Corporate response in good taste

Being prepared for the unexpected is an asset within every marketing team, but being prepared to have your brand (or your client’s brand) used to express a political position is not something you would expect.

Last week however, that is precisely the challenge presented to Wrigley’s America when Donald Trump Jr. chose to use Skittles to visually demonstrate an analogy about the Syrian refugee crisis.

picture2The tweet and its associated image (which has since been removed) stated bluntly: “If I offered you a bowl of Skittles and told you three were poisoned, would you take a handful?”, garnered nearly 30’000 mentions by that evening. The majority of responses, however, were (thankfully) disgusted by the comparison and poked fun at Trump’s campaign.

In contrast, Denise Young‘s response as Wrigley America’s VP of Corporate Affairs showed the company took the matter seriously, issuing the following statement.

“Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

– Denise Young, VP of Corporate Affairs, Wrigley’s America.

Not only was this thoughtful statement quickly shared by Wrigley’s team, but its humble avoidance of getting caught up in any kind of political drama is a credit to how occasions like these should be handled, and likely increased the public’s trust and respect of the brand.

Props to you Wrigleys. Excuse me whilst I go buy some Skittles.

EDIT:

To reflect the fact that ‘The Donald’ still hasn’t quite learnt his lesson regarding including brand references in his comments, we’ve been graced with this gem from TicTacUSA.

picture1 For all those who haven’t seen the latest video release showing Trump claiming in 2005 that he’s “got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case [I] start kissing her,” (referencing Days of Our Lives actress, Arienne Zucker), continuing to say, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet.”

Gross.

 

 

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Hot off the press!

To PR people, the concept of not keeping up with the news is unthinkable.

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Source: KellyB. (Flickr)

Whether its via broadsheets, tabloids, online or offline, keeping on top of the latest news is a key part of our day. How else would we be able to follow all the developments in current trends, let alone see the opportunities or face the challenges that might influence our clients’/employer’s brand(s).

I even know of one girl studying for her masters in PR whose primary source of news was Instagram – something that deeply shocked me until I realised that (given her passion for celebrity fashion and beauty trends) it was actually a pretty understandable outlet for what she wanted.

That being said, when I read this article over at Clareville Communication‘s blog, I was stunned to find that a whopping 10 per cent of Brits don’t keep up with the news and that this number DOUBLED in the last year alone.

*ENDLESS FACEPALM*

What is going on Britain? There is more to life than Celebrity Big Brother and what little ‘news’ that works its way onto Facebook to be scrolled over for want of yet another prank/cat/baby video.

Check it out anyway and let me know what you think and why you can (or can’t) be bothered.

 

Not so much baby steps as diving in with both feet.

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Quick selfie after arriving early at the office #keenbean

Starting a new job is always a bit of a daunting prospect. A new office, new colleagues, and new clients – each with their own quirks and idiosyncrasies; it’s a lot to take in and adapt to, particularly when you’re making the jump from academia to working life.

The last week or so has been jam packed with firsts for me as I’ve not only started a fab new role at Houston PR, but I’ve also made the jump from Leicester to the BIG CITY i.e. London.

*Note: the streets are paved with chewing gum not gold. I know… I was disappointed too.

What wasn’t disappointing (in fact the complete opposite) was my job. Despite being *almost* pee-my-pants nervous on my first day – which wasn’t helped by experiencing London rush hour traffic for the first time (despite leaving an hour early for a very short journey, I was still pushed for time) – I’m loving every minute.

Its still early days of course, but fitting into the team has felt completely natural – it still freaks me out that I only started on Monday; it feels so much longer!!! – and I’ve got some really interesting clients to work on. I’m even being given the opportunity to help towards the pitches for two potential new clients (my favourite part of the week so far), and have been asked my opinion on the effectiveness and capabilities of several systems and processes.

Overall, I’d say this week has taught me four key things:

  • Working in PR is very different from studying it and you’re expected to learn fast..
  • Being able to put what you know into practice is the best feeling.
  • Having done internships and gained experience beyond academic life makes things so much easier.
  • Finding the right agency/role for you is so important and, despite the risk of moving to the most expensive capital in the world, I know I made the right decision by joining Hamish and the team at Houston PR, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

The 7 Top Tips for a #PRstudent to get their first graduate job!

neesonSo, it’s that time of year again where summer is almost over and we’re slowly coming to terms with the looming reality of returning to university or *gasp* facing the daunting prospect of needing to get a job.

Now, if – like me – the prospect of becoming a fully-fledged adult (complete with taxes and commuting) has a tendency to give you heart palpitations, I thought I’d make things a little less stressful and give my top seven tips for getting that all important graduate job.

1.  Experience is (almost) everything!

Public relations – and, for that matter, most creative industries – is notoriously competitive to get into. This competitivity is even more pronounced at junior levels where swathes of new grads are fighting it out for the attention of increasingly discerning employers. One of the best ways to get their attention (and those elusive job offers) therefore, is to show whoever is potentially hiring you that you know your way around an office and the positions you are looking to fill.

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Whether it is an internship, a collaborative project like Stephen Waddington’s #PRStack, writing for communities such as that built by Behind the Spin or volunteering your abilities within/for a not-for-profit, all experience is readily seen as good experience and, as such, does wonders for not only showing an employer you won’t crumble in the job, but also helps you gain confidence in your skillset and your ability in applying your academic knowledge to a professional context and environment.

2.  Figure out what makes you special and own it!

Now anyone who knows me knows I have a wide and arguably uncommon variety of interests (from WWE to politics to rats to blogging on a regular basis). As an undergraduate, I believed that being seen as ‘weird’ would put agencies and employers off but the more I’ve explored the industry and built connections within it, the more I’ve noticed that in fact the opposite is proving true.

Being ‘weird’ and having seemingly ‘quirky’ interests has been a godsend during interviews as I genuinely feel that it has been one of the key aspects that has ‘set me apart’ and led to my applications being memorable – something that is all to important when you know the person hiring has umpteen CVs to go through where every CV is going to look basically the same.

3.  Know where to look.

There are thousands of job sites across the Internet. Some are great, while others are riddled with spam, so finding the most helpful sites for what you’re looking for can be a mammoth process. The best course of action is to of course browse job boards that specialise in public relations like the handy list provided below:

4.  Stand out on social media!WORKING

I know. I know. Breaking through the noise and standing out online (particularly in a positive manner) is much easier said than done. But networking online across all the commonly used platforms is one of the key ways in which to get your name out there and your profile known.

Additionally, social media also is a great way to find job ads and stand out to employers. Indeed, I have recently gained a graduate role myself through securing an interview with Hamish Thompson, MD of London’s Houston PR, via Twitter based on his reading my blog and discovering a few of my quirkier interests – particularly my love of stationary (something that is shared within his team already).

5.  When it comes to applying/interviewing, Research. Research. Research.

Social media however, is not the be all and end all for getting a graduate job. Keeping up-to-date and being knowledgeable about your industry as well as the agencies you’d like to work for is so important in making a good impression. Interviews test your ability, skills and character but an interviewer is often looking for more. Stand out by commenting on campaigns the agency has been involved in, content they have posted or their client’s industries.

6.  Be gracious (in both success and defeat).

It’s amazing how many people don’t follow up an interview by sending a quick note to say thank you.

DO NOT LET YOURSELF BECOME ONE OF THEM.

Show your appreciation to anyone and everyone who helps you out (and even the people who don’t). It leaves such a positive impression and will pay off in the long run. After all, PR is a surprisingly small industry, and you never know who you might end up at an event with (or even working with) in the future.

Most importantly though is number 7. Keep a cool head and don’t let the slog get you down!!! Stay positive, keep a balance, hang out with your mates, and you’ll get there eventually.

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Don’t just take my word for it though! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think! Are there any tips you want to share?

Hold the front page!!!

  
I’ve been itching to post this for the last few days but, now that the official announcement has been made I feel I can finally announce that I have joined Behind the Spin’s editorial team as an Associate Editor.

Behind the Spin (for those of you who don’t know) is an online magazine that caters to public relations students and young PR professionals. As well as regularly updating with articles on anything from promoting MOOC’s and industry competitions to feature articles showing the intricacies of a particular role or a contributor’s perception and experience of a particular area of the industry, the publication and it’s Editor, Richard Bailey, are active in assisting with careers advice and ways for young and passionate PR folk to demonstrate their skills.

For me, it has become a valuable resource that I’ve highly recommended to my peers since my discovery of it last summer, but it is it’s provision of opportunities such as its annual national #PRstudent blogging competition, and Richard’s willingness to act as a ‘sounding board’ for any and all of my professional thoughts, queries, and questions that – I believe – sets Behind the Spin apart. Despite being an avid and voracious reader of many popular industry titles (Drum, Creative Review and PR Week to name a few) – something I highly recommend doing for any aspiring or current PR student or grad – Behind the Spin (for me at least) has become that down-to-earth insight into the positives, challenges and just plain realities of what the industry is like at the level WE are currently at.

Cue why being a part of it is all very exciting – to the point of my letting out a rather undignified squeal in the middle of a crowded train platform when reading Richard’s offer.

If you’d also like to get involved (whether you’re a PR student, a graduate, a PR lecturer or an employer), check out this open invitation to tell you how.

#BreakingNews Max Clifford has been charged!

Max CliffordInfamous former celebrity publicist, Max Clifford (72) has just been charged with another indecent assault that allegedly occurred in 1981, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates court later this month.

Based on evidence collected as part of Operation Yewtree, the charge is the lastest in a string of offences by Clifford, who was convicted last year of multiple sexual assaults and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in London, Baljit Ubhey, said: “We have carefully considered the evidence gathered as part of Operation Yewtree in relation to Max Clifford.

“Having completed our review, we have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest for Mr Clifford to be charged with one offence of indecent assault. Mr Clifford will appear at Westminster magistrates court on 21 July 2015.”

Hivehaus’ honeycomb design helps first-time buyers build a home

Three years after 52-year-old builder, Barry Jackson started considering how to create a “man cave” in his back garden (to house his photography equipment and drum kit), Hivehaus – a series of hexagonal room forming a personalised building – has grown to host the potential to revolutionise the housing market; offering first-time buyers an alternative (and much cheaper) way of getting modular3onto the property ladder.

The honeycomb design (theorised to be an example of ‘nature’s efficiency’ by the Ancient Greeks), costs approximately £55’000 for three units, and can be erected in less than a week by three builders. Admittedly, it requires planning permission if owners are looking to live within the structure, but the flat-pack, Scandinavian-style buildings have a wide range of potential uses such as, for example: a garden room, office, gym, conservatory, studio and (as allegedly suggested by one London post-production house) film editing suites.

The wooden frame floor’s ‘feet’ can be adjusted to compensate for uneven ground, but (for me) the key feature of this house is without doubt the interlocking shape system. As you can see in the video below, as well as the main hexagon spaces, Barry has also designed smaller diamond-shaped rooms with bathroom fittings, and similarly shaped patterns for an outdoor decking area.

“With this idea, every module is the same size and you think of the module as a space which you use for whatever – if you need another bedroom, you add another module”, says Jackson, making the units perfect for a young couple who could then add to the structure with more units as their financial circumstances improve.

Hivehaus‘ simplistic and minimalistic stye might not suit everyone, but with the way the housing market is going, the Hivehaus is innovative enough to pose as a significant and (most importantly) affordable option for first-time buyers – something that has been a key motivator for Jackson.

“A lot of young people won’t ever have that chance that I had. They are still living with their parents in their 30s. It delays having families because people don’t feel that they belong anywhere, because they are stuck in some rental trap.

“The more I developed this idea, the more I saw that this could be developed for good and hopefully help people who can’t get on the housing ladder.”