Service-learning project with BRAC comes to a close

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Image from City Data

Découvrir Public Relations is finally putting the finishing touches on our SCVNGR treks, mini-campaign books and final presentations.  Next week, we will be presenting our project, and it’s going to be a huge relief to finally showcase all of the hard work we’ve done this semester.

Throughout this course, our class focused on two main objectives: professional proficiencies and service learning.  Our professor, Jensen Moore-Coppel, equally divided our time between the two and presented us with one jam-packed semester. 

In terms of in-class assignments, we’ve learned a variety of different writing styles, techniques and tactics.  We’ve carefully reviewed the PR process and seen just how important the planning, implementation and evaluation steps are in formulating a campaign.  We’ve started our own blogs, created portfolios, contacted actual clients, written speeches and dedicated many hours to a wide array of challenging assignments.

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Image from Arts BR

Aside from the schoolwork, the greatest upside of the course has been our service-learning project.  As I’ve stated in my previous blog posts, our class teamed up with The Baton Rouge Area Chamber in January, and we’ve worked with the non-profit to promote local businesses here in Baton Rouge.  Our project utilized SCVNGR, a geo-location based mobile application, that created treks around town that encouraged people to get off the couch and experience some of what BR has to offer.  My group, Découvrir Public Relations, focused on the arts and culture aspect of the city, so we highlighted local music venues, restaurants and other BR hot spots for our trek.  As a Baton Rouge native, it’s been wonderful to see just how much BRAC is doing for our community and the local economy.  They’ve been overly supportive of our efforts and have willingly allowed us to represent their company. The hands-on experience we’ve gained from this service-learning project has been well worth all of the hard work.

Overall, I’ve put a lot of effort into this course, and I think it has really paid off.  MC 4001 has been one of the most overwhelming and rigorous classes I’ve taken here at LSU.  The course load has been incessant and, at times, very stressful.  However, Jensen has truly been our fearless leader these past, few months.  She has stressed the importance of education and involvement in the community, and I’ve learned so many valuable lessons from her that I know I will certaintly use in my future career.

The Manship School of Mass Communication has hired a faculty who truly cares about the direction of communication and the media, and these professors have done a wonderful job of prioritizing their students’ needs.  With the help of PRSSA, Manship has provided their students with a strong base of ethical guidelines that will guide us as we become young professionals in the workplace.  This semester has been very eye-opening, and I look forward to what my final semesters will bring.

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Sarlat, France
Image from Flickr

Though this is my last blog post for MC 4001, I’m going to try my best to continue this blogging experience.  I will be studying abroad in Paris this summer, and I leave in less than a month.  So, who knows? My next post may be from a quaint, little cafe in France…

Until then, au revoir, my friends.

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Service-learning project with BRAC sheds positive light on PR

After a much-needed week of relaxation and celebration, LSU’s spring break has come to an abrupt end. Now that we’re back in the swing of things, it’s starting to hit me that summer is just around the corner.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that we sat down in Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple’s classroom, dumbfounded by the 27page syllabus that lay in front of us.

When I signed up for MC 4001, I knew it was going to be a tough class.  I had heard horror stories about the class, simply because the workload is never-ending. And if I’m going to be completely honest, I still get overwhelmed at times.  However, I know that this class will not only prepare me for our senior campaigns class, but also for the real world. This course has given me guidelines that have strengthened my writing in my 4001 assignments and my other PR classes.

In our writing lab, we’ve tackled all forms of public relations necessities, such as news releases, pitch letters, SMPs and media advisories, just to name a few.  We’ve learned about the importance of professionalism and ethical behavior in a business setting and how these two components can shape a brand’s reputation.  We’ve also addressed the top competencies and skills that employer’s look for in a representative and how planning and time management are key elements in being successful.

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Image from Iarslce Proceedings

But most importantly, we’ve been lucky enough to get hands-on experience with a service-learning project.  In my past three blogs, I’ve spoken about our partnership with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and SCVNGR.  When Jensen explained that we would be working with this nonprofit, investor-driven company, I was oblivious as to how involved we would actually become with the brand.

At the beginning of the semester, we met with our client Julie Laperouse to discuss BRAC’s strengths and weaknesses in the Baton Rouge community.  She explained that reaching out to young professionals and those who have moved to bigger cities for work was one of their main goals.  That’s why we were both so excited to partner up with SCVNGR because it’s a newer application that strikes a cord with these age groups.

During the past few weeks, Découvrir Public Relations has worked hard to plan the objectives and goals of our group’s treks: the arts and culture within Baton Rouge. Through our experience in 4001, we’ve learned how important it is to create content that is  enjoyable not only for our client, but also for the community.   Oftentimes, people get bogged down in the surface issues of working like income, reputation, status and success.  While these aspects are extremely important and certainly factor into the bigger picture of working, it’s easy to lose track of what public relations is all about.

Building relationships and ensuring your client that you will do all that you can to serve them is priority.  However, making a difference and creating meaningful work in a community, especially like Baton Rouge, is what really matters. The connections we’ve made with BRAC have positively shaped my view of PR, and I’m looking forward to see what the rest of this Manship grant has in store for us.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, and check back with the blog in a few weeks for more updates on our project.

BRAC harnesses social media with interactive SCVNGR app

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Image from Graphic Design Junction

Easter Sunday is this weekend, and I’m pretty excited about it.  When I was younger, my favorite part of Easter was dyeing eggs with my family.  Now that we’ve grown older, the tradition isn’t nearly as exciting as it once was, but I’ve decided that I’m bringing it back this year.

This past weekend, I logged onto my Pinterest account to try and find an innovative way to dye eggs.  Pinterest is one of the easiest ways to create, share and exchange information in a free, user-friendly setting.  After a quick search, I found hundreds of posts from eager moms and creative women who are apparently as passionate about eggs as I am.  I ended up settling on this graphic design that puts a new spin on an old tradition.

By simply typing “Easter eggs” into the search bar, I was directed to one person’s board that, in turn, led me to another, separate blog that posts hundreds of DIY projects daily. That’s the beauty of social media.  One person’s creation, opinion or expression can be easily uploaded to the Internet and shared with millions of people in an instant.  Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve found a new blog and brand that I follow religiously.

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Image from Millennial Customers

It’s no surprise that the Internet and social media have become intrinsic tools for millennials like me.  We are the generation of instant communication and constant interaction.  Many people my age would say that social media not only helps them to personally engage with a company, but it also shapes their opinions about a certain brand.

When I think back to fifth grade when my friends and I would impatiently wait as we logged onto Hotmail to read the two emails that sat in our mailboxes, I laugh at how far technology has come.  It wasn’t that long ago when the Internet wasn’t a part of our every day, hour and minute.  Now, it’s hard to keep track of all the different outlets in which we can communicate.  Not only has the Internet world exploded, but the sheer number of available mobile applications is also overwhelming.   In 2011, the average number of new apps released every two weeks was well over 20,000.

In my past blog posts, I’ve briefly talked about SCVNGR, a free geolocation-based mobile gaming application that focuses on getting people involved and interacting in an entertaining atmosphere.  SCVNGR is one of the most interesting forms of social media that I’ve come across so far.  It’s an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding experience.  BRAC is thrilled to use the app to promote the different aspects of Baton Rouge living.

The combination of SCVNGR’s easy-to-use technology and instant gratification is an incredibly attractive way to attract new customers to all types of businesses.  In the past, companies like Neiman Marcus and the Comic-Con convention have utilized SCVNGR to increase customer participation.

In order for a company to survive in today’s world, they must be active in some form of social media, and BRAC and SCVNGR are doing just that.

My classmates and I have been working hard on our Manship service-learning projects and are ready for a well-deserved vacation.  While I’m looking forward to Easter, LSU’s spring break begins on Friday, and I cannot wait for some relaxation. (Can I get an hallelujah?)

PR class teams up with BRAC to promote local businesses

Hello out there.  I want to begin my first post by explaining how new I am to the blogosphere.  For me, blogs have always been a source of entertainment, and I spend way too much time reading about the oddities of someone’s obscure life in who knows where.  I guess it really does give us a glimpse into the lives of others and helps us realize that we’re all pretty relatable after all.  However, writing about my own thoughts and lofty goals on this here blog feels rather self-indulgent and downright uncomfortable.  It also took me about an hour and a half to create the thing, and now I’m not even sure if I did it correctly.

Luckily for me, I’m currently enrolled in a public relations course at LSU that not only focuses on strategic writing, but it also encourages students to learn the ins and outs of the great opportunities social media has to offer.  In fact, I just returned from a presentation at the journalism building where students were encouraged to whip out their phones and live tweet during the event. Honestly, I still find it to be rude and inconsiderate, but I digress…

Recently, the Manship School of Mass Communication received an open grant to work with SCVNGR, a geolocation-based mobile gaming application.  This free app allows users to follow treks via smartphone to unlock discounts and coupons from local businesses. My classmates and I are among the only students in the nation to utilize the app as a class.  This gives us the unique opportunity to not only learn how to develop mobile promotions, but it also encourages us to promote local industries here in Baton Rouge.

Aside from becoming technologically adept, we’ve grown to appreciate the importance of a service-learning environment.  One of the objectives of the course is getting quality, hands-on experience with actual clients and organizations.  Our class has fortunately been able to partner up with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, a nonprofit that works to strengthen the local economy by attracting new businesses and encouraging regional growth. You can check out BRAC’s current ventures on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

During the next few weeks, our groups will work to support the different aspects of Baton Rouge.  My team, Découvrir Public Relations, will be promoting the arts and culture of what Baton Rouge has to offer through SVNGR.  We will be creating treks around town that users can follow in order to participate in challenges and fun games.  As account liaison, I will be working directly with the client to set up treks that appeal to their targeted audience and cater to their specific wants and needs. We hope that BRAC is as excited as we are to promote our local vendors and businesses.

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(http://www.downtownbatonrouge.org/images/LAF_galvezLawn_pan_675.jpg)

Overall, I think our class is excited to get started and finally see what being in PR is all about.  The fearless Dr. Jensen Moore-Coppell will be leading us along the way, doling out little nuggets of wisdom and rewarding us with free koozies and oven mitts.

While I am a tad bit apprehensive about this blogging experience, I’m optimistic that it will end up being a very enlightening process and look forward to my next post.