Luckie to Have Met You.

My public relations class was lucky to meet the Account Director, Lori Merricks, from Luckie & Co. on February 4, 2011.  She came with advice that intrigued us into the field of public relations, and gave us a glimpse of what life is like at her workplace.

Lori first made sure the class knew what Luckie was before sharing about public relations as a whole.  She informed my classmates and I that Luckie & Co. was first started by Robert Luckie in 1953. The company is still family owned and run by his two sons with a staff of 122 employees.  Luckie is also ranked as the fifth advertising agency-owned public relations operation in the United States.

Lori instilled in our class three approaches to public relations that Luckie insists on taking. She listed them as brand marketing, brand protection, and brand alliance. Lori also wanted to make sure that we realized how important it is to know when to call journalists.  Knowing their schedule works to our benefit when we are wanting to get in touch with them.

We then took on the endeavor of brand marketing.  Lori explained that to market a brand well you must first deliver the message that you are wanted to portray clearly. After that is successful, confirm your credibility to your audience, and make sure that it connects emotionally with them.  Lastly, make sure to continue to motivate the buyer throughout the process.

Brand alliance was the next approach that Lori touched on.  She explained alliance as three different types.  The first type is cobrands where two or more brands are used on one product.  The next type is brand licenses where money is paid to be a part of the brand.  An example of this is McDonald’s and Disney movie toys.  McDonald’s gives out happy meal toys for almost every Disney movie that comes out in theaters.  The last type is cross marketing where two brands market together. A recent example of this is Band-Aid and Neosporin.  The two brands started advertising as using Neosporin on wounds and then covering them with Band-Aids. All of these types are strategic for marketing multiple brands being represented.

The last approach that we learned about was brand protection.  Crisis management falls into this category of approach with two different divisions of handling the issue at hand. When a smoldering crisis presents itself it is important to take care of it before it becomes an issue.  With a sudden crisis, the only way to take care of the problem is act within the crisis.  A good example is when Tylenol had a product recall immediately after there was a sudden crisis.  Internet management was also an important topic with brand protection that Lori touched on.  She emphasized how important it is to know what is on the internet about you.  We cannot control a large part of what goes onto the internet, but we can be aware so that we can fix it.

Lori then led us into the discussion of the M.A.C Communications Planning Model. It starts with a purpose that leads to the message, audience, and channel.  These three attributions lead to timing. Lori stated, ” Public relations is a dialogue, not a monologue.  It is important to recognize that journalism, bloggers, and consumers are key influences on public relations.

Something that I really respected that Lori talked about was ethics.  Ethics is something that you can see she is passionate about just by the way she talks about it.  She made sure that we knew to tell the truth, because when there is no integrity public relations will fail.

Lori also implanted the fact that writing is essential in the field of public relations. It is important to know that writing needs to be concise with no unnecessary words or sentences.  She talked about AP style and how that is the way that will organize writing within the public relations world.

The last topic that Lori informed our class about is research. It is important that we are aware of our audience.  We have to pitch to the right journalists and plan the right strategies that will entice the audience that we are aiming for.  By having the right strategies you are able to have good tactics for the campaign and can further execute it in the right manner.

It was a great opportunity for our class to have Lori Merricks come and share about public relations. I am sure that the best way to learn is through other people’s experiences.  Lori allowed our class to learn through her experiences as Account Director at Luckie & Co.

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