Stay above 30,000 feet

Within the field of PR, there are agencies, corporate companies and small boutiques. However, the non-profit organizations should not be overlooked. Kara Kennedy, the director of external affairs at Samford University’s Brock School of Business, advises future PR professionals to go back to the basics. With years of experience in the non-profit world, here’s Kennedy’s advice.

Be upfront.

  • In order to have an effective communication plan, PR professionals must be straightforward. There’s no room for beating around the bush. When a crisis occurs, it is important to remain professional. In other words, be ready. Stay in constant communication with your boss and fellow employees, staying up to date on the team’s crisis communication plan.

Be honest.

  • Very similar to being upfront, being honest adds to one’s integrity. PR campaigns should be sincere and respectable. For example, the Tylenol crisis in 1982. At the time, Tylenol was the leading painkiller medicine in the United States. However, seven people living in Chicago were reported dead after taking this medication. Rather than lying or blaming another source, Johnson & Johnson took the responsibility by recalling the product from the entire country. Today, Tylenol still remains reliable. The company’s honesty saved the brand’s reputation.

Be smart.

  • In the words of Kennedy, “Hunt ducks where ducks are.” Know your audience and potential customers. Coming from a non-profit professional, “Be choosy about where to spend even little amounts of money.”

Be Innovative.

  • I used to associate “change” with negativity. Change is NOT a bad  thing. Try replacing the word “change” with “revolutionize” or  “transform.” Doesn’t that sound refreshing? In order to stand out, PR  professionals must think outside the box.

Be social.

  • Building your brand goes hand in hand with building relationships. Engage with customers, the community and opinion leaders. Growing relationships with the media can also benefit PR companies. As we’ve heard, social media helps build relationships, but you cannot rely on these tools. Go above and beyond sending a few tweets.

For more on Kennedy, check out her Linkedin profile or follow her on twitter–@KaraKennedy.

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