LPR’s Service Learning Experience with Big Buddy Program- Video Blog

By Laura Avilés, Writing Director

This campaigns course has given us the experience of a lifetime. Lagniappe Public Relations had the opportunity to work with Big Buddy Program, a great nonprofit that works to improve the lives of the youth in Baton Rouge.

We were fortunate enough to experience Big Buddy first hand through service learning. According to Fayetteville State University , service learning is a “teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” Working for an organization such as Big Buddy has been a humbling experience. We were able to volunteer at various Big Buddy events throughout the semester. These events let us experience, first hand, how a nonprofit organization is run.

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Image courtesy of Big Buddy

Our goal was to help Big Buddy obtain a cohesive group of volunteers. LPR worked closely with Big Buddy Program to find successful ways to gain volunteers. We hope that Big Buddy will be able to take our suggestions and use them to achieve their goal. We cannot wait to check back with Big Buddy to see how our ideas have helped their organization grow.

LPR collaborated with Big Buddy to plan Big Buddy’s annual Pre-Dancing for Big Buddy Networking Event. Since this year was the 10th anniversary of Dancing for Big Buddy, the organization wanted the event to be extra special. We were able to host the event at the Old Governor’s Mansion and it was a huge success. Guests enjoyed champagne, delicious food and great giveaways. We are incredibly thankful for the local business that donated items for our event. Their generosity brought our event to the next level.

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Image courtesy of Big Buddy
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Image courtesy of Big Buddy

Through our campaigns class, we’ve learned an array of valuable lessons that will help us throughout our professional careers. We’ve experienced everything from putting on an event to building client relationship. Perhaps the most important lesson we’ve learned is teamwork. We have successfully worked together as a group to achieve every single one of our goals. The last semester of college can be very stressful; but, we were always willing to offer each other a helping hand with all of our campaigns’ project. We are also very thankful for being grouped together for this project. We may have started out as classmates, but we have become the best of friends.

The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniappe relations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

Attached is our final blog post for LPR highlighting what we’ve learned throughout this course and how we’ve applied it to both our campaign and our professional skills.

LPR – Video Blog

-Lagniappe Public Relations

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Erinn Sala -Account Executive

Frances Baumler– Co-Strategy Director

Grant Tarleton– Co-Strategy Director

Caroline Beslin– Research Director

Emily Guidroz– Design Director

Ashley Martin– Event Director

Laura Avilés– Writing Director

 

Maintaining PR Professionalism and Ethics with the Big Buddy Program

By Ashley Martin, Event Director

If you want to make it in the public relations industry, professionalism and maintaining a code of ethics is a must. No matter how much you try to keep your client in a positive light or get them out of a sticky situation, you must never damaging your overall goal of protecting your client’s integrity long-term and maintaining public trust.

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Image courtesy of Stephens Strategic Communications, Inc.

Professionalism and ethics fall under the professional values and competencies we have learned throughout the semester. Every public relations practitioner is expected to follow the PRSA Code of Ethics, which was developed by the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS). The Code lists principles and guidelines that align with the values of ethical public relations, which include advocacy, honesty, loyalty, professional development and objectivity.

 

I’m sure every PR student can agree that we have heard these five terms since our first class in the Manship school, but what do they truly mean?

 

According to the PRSA Code of Ethics, advocacy includes “providing a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.” In other words, serve as a responsible representative of your client. Become passionate with their mission statement and goals, and work to align your client’s image with these goals.

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Image courtesy of Deep Green Permaculture

Like the popular saying our parents and teachers stored in our head’s growing up, “honesty is the best policy.” Be accurate and truthful with whom you’re representing and when you communicate with the public. Fortunately, this is becoming a trend in the PR world, with PR Daily’s article recognizing that “most PR pros are ethical and honest.” Good job you guys!

 

Loyalty goes a long way in the business world. Build a relationship with your clients and assure them that you’re trustworthy enough to represent them. In a recent article from Liquid Communications, some of the country’s top public relation firms give their personal tips on building loyalty and enhancing a company’s brand.

 

Professional development and ethics fall hand in hand in public relations. It’s important that practitioners are constantly evolving with today’s trends and technology growing at a rapid pace. In a recent article publish by Harvard, the importance of professional development is considered one of the top skills every PR professional should have.

 

Lastly, objectivity is essential for the credibility of PR professionals. It’s important to outline a plan and establish objectives for your client, and even more so to see that these objectives are carried out.

 

Overall, Lagniappe Public Relations has strived to maintain professionalism and ethics when developing Big Buddy Program’s campaign this semester. We strive to represent them in the best light possible, and to always be truthful and loyal when establishing our objectives for the organization’s upcoming year.

The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniapperelations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

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Ashley Martin

Upcoming May 2016 graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, majoring in mass communication with a minor in business administration. Highly motivated to launch professional career relating to marketing communication or public relations in the New Orleans, LA area beginning summer/fall of 2016. Pinterest enthusiast and proud owner of a yellow labrador retriever.

PR Evaluation with Big Buddy Program

By Emily Guidroz, Design Director

Evaluation is arguably the most important part of any public relations campaign. After all, how will you, as a PR practitioner or your client, be able to gage what works and what does not work within a campaign? It is imperative to have this information when going forward with future campaigns. And the only way to get this valuable information is through successful evaluation practices.

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Image courtesy of Lagniappe Public Relations

Today it is easier than ever to conduct different evaluation methods. In the past, the most frequently used method of evaluation research was to send out mail cards with a survey or distribute comment cards at the end of events. With the rapid growth in social and online media, however, it is quicker and much more efficient to send out materials, such as online surveys, to receive feedback for public relations tactics.

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Image courtesy of Public Relations Institute of Australia

On social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, it is extremely easy to determine how far your post has reached, how many users have liked or shared it and generally how well it is being received. These sites will tell you this information on the post itself.

 

Specifically for the Big Buddy program, Lagniappe Public Relations suggests using a service such as Hootsuite to properly plan and examine analytics in regards to their Facebook and Twitter pages. Hootsuite is a great source for tracking all of a company’s social media reception and interaction in one place.

 

There are a variety of ways in which an evaluation can be conducted. The most familiar would probably be a survey taken by those who were directly impacted or influenced by the campaign. The important piece to remember about evaluation surveys is that they are only useful if a similar survey was conducted before campaign tactics were implemented. That way, you will have a clear numerical difference through which you can accurately judge your campaign’s success or failure.

 

Event success is another way to conduct an evaluation. Was the event successful? Did the planners receive positive feedback from guests and those involved in the event? These can all be use to evaluate what worked and what did not work in a campaign, specifically in an event, which can be a vital part of a campaign.

 

Conducting surveys and gathering feedback are important forms of evaluation that are a key part of implementing a successful campaign. Following our event for Big Buddy Program, our team gathered what was successful, unsuccessful and what could be improved upon in following events. This, along with our post event survey, will turn into an important resource for those planning next year’s event, which is exactly our intent.

The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniapperelations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

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Emily Guidroz is a senior at Louisiana State University, in May she will graduate with a degree in public relations and a minor in history. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in public relations in Chicago. In her spare time, Emily is an avid reader, coffee drinker, TV viewer and is always up for a discussion of the latest episode of her favorite shows.

Changes in PR tactics/channels with Big Buddy Program

By Frances Baumler and Grant Tarleton, co-strategy directors

Communication today is more important than ever before. Mobile phones are practically glued in our hands. The media and public relations tactics, such as social media, have become such prominent components in our lives that it’s almost hard to imagine a time without cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Before the spark of social media, public relations relied on the use of newspapers, television broadcasts and radio signals.

 

“The three main elements of public relations which are informing people, persuading people, and integrating people and integrating people with people are practically as old as society.” – Edward Bernays, father of public relations.

 

Today, public relations is relies heavily on the distribution of press releases, social campaigns and the spread of knowledge of events happening around the globe. Social media has become a vital role in the field of public relations and many companies have built campaigns entirely on social platforms. In 2013, Oreo took advantage of the Superbowl blackout and tweeted this image, which turned out to be one of the best uses of public relations in all time. The image was relevant, it generated 15,000 retweets, and it sparked a conversation. The real time response that social media offers creates more agility and ability to act immediately than forms of traditional media.

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Image courtesy of Oreo

With the news at our fingertips, we are looking for constant updates on what is happening in the world. In an age of instant gratification, we want our news immediately. As the demand for information grows, so does need for someone to give it to us. Forms of public relations channels, such as social media platforms, may not be around forever, but they will still be heavily utilized until something more immediate or targeted replaces them.

 

Lagniappe Public Relations has had to adapt to the constantly changing tactics and channels in public relations to best serve Big Buddy Program. It is important to remember the traditional tactics and channels while also staying current. A Ogilvy Public Relations survey shows that although social media is popular, traditional media remains the most trusted source for information. Using this information LPR used a variety of each for Big Buddy.

 

The Big Buddy Program has great relationships with the media outlets in the Baton Rouge area. They have an active presence on TV, radio and newspaper. Big Buddy also utilizes direct mail and publications to distribute information. In terms of social media, they have Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as a blog. Email is a vital tool Big Buddy uses to engage all of their publics. It is important to utilize social media because it helps the organization have direct interaction with the public. Interaction is very helpful for a local nonprofit because it helps build relationships.

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Image courtesy of Lagniappe Public Relations

Lagniappe Public Relations worked with Big Buddy to utilize all of their tools to best serve their needs. LPR helped enhance Big Buddy’s social media presence by making frequent posts as well as designing posts that show the program in the best light. In terms of print media, LPR has designed an invitation for Big Buddy as well as redesigned their monthly newsletter. Now Big Buddy has a great balance of traditional and new media.

The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniapperelations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

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Grant is a senior mass communications major at LSU. He loves to have fun and be spontaneous. His dream job would be to host a talk show but becoming a real estate developer will do as well.

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Frances is a senior pursuing a degree in mass communication and a minor in business administration at Louisiana State University. She is a Florida native, and is naturally an avid beach-goer and warm weather enthusiast. Frances currently interns for Community Coffee Company. When she is not writing about coffee, she is taking SnapChats on her front porch of her coffee. After graduation, Frances plans to pursue a career in the communications field. Location? To be decided.

Public Relations Strategies for Big Buddy Program

By Frances Baumler and Grant Tarleton, co-strategy directors

In order to carry out an effective public relations campaign, an organization must have a plan of action. This overall plan that determines what a brand wants its campaign to achieve and how it wants to achieve it can be defined as the campaign’s strategy. According to Ronald D. Smith’s “Strategic Planning for Public Relations,” strategy offers direction in theme, source, content and tone.

 

The first phase in strategic planning in any public relations campaign is to research.

According to the Houston Chronicle, research in crucial in providing unbiased information, organizational strengths and weaknesses, public relations communications tips and gaining feedback.

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Image courtesy of Business News Daily

In the research phase, it is important for an agency to perform a situational analysis on the organization in order to better understand the opportunity or obstacle that needs improvement. A SWOT test identifies the strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, and threats of an organization. This step looks at the organization’s internal and external environment and its reputation to the public. Considering the public’s perception of the organization is important because it pinpoints the wants, needs and expectations of the organization’s issue. Big Buddy has an advantage, in regards to public perception, because our research shows that Big Buddy is viewed positively in the community.

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Image courtesy of pixabay.

The second phase in strategic planning is to develop a plan, or a strategy. Having a plan is important because it provides a means to address particular public relations situations. Establishing goals revolves around long-term outcomes. A goal that many are trying to currently accomplish is to become the next president of the United States. The objectives are short term. It is crucial to determine the audience when establishing outcomes so that the campaign is communicating with the appropriate groups. Once the goals and objectives are defined it is time to formulate an action and response. This step narrows down the wide variety of actions available to a campaign and allows a plan to respond to different situations. The final part of the second phase is developing the message. It is important to consider what the message is, who is delivering the message, and how it is being delivered.

 

The third phase in strategic planning is to utilize appropriate communication tactics. Again, the organization and its publics must be taken into consideration. Who is the target audience? What message is the organization trying to get across?

 

It is important to think of the costs associated with implementing a tactic and determining whether it is an appropriate route of communication for the organization to take. While a smaller organization, perhaps a nonprofit, may utilize interpersonal communication to interact with and involve stakeholders; a larger company may have the means to invest in advertising and promotional media to connect with their audience. Lagniappe Public Relations has found out that often times a nonprofit budget varies depending on the tactic.

 

Certain organizational media tactics, such as social media, should be utilized by both corporations and nonprofits because of the broad audience range, user interactivity, and low cost associated. Today, 65% of American adults use at least one form of social media, while 90% of young adults ages 18-29 are consistently using social sites. The Big Buddy Program uses social media platforms to reach and engage this demographic.

 

The final phase in strategic planning is to evaluate the campaign. Once all the other phases are completed it’s important for a campaign to evaluate how successful they were. A big part of this phase is determining if the campaign objectives have been met. During this phase, the brand or client may decide if they need to modify their communication strategy in the future. A brand needs to make sure they use effective methods to measure each of their tactics. Kapil Arya of Ketchum points out that clients expect to be able to see that their money was well spent and created change. A client or brand can expect to spend 4-7% of their budget on measurement. With the growth of social media and the Internet, there are new tools available to evaluate a campaign. Websites such as TweetReach and SharedCount give practitioners access to social media metrics.
The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniapperelations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

 

Frances is a senior pursuing a degree in mass communication and a minor in business administration at Louisiana State University. She is a Florida native, and is naturally an avid beach-goer and warm weather enthusiast. Frances currently interns for Community Coffee Company. When she is not writing about coffee, she is taking SnapChats on her front porch of her coffee. After graduation, Frances plans to pursue a career in the communications field. Location? To be decided.

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Grant is a senior mass communications major at LSU. He loves to have fun and be spontaneous. His dream job would be to host a talk show but becoming a real estate developer will do as well.

PR Research and Big Buddy Program

By Caroline Beslin, Research Director

Research efforts in public relations can be used to measure different aspects of a company or brand.  One of the most important measurements to take is the level of trust between you and your audience.  “It doesn’t matter if it is your truth or theirs, you have to deal with the public perception” – Leslie Rasmussen.  In order to be successful, a brand must be constantly aware of their audience’s opinions.  People base most of their purchasing decisions on what they hear from others.  A brand’s ultimate measure of achievement is gaining their customers trust.

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Image courtesy of Space Coast FPRA

 

As public relations professionals, it is our job to maintain a positive image of the company, individual, or entity that we represent.  We have to look at the whole picture to see how a brand is perceived.  Trust leads to financial success.  If a brand wants to make changes that will affect their audience; it would be wise to conduct research to see how customers would possible react.  Paine Publishing discusses a trust measurement checklist that will help you determine the necessary steps to take with your research.   

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Image courtesy of Heinz Marketing

Netflix underwent changes in their pricing options in 2011.  They did not give their customers fair warning before they changed the prices of their online streaming service and DVD home delivery service.  The move was poorly received, and if Netflix had done their research they could have avoided not only the trust issues that ensued, but financial problems as well.  

As mentioned earlier, it is  important to know your audience.  Netflix’s appeal was their low price, immediacy, and wide range of movie options.  When they altered the expected $10 a month service, Netflix lost the trust of their customers.  Not only was this a poor use of communication, but they also did not adequately relay the meaning for this decision and the value it would bring to the service.  Netflix tried to make the focus on their loss and their rising expenses.  The customer should always be considered.

Public relations research is a valuable tool for all PR professionals to use.  Research helps to gain a clear view of your image and to understand what is and isn’t working for your company.  Netflix should have done more extensive research to gain an understanding of how their customers react to upcoming changes.  Modifications will always be made in business, but it is important to tread those waters lightly.  So much relies on the success of a company, and ignoring the proven effects of research will only lead to turmoil.  

The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniapperelations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

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Caroline Beslin is a senior studying mass communication at Louisiana State University.  She hopes to pursue a career in public relations in the New Orleans area after graduation.  Caroline is an avid runner and enjoys competing in races across the south.  She would love to one day combine her love of meeting new people, hearing their stories, and learning from others to create meaningful work in the PR world- while still having the time to bake the perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies.

 

PR Writing and Big Buddy Program

Written by Laura Aviles, Writing Director

PR professionals are groomed to be effective communicators. Perhaps our most valued skill set is writing. We have to be able use concise and creative words to persuade our audiences. Even though technology is constantly changing, writing is one form of communication that stays constant.

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Image courtesy of Is For Profit

“Writing is an essential aspect of our industry, because it is the way we communicate with our key publics.”- Memorie Bailey

Many students do not realize how much writing goes into PR (I was one of those students). All the different rules that have to be memorized can be pretty intimidating. At first, it may seem like a turn off, but with plenty of practice, anyone can become an amazing writer and communicator. By the time PR students are ready to graduate, they have become masters of AP Style, inverted pyramid and press releases.

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Image courtesy of Spinsucks.com

It is important to stress how essential AP Style is in PR writing. AP Style allows audiences to easily understand content. Below are some examples of AP Style rules courtesy of PR Daily:

  • Farther, further: Farther refers to physical distance; further refers to an extension of time or degree.
  • Numbers: Write out integers one through nine; use figures for 10 and higher. Spell out a number if it starts a sentence (unless it’s a year, such as 2014).
  • Months and seasons: When using a month with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec., and spell out when using alone or with only the year. The seasons—winter, spring, summer, autumn/fall—are not capitalized.
  • Dates and times: Write dates as June 4 and not June 4th and times as 9 a.m. rather than 9:00 AM. Always be careful with EDT vs. EST; simply using ET is a handy failsafe.

Nonprofit organizations, like Big Buddy Program, need to be mindful of how they communicate with their audience. According to Network for Good, nonprofits need to make sure that their writing is newsworthy. Nonprofits have to ensure that their writing is captivating enough to attract more people to the organization.

The mission of Big Buddy Program is to provide access to positive role models and learning experiences to children who lack these valuable resources in the Greater Baton Rouge community.

For more information, or to contact Lagniappe Public Relations, please email us at lagniapperelations@gmail.com. For more information on Big Buddy Program, visit their website or Facebook.

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Laura Avilés is currently a senior at Louisiana State University majoring in public relations and minoring in business administration and art history. She is a native New Orleanian and a very proud Puerto Rican and Spaniard. She is a lover of all things art, soccer, travel, music and fashion. Her current life goal is to find a PR job in London.