Finding Your Voice

When I started blogging the hardest part was to find my own voice. I could not decide if I wanted to be fun and upbeat or serious and sophisticated.

When I was a freshman in college I took a class called “Creativity Toolbox.” In the class we talked about techniques to help you brainstorm when you were having a mental block.  The tool that has stuck with me the most is the “Top Ten List Technique.” This technique can help you define what you want out of whatever you are working on. In a way it is a creative outline, and sets the parameters for an assignment. I wanted to share with you this technique. It is useful for anyone who is trying to find their voice.

When I sat down to start my blog here are the top ten words I came up with:
1. Public Relations
2. Fashion
3. Student
4. Clean/Organized
5. Classic
6. Social Media
7. Concise
8. Voice
9. Simple
10. Apps

Whenever I am trying to decide what I should post on my blog I think back to this list. If it falls in line with the words on the list, it fits my blog.

Response: Stop Selling, Start Listening

Screenshot via PINK nation app

After I read this post urging public relations professionals to stop selling and start listening one brand came directly to mind: Victoria Secret PINK.  The article mentions that no matter how good a technique is it can not make a consumer buy something. It stresses the importance of taking a step back from selling and taking a moment to listen. The article says listening to consumers can be as simple as “interviewing 15 of your client per day, regularly joining the sales team, or spending a few hours in the call center.”

Victoria Secret PINK takes this to a whole new level, and to be honest, I did not even notice they were doing it. Victoria Secret has taken knowing their audience to a new extreme, there is a Victoria Secret PINK app for the iPhone in which they ask you to take pictures of things that inspire you and offer “PINK” filters for the photos. They run contests on Pinterst asking for contestants to create boards that reflect what they think PINK is.  The most sneaky tactic though, is the competitions. Every couple months Victoria Secret sends out contests that urge PINK lovers to create designs for shirts, water bottles, or purses. Through competitions PINK gets a great look into what their consumers want, and who wouldn’t want to win a competition?

Response: The Advertising PR Mix

After I read this article from AdAge.com I felt the need to take a closer look into the advertising vs. public relations debate. I feel like people are constantly trying to separate the two when in reality we should be working on merging them.  The article had one particular part that stood out to me.

“In the same way that the mass-market culture of the 1950s created the need for brands, today’s social-technical culture is forcing brands to employ a new model for interacting with the public.”

We all know social media is changing the way we interact with the public, but I have never thought about this as a paradigm shift as the article points to.

The article also mentioned Nike and that their advertising budget is now a shred of what is used to be while their marketing communications budget is growing. Nike is a company I believe to be fairly innovative in its marketing, public relations, and advertising techniques, so this is something I find to be pretty big.  I feel lucky to be caught in the midst of a changing culture, it’s not every day you get to watch and participate in such shifts.

Blog Karma


Today I was browsing through one of my favorite websites self.com and I stumbled across a link they posted to the “60 Must-Follow Health and Fitness Twitter Account for 2012.”  I thought about what a simple, and easy way it was to promote blogs, Twitter accounts, and Facebook pages.

Sometimes I find myself blindly searching through the Twitter “people to follow” section but after that is exhausted I usually give up.  I think we can all agree people never really get tired of following new people on Twitter, but we can’t always find good people to follow.

By promoting your favorite Twitter handles or Facebook pages you can use the pay it forward to promote yourself without a shameless Twitter plug. I love the simple idea of this website and making best of lists. It is such a simple tool for startup bloggers like myself more followers. Not only does it help generate interesting content, but it is a great way for public relations professionals to establish good relationships with other professionals.

We all know that with social media the build it and they will come theory is not the best, so share your favorites and hopefully they will share you, lets call it generating blog karma.

Check my blogroll on the side of this page to see my favorite blogs!

Response: Social Media vs. Email

Photo via Apple.com

On this blog I have talked a lot about social media, but after reading this article I feel inspired to discuss email vs. social media.  In the article the author quotes research that said when sending a news release 90 percent of survey respondents said they would do so via email. The article notes that goal of social media is “to develop relationships with media and influencers, build trust and maintain transparency, share current news, or solicit feedback on products and services.” Amongst the media more private methods are still preferred.

In an introductory journalism class we discussed the difference between transparent and translucent.  Our professor suggested that companies should be translucent, and allow consumers and the public to see the workings of the business, but not everything.  When I read this article I could not help but think of how true that statement sounded.  A company can use social media for a lot of great things, but there would be no point in sending a press release via social media because the release would already be public. Very few journalists would be eager to bite on a story already released. What do you think of transparent vs. translucent?

“Normal Gets You Nowhere”

Photo of book cover is from KellyCutrone.net

If you have ever heard of Kelly Cutrone you know that she is an outspoken publicist who refers to herself as a “Power Bitch.”  In her last book, “Normal Gets You Nowhere” she spoke out against the issue of fur in the fashion industry. As someone who manages people images this may seem like a bold move to bash the industry you work in. But she did not get to the top by being passive.

“I hate to break it to you, but if you think fur’s glamorous, it doesn’t mean you have fabulous taste; it means you’ve been programmed to be totally numb to suffering.” – Cutrone, Normal Gets You Nowhere

After learning about corporate social responsibility, CSR, in some of my classes this term I started thinking about what individuals could do as a measure of their own “personal CSR.” I came to realize that CSR is really just giving back in some way to the community you work in. Yes, the meaning of the term itself hits at the fact that normally this comes corporations, but I think we can adapt the general idea to people as well. For individual people who seek to work in the public relations field, one of the most important things you can do is establish your voice, and to me this includes where you stand on issues.

After all the fashion industry definitely benefits from people like Cutrone who are willing to say there is something wrong happening. For Cutrone establishing her voice meant refusing to represent clients who openly endorse fur.

Response: Wearable Technology

Picture of iPhone cases via ToryBurch.com

As someone who is very interested in fashion, I had to think for a long time after I read this article.  The article summarized some of the new technology advances that we can expect in the near future and pointed towards a tech savvy trend. Although the article was fairly cryptic as to what we could expect, I would say I expect the “geek” trend to catch on.

Although it is a little different, two major things that come to mind when I think of  tech trends that have caught on in the past couple years are phone accessories and ear buds.  Celebrities are often pictured walking down a street nose buried in their iPhone.  With this iPhone cases, particularly desginer cases, have become a HUGE part of the fashion industry. Designers such as Tory Burch and Kate Spade have even created iPhone cases bearing their label.  Not to mention the Beats by Dre headphones that celebrities like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus are constantly pictured with.  If the past is any indication of the future I would say that more tech trends are bound to catch on.

Pose

I admit, I am one of the many journalism students that is mildly obsessed with social media. I love finding new social media platforms and applications.

I recently heard about an app called “Pose” when I was scanning through Twitter. Essentially Pose is a an app that allows its fashion obsessed users to post pictures of their outfits and fashion finds and get the opinions of others.  The app also gives you the option to list where certain items are from so that you can find out where to purchase them.

The app gained popularity when stylist and fashion powerhouse Rachel Zoe began using it, as of June 1, 2012 she had 470,993 followers.

I admit I was a little hesitant to share pictures of myself because of possible negative feedback.  The app does a great job of remaining positive and only gives users the ability to like photos, and comment, on photos. There is no option to dislike photos.

Check out Pose to see all the fashion inspiration you can handle!

Response: The Role of Social Media in Marketing


The Importance of Responding:
I have often read that a great public relations tactic is to respond to followers on social media.  I did not fully understand what part this played in social media until I read this article about the role of social media in public relations campaigns.

The article talks about how social media can not exist on its own, you have to integrate it into your public relations strategy or you will not be able to create a cohesive “community.”

Last year I was at the Nordstrom half yearly sale and I tweeted to Nordstrom,

“My two hour drive to the closest Nordstrom was worth it! I got the best deal on a @Stevemadden coat #halfyearlysale.”
Within about 20 minutes Nordstrom replied to me and said , “Thank you for being such a great customer!”
Sure, it may be an automated response, but it made me feel engaged and appreciated. Now I tweet at Nordstrom whenever I am in the store. Who are you’re your favorite companies or brands to tweet at?

Response: Should Brands Pin Sans Pricing?

Screenshot of Pinterest.com

I recently read this article on PRCouture.com about prices being displayed on Pinterest and I could not agree more.
The article noted research shows brands should post pins on Pinterest without adding a price banner.  A price banner is a small banner that displays the price over the top left hand corner of a pin. This seems like a good idea for brands trying to promote online sales of clothing, but a recent study found discovered just the opposite.

The article noted that the price bar displayed over the top left corner of the picture feels too commercial. My personal dislike for the price banner is for very different reasons.  Many people, including myself, use Pinterest to create mood, or inspiration boards. When I see a price displayed I am less likely to repin the item because it throws off the aesthetic, or artistic appeal of a picture. In other words, it is the wrong type of social media for this for prices. Simply linking back to the store in the caption would be more fitting for this type of media.

Then there is the money taboo.  The article mentions that few people want to broadcast how much money they would spend on certain items. Pinterest is one of the most public social media platforms because for a most people there is very little personal information displayed. For example, I follow people on Pinterest and allow people to follow me that I would never be friends with on Facebook. The only thing they are going to find out is that I love pictures of baby otters and I love to DIY. For most people I think the idea of showing the world how much money they spend on a pair of shoes is just a little to personal. Do you repin prices?