Jared’s strategic Iron Horse

By Danny Cavanaugh

Don’t ever skip out on a public figure coming to your organization to present information or give a speech on their expertise. It is important to pick their brain and gain knowledge for you own benefit. One of the best ways we can learn is through other experiences people have created.

Jared Vallejo from Iron Horse Brewery came into one of my classes at Central Washington University to give a speech on the brewery and the experiences he has had there. He talked about marketing strategies, the culture of the brewery, and some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.

However, what really stuck with me? What was the one thing that I related to and appreciated the most?

Don’t be afraid to fail! It sounds simple right? However, from my experiences inside and outside of school, successful people have always been bold, and they haven’t been afraid.

The best advice he gave us was to fail, fail some more and fail again. Why? It means you are trying! The worst thing you can do (from a business standpoint) is to become stagnant and boring. What I like about Jared and the IHB is their ability to adapt and create new marketing techniques to entice consumers into buying their products.

As a consumer, I’m always looking for something that interests me, excites me, and ultimately connects me to that product. What Jared and the rest of the brewery staff have accomplished is a culture that relates to their customers and the products they produce.beer-bottle

With that said, I work for a small business that is continuously trying to grow and expand. The words that Jared said to us will always stick with me, and entice me to adapt, create, and take chances on marketing campaigns throughout my own experiences.

Overall, failure is important, whether it’s in a business setting, or other aspects of our lives. Without failure, we won’t have success. After all, success develops through our experiences and chances we take in life.

Infographic Delight

By Danny Cavanaugh

We all know there are several ways to market your company or a product you are trying to sell. Nowadays numbers are essential for customers to purchase a product. Whether it’s how popular the item is with the amount of sales it has produced, or the general popularity of something. One way to market your company or a product is by using an infographic.

If you’ve never worked on an infographic, or produced one, they portray a plethora of information in a stylistic and unique manner.

With that said, Central Washington University offers over 100 majors with an average of 3,000 graduates per year, according to cwu.edu/about/quick-facts. My partner and I created an infographic about the most popular majors at CWU, with the top major being Criminal Justice.

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I was surprised by this because I thought the majority would be in business or communication majors.

But, the other top degrees included: Accounting, Elementary Ed, and Psychology. This really surprised me, so I had to talk to people and find out more.

Within our infographic we created a survey which asked CWU students if they were satisfied with their major. We found that over half were satisfied with their degree field, with only 30 percent unsure about their major.

Could this be a reflection on the indecision that today’s society faces? Or are more students trying to get a degree in something random, rather than in something they actually enjoy?

Only time will tell. What we do know is that CWU creates opportunity with offering over 100 majors, and having an average class size of 20 students.

If you’re a business owner, or simply trying to promote something. Remember, an infographic might be the answer.

 

They Won Fair and Square

By Danny Cavanaugh

Since the Patriots are yet again in the super bowl, why not bring up a sore subject for many New England fans… deflategate!

That’s right, I said it. The controversial deflating of footballs during the AFC championship between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in 2015.

Talk about a PR nightmare! Hours upon hours of court proceedings, with one side winning, then the other side appealing. If I was a part of the PR staff for the patriots, or the NFL I would lose all of my hair.

Image result for deflategate

Talk about crisis PR in a nutshell. With the NFL (among others) investigating your franchise, as a PR professional you have to find a way to bring light to the situation and deflect the negativity away from your organization.

Easier said than done? I think so.

It’s easy for people in this situation to call the patriots “cheaters” because of their track record. If this was the patriots first trip to the super bowl, would people have blown this way out of proportion? That’s the million dollar question.

We all know that when you win, over and over again, people either love you or they hate you. Just look at the New York Yankees, you hardly ever hear “eh they’re alright, I don’t mind them.”

Thus, this is a great example of crisis PR. So, what would you do?

I would find out the truth behind the situation. I would research if the weather played in any part of decreasing the psi within the footballs. Also, you must protect your brand the best you can.

We would have to tell the truth, tell it all, tell it fast, and move on. After all, who wants to be in court two seasons later for something they thought was past them.

This just goes to show how important PR really is. It’s important to keep the integrity of your organization, as well as explain to the public was is going on behind closed doors.

Inauguration Day Drama

By Danny Cavanaugh

It’s no secret that President Trump isn’t the most popular president of all time. But, is it just me or does it seem like the presidency has been based on a popularity contest, rather than on policies to improve America?

On Inauguration Day, (Jan. 20,2017) it was reported that a smaller crowd (in comparison to former President, Barack Obama’s turnout) had come to support the new president. Press Secretary Sean Spicer shortly thereafter was accused of spinning the truth about the actual turnout.

Of course this was a mistake by Spicer, but I don’t think he was knowingly trying to “spin” the truth. I agree with Beki Winchel when she states, “PR pros should think twice about how they present details of a recent event or an executive’s move that has elicited backlash,” prdaily.com.

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It’s interesting to me how a man’s failure to elaborate and tell the whole story can have such backlash. Now, rather than focusing on President Trump’s first actions as president, we see the media talking about that “popularity contest” with the turnout for Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

With that said, PR pros can learn a lot from this situation. The availability and access to information via social media can cause a crisis in a matter of seconds.

So, how do we avoid these crises?

Answer: tell the truth, tell it all, tell it fast, and move on.

This leads back to my initial point, give Spicer a break! The man is human and he simply forgot to elaborate on what the turnout was.

At least Spicer was able to see the mistake he made, and create a statement about his lack of communication and specification on the matter.

As a society we need to stop nit picking every little thing somebody says, it isn’t healthy. As we have seen, Spicer meant that the turnout was the largest in years with people tuning in via web, television, and social media (along with in person).

PR pros should be warned from this. Somebody is always looking to fact check what you are saying. Be careful, and remember to tell the truth, tell it all, tell it fast, move on, and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”

The Bird is in the Hudson

By Danny Cavanaugh

Throughout our lives, we all have certain crisis’ that we must go through. Whether your a female deciding what clothes to pick out for that “special” date, or you’ve experienced an unfortunate car crash, which resulted in legal obligations and hospital bills, a crisis of some magnitude is inevitable in our futures.

After watching the movie Sully, I came to a realization that the airline (U.S. Airways) had a major crisis on their hands. On January 15, 2009, one of their planes had to perform an emergency landing in the Hudson river, after a flock of birds took out both engines of the aircraft, according to airwaysmag.com.

sully

The man seen above is Sully who was brave enough, and experienced enough to make the decision to land the plane in the Hudson.

So, what crisis? After all, every soul on board was saved, how can there be a crisis? As we know, people often look for the negative story, “if it bleeds it reads.” so even though lives were saved, a plane was still in the Hudson.

Crisis Communications:

I can only imagine the shock and sense of urgency that the PR crisis team must have felt for U.S. Airways. An immediate response was necessary for their employees, shareholders, stakeholders, and the public. However, several questions had to be answered.

What caused the accident? Were there any alternative landing spots? Who or what is responsible for this incident?

These are just a few of the questions that needed to be answered. Can you imagine if there were any fatalities on board? Would consumers lack confidence in flying with U.S. Airways if that were the case?

With that said, PR professionals know to tell the truth, tell it all, tell it fast, and move on when it comes to a crisis.

Fortunately enough, Mr. Sully was able to perform the emergency landing in heroic fashion, with only a few injuries to passengers and crew.

tom-hanks

Tom Hanks- scene from the movie after passengers were safely rescued. 

Thus, is there a proper way to handle a crisis? Do people botch critical moments in crisis communications?

The answer to these two questions is yes. The proper way to handle a crisis is to remain calm, tell the truth, and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, as we saw with John Edwards destroying his own personal PR (the most important PR of all), but that’s for another post.

Citations:

Auxier, Eric. (2016). The New “Sully” Movie: How Accurate. Airways. Retrieved from                            https://airwaysmag.com/capnaux/new-sully-movie-how-accurate/

Warner, Bros (Producer). Eastwood, Clint (Director). September 9, 2016. Sully (Motion picture). USA: Warner Bros.

 

 

Public Relations at its Core

By Danny Cavanaugh

To be honest, I never heard of PR until I looked at a college catalog. So, the first time I saw the name, I thought it was a joke. I’m thinking, “just another degree you can’t do anything with.” However, as I dug deeper, I realized I was wrong.

So, what is this phenomenon called PR? According to prsa.org, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

Now, what does that mean? Essentially the goal of PR is to build a relationship between an organization (corporate, non-profit, firm) and the people within that organization’s society.

In other words, PR is important in portraying a positive representation of an organization. Yes, it is important to be a competent writer in this profession, however the relationships you build and maintain are essential, and in my opinion the most important aspect.

Here are just a few options you can pursue with a degree in Public Relations.

Career Paths:

  • Public Relations specialist
  • Public relations Manager
  • Public Relations Director
  • Investor Relations
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media Relations

Although there are several career paths in this field, there seems to be several misconceptions regarding PR professionals. First of all, they’re known for spinning the truth, secondly they’re called sleaze balls.

With that said, are these representations true? Maybe to some extent. However, we know there can always be a “few bad eggs.”

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Whether you think a PR professional is a spin doctor or not, it doesn’t matter to me. What matters is how rapidly the field is growing. PR professionals are needed now more than ever. The increase in technology, and social media has caused a frenzy for organizations and their reputations.

From writing press releases, to working on a company’s social media strategy, PR professionals will be seeking to improve relationships with their organizations and their communities.

I’m glad I was able to stumble up this often misconstrued and misunderstood field. After all, there is a lot you can do with a degree in Public Relations.

Citations:

Copyright 2009-17. In Public Relations Society of America online. Retrieved from.https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/publicrelationsdefined/#.WH2wo8MrLnA

 

A Baseball Player’s PR Journey

By Danny Cavanaugh

As all athletes know, injuries destroy careers. A torn labrum in my throwing shoulder cut my college baseball career short in the spring of 2014. I persevered through my injury and finished out the season, but I knew I had to hang up the cleats.

baseball-stuff

Picture above is from my college days playing at SCC. Go Dolphins!

Fast forward to fall of 2014 and I’m sitting at home wondering what I’m doing with my life. My college baseball career is over, but I know I still want a college degree.

I’ve never been savvy with my math skills, and I’ve never been enthusiastic about science, so those fields were out of the picture.

What am I good at? Well, I can write respectably, and I work well with others. Instantly a light bulb comes on! I remembered looking through Central Washington Universities catalog page and coming across PR.

Thus, My life was set, I am currently attending CWU, and officially started in the winter of 2015, where I started my major in PR. I brought my personable skills with my competence in writing to earn a degree and start my career in PR.

So, why PR?

PR is a great setting for any person with aspirations in writing, group work, and working with clients. It provides us with a sense of pride and self worth when we’re able to help a client achieve their organizational goals.

Thus, I finally found my niche with discovering PR. My idols growing up always mentioned how if you do what you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

My baseball career may have ended, however I could still pursue my dream to work in sports with working in sports PR.

My journey into PR has just begun, and if you’re looking for an exciting, hands on career. PR may be the field for you.