Friday, June 21, 2013

My PR Fundamentals II class: Learning Outcomes.

Yesterday was an important day for me and all of my classmates. Separated on several groups we were assigned to prepare a communication plan for a real client, Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The plan had a goal to target youth audience, 15 to 25 years old people. I must admit it was a real challenge, this time everything appeared to be serious: 1 out of 5 proposed plans will be named as the Winner and be executed (at least partially, with the use of its ideas). By the end of the course we were asked by our instructor to reflect on 3 key learnings each of us have taken away. Further, I'm going to justify my point of view on that question, followed up by the learnings concerning the PR project we've worked on for the past 6 weeks.

The first topic that stands out to me the most after completing the course is Ethics in PR. Protecting relationship with the audience and public trust is essential to the organization's reputation and PR practitioner in particular. Moreover, it depends primarily on the actions of the last one. Public Relations organizations are developing and maintaining their code of ethics, which are expected to be obeyed by all its members. The primary objective os such codes is usually to guide and educate members on the subject of professional conduct. Despite all that, ethical dilemma still exists. Many, if not all, of the major PR firms routinely engage in unethical practices. Let's face it, they do that to clean up the mess for their client, and money is a big motivator in the "era of materialism, services and price tags". The common sense must navigate each and everyone: be true and honest to yourself, be trasparent and interactive with those around you, be respectful to the cause you are working on. There's no science behind it and it goes without saying.

Secondly, I had a good lesson on how to measure social media Return On Investment. Many PR practitioners are frustrated when dealing with ROI. Though measuring it may not be perfect, it's not impossible yet. This is a great way for both small and big businesses to assess what they are getting out of their social media commitment. For example, Facebook has Conversion Measurement tool allows advertisers to record the behaviour of the users. But ideally, user clicks and then registeres on company's site. Optimized CPM tool helps Facebook ads target the right people. At the same time, measurement seems to be loosing its weight between impressions and likes, which makes interactions very relevant. That's why everything should be maintained and measured altogether. Analyzing website analytics against pay per click is  another way to measure. To sum it up, no social media ROI measurement is perfect and I realized that it takes time to find the best way to measure social media presence and mentions.

My third and not the least important learning outcome is about Crisis Management and Emergency Preparation. Self-reliance become indispensable in situations when a lot of people are affected at once. Immediate response and preparedness are much more effective when discussed and planned prior to potential crisis. Crisis Management is a matter of facing the threat quickly. That includes minimizing negative perception and losses. The first step in developing a plan should be the conduct of a SWOT analysis. Once possible theats and weaknesses are assembled into a list, the group should discuss the action during the time of current crisis. These simple actions will eliminate the turmoil and minimize the frustration in difficult circumstances.

Finally, I would like to mention the learnings from the idem CMHR project. Crafting a message for youth we were confused in the beginning. Maybe because of the fact that me and my groupmates represent only the last sub-audience on a scale from 15 to 25 years old. We decided to go on streets and simply talk to young people. Engage them into conversations about the new Museum, information that they are aware of, attidudes, concerns. And the main point we were trying to make is what do Human Rights mean to them. We value every opinion. After several days of interviewing random strangers we finally shaped our own vision on the project. I think it would not be as easy to accomplish the work we've done without simple interaction with our target audience. And I'm going to use this approach further while practicing my Public Relations skills.

Comment #3(4)

Getting Back To Basics: Why Brands Are getting it Wrong in Social Media. By Brian Solis. May 21, 2013.

Comment. June 21, 2013.

Understanding the importance of social media today, I definitely support organizations that use social media channels to connect with the public. Social networks are used by the companies as the tools that are effective and useful in their efforts to reach their target audiences, no doubts. However, from my own observations I defined several reasons why social networks are not the key influencers for evaluating company's performance. At times, it is wrong and potentially dangerous for the brands to rely solely upon communication channels.

Troubles while using Twitter or Facebook appear uexpectedly and usually caused by the delays in Application Programming Interface, which frustrates users who are trying to post something. Such platforms are also being changed frequently without any prior warning to users. The way content appears in user feeds and the following sharing are affected as well. The real social posts made by real people are often being pushed down to the bottom of the feed by the biased news feeds that are defined as "most popular". Not every member of the social audience gets to see the the message posted at the moment. And the last but not the least, how uncommon is it for you to see annoying spam coming from fake or hacked accounts? A well established connection between organization and its audience can be seriously harmed in seconds because of virtual attacks. Many users would prefer to unsubscribe from the organization's feed and find another source of information rather than wait till the problem is eliminated.

From: Twitter Terms of Service. 
Effective: June 25, 2012

From: Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Last revision: June 8, 2012

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Future of Care Campaign at Misericordia Health Centre

Misericordia Health Centre has been providing health care to Manitobans since 1898. It is a non-profit organization geverned by a volunteer Board of Directors. Today, Centre offers a vide range of health programs from walk-in Urgent Care to Misericordia Place, personal care home that has 100 bed. As a research and teaching centre, Misericordia affiliates with different educational organizations, University of Manitoba and Winnipeg are among them.

Centre has been going through a comprehensive redevelopment since May 2011. Among the facilities under construction are Buhler Eye Care Centre, the Ambulatory Diagnostic Centre and PRIME, a day centre for seniors. Misericordia workers are proud to be a part of the project which was started as The Future of Care campaign that encourages community partnership. Redevelopement campaign was launched as of June 16, 2011. Bonnie and John Buhler generously donated $2 million dollars for the cause, the province has pledged $38 million, and the Misericordia Foundation contributed $7 million for Phase 1 of redevelopment.

During the beginning of the massive redevelopment Misericordia Health Centre Foundation hired a new Communications and Fund Development Officer, Glynis Corkal. Glynis's backround embraces great marketing and communications experience that she gained while working for the National Sccreen Institute, ProMar Management Services, SAAN stores and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. The Future of Care campaign plan was projected for over the next few years. Dirung this period Glynis's personal competence will include developing a monthly giving program and suppoting special events throughout the year. Glynis also manages newsletters, donor recognition and direct mail pieces.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Comment #2

New Digital Influencers: The Coming Youthquake. By Brian Soilis. May 14, 2013.

Comment. June 4, 2013.

This article proved to me that my brother Daniel is a true representative of the Generation Z. He was born in 2001 when I was 13 years old. At that I already had my first computer. More and more of friends of mine were getting new PC's. Digital era occupied our lives inevitably. Social networking became a new way to connect with people and
share. To me it was mind blowing. I could chat with teenagers just like me from all over the world in real time. Browsing different online chats, joining numerous rooms dedicated to specific topics, spending my leisure time a home in front of the computer screen seemed to be fun, but my parents  did not take it that way. Enough was enough. My web consumption was limited to a certain point. But I still wanted to enrich the connections and expand the view. Later on, even the time spent together with my little brother became a mutual staring at the computer screen. Sometimes, the only way for me to calm cranky 2 year old Daniel, was to put him on my lap and make busy with following the activities on the screen. Being 3 years old, he was able to play sophisticated computer games and persistently demanded his own private time to do so. Even being grounded for misbehaviour and suspended from gaming, Daniel knew how to put together completely unplugged computer wires and play at least a little bit before he gets caught. I was fun watching him doing that. Being 5, he was advising our mother about her cellphone options that she had troubles with.

He is turning 12 this month and knows how to use many devices that I know of. He he has his own laptop, tablet, Xbox, PS Vita, and Ipod. Soon he's gonna get a cell phone and the rest is in history. But now, I often hear him talking to his friends from US, UK, Germany, Brazil, and many more as they play online together. Socializing online has become a part of his everyday life. He is very friendly, sociable, funny and cute in real life conversations. I'm sure that he found his most appropriate balance between the two worlds and I'm very proud of him. As for myself, I think our Technological Era is just the beginning...