If the Shoe Fits

Splitshire

“Sometimes the best part of my job is that the chair swivels.” – Anon

Where do you want to work? What direction do you want your career to go in? What kind of office is the best fit for you? These questions can be difficult ones to answer, particularly for a new communications grad!

Working in an office for a large corporation would have some benefits: you could meet lots of new people in your office, each day will be different than the last, and you might get a chance to work on a variety of projects.  Also, there is less expectation to work over time.  This is good because people would like to have a better work life balance, which results in a healthier life, more happiness, and greater productivity.

On the other hand, it might be challenging to work in a large corporation  because you might be having to work around silos or office politics.  Things would happen more slowly because large ships take a long time to steer in a different direction.  You would also have to really be in line with the corporate identity and stakeholder vision.   If a highly visible corporation makes a mistake, it will show up in the media and your job might be to deal with it well, or get fired!

This is in contrast with  smaller agency, where you might enjoy more creativity in your daily work life, or at least a different kind of creativity.  The pace of change would be faster since small agencies  are able to be more agile.  A small public relations or marketing boutique might be a good place to learn a lot of new things in a short period of time while working closer with team mates and feeding on each others energy.   There is probably an element of team work and working with like minded people that you might not get in a corporate environment. However, sometimes people in agencies don’t have a great work life balance, which can be unhealthy and stressful.

A non profit organization might be a smaller environment than a corporate office. I think it would be another good example of a good place to learn a variety of new things at a fast pace.  Non profits cannot afford to hire a lot of employees with specialized skills, so employees wear a lot of different hats.  A non profit would be an excellent place to begin your career and get the skills you need to progress in your career because you have to enjoy being a jack of all trades to succeed in a non profit position.  Employees of a non profit might have the privilege of feeling good about giving back to the community in their career.  It would be very rewarding if it was a good fit.

I hope to work in a place with nice people, and where the work is creative and challenging.  I want to learn as many things as possible, and of course I want to please my boss by being a good employee!  Increasingly, people are wanting a good work life balance for their career so that they can be happy, and perform at optimal levels.

Where is your dream job?

Advertisements

In Sickness or In Health?

StockSnap

According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke foundation, most Canadians spend the last ten years of their life in sickness instead of in health.  If you knew that making healthier life style choices in your youth would help you to live better in your golden years, would you do take action?

“Will you grow old with vitality? Or will you grow old with disease?”

The PSA above takes the viewer though a moving story line.  It uses imagery to take you though one person’s last ten years of life and portrays two possibilities: sickness or health.  For example, during your last ten years will you be putting on running shoes or hospital slippers? Will you be riding a bike outside or riding a wheel chair in a hospital?  Will you be strong enough for a game of tag with your grandchild?   Will you be tightening your tie and getting ready to attend a family gathering, or adjusting a breathing tube instead? Will you be surrounded by a happy family at a  holiday diner table, or dying in a hospital with a devastated spouse looking on?

The call to action for this campaign is that you can change your future by  flowing the link to the Heart and Stroke website and finding out how to stay healthy and active early on, or at any age.

Something about this campaign is very persuasive to me.  People  already know that it is important to make healthy choices in life, but this PSA makes it more visceral and real because it focuses on the day to day consequences of letting your health slip.  The Heart and Stroke Campaign was able to effectively use their authority as a leading health organization to be more persuasive.  The viewer was given a link at the end of the PSA to access information about how to be healthier.  These things give the campaign more legitimacy, and the viewer is encouraged participate by taking action.

Furthermore, the campaign appears to people’s sense of self interest.  Everyone wants to be healthy and happy, enjoying the good times in life such as time enjoying hobbies, family, and friends.  People want to feel as if they tried to live happy and meaningful lives.  The message here is presented with a real sense of  clarity because it tells you the truth, then asks you to take action or face the potential consequences of your inaction.

Once you get to the Canadian Heart and Stroke foundation website, they give you a collection of tools with which to take control of your health and your future.  The message for this campaign is to avoid stealing from your future, by taking care of yourself in the present.

What will your last ten years look like? 

Pink Slime, and Other Urgent Matters

What happens when your company or organization falls out of favour in the eyes of your stakeholders? 

gratisography.com

Stakeholders are too important to ignore because stakeholders include the community in which your company does business.  Without their business, making a profit would be impossible.  In fact the Standford Research Institute defines stakeholders as “those groups without whose support the organization would cease to exist.”

Stakeholders are sometimes well informed, while other times they are reactive.  That’s why it is important to decide on the type of image you want to present to them.  Hopefully this is a transparent image! However, transparency isn’t enough when it comes to communicating ones brand, mission, values, or general opinions.  In addition to building trust with stakeholders using transparency, organizations should avoid association with guilty parties:  Employees and spokespeople must be trained to know about key messaging, mission, values, and so fourth.  We have all heard of brands who have been tarnished by a misspoken word from a spokesperson.

If you encounter a PR disaster, that is when it is most important to stop and think about what to do next before you act.  Try to think of things from the perspective of your stakeholders so that you can craft the right message to send them.  Without this strategy, you might end up like BPI (Beef Products Inc.), who was sued in 2012 due to public backlash regarding their ‘pink slime’ product (lean finely textured beef).  Pink Slime is filler product that is used with inexpensive meat products for use in grocery or fast food chain hamburgers for example.  Pink Slime received some bad PR, and then BPI was sued because it did not effectively address its stakeholders.

Jamie Oliver, who created much of the press surrounding BPI, was much more successful in targeting his stakeholders when he took his position against Pink Slime.  He knows who his audience is, and acted accordingly.

The Lump: Cancer Research UK Campaign 2015

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu, the Art of War.

I searched the depths of the internet for a great public relations campaign, and came up with a public relations stunt that was done in the UK during 2015 for Cancer Research UK.  Here it is below:

Give it a watch! I think that what makes this campaign amazing is that it was done without words.  It is entirely strategy and tactics in action.  In the video, Cancer Research UK staged a public relations stunt.  They found a busy street, and made a slowly growing lump in the pavement.  Surprisingly, people ignored it and did not question it, even when it became a massive bump!  This campaign communicated how  easy it is to ignore your health until it it too late.  It reminds people of the importance of taking care of their health, particularly when it comes to cancer, since some types of cancer are survivable if detected early.

I think that this campaign speaks to the fact that people too often ignore the signs due to fear.  Instead they hope that the bad thing will just go away.  Unfortunately, this sometimes prevents them from getting a troubling lump checked out, or they neglect checking for troubling lumps in the first place, in case one appears.  This campaign communicates the importance of taking care of your health by being aware of the early signs of cancer, even when it is scary.  It also reminds people of the possibility of donating money to cancer research, and brings awareness to their organization as well as the general issue of cancer and cancer research.

How did they do it? Strategies and Tactics!

When public relations professionals create campaigns, they use strategies and tactics.  Strategies are your ‘big ideas’.  A strategy is the  problem that you are trying to solve, or the thing that you are trying to accomplish.   A tactic is a plan for exactly how you are going to carry out your idea, or how you are going to solve your problem.

I think that the strategy for the Cancer Research UK campaign, was to make people more aware of their own organization, to make people more aware of cancer in general, and to remind people to be proactive about checking for early signs of cancer.  I think the campaign succeeded because it made it obvious how easy it is to ignore a lump! The tactic was to communicate this strategy using a public relations stunt.  The professionals behind this campaign created a growing lump in the middle of the pavement on a busy street in the UK to see how people would respond.  Amazingly, people did not notice the lump until it grew into a big bump!

No one likes paying attention to lumps because potentially cancerous lumps are scary, and we would rather pretend that they don’t exist.  Don’t forget to check!

freeimages

The Last one who Makes it to Summer is a Rotten Egg

“It is the Long, Steady, Plodding ones who win the Lifelong Race” – Robert Service

PX

Last week in PR Fundamentals class we learned about the RACE acronym: Research, Action, Communication, and Evaluation.  RACE is a good reference point on how PR should be carried out successfully.  First, before you do anything else, you must avoid putting the cart before horse.  When you are faced with a public relations assignment at work or school, you must first do some research, even though it is tempting to jump right into the more fun, creative parts!

Starting with research was kind of a light bulb moment form me since I thought that you would want to ‘backwards engineer’ the thing by starting with the creative parts first, coming to a conclusion, and then backing it up with research.  At first, beginning with research confused me but then I realized how silly I was being before, by ignoring research until later.

gifsoup

I can’t believe that I would make a mistake like that, particularity after spending years studying history for my bachelors degree, where it was all about research, all the time.   Or maybe I just got tired of research and wanted to be creative for a change!  This isn’t to say that you can not begin thinking of creative visions for the final product in the beginning.  If you already have ideas, write the down and then brain storm a bit so that you don’t forget them!! I found that to be very useful because you can get your initial impressions out of the way,  and then allow your brain some creative thinking upfront.

However, then you have to put that aside and begin researching first.  Actually, I found that researching gave me a better, more creative perspective for the final product and allowed me to create a better strategy.  To review: First, research by finding out everything you can about the situation, and maybe even do a SWOT or use another tool.  Find the problem that you need to solve, then take action:  Or rather plan how to take action.  Use the research to assess and decide what to do next.  The next step after action is communication:  Decide exactly how to communicate your message to people most effectively.  Finally, evaluate: review what you already have, and begin the process again if necessary before executing your plan or continuing with an already established plan.

Conclusion: RACE is very useful.  I think that I will try experimenting with it and using it more in the future, to see what happens.  I am also inspired to look up other similar methods!  Do you know of any? Let me know if you do, as I want to gather all the tools I need before graduation!!

Also here is another image of summer.  It snowed today and I feel like I cannot stand winter for another day!  I will have to wear my winter boots today.  Tragic.

pixaby

Daylight Savings Time, the Thing That Happened Because of an Eccentric Australian Entomologist.

pixaby

According to CBC News, Oregon State Senator Kim Thatcher wants to put forward a motion to abolish daylight savings time.  Similar motions have also been proposed elsewhere.  Ever since its creation, daylight saving time has created controversy and discussion.

I was under the impression that day light savings time was created for the benefit of farmers.  Apparently, this is not true at all.  The idea of daylight savings time  was first implemented in Germany during the year of 1916, and soon the idea spread throughout the known world.  The original reason for daylight savings time was to give everyone an extra hour of daylight after working hours so that they could enjoy things like sporting events,shopping, or time with family and friends.  There you have it, daylight savings time isn’t good for farmers after all!

Still,  I think that  over all, daylight savings time is something positive.  There are a number of reasons for this but  the most important one is that daylight savings time improves your health. 

Physical Health

1. Being Outside is Good for you.

(Provided that you are wearing sunscreen).  It helps you to reconnect with nature, gives you vitamin D, and  the opportunity to be physically active.  Having an extra hour of sunlight in the evening is great for outdoor activities and keeping fit.  People who exercise live longer and healthier lives during their golden years.

2. You will be Thankful for More Sun on Your  Commute to Work in the Winter.

It makes sense to have an extra hour of sun in the morning during the winter months due to daylight savings time because the sun triggers chemicals in the brain that help you to wake up properly and be productive.

Doesn’t this image make you want to grab your dog and go jogging in St.Vital Park? (Pixaby)

Mental Health

3. Community is Important.

Daylight savings time gives people the chance to relax after working hours and recharge by spending time with family and friends.  Studies show that we are happier, healthier, and more successful when we have a large network of supportive friends and family.  Those relationships require time and place with which to nurture.

4. Leisure Time is Important.

People need time to unwind before going back to work the next day.  Spring and summer are great times to be out and about.  Besides nature and health related actives, there are also commercial actives that thrive during the sunny spring and summer months when people flock to BDI,  the Folk Festival, museums, farmers markets, bars, or sporting events. Also, having extra daylight hours to spend with hobbies can have measurably positive effects on your mental health.

5. It isn’t  That Important.

Daylight savings time was invented because an eccentric entomologist named George Vernun Hudson wanted more time for his insect collecting hobby.  It came into existence under ridiculous circumstances, and it might as well stay that way; ridiculous things can be good!  Besides that, some cultures don’t even view time as a linear entity.

gifsoup

I can understand why people argue about daylight savings time though, because I think that the subject of time is a point of contention for people for a reason.  No one really feels as if  they ever have enough time, and humans have not come to a consensus on exactly what happens after each of our time is up.

So, are you a fan of daylight savings time?

Learning an Essential Life Skill: Networking!

Pixabay
Pixabay

“If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go with others.” – African proverb.

“How do I network?” is probably a question that most university students frantically ask themselves, with good reason: Studies show that more positions or promotions are awarded by referral, than by paper or electronic application.  Also, people with a larger network of support from friends and acquaintances are happier.   Networking is a positive thing because it is about relationship and community building.   It will help you learn from others, improve your career, and help you to improve the careers of others.  It can also lead to lasting friendships or positive impacts on the community around you.

So how is it done?  I am not an expert yet, but I definitely am eager to master this skill!  Luckily, emotional intelligence can be learned.   I did some research and found that Lisa Green-Chau explains exactly how networking works in her  TED talk on the subject of networking for students.  According to Lisa, networking is about accessing not only your strong ties, but also your weak ties, which are friends of friends.

Networking can be done by volunteering in your community, going to networking events, or simply conversing widely and getting people excited about your world and ideas.

This confuses me because you wouldn’t think that your sister’s boyfriend’s wedding photographer’s softball teammate would care about helping you advance your career.  However, when you think about it, we all feel good when we can help each other out in some way.

My first, but not last attempt at networking

I’m still not sure exactly how to network, but I gave it a try using LinkedIn and Twitter.  I found that people will respond  to a tweet on twitter if you have something in common with them, such as your field of work or study.  However, after that I didn’t know what to do next to cultivate the relationship further besides pressing the follow button.

I also tried networking on LinkedIn.  I found some users who have a similar educational background as mine, or whom I admire for their work, community involvement, or  achievements.   It is difficult to contact LinkedIn users to ‘pick their brain’ without using InMail which only comes with the premium version of LinkedIn.  Also, I feel a bit unsure about pressing the ‘connect’ button in LinkedIn if I haven’t personally met the person yet because I wonder if that would be perceived as forward, or if it would just be ignored.

Sometimes you feel like giving up when learning a new skill.

vivanorrzuzu

I’m not going to give up on learning how to network because I want to learn from people, share ideas, and build a community around me.  Let me know if you learned things that have worked for you!