Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

Leave a comment

PR In the News: Oscars in la la Land

It’s the movie industry’s biggest social event of the year: the Oscars. Movie stars line the red carpet in some of the most unique and glamorous outfits money can buy. The 89th celebration, lasting nearly four hours, was going smoothly until it came time to announce Best Picture, when presenters gave the Oscar to “La La Land”, when, to the Academy’s horror, the winner was actually “Moonlight.”

Viewers debated if the presenters were in a la la land of their own, confused about how such a major mishap could occur.

The two presenters, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, were apparently handed the wrong card backstage. Beatty opened the card, read it and paused for a moment, seeming confused. He then handed the card to Dunaway who announced “La La Land” as the winner. It wasn’t until after the cast and producers were on stage accepting that they corrected the mistake, announcing “Moonlight” as the actual winner.

Immediately this mistake took social media by storm. Twitter began to blow up with posts comparing this mistake to Steve Harvey’s last year when he announced the wrong Miss Universe winner. In light of the joke, Miss Universe tweeted “Have your people call our people – we know what to do #Oscars #MissUniverse”. Following this, Steve Harvey even tweeted “Call me Warren Beatty. I can help you get through this! #Oscars”. Users continued to caption meme’s relating to Steve Harvey.

Other posts compared the mistake to the 2016 election, including tweets “wishing this is what happened with the election.” Users turned the jokes political by bringing up the popular vote issue from the election.

PwC, the accounting and consulting firm that handles the ballot counting process for the Academy Awards, took more than two minutes to take action to correct their mistake during the show.

According to ABC News, PwC had no other option but to be up-front and explain what happened to minimize damage to their reputation and brand. The company tweeted a statement apologizing to Beatty, Dunaway, all of “La La Land” and “Moonlight” several hours after the show ended.

Do you think the company took enough action for damage control? Or should they have stepped up more? Time will tell, but, in my opinion, I think the company could have provided more than a tweet to apologize to viewers and the people affected on-stage. Possibly by apologizing for the mistake themselves while it was happening on live T.V. would have served them better and appealed to viewers emotions better.

The Academy has since released a statement, apologizing to the cast and crew of both movies. The Academy shared the statement on its website and social media.


Leave a comment

FlashCast: From the Internship Providers

In this episode of the FlashCast podcast, we put a call out to professionals who hire public relations interns. Now that we have spoken with students about their internship experiences, we requested that the providers give us some feedback about what they’re looking for as well. We asked them to speak about their advice for students seeking internship and what their team specifically looks for in an internship candidate.

So many thanks to the professionals who speak in this episode! They are, in order of their appearance:

What do you think of their advice? Let us know in the comments below. If you have questions, comments or ideas for podcast topics, let us know at flashcomm@kent.edu.

Leave a comment

Which Flash Communications Staff Member Are You?

The Flash Communications staff had some fun this week and decided to come up with their own Buzzfeed personality quiz. Check out the quiz by clicking on the picture below and comment with your results!

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 1.33.40 PM



Leave a comment

So, what is that Pinterest website, anyway?l

Trent Chavez

Thank you to guest blogger Trenton Chavez, a junior public relations major, for writing this post about Pinterest. Trent started working at Flash Communications this semester.

THE GIST – Social mediums are constantly popping up everywhere, it seems. Usually, they do not pick up, and Facebook and Twitter quickly stomp them down. Pinterest, the new kid on the block, is attracting attention from social media lovers with its image collection design.

So, what is Pinterest, anyway? Pinterest is a website that contains collaborative “online pinboards.” The new medium allows users with similar interests to attach pictures to these pinboards for others to see. Categories range from art to fashion to recipes to wedding ideas.

So, why has Pinterest received praise, while other mediums quickly fail? Personally, I believe it comes down to people liking to feel they’re contributing to something. Because the pinboards allow users to add personal or inspirational pictures, a sense of contribution is evident.

THE PR SIDE OF THINGS – Being a public relations major, I’m always thinking of things from a communications standpoint. “How can Pinterest be used in a PR aspect?” was the first question that came to my mind when I began writing this post.

For organizations, gaining attention on a website with many images may be a difficult task – the competition of attracting viewers’ eyes; however, with Pinterest picking up momentum, PR professionals need to start thinking creatively.

The statistics of the social medium are impressive. Pinterest is the 60th most-visited website in the United States; Its page visits jumped from 10 million to 17 million last month; And its Alexa rank is 129. Alexa rank is a web ranking system based on visits. What does all this mean, you may ask? It means opportunity.

To be successful, public relations professionals must shape ideas to the target audiences’ interests. Need help generating ideas of how to use Pinterest to highlight your organization? Check out 7 ways to use Pinterest to promote your business on PR Daily.

Part of Pinterest’s success can be attributed to its invite-only signup. By keeping the registration invite-only, the medium is able to keep the user-base contained to target audiences. Exclusivity also makes Pinterest’s users feel special. Success is all about making the audience feel special, right?

Along with the exclusivity, Pinterest’s website used to state, “Pin thoughtfully.”  This statement ties back to the importance of re-pins. Only relevant pins will be on the page of your interest. Bryan Landers of Quora also named Pinterest as a “community-centric” website, which I believe is very fitting.

A social medium wouldn’t be complete without the ability to respond, now would it? Like other social platforms, Pinterest allows users to comment and like pinned items.

IN CLOSING – Like I said before, to be successful, communications teams need to remain current on ways to reach key audiences. Pinterest allows its users to come together as a community and build pinboards. Because of the community-driven atmosphere and ability to select interests, the medium is a great way to target audiences.

Pinterest is gaining momentum fast. It is even picking up some steam in the Flash Communications office. Get to know some of the staff better by checking out our pinboards board

I always find it interesting when a newcomer is able to “make it” in the digital world. New ideas, creative thinking, passion, and a lotta’ luck will take a new online tool far.

Why do you love Pinterest?

Leave a comment

PR Students Head to National Conference to Present

It’s true – Flash Communications students do get out of the office! Last week, Sarah Lack and Heather Thomas traveled to Orlando, Florida, for the 2011 Public Relations Student Society of America National Conference.

As part of PRSSA Kent, Sarah presented with four other officers during the Chapter Development Sessions on Friday. Their presentation was all about how to “Cash in on Communication.” They shared fundraising best practices and tips from professionals about how to execute a successful fundraiser. Check out their best practices slides and the video they produced.

And here’s the video. A lot of this was produced at Flash Communications (special thanks to Nick and Phil who work in University Communications and Marketing for their cameo performances). Oh, and those adorable children in scene one? They’re mine!

In addition to the opportunity to present to other PRSSA chapters from across the country, Heather and Sarah attended breakout sessions with top industry professionals to learn about the ins-and-outs of being a PR professional. From social media to crisis communications and travel and entertainment to healthcare PR, the sessions covered a wide range of topics relating to young professionals in the public relations and strategic communications industries.

Sarah and Heather shared some key takeaways from their favorite sessions.

Crisis Communications: Confronting Reality with Strategy

  • Public expectations have risen since the Tylenol murders of the 1980s. Companies must respond faster than ever and be aware that the story is never-ending, 24/7 coverage. If you wait for traditional media, you’re too late.
  • Crisis is about actions, not solutions. Definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Do not fail to recognize the need to change goals during a crisis.
  • In crisis, you need to control your narrative. It’s about hero vs. villain –which are you?
  • Perception trumps reality 100% of the time in crisis. Audiences believe what they hear first.
  • Companies are tying risk terms (ex: “oil spill” for BP) in with SEO and SEM to ensure that when people search these terms, BP’s side of the story comes up first.

Corporate vs. Agency: Finding Your Place

  • Agency PR is about working with like-minded people. As agencies integrate with other disciplines, agency professionals must be up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies.
  • While agency professionals may work on several different clients in different industries, corporate professionals know one industry intimately –competition, trends, and their own company.
  • Corporate PR is usually a set work schedule, while agency professionals tend to be the “workaholic” type. As a result, it’s easier to move up the management ladder in an agency.
  • In both industries, it’s important to practice ethical behaviors and act with transparency.
  • No matter where you choose to go, stay involved in PRSSA/PRSA!

Travel and Tourism Session:

  • Make sure you’re getting your key messages out to overcome any misconceptions about the travel destination or resort.
  • Take advantage of media relations and local media to get the message out about a resort opening or other event. The local media and opinion leaders will spread the word to the broader audience.
  • Be creative with a small budget and other limitations. Limit expensive, over the top demonstrations and gags during a launch, and go for something more creative and intimate.

Entertainment PR session:

  • Celebrity endorsements can significantly help further a brand and the brand message. Having one of the Kardashians endorse a product will have 50% more visibility.
  • Making relationships with the media is crucial for establishing a positive brand identity amongst the public.

PR Kent students not only absorbed valuable information, but also they had a chance to network and bond with their peers. Ah, takes me back to our trip to National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., many, many years ago. We stayed at the Opryland Hotel. What a blast.

Thanks to Sarah Lack and Heather Thomas for contributing to this post.

Leave a comment

Back-to-the-Office Etiquette

Be a professional in the officeSummer has been grand, but it’s time to start thinking about fall semester! We have a great new crew of public relations students, including two who are returning from last semester. I’m in the process of developing a Flash Communications Guidebook to show the newbies the ropes. My assistant, Sarah Lack, suggested we create a more comprehensive guide than my “one sheeter” to help answer questions, especially when I’m not in the office. I thought it was a great idea. I love it when students help streamline processes.

It’s easy for us to get under each other’s skin when we work in such close quarters and when the stress of the semester is on our shoulders, so I’ll be sure to include reminders about office etiquette in the guide. We already have a bulletin board in our office with reminders of what it means to be a professional.

To kick off the discussion about what not to do in the office to drive each other bonkers, here’s a post from Ragan’s about the 12 Most Annoying Workplace Habits. Here’s a quick recap:

1. Loud talking

2. Reheating last night’s salmon in the microwave

3. Whispering

4. Bare feet

5. Saying “excuse me?” in response to every comment or question

6. Interrupting

7. Complaining

8. Correcting people; no one likes a know-it-all

9. Micromanaging

10. Chewing with your mouth open

11. Taking cell phone calls in meetings

12. Intruding on personal space

What would you add to this list?

Leave a comment

No Excuses! Attend the 2011 YouToo Social Media Conference

Tom Crilley, public relations student, Flash Communications Thanks to guest blogger Tom Crilley, public relations student at Flash Communications, for sharing his experience working on the 2011 YouToo Social Media Conference.

I’ve spent the majority of my short time at Flash Communications working on non-traditional promotion of the 2011 YouToo Social Media Conference. It has been…unforgettable, to say the least.

If I recall correctly, last year I intentionally avoided going to the conference by saying I had somewhere really important to be that day. I’m pretty sure I was at home watching a NASCAR race, cheering on Dale Earnhardt Jr. Oh, what a year can change.

Now I’m sifting through old slide presentations and videos from last year’s conference as a means to promote the event this year. It looks like the 2010 YouToo Social Media Conference had the final say in that battle.

Promoting this conference has been a learning experience…. a valuable one. Every day I’m in the office, I’m doing something I’ve never done before, which makes this task more than a line on a resume. It has given me the opportunity to learn how to use different programs and websites, as well as the chance to implement tactics that will effectively increase YouToo’s visibility and SEO. I’m developing skills that will come in handy throughout the rest of my career. That alone makes it all worth the effort.

I learned how to send email pitches in Tim Robert’s media relations class a few months ago. At the time, I looked at it as another assignment I just had to get through, but I had no idea how useful it would become, or how quickly I would have to put those skills to the test. I’ve personalized and crafted email pitches to the VP of public relations for PRSA National, Crain’s Cleveland Business and PR News, to name a few.

I’ve gained first-hand experience using Slideshare while building YouToo’s account, and I’m in the process of making a YouTube account. That is, if we can ever figure out how to convert a DVD file to an uploadable movie file to put on YouTube.

With presentations from Geoff Livingston, Amber Naslund and others, I’m positive that this year’s conference will be memorable and worthwhile. I can’t believe that only 12 months ago I didn’t want to go to an event that you can take so much away from. The fourth annual YouToo Social Media Conference is on Friday, April 15. Check out the YouToo website to register or learn more.

Make sure you’re not being as lame as I was last year by finding an excuse to not go to the conference. And don’t forget to say “Yo, Tom!” (er, something like that) if you see me there. I’ll be the guy running around escorting the media all day. All right, that’s all for now. It’s time to hit the road for the 16-hour journey that will lead me to spring break in Florida.

#YouToo, #springbreak and #NASCAR all in one blog. Success.

NOTE: Time is running out for a chance to win a free conference registration! Don’t forget to use #youtoo2011 in your tweets to count!