Lori Merricks, a 2000 Samford University grad, once told her then professor, Dr. Jones, that she “didn’t’ do PR” when he approached her with one Luckie opportunity.
The print-focused Lori stepped out of her element and into the world of public relations when she accepted an internship, which later lead into her current position as an account executive, at Luckie & Co.
So how could a journalism and mass ommunications major with a concentration in PRINT land an internship and later a job in PR?
1. Writing. Writing is the foundation for good communication. And a good writer is a good communicator. And a good communicator makes for one invaluable PR professional. Lori explained that her ability to write and her knowledge of print media is what ultimately landed her a job at Luckie & Co.
And Luckie & Co was certainly a job to land. Luckie was founded in 1953 by Robert “Ace” Luckie Jr. Despite the current economy this family run business has not only been able to preserve their status, but has actually managed to grow, now maintaining 122 employees. In fact according to odwyerpr.com Luckie ranked 5th Ad Agency-owned PR Operation in the U.S.
Luckie’s successful approach to PR is unique and multi-dimensional.
2. A 3-D View. Lori mapped out a three-dimensional approach to PR, encompassing: Brand Marketing, Brand Alliance and Brand Protection.
-For marketing, Lori stressed the importance of building customer loyalty to a product. This loyalty results from a product’s ability to lead the pack in quality and reliance. All of this ultimately leads to a customer’s emotional connection to a product or brand.
-Brand alliance can be seen between a variety of companies and products today. An example of this alliance is the combination of Bandaid products and Neosporin ointment. They advertise together and market together as a part of an alliance.
-Brand Protection can most easily be summed up as crisis management. This can include managing a “smoldering” crisis or a “sudden” crisis.
3. Protection cannot stop at crisis management. Protection today encompasses a brand or product’s internet reputation.
How can you manage something you have no control over, like the Internet? Lori pointed out that while it is impossible to stop comments on the Internet, it is possible to monitor and respond to Internet comments and posts.
4.“Research-it’s not just a section in the library.” Research can be watching Super Bowl commercials! In order to be effective in PR it is essential to back it all up with solid research. Whether it’s a pitch or crisis management, all elements of PR rest on good research.
5. PR is a DIALOGE not a MONOLOGUE. Lori could not have summed it up better. PR, when done properly, means conversations with journalists, bloggers and consumers. This give-and-take motion is the essence of good PR.
Some suggestions from Lori:
YOU are your own brand. That means you need to manage your own image, especially your image on the Internet. “It’s not about not being able to be found on the Internet, it’s about knowing and controlling what’s out there.” Because one day, your potential boss just may google you…do you know what he’d find?
“I am a COMMUNICATOR” and everything you do in PR is based on how well you write. So, invest in this book, The Elements of Style, make it a staple on your desk.