Green Building and Global Communication

Stacey Hood, Marketing Director at Birmingham’s own Steward Perry Construction, was one of the most interesting speakers we had in our class this semester.  He’s from Texas, has lived in Ireland, loves soccer and once had a job working on Mustangs.  Yet now, he works for a construction company, writing for their blogs in addition to other tasks.  He graduated from UAB, where he got his start in PR, and had lots of useful advice to give.

1. Always engage – PR is useless unless you gain and retain the attention of the customer.  Don’t just toss information at them and hope it is absorbed.  Like many other speakers have suggested, Hood said that PR is a dialogue.  You must draw the customer in, whether through social media or more traditional media outlets, but then also cultivate that relationship to keep their attention and business.

2. Content is important – In order to engage the customer, you must have quality content.  It doesn’t matter how much you have in print if it isn’t really saying anything.  You have to get the message across correctly and effectively in order to keep people coming back.

3. Understand “the box” – Often we hear about thinking “outside the box.”  However, Hood noted the importance of understanding the parameters of that box for any given situation.  You have to know the standard rules of the game in order to step outside of the box.

4. Work on your writing – If you are not a good writer, you cannot be an effective communicator.  Stacey said that we should never stop working on improving our writing skills.  Whether it is through blogging or practicing press releases, there are many applicable ways to get in a little extra practice.

5. PR is an upside down funnel – Essentially there is a great wealth of information in the world, and in PR, you might want to communicate a large chunk of that information to the public.  However, it must be condensed down into easily digestible and understandable bits of knowledge.  An upside down funnel is the perfect example of this.  We must act as the funnel, condensing necessary information down into smaller parts, so that it will engage and inform customers.

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Earth Day. Better Late Than Never.

I couldn’t attend Earth Day at Samford University, but I did get to go to Clemson Universities Earth Day.

Clemson had tons of tables set up from stores and organizations local to the area with ways to go green as well as help out in the community. They brought in wild life to show the animals that students could help by being more aware of pollution and keeping our planet beautiful. Also lots of companies had promotional deals such as the one in the picture below. Clemson’s Earth Day was a lot of fun and they displayed a lot of ways to make an impact in your community.

Go Earth!

Always be Adapting

Recently we had the pleasure of having Andrea Walker, media entrepreneur of W Social Marketing, speak to our class.  She was an exciting young professional who had lots of applicable experience and advice.  Even before she graduated from UAB she immersed herself in media.  In high school she was involved with the school newspaper and yearbook, but her experience quickly escalated in college.  She got high level production jobs at CBS42 and FOX6 while she was still in college, constantly moving up the ladder and learning more.  Recently she even started her own business, W Social Marketing, that focuses on “helping companies and entrepreneurs build relationships with targeted customers through innovative marketing strategies, new technologies and networking techniques.”  Here are just a few things I learned from her talk.

1. Always be Learning and Adapting – Based on her experience, it is clear that media is constantly changing, and you have to keep up.  Even her new business venture requires her to constantly stay on top of trends.  If you are not adapting, you will get left behind.

2. Ask for Help – Andrea told us a story of when she got her first job in production, but didn’t have experience.  She went in from midnight to 5 am to get a grasp on things.. all while she was still in college.  It was an amazing example of how learning is important, but that it is also important to ask for help.  She did not have a full understanding of video editing and production, so she shadowed someone to get a better grasp on it.

3. Know Technology – Whether it is blogging or twitter or video editing, keeping up with trends in technology is the easiest way to stay in the know.  Technology evolves even quicker that traditional trends, so it is imperative to keep up.

Take risks and be innovative.

Andrea Walker finished out our lineup of incredible speakers with a bang.  She was truly one of the most excited speakers to sacrifice their time to our class.  Walker built her career from the ground up.  From the very beginning she was persistent and willing to work hard.

From using her free time at the station to do math homework to being the producer, Walker has shaped her career from her ability to adapt.  “The main producer has control over everything, so I told myself that’s what I wanted to do,” said Walker.

NBC, CBS and FOX; Andrea Walker has been with all the big names in broadcast news.  While at FOX 6, Walker was asked to serve on the website production team.  This opportunity provided her first experience in web development.

It was in August 2008 that Walker felt the need to “take the next step.”  That is exactly what she did, becoming an entrepreneur.  Walker admits to always be learning trying to keep up with the many changes in technology.  “There is no shame in saying I don’t know what I’m doing,” Walker reminded.

“Whatever roll you are in, take something and build it from scratch.” –Walker

Thanks again to Andrea Walker for taking the time to speak to our class.

follow Andrea Walker on Twitter at @andreafwalker

On your own

Andrea Walker, media entrepreneur of W. Social Marketing, started college aspiring to be a journalist. One year later, NBC13 had an internship opening. Rather than sticking with print, Walker adapted to a new field—broadcast. Soon after, Walker landed a full time position with the local network. At 19-years-old, she balanced this workload. Learning how to edit and produce, Walker became an expert at her position, which led her to CBS42.

Running the 5’oclock show at CBS42 was an opportunity Walker could not pass up. Now, she had the final say on just about everything. One important piece of advice Walker shares is to never give up. The first time around, Walker did not receive a position for CBS42; however, she persisted and became the main producer months later.

Be innovative—an adjective that challenges Walker to stay fresh and creative. Because Walker stayed on top of her game, she continued to land new positions. FOX6 needed direction, and Walker was their solution. For three years, she worked as a team player. “Don’t alienate your co-workers or colleagues,” Walker says. “Work together, asking them how you can make their job easier.”

In 2008, Walker was introduced to new media, helping FOX6 with their website. She quickly fell in love with learning about technology and web development, which motivated her to start her own business. In 2009, Walker created W. Social Marketing, which helps companies implement an innovative approach that creates connections with customers.

Walker’s definition of being an entrepreneur is taking risks and being willing to be innovative. “You’re on your own,” Walker says.

Here are some final tips Walker gives to future PR professionals:

1. Always say thank you.

2. There is no shame is asking people for help.

3. Go to people who know more than you do.

4. Collaborate.

5. “What will people pay for?”

For more information on Andrea Walker, check out her website or follow her on Twitter–@andreafwalker

From Journalist to Entrepeneur.

Last week, Andrea Walker spoke to our public relations class. Andrea  is a entrepreneur and owner of her company called W.Social Marketing. Her company is an integrated lifestyle and public relations firm. Andrea has a very interesting background. When she was growing up she wanted to be a journalist or a news reporter. She wanted to get an early start in broadcasting , so as a sophomore she applied for an intern position and got it. After an assistant editor job came open, she began to ask daily to learn how to edit finally she did. She also helped to write and produce scripts there as well. After working at NBC  for a year she left and was hired as the producer of the CBS42 morning show at 5am. Where she did everything from write scripts to managing the news cast.  After CBS42  she went on to work for Fox  6 for three years where she produced both the weekend and morning shows and was on the website development team. Finally, in August of 2008 she decided it was time  for a change. Andrea worked for a small business web design team we she learned about new media and computer software. Finally in 2009 Andrea started her new company. I learned  a lot from Andrea’s great presentation , but here are my top 3.

1. Never be afraid to ask for help. It can hurt to ask for help don’t be afraid to ask someone who knows more than you for help. It looks better for you and them if you ask for help.

2. Don’t be afraid to be an entrepeneur: If you are going to be one you got be able to able to take risk and build things from scratch.

3. Don’t be afraid to use technology:Technology is approving everyday use it and be sure to do plenty of research on new technology so you can stay up with the gang and your business will succeed.

here is a link to W. Social Marketing Website: http://wsocialmarketing.com/

Luck be a Lady

Lori Merricks of the Luckie and Co. advertising company  is poised, polished, and pleasant.  With grace and gusto she gave a great explanation of the three different uses for the word ‘brand’ in an advertising company.  

1. Brand marketing is designed to deliver a company’s message, convey a company’s credibility, connect with a target audience, motivate buyers, and ensure user loyalty.

2. Brand alliance either pertains to co-branding- when two or more brands work together with one product, brand licensing- when brands align themselves by one supporting the other but don’t require each other, or cross-marketing-when two compatible brands simply market together.

3. Brand protection includes crisis management in case of disaster and internet reputation management.

To follow up with the third type of branding, Merricks shared this gem of a statement: “You are what you tweet.” She used this to demonstrate the fact that a person’s online presence has a definite affect on their business life. 

Merricks divulged the in’s and out’s of what it’s like to work in a Advertising and Marketing company.  To find out more about her business, visit the Luckie and Co. website.