Saturday, December 5, 2009

Quotes Holiday Party - Dec. 8

Hello Quotes Members!

We hope everyone has been surviving through the remainder of the semester -- vacation is almost here! Quotes is happy to let you all know that our holiday party is around the corner. The holiday party will be at iKiwi, a local and delicious frozen yogurt spot on Dec. 8, at our regular meeting time, 6 - 7 p.m. Quotes will be paying for your frozen treat, as long as it does not exceed four ounces. Other yummy holiday goodies will be at the party as well.

iKiwi is located at the intersection of Mc Culoch and Alafaya. It is inside the plaza next to Blockbuster and Publix. We hope to see many of you celebrating the end of this wonderful semester with Quotes. Please make sure you have submitted your Quotes member applications by this time, so you are eligible to be an FPRA Student Member.

If you have any questions or concerns please e-mail or check our Facebook page, Quotes the Ad/PR Club for updates.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Re-Cap of the Last Three Member Meetings

Quotes has had a lot going on these past two months, see below for meeting re-caps!

11/17 Meeting Recap: Joel Glass Talks Magic

On Tuesday, Nov. 17, Joel Glass, the VP of Communications for the Orlando Magic, came to the Quotes meeting to share his PR wisdom with all of us. He discussed how he managed the onslaught of positive publicity when the Orlando Magic made it to the NBA playoffs and finals earlier this year.

Before he spoke about the opportunities that came for the Magic when they made it to the finals, he talked about his communications objectives for the Magic and his overall PR philosophies. Here are some of the points he touched on:

  • When Glass is giving the players advice on dealing with reporters, he tells them to always remember their ABCs. ACKNOWLEDGE the reporter’s question, BRIDGE to what you want to say, and CLEARLY communicate your message. You don’t have to answer their specific question – develop your messages and clearly communicate them.
  • On the viral nature of social media: Everyone is a reporter. Traditional media has gone out the window, along with all of its rules. “With great technology comes great responsibility.”
  • If he had to boil PR down into three main points: (1) deal with crises from a position of strength, (2) minimize the negative and (3) maximize the positive.
  • Media relations activities are based on a combination of the message, audience, timing and method.
  • Glass asks each of the players to list three ways they want others to perceive them. He then bases the player’s media relations strategy on these desired perceptions. For example, Dwight Howard wanted to be viewed as hardworking – he now does all of his interviews as he’s walking off of the court.
  • When you’re using social networking as a part of your communications plan, make sure you know you have a specific strategy with specific objectives. Remember that every word counts. Glass suggests taking a few minutes each day to determine what you’re going to say through your social media channels.

Then Glass discussed how he dealt with the wave of positive media coverage resulting from the NBA finals. He said the key to keeping his sanity during this very busy time was to have a strong plan already in place. The Magic plans to go all the way to the finals every year and has a communications plan in place for when they do. Planning is an essential part of the public relations process, he said, and having plans in place for a number of circumstances is crucial.

Thanks again to Joel Glass for coming and speaking to us! GO MAGIC!

Ad Club Resume Workshop Recap: 11/5

The Ad Club hosted a resume workshop with PR, advertising and marketing professionals from Acropolis, Disney and Work Force Central Florida to give resume tips and advice. With Intern Pursuit right around the corner, we encouraged all members to attend and spruce up those resumes in preparation. Here’s a recap of some of the advice the professionals shared.

  • Make sure your resume looks professional and is consistent in format and font.
  • Absolutely NO errors on your resume (All of the professionals on the panel said they will throw your resume at the sight of even one error.)
  • Prove positive results of your successes (i.e. increased media coverage by 10%, boosted sales 5%, etc.)
  • Make sure to have internship experience before you graduate!
  • Use a cover letter and use it to expand on the highlights of your resume and showcase your personality. Include detail as to why you’re a good fit for the company, the position (pull words from the job description) and show you’ve done some research.
  • DO include an objective on your resume and use it to target each position you’re applying for if you can. DON’T say “to find an internship…” It may come off seeming desperate.
  • Longevity in positions is important. If it’s not a job targeted to the profession you’re working toward, just put it closer to the bottom.
  • Bring copies of your resume to the interview. Bring your portfolio with you as well.
  • Skills the professionals are looking for: strong writers, coordination of projects, ability to multitask, detail-oriented, well organized, etc.
  • When you put something on your resume, be able to explain your experiences and how they are going to help you in this job.
  • Definitely include your membership in Quotes and/or Ad Club.
  • Send a thank you card or email the day of the interview. Follow up within two weeks of your interview but the professionals suggest doing so no more than twice. And make sure there is a position available and it wasn’t just a hopeful resume send-out.

Thank you to Ad Club for putting this very educational workshop together!

Quotes member meeting recap: Halloween Horror Night Trip 10/27

  • In celebration of Halloween, Quotes made a trip to Universal Studios’ corporate offices to learn about the entertainment side of the development of Halloween Horror Nights and, of course, about the PR opportunities that come along with such a popular event.
  • First, Patrick Braillard, the Entertainment Show Director, spoke about how he and his team come up with the overall theme each year and the scare tactics to be used in event. He told us about the creative process and how they sit around and watch scary movies and eat junk food to get inspiration on everything from the haunted houses to scare zones and even the entire movie-inspired theme this year.
  • To cover the public relations aspect of the event Kristen Clark and Meara Lyons, Universal Orlando’s PR coordinator and a PR representative respectively, told us all about their exciting role in making HHN a reality. They showed us the communications plan, told us about coordinating the media when they invite them into the park to preview the event and showed us some pretty spectacular media teasers they’ve sent out to entice them.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Intern Pursuit Employees as of 11/16/09

Curley and Pynn
Deatrick Public Relations
Edelman Public Relations
Fry Hammond Barr
Go Convergence
Massey Communications
Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc
The Rawls Group
Ron Sachs Communications
TJM Communications Inc.
True Marketing
Vantage Communications
VSM Advertising and Public Relations
VS Publishing Company

98.9 WMMO
AAA National Office
Art Calendar Magazine
Cox Events Group
Cox Radio Inc. (Interactive Department)
Florida Hospital
Florida Nurses Association
Goldner Associates
Oerther Foods, Inc.-McDonald's
Orlando Ballet
Orlando Business Report
Produce For Kids
Turnstile Publishing

American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
American Red Cross
Arnold Palmer Hospital
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Downtown Arts District, Inc.
Florida United Way

City of Orlando
City of Winter Park
East Orlando Chamber of Commerce
Orlando Health
Orlando Science Center
UCF News and Information

Friday, November 6, 2009

Intern Pursuit Employers as of 11/6/2009

Curley and Pynn
Deatrick Public Relations
Edelman Public Relations
Fry Hammond Barr
Massey Communications
Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc
Vantage Communications
VS Publishing Company

98.9 WMMO
Art Calendar Magazine
Cox Events Group
Oerther Foods, Inc.-McDonald's
Orlando Business Report
Produce For Kids

American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
American Red Cross
Arnold Palmer Hospital
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Florida United Way

City of Orlando
City of Winter Park
East Orlando Chamber of Commerce
Orlando Science Center
UCF News and Information

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Quotes presents this semester's Intern Pursuit

Hello fellow communication students!

On Wednesday Nov. 18, 2009, 6-8 p.m. Quotes is hosting its biannual Intern Pursuit where communication students are offered the opportunity to meet with Orlando professionals in the advertising, public relations and marketing industries. Intern Pursuit will take place at the Orlando Sentinel, 633 Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801. During Intern Pursuit students will have the opportunity to submit their resumes with companies seeking interns for the upcoming Spring and Summer semesters.

Professionals from around Central Florida attend Intern Pursuit in the hopes of hiring communication students with a desire to be a part of their organization and cause. Employers represent a number of industries such as non-profit organizations, government agencies, corporations and communication firms. Employers are currently sending in their RVSPs and a full list will be available as the event nears.

Students are not required to RSVP for Intern Pursuit, but are encouraged to dress in professional attire. Light refreshments will be served throughout the evening.

This year, Quotes members will have the opportunity to prepare their resumes for Intern Pursuit during the Ad Club's Resume Workshop on Nov. 5, 6:00 p.m. in the Student Union, Pegasus Ballroom. Quotes encourages students to attend and spice up their resumes.

We'll see you soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween Horror Nights Behind the Scenes Look: 10/27 Meeting Information

Greetings Quotes Members!

Our next member meeting on Oct. 27 will be Quotes' semester field trip. We have been invited to take a behind the scenes look at Halloween Horror Nights! Running in its 18th year, Halloween Horror Nights has become the most anticipated horror event in Orlando and Universal Theme Parks.

The presentation will be at the Universal Studios corporate offices where members will be given the full story of HHN from a public relations and marketing stand point. Members will also learn about how the Entertainment team decides on the theme and executes the event.


Since this meeting is off campus two options are available to members -- carpool and individual driving. Carpool will be available on campus, which will be provided by our board members, Dana Bakich (941-504-9990) and Julie Primrose (239-895-2677). Dana and Julie have four spots each in their cars, so if transportation is a problem they are the ladies to go to! You can meet them in front of VAB at 4:45 p.m. on Oct. 27, carpool will be leaving at 5 p.m. A carpool location will also be in Downtown Orlando, provided by Michelle Khouri (786-200-0221). Meet her on the courtyard of the Plaza building at the corner of Church Street and Orange Avenue. Downtown Carpool will be leaving at 5:15 p.m.

Members are encouraged to carpool with one another as well.

  • 20 Slots available for paying members ONLY
  • MUST RSVP by e-mail to by Sunday Oct. 25 at 9:00 p.m.
  • Presentation is from 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Address to Universal Corporate Office:
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, Florida 32819

Driving Directions to Universal Corporate Office:

From campus:

  • Take 408 Toll W ramp to Orlando/Ocoee
  • Take exit 10A to merge onto I-4 W to Tampa
  • Take exit 74B Universal
  • Merge onto Adventure Way
  • Turn left at Hollywood Way
  • Turn right at Co Road 439/Turkey Lake Rd
  • Turn right onto Universal Studios Plaza

Look out for updates on fliers, and the Facebook Page and group. Hope to see many of you at the behind the scenes look at Halloween Horror Nights!


Quotes, the PR club

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Second Meeting Recap: Board Elections & Laura Guitar

Hello Members --

In case you were unable to make the Quotes meeting this week, here’s a recap of all the fun that took place!

We began the meeting with elections for our two vacant board positions, president-elect and director of advertising.

Dana Bakich won as president-elect, and that’s no surprise! Dana presented in a way no one has ever done before at Quotes – she brought in different objects that represented her personality. She showed a football for her love of sports, concert tickets for her love of music, and a FPRA Conference pamphlet because of her passion for Quotes. Dana is currently the external director of Knight-Thon, the largest fundraising club at UCF. She is also interning with UCF Athletics, and aspires to intern for the Orlando Magic in the community relations department. Dana will be shadowing Michelle Khouri, Quotes president, throughout the coming year and will then transition as president of Quotes next year.

We had two candidates for the director of advertising position, Hillery Brooks and Charlene Ruhge. Charlene was unable to be at the meeting this week, but sent in a biography including all of her qualifications. Both candidates were very well suited for the position. Ultimately, though, Hillery won the election and is now officially your new director of advertising! She has a focus in graphic design and has been working with Photoshop and Illustrator for several years. Hillery just completed a year-long internship at a PR firm. Hillery will be the mastermind behind the flyers and other promotional collateral for Quotes you’ll see around UCF.

Congratulations again and welcome to the board, Dana and Hillery!

After announcing our board members, we switched gears and welcomed Laura Guitar, senior vice president of Edelman Orlando. Laura started off by explaining how she worked her way up in PR and how she eventually, with her colleague Lori Kifer, opened the Orlando office of the global PR agency, Edelman.

She gave insight into the fast-paced world of agency PR and the culture of the Edelman network. Here are some of the points she touched on:

  • The biggest change happening right now in PR is a shift toward focusing on public engagement. We must talk with consumers, not at them.
  • We are all aware of the growing popularity of social media as a PR tool, but we need to realize that it is a channel, not a strategy in itself. We must use it to our advantage – not use it as a crutch.
  • PR used to be focused on output (writing news releases, accumulating media hits, etc.); now, it’s becoming more geared toward behavior change. PR practitioners have to be more accountable for producing real results.

Laura then spent time during her presentation answering questions we had about Edelman, agency PR and the field in general. Here are a few highlights from the Q & A:

  • When hiring new employees and interns, Laura looks for prospects that have a deep intellectual curiosity about a variety of things, not just PR.
  • You must bring fresh ideas to the table and be passionate about whatever you’re working on.
  • You’ll be more successful if you gain an entrepreneurial vantage point – get to know the finance and legal team and really understand how the business works.
  • There’s no particular type of PR person. You just have to figure out what niche of PR you’re best suited for.
  • Critical thinking and offering fresh ideas are a must to make it in agency PR!

Laura finished off her presentation with an invitation to send in your resume to intern at Edelman. See previous blog post for more details.

Be sure to come out to our next meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 13. Grant Heston, assistant vice president of UCF News and Information will be there to discuss how UCF introduced the new tailgating policies and managed the issues surrounding their introduction. The meeting is all about UCF pride, being the Tuesday before the big game against the University of Miami, so be sure to wear your black and gold!

See you at the next meeting!

Masha Murakhovsky & Julie Primrose

Friday, September 25, 2009

Global Agency Looking for an Intern!

Edelman's Orlando office is looking for another intern to work on M/W/F. This is an unpaid internship, but a priceless opportunity to work for a global PR firm in their smallest office. You'll get real responsibility and learn how to work in a fast-paced agency environment. I work full time for Edelman, and absolutely love it!

Laura Guitar, the senior vice president of Edelman Orlando, will be presenting at the Quotes meeting on Tues, 9/29 from 6-7 p.m. at HEC 110, so if you want to get a vibe for the environment, talk to her at the meeting. Post resumes online at And I can promise you, we do read every resume that gets posted online.


Edelman's Orlando office is seeking students who can thrive in an entrepreneurial and high-energy environment. Your range of skills will grow with your interests and ability.
The Trainee is responsible for assisting with implementing and monitoring projects within a specific set of accounts under the direction of the supervisor. The Trainee works closely with and supports the needs of the account teams.

A Trainee must be able to work effectively with a variety of account service staff within a specific set of accounts. S/he must have good organizational skills and the ability to adapt to new conditions, assignments and deadlines. S/he must have solid knowledge of MS Office Suite and superior verbal and written communication skills. The Trainee is generally someone in school working towards a bachelor's degree and is looking for entry-level experience in public relations. S/he must demonstrate the ability to become a strong writer. Familiarity with the public relations discipline through past coursework or other internships is desirable.

To tell you a little about our internship/trainee program:
  • we have 1 trainee at any given time
  • the duration of the internship is a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 6 months
  • due to the fact that college credit is given, these internships are unpaid
  • some of our interns work a full-time schedule (Mon. - Fri., 8:30 - 5:30)
  • our entry-level positions are typically filled by our current or former intern pool; therefore, an internship at Edelman is a great way to get your foot in the door!
The Trainee is generally someone who is currently enrolled in a bachelor's degree program and is looking for entry-level experience in public relations. Although prior public relations work and academic training is not required, experience in a related field - marketing, communications, journalism, politics - is strongly desired. Successful candidates will display a passionate desire to learn, a fine attention to detail, the ability to work well under pressure and tight deadlines, and must live the Edelman values (quality, integrity, respect, entrepreneurial spirit, mutual benefit).

About Edelman
Edelman is the world’s leading independent public relations firm, with more than 3,100 employees in 51 offices worldwide. Edelman was named PRWeek’s “2008 Large Agency of the Year,” Holmes Report’s “2007 Global Agency of the Year,” and was listed as a top-10 firm in Advertising Age’s “2007 Agency A-List,” the first and only PR firm to receive this recognition. In 2007, CEO Richard Edelman was honored as “Agency Executive of the Year” by Advertising Age and “Most Powerful PR Executive” by PRWeek. For more information, visit

How to Apply:
Apply online at

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Meeting Recap - Fall 2009

What a great first meeting! We missed those of you who couldn't make it, so this blog entry is for you :)

We started right at 6 p.m., and I opened up with the shortest PowerPoint presentation that has ever graced UCF's projector screens. First, we introduced the new board members:
  • Michelle Khouri, President
  • Lauri Gagnon, Vice President
  • Masha Murakhovsky, Director of Public Relations
  • Julie Primrose, Communication Assistant
  • Roxanna Malidelis, Co-Director of Special Events
  • Denise Galang, Co-Director of Special Events
  • Nichole Millikan, Special Events Assistant
  • Armando Diaz, Treasurer
  • Tracy Culbreath, Secretary
After introducing the board members, we thought it was important to speak to the benefits of being a Quotes member:
  • FPRA membership is included in the cost of membership for Quotes
  • Whether you go to member meetings or volunteer at Quotes or FPRA events, you will have the opportunity to network with some of the top PR professionals in Florida.
  • At Quotes meetings, our main goal is to practice PR, not just to learn about it.
  • You will get a chance to meet fellow students with like interests. Most of my own friends I met in Quotes!
  • Quotes has partnerships with the Nicholson School of Communication (NSOC) and Ad Club. This enables us to have joint events and support school-wide. For instance, Ad Club is having a resume workshop on Nov. 5 (corrected from Nov. 4), which we are encouraging members to go to.
  • Develop your career and leadership skills at Quotes by joining the board or by networking with professionals at events.
  • Internship opportunities are one of the biggest benefits of being a Quotes member. Chances are, more than one person you know has gotten an internship or two through Quotes. I have gotten all three of my internships (and therefore, my full-time job) because of Quotes.
  • Member meetings teach you about PR and what it means to be a PR professional. Whether it be a panel of professionals, a behind-the-scenes pass, or a holiday party, Quotes meetings keep it interesting and informative!
When the presentation was over, it was time for Star Paper! Star Paper is a Quotes tradition, and involves a piece of plain white paper and a group's creativity. Groups are given ten minutes to figure out what they want their sheet of paper to can be absolutely ANYTHING. Then, they have to make a commercial and pitch it to the audience. Congratulations to team four, who won for their commercial for the Invisible Canoe!

That's just about everything from our first meeting. Some FAQs are below:

When are board elections and how can I run for the board?
Board elections for Fall 2009 are taking place at the next Quotes meeting, on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 6-7 p.m. at HEC 110. We will be looking for the next President-Elect and Director of Advertising.

To run for a position on the board, submit a brief paragraph about yourself to before 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 28. You will be given two minutes to speak during the front end of the meeting -- we recommend preparing something, so that you cover all of the points you want to make.

How much is membership, and when do I have to pay it?
Membership is $35 if you are a new member. If you were a member last year, renewal is $25. Membership renewal takes place every Fall, no matter when you paid for membership, so we suggest becoming a member in the Fall in order to take advantage of the full year of membership.

When are member meetings?
Every other Tuesday. The next three meetings are: 9/29, 10/13, and 10/27.

We hope to see you at our next meeting!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dillin Keynote Address: Disney’s Approach to Corporate Responsibility

By Armando Diaz, Quotes treasurer

Walt Disney World has become a staple in not only the American culture, but internationally as well. The Disney name and brand is perhaps one of the most recognized names and logos world-wide. With world-class adventure theme parks, first class hotels/resorts, and thousands of employees, remaining an important role in the local community and effectively running all aspects of Disney become major tasks of its corporate leaders.

Eugene Campbell, vice president of community relations and minority business for thee Walt Disney World Resort, discussed the many intricate ways in which Disney strives for high employee relations and community involvement. Effectively managing 60,000 employees can bring many challenges. In order to deal with these challenges, Disney requires that all newly hired employees attend Disney University. Disney University ensures that all employees learn the core values that Walt Disney himself developed in the early stages of development. While corporate leaders work hard to instill the initial work ethics Walt Disney established, they also strive to meet all of the needs of their employees by offering free programs and incentives. Campbell and the Disney Corporation try to set the golden standard in employee affairs and relations.

Campbell also spoke about the major role Disney plays in the Central Florida community and all throughout the State of Florida. Corporate officials become responsible for staying involved in all community relations. Within the Central Florida community, this can be seen by numerous scholarship funds given to local foundations, such as the Boys & Girls Club of Orlando. Statewide, Disney Resorts play a large role in turtle conservation. Many of their coastline resorts near the Vero Beach area have programs set up in order to facilitate the turtle population. The corporate offices designed rides and informational sessions in order to discuss the dangers turtles face. Whether on an international level or even in their own back yard, Walt Disney World Resorts strives to remain a world-class brand by promoting extensive employee relations and community involvement. Corporate responsibility and involvement heightens with the continued growth and success of Walt Disney World Corporations.

Breakout 2C: Nuts and Bolts of Social Media

By Lauri Gagnon, Quotes vice president

As the associate PR director of Kidd Public Relations in Tallahassee, Fla., Kelly Robertson, APR, delivered a very informative presentation on the basics of social media. These online tools were a reoccurring theme throughout the conference and Robertson was very knowledgeable and experienced on the topic. Reviewing the basics such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging, may seem simple and obvious for college students but it is clearly making huge waves in the PR community. These days anyone can become a reporter with a microblogging or Facebook update by endorsing a product, service or company. Having knowledge of these sites can greatly improve a possible job candidate's edge, so Robertson encouraged everyone to become familiar with these tools.

As an emerging technology, PR professionals are still trying to figure out the nuts and bolts of analyzing its impact. Tools such as Google Analytics and Insight for Facebook aid in unraveling the mystery of finding its place in the field. Despite the rising popularity of sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it is important to remember that they may die out in the future. The ideas behind social media will continue to evolve, so I wouldn't marry my Twitter account yet.

Breakout 1A: Social Media and Press Releases

By Dana Bakich and Jennifer Garvin, Quotes members

Our first morning breakout session began by entering a room filled with PR professionals. Laura Sturaitis, Senior Vice President of Media Services and Product Strategy from Business Wire spoke on social media and press releases. She focused her presentation on communicating effectively and how to tighten up your message to the public. Laura stressed the “3 E’s” which are

  1. Enhancing the release with formatting links and clever tag lines.
  2. Expanding your posting, delivery and reach through a push and pull format.
  3. Evaluate and measure your results- always look for ways to improve!

She also touched upon creating authority with Google. To ensure efficiency, index your captions and reinforce keywords related to your topic. Next, Laura moved onto search engine optimization. (You can use this to your advantage guys!) Blog it! Tweet it! Interestingly enough, the average “Googler” uses more than three words for their search. With that in mind, it is vital to identify keywords, link appropriately, podcast as much as possible and use social networks as a communication tool. Visuals and multimedia are the new key to successful releases and retaining the publics attention.

General Session A: It’s Not Web 2.0. It’s Not Web 3.0. It’s Simply Life.

By Michelle Khouri, Quotes President

Peter Shankman, founder of Help a Reporter Out (HARO), presented the first session titled, “It’s Not Web 2.0. It’s Not Web 3.0. It’s Simply Life.” Shankman is a lively, passionate man whose life centers around social technologies. His presentation offered three main pieces of advice:

Transparency. As students, we come across the issue of transparency on a daily basis. From something as simple as “Why did I get this grade?” to a more weighted issue like “How will budget cuts affect my education?” we all just want to know what’s going on. Shankman jokes (more like a half-truth) that social media lets you screw up with a larger audience in a shorter amount of time. When you make a mistake, as a student, professional, or just on a personal basis, be transparent. Let people know. As Shankman puts it, “If people see you learning from your mistakes, they’re much more likely to forgive you.”

Relevance. “The media is NOT dying. It’s fracturing,” says Shankman. “The Grand Canyon was created by rocks fracturing. And some people say it’s kind of cool to see.” Making your news relevant is key in a time when “news outlets” can be anything from The Wall Street Journal to to The big question is, “How do I make my news relevant?” It’s all about listening, says Shankman. In a “me, me, me” society, PR professionals need to take a “you, you, you” approach. “The second you start doing it for someone else is the second you get remembered, not recalled.”

Brevity. “LEARN TO WRITE. Social media requires us to write well. When you have less time to do it, you have to do it better.” Shankman emphasizes that in a time when media outlets are strapped for journalists, your audience has an average 3.7-second attention span and people only have a tolerance for 140 characters, being lengthy just isn’t a luxury. Being a good writer is more than just writing a good press release. It’s the ability to convey the message concisely -- in 3.7 second if you have to.

Breakout 5A: The AMMMO Approach to Strategic Communications

By Alexia Penna, Quotes member

In this session,
Jack Levine focuses on the AMMMO approach. Through knowing your audiences, messages, how to utilize the right messengers, and methods, you will reach your desired outcomes. You are the voice behind your company, products, and ideas. In order to get those “decision makers” to buy into your products and ideas you need to “build a bridge” between the two.

It all starts with your audience. You can’t afford to reach the general public. You will be way more effective if you target your audience. When it comes to donating money, you are better off targeting those over the age of 50 who have the means and are more willing to donate. In other words, college students should not be your target audience to try and get donations for your company.

Another important step to getting your desired outcome is your message. You have to make your message relatable to your audience as well as impactful. Different generations can watch the same commercial and if you are not the targeted audience, you will not understand what the message is saying

When it comes to getting your message across, you are more than likely to be heard if it is coming from the right messenger. If you’re a non-profit company, trying to get people to donate, you can't speak to the subject you are representing. It‘s just not that effective. Taking classes on a particular subject and receiving a degree in that subject doesn’t necessarily make you an expert. You should utilize those who are actually experiencing the situation. For example, you should let a foster child tell his or her story if you want credibility. Let them share the hard times as well as those who have positively impacted them. If the social worker speaks on his or her behalf, they will lack credibility.

The way you express your message should depend on the situation. Of course, face to face interaction is better than a phone call. Utilize all the media that you have available as well as the social networks to distribute your messages effectively.

Your outcome should be positively related to how well you execute each of the letters in AMMMO. Non-profit is all about doing the right thing towards the community. But if you are doing the right thing and not communicating it to the public, you are not maximizing your full potential as an organization.

Breakout 3C: One Size Does NOT Fit All: Cultural Influences in CSR Decision-Making

By Michelle Khouri, Quotes president

In her presentation, Leticia Solaun, CH2M HILL international PR liaison, touched upon the cultural aspect of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). According to Archie B. Carroll ("the father of CSR," according to Solaun), CSR is "the social responsibility of business that encompasses the economic, legal, ethical, and discretionary expectations that society has of organizations at a given point in time." Solaun's presentation makes the point that CSR is not a blanket strategy that should be to all clients, countries, and people. For instance, Solaun gave the example of the Hispanic culture. Solaun is Cuban and has focused her doctoral thesis on Hispanic culture with regards to CSR. "It's the Cuban paranoia," she says. Hispanics will almost never donate actual money to organizations, but will rather spend time and energy to donate physical items to help advance the given cause.

I bare witness to this on a personal level. My mother, a native of Colombia, has never donated money (to my knowledge) to a charity. However, she spent many years collecting old clothes and toys from our neighbors, family, and friends and would ship them (instead of her own luggage) to Colombia. We would personally distribute the items to orphanages around Bogota. In my mother's case, she grew up in a time when the Colombian government was struggling and corrupt. She is n
ot trusting
of large entities, and, like most Hispanics, wants to see where exactly her help is going and how it is being used.

The most important part of "glocalizing" a CSR program is making sure you understand the client's perspective of themselves, their culture, their business, their beliefs. Culture is a huge part of each society and it, many times, dictates how business within that society operate, what their customs are, and how they perceive community service and giving.

General Session C: Green Marketing Communications

By Jennifer Garvin, Quotes member

Wendy Cobrda and Amy Hebard, co-founders of EarthSense, LLC, illustrate the environmental, behavioral, social and public attitudes of the GREEN phenomena. They start off with the Eras of Green which are:
  1. Do no harm (environmentally)
  2. Doing well by doing green
  3. Using green as a strategy
Essentially, most consumers believe manufacturers are not taking enough responsibility for their harmful effects on the environment. According to data research by EarthSense, consumers choose not to participate in the green movement because they find it to be inconvenient and not accessible enough for their lives and daily occurrences. With that said, the goal is to fill the gap between consumer skepticism and confusion while enhancing a positive attitude and motivating actual behavior.

Wendy and Amy touched upon the 7 Sins of Greenwashing
  • Hidden trade offs (94%)
  • No proof (43%)
  • Vagueness (57%)Worshipping false labels (39%)
  • Irrelevance (11%)
  • Lesser of 2 evils (4%)Fibbing (0%)
These are the 7 sins and the percentage of products committing each sin. Scary.

Earthsense conducted a "biz indicator" which analyzed the "the corporate reality of consumer perceptions." The top ranked companies were:
  1. Amazon
  2. Apple
  3. Benjamin Moore
  4. Burt's Bees
  5. Discovery
Influencing these decisions are current trends, celebrities, social media, and general "buzz."

But more importantly, what does "Green" really mean? These factors determine a product's true green-ness:
  • What the product is made of (Compostable)
  • How the product is made (Production)
  • How the product is packaged (Packaging)
  • Where the product comes from (Distribution)
  • The environmental impact on the product (Consumption)
  • How the product is disposed (Disposal)
Being aware of these factors can greatly influence our understanding of the green movement and can hopefully make Americans wise consumers for many years to come. To learn more about EarthSense and the research they conduct, visit

General Session D: Re-branding the Tampa Bay Rays: New Name, New Logo, and New Attitude

"Batter up!" In this session, Tampa Bay Ray's VP of Marketing and Community Relations Tom Hoof began his lecture reflecting on the nostalgic experience of recreating the Rays' image and turning a broken brand into a championship team and company.

In 2006, the Rays went through an "Under Construction" campaign. They researched their previous name, " Tampa Bay Devil Rays" and realized a strong negative assocation between their name, "Devil Rays" and how fans spoke of them. When the fans spoke highly of the team they would exclaim, "Go Rays!" or "The Rays were great when... ." This led to the name change, "Tampa Bay Rays" and the new sunburst logo (a ray of light). To properly announce and educate the public on this new change they held a concert with Kevin Costner and his band; which inspired the "Summer Concert Series." They flooded the crowd and media with the new logo and name. To help the public engage the new brand a "Street Team" of college students was created, who were able to interact with children, as well as talk ball with season ticket holders.

The Rays campaign also featured (and currently features) promotion through different mediums, including:
  • TV, print, and radio
  • Outdoor
  • New media
  • Social networking
  • Experiential marketing

In addition to being active within the community, the players themselves dedicate time to the community on a personal level. Upon signing with the Rays, each player must agree to a contract requiring them to donate a part of their salary back to the community. They are also given the opportunity to use their donations towards their own pet project. Overall, the campaign Hoof and his team designed was very successful. (The winning season helped!) Ticket sales increased 40 percent from their media campaign and the morale of the fans grew tremendously in the past few years.

As students with a passion in the sports marketing and community relations industry we greatly enjoyed this session. For more information on the Tampa Bay Rays visit

Closing Session: Coming from a Position of Strength

By Michelle Khouri, Quotes president

In the last session of the day, presented by Carolyn Shaffer and titled “Coming from a Position of Strength,” we learned valuable lessons on how to grow by working on our natural talents. Shaffer started her presentation with a story about a rabbit that goes to school. The rabbit is enrolled in swim class, climbing class, and running class. Naturally, the rabbit excels with running, but fails at climbing and swimming, even after repeatedly trying. The moral of the story: the rabbit was made to run and was naturally good at it. Shaffer teaches about the strength movement, where the saying “You can be anything you want to be if you try hard enough,” shifts to the more realistic saying, “You can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be more of who you are.”

First, Shaffer offered definitions to the following terminology:

  • Knowledge: what we know (transferrable)
  • Skill: what you can do (transferrable)
  • Talent: natural way of thinking and behaving
  • Strength: the ability to consistently provide near perfect performance
  • Weakness: anything that gets in the way of excellent performance

The most important part of the strength movement is knowing exactly what is a strength and what is not. Something is most likely not your strength if:

  • It doesn’t come naturally
  • It is consistently difficult, sometimes even seemingly impossible
  • It is energy draining
  • It is confidence-reducing
  • Repeated experience shows little improvement

Some tips she offers us for how to work from a position of strength is to spend some time observing ourselves and others to figure out what makes us or them tick; link strengths to performance goals, and leverage them accordingly; reevaluate so-called weaknesses in order to see how to best manage them; and finally, keep the focus!

“How would you like to spend your day? Playing with your strengths or wrestling with your weaknesses,” asks Shaffer, “It’s a rhetorical question.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Breakout 2B: Meeting the Challenge: Employee to Employer!

By Armando Diaz, Quotes treasurer and Denise Galang, Quotes director of special events

Every day many people wake up to the same routine working a 9-to-5 job while they secretly wish they had the courage to plunge into their dreams of owning and running their own business. The session we just attended addressed the questionable risks involved in taking this big leap while also calming the nerves of those professionals ready to take their career to the next level and into their own hands.

Joe Curley, APR, CPRC, senior corporate communications council, Universal Parks and Resorts International and Jackie Kelvington, president of Kelvington consulting group, gave an insider's point of view on opening your dream public relations business. They mentioned the many reasons why current public relations practitioners decide to leave the comfort of their offices for the freedom of a self-owned business. For Kelvington, spending more quality time with her family and friends had the largest impact on becoming a self-employed public relations practitioner. Kelvington mentioned a her top three reasons for opening a self-operating public relations consulting group:

  • You set your own work schedule/hours

  • The possibility for more money

  • You chose your own clients

However, Curley also mentioned the downsides one may face when taking this risk. Some of the more important risks current public relations entrepreneurs must keep in mind are:

  • You lose the daily “office” environment

  • Paying for your own health care/memberships

  • You may have to rely on sales in order to meet and work new clients

  • A large individual workload may hamper your overall success and income

This panel discussion filled the voids of curiosity for the many professionals who are ready to invest in a challenge as well as those whose never considered of becoming their own boss. Whichever category you belong in, the session was definitely beneficial to all public relations professionals. As students, we learned about both being in a company and being the company -- good knowledge to have for the future!

Breakout 3A: PR is Not Always Loved by Management: Ten Ways to Earn a Position on the Management Team

By Lauri Gagnon, Quotes vice president, and Amber Bloom, Quotes member

Joe Curley, APR, CPRC, a 35-year PR veteran, past state FPRA president and winner of the 2009 Past President's Award, delivered an applicable and enlightening presentation on how to create a "romance" between PR and Management in his session. Noting that "true PR is about satisfying the annoyed without annoying the satisfied," Curley emphasized PR as personal relationships.

His ten strategies to elevate PR to a valuable contributor to the management team included:
  1. Don't wait to be asked
  2. Know what keeps the CEO up at night
  3. Analyze the big picture, not just the snapshot
  4. Get involved in the company's policy making process
  5. Lead the function of environmental scanning
  6. Serve as the conscience of the organization
  7. Develop and present action-oriented "decision making" information
  8. Know everything you can about your company's operations
  9. Monitor the direct competition and the marketplace
  10. Focus all of your PR activities

Curley closed his session with a personal case study. One of his clients, Universal Studios, was on the verge of opening their new attraction, Twister, when disaster struck Central Florida. Forty-one people were killed when tornadoes tore through a local town. Curley and his client were forced to face a difficult decision: should they go ahead with the opening of the natural disaster-themed ride or postpone it? He discussed the ethical dilemmas he faced in making his recommendation to postpone the opening. Even though the company would lose the movie stars for the opening, they decided to suspend it temporarily. The story was picked up by news outlets around the country and Universal Studios secured more publicity than they had anticipated. The end result was a positive image for the company, which saved more than $1 million on the opening of the ride and were left with a clean conscience.

Breakout 5C: Today's Public Relations Agency: Partner not Predator

by Amber Bloom, Quotes member

Deirdre Breakenridge is youthful and well-known in the industry; an accurate representative for what she's presenting, social media. The president of PFS Marketwyse agency and author of numerous books, Breakenridge speaks about putting the public back in public relations. The vastness of the Internet and constantly-growing plethora of networks only allows for a brief introduction into this subject. She offers solutions through changing professionals' attitudes, education and technology. The more PR professionals can adapt, the more valuable they become to their clients and their company; this helps in the constant struggle to prove PR's worth to top management.

The new hybrid of PR roles include: social media professional, market analyzer, web marketer, customer service representative, relationship marketer, viral marketer, conversationalist and listener. There is more emphasis on sociology than technology to customize consumers' outlets. For more information about Breakenridge's information, click on the "Partner Not Predator" link under FPRA Conference Resources in the right column of this blog.

Breakout 2A: APR -- Your Future, Your Career, Your Opportunity

By Michelle Khouri, Quotes president

In this session, presented by Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC, vice president of accrediation and certification for the FPRA executive board, I got to learn about the intricacies of becoming Accredited in Public Relations. Nall opened up the session with a short game of "Who Wants to be an APR?" a fun PR-oriented take on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? The information session taught us about the process of studying for and obtaining the APR.

To obtain an APR, PR professionals must refer to the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), which is responsible for granting accreditations. APR is currently the only accrediation available for PR professionals. You'll be happy to know that the APR title is a lifelong designation with minimal maintenance quizzes every three years.

As students, we may consider anything past undergrad or even graduate school as a distant future. The truth is, the PR field is becoming more competitive by the year. As stated in an earlier post, this past year has proven to have the most accredited and certified members of FPRA in history. The following benefits of becoming an APR might persuade you to consider it as an eventual step upward:

  • The APR designation shows knowledge, skills and abilities in key PR areas.

  • Employers prefer you have the designation, as it shows professionalism and expertise.

  • Let's face it, the APR designation is an incredible personal accomplishment, and can add to a long list of personal achievements you are already compiling.

An important note is the suggested time at which we should pursue this title. About two years ago the UAB required that applicants have five years of professional experience. You might be happy to know that this requirement is no more, although it is suggested that you have three-five years of experience.

So what is involved with pursuing your APR?

  • Application: $25 application fee, $385 one-time payment, or two installments of $205

  • Preparation: study, study, study

  • Portfolio: this is one campaign or project that shows the depth of your experience

  • Readiness review: you will present your state of "readiness" to a panel of three APRs about a month before your exam. They will dissect which areas need more attention, and which are ready to go!

  • Exam: self-explanatory

For more information about APR, go to or