entrants should clearly describe what was done. For example, a brainstorming session, a review of media clips or discussions with clients may be described as secondary, qualitative research … literature review … content analysis … anectodal reports.


Objective/Purpose (Tactics) and Planning (Campaigns, Projects)

Why did you do this? Possible reasons are to increase sales, raise funds, create name recognition, affect public behavior. Describe any factors about the project/tactic that will help judges understand the purpose and the market. Note that the purpose must – absolutely must – match the outcome. Read on to the Evaluation section.


Execution (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain which tactics were chosen and why. When there are several tactical options, the entrant should state, for example, that “these tactics were selected to expand the reach of our message,” identify and justify each tactic. Remember that the judges won’t know that your decisions and efforts were special unless you tell them.


If your entry states that “TV station XYZ sponsored the event,” you must explain that “TV station XYZ rarely supports activities in Fort Worth.” Or, “TV station XYZ sponsors only three events per year and we convinced the station to choose ours.”

Another hypothetical example: If your target market/public prefers electronic media over print, your entry should state, “Secondary research found that our target demographic prefers to receive electronic communications.” Such data may be obvious to you, but your entry narrative also must make your decision obvious to the judges.

Execution (Tactics)

Here’s where to explain who wrote the copy, designed a magazine, edited content, provided photos, approved the budget and negotiated with a vendor. The tactics section of The Worthy Awards is an explanation of who did what. If an unusual price or component was negotiated, say so, so the judges will understand your extra effort.


Results (Tactics)

Tactics are created to meet a specific need, and are skillfully and professionally prepared. An evaluation of effectiveness and impact, based upon defined objectives, can be simply stated. However, the results must – absolutely must – match the purpose. If the purpose was “to generate five media stories,” the result must show five (or more) media reports. If the purpose is “to raise awareness,” the results must show a measurable increase in awareness.


Evaluation (Campaigns, Projects)

Explain how the targeted market, public or audience responded and how you learned about its response. This is the time to include quantitative data and analysis. Such measures may be a replication of preliminary research or measures of other activities. For example, measures can be election results, a sales increase, ROI, donor or donation increase, or the number of participants/responses that exceeded expectations. Include as much measurable and anecdotal response as possible, and describe future plans. If comprehensive research was not needed, say so. For example, “More than 5,000 people in our target public responded to the activity. We expected only 3,000, so we did not repeat our preliminary research to measure interest in the topic. However, we will analyze the experience of these respondents to plan future campaigns related to this issue.”


Good luck to everyone. See you at the May 31 awards presentation.


(Don’t forget to submit nominations for Communicator of the Year. There is no fee.)


Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or would like more information:


The Worthy Awards Committee

Michelle Clark<mailto:clarkm@trinityra.org>, Trinity River Authority of Texas

Margaret Ritsch<mailto:m.c.ritsch@tcu.edu>, APR, TCU

Carolyn Bobo<mailto:cgbobo6311@att.net>, APR, Fellow PRSA, University Relations, UNT

Allyson Cross<mailto:cross@gcgadvertising.com>, president, Greater Fort Worth PRSA

Liz Heck<mailto:liz@jodesign.com>, JO Design, Marketing, Public Relations

Megan Murphey<mailto:murphey@gcgmarketing.com>, GCG Marketing

Rita Parson<mailto:rita.parson@tccd.edu>, Tarrant County College District

Know thy objective

Guest post by Linda Jacobson, APR

I recently judged communication campaigns and tactics, and was struck by the lack of planning involved in nearly every entry.  Particularly absent was the lack of specific communications objectives. If you’re in public relations, marketing or corporate communications, you need to know how to craft a solid strategic communication objective because that is the single most important focal point of any communications campaign. If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, you’ll never know if you reached it.

Below are components of a communication objective, but ultimately, you’ll want to ensure this is part of a strategic communication plan that aligns with your organizational or departmental business objectives.
  • Expect your outcome. Are you trying to raise awareness of a new widget or new process? Or do you need to move the needle by changing employee or customer attitudes? Perhaps you need a target audience to adopt a specific behavior. Before you can craft an objective, know what you expect the outcome to look like.
  • Use verbs! Once you know the expected outcome of your objective, select an appropriate verb. Do you want customers to buy, ban or endorse? Are you looking for employees to adopt, support or change?
  • Be specific. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at communications plans that aren’t tied to specific objectives. If you can’t articulate the objective specifically, then you are already missing the goal.
    • Who is the audience?
    • What is the timeframe?
    • What is the attainment level?
  • Measure the objective.  Know how to accurately measure your objective, and know your baseline. This is your starting point. What is the current status quo? You need to know this before you initiate your strategy; otherwise, you won’t know whether you moved the needle or not.

Below is an example of a specific communication objective that anticipates an increase in audience awareness:
 

Within the next 60 days, 70 percent of our organization’s customers will see or hear about our new widget.
Starting with these basics, you’ll add a solid, measurable component to your strategic planning. What other components help you achieve your goals?

Three Signs You’re a PR Pro

Public Relations is ever changing – and as it becomes more integrated with marketing and advertising, we are starting to see many new facets of PR professionals. So what constitutes as a PR professional? We’ve discussed the definition, but what about types of people? Types of personalities? We will never all be the same, but we might have some of the same traits.

1. ‘Dude I can’t put down my BlackBerry/iPhone/snazzy smartphone‘: Admit it. You check it incessantly. You have to be on all the time. You’re checking social media channels, Google Alerts and national media coverage. If something negative hits, you need to be ready. If a client pings you at 2 a.m., you might be expected to answer. It might vary depending on your industry, but clients come first. In associations, members come first.

2. ‘Proud, Honored and Words Like it Make Us Cringe’: It’s hard to look at those words in a press release and not take out the red pen and cross it out. Innovative and Synergy are starting to become over-used words as well. As PR professionals, we don’t want to have the same type of press release as another, especially a competitor. It’s hard to believe something is ‘incredible’ if everyone else is shouting the same thing. Make your client unique.

3. ‘Grammar Pet Peeves’: Mine is ‘your’ v. ‘you’re.’ Yours might be ‘loose’ v. lose. Many of us are writers at heart, and a large portion of our job revolves around it. I’ve noticed many have quirks and like things done a certain way – and grammar is always one of them.

So what would you add? What are your signs of a PR professional?

Three reasons why PR is no longer the whipping boy

This is cross-posted from The Saltlick blog.

From marketers to journalists to mom bloggers, PR has traditionally been the favorite scapegoat of those in other areas of the communication field. Commonly referred to as purveyors of the “dark side” of communications, public relations professionals have dealt with a tainted label far too long. But that label is a non sequitur now, and here’s why:

1. The economy is a great leveler. Hoards of journalists have exited their profession – and at least some of them have entered public relations, a field they once castigated. I’ve watched this trend with interest and predict that more seasoned journalists will come to view public relations professionals with a lot more respect.

2. Digital deadlines and a “news now” mindset necessitate an alliance. News journalists simply have more to do with fewer resources. Today’s journalist must view PR professionals as a service-oriented commodity, necessary due to digital news timeframes. Newer journalists will welcome strong PR relationships.

3. The mommy blogger PR Blackout yielded backlash. Even Trisha, owner of MomDot.com, admits that she ill chose the name of a one-week campaign whose intent she *claims* was to encourage mom bloggers to get back to the basics of parent blogging. The ensuing conversation split the parent blogging community, yielded poor participation (latest estimates were 20 committed to participating) and had journalists like Cnet’s Caroline McCarthy declaring that “Working with the public relations industry is core to any journalist’s (and now blogger’s) job, as is the use of press releases and in some cases review products.” It’s a sure sign that whipping up on PR is passé and not to be done.

I also think that PR is naturally embracing strategic relationship management and expectations from an increasingly complex array of stakeholders and publics in a way that marketers and advertisers cannot in Web 2.0. Stakeholder demand for authenticity is placing PR professionals in the leadership role to define corporate values and to sustain interactive relationship building. The result is that the PR profession is building trust with more constituencies than ever before.

Taken together, these markers signal – to me, at least – a new era in PR, one that shows the value of the profession.