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.

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.

Stewardship and Client Relations with Big Buddy Program

We have always heard that it takes two to tango, and the field of public relations is no exception. From devising a marketing content calendar to sustaining mutually beneficial relationships, all public relations practitioners should focus on one fundamental aspect: client relations 

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Image courtesy of Lambton College

Whether you work in an agency, corporate office, or nonprofit, stewardship should remain at the forefront of all tasks. After all, public relations essentially revolves around the fostering of relationships.

“Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” Bill Bernbach , advertising pioneer and founder of DDB

Thus, this fast-paced, multi-faceted field relies heavily on the cultivation of stewardship and client relations. Although you may contribute an abundance of objectives, tactics and strategies for your organization, the relationship component proves to be the most invaluable. Forbes effectively outlines this in its “7 Best Practices for Building Client Relations.”

  1. Be patient with new relationships
  2. Get to know their industry and company
  3. Go the extra mile
  4. Treat every client as your most important
  5. Respond promptly
  6. Be more than an email address
  7. Always summarize the next steps

 

These best practices perfectly coincide with working for a nonprofit organization. It is vital for all public relations members to gain efficient knowledge on the nonprofit’s mission, respond quickly and with respect, and treat them on an equal basis along your other agency and corporate clients.

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Image courtesy of Ink House

 

The biggest take away from the Forbes article in relation to nonprofit work, however, derives from being more than an email account. Due to firsthand experience with Big Buddy Program, Lagniappe Public Relations has realized that face-to-face contact with nonprofits definitely adds that “lagniappe” to your client relations. By immersing yourself in the nonprofit’s mission and culture, you can identify more easily with the brand; thus, making your work as a public relations professional more meaningful.

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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Erinn Sala is currently a senior pursuing a dual-degree in mass communication and history at Louisiana State University. She plans to further her education by obtaining her MBA after graduation. Erinn currently interns for Visit Baton Rouge and LSU Executive Education. She enjoys Louisiana Saturday nights in Tiger Stadium and runs around the University Lakes. Erinn is a Show Me Your Mumu enthusiast and an avid Netflix watcher.

 

Public Relations Professional Values and Competencies

The field of public relations is in the spotlight with the popularity of shows such as Scandal. Dreams of stepping into the shoes of Olivia Pope and doing whatever it takes to help your client fill the hearts and minds of many people across America. The reality is the field of PR is filled with professionals who abide by the values of the profession. The Public Relations Society of America clearly identifies PR’s core values: advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. It is especially important to abide by these values when dealing with nonprofits. Our nonprofit is Big Buddy and if we don’t abide by our values, the backlash could hurt many of the kids who need the services Big Buddy provides. All of the values are relevant to our campaign but certain ones stand out to me more than others. Advocacy is the most important duty for us during this process. Big Buddy does great things for our community and it is essential that we take our position as a spokesperson very important. The next value that really hit home is expertise. As college students and millennials we possess expertise that older professionals don’t. Our ideas are fresh and our minds are open to best serve our client. Finally, fairness is essential when completing our campaign. We have to walk the line of giving our opinion but also understanding the stances of others (Big Buddy, media, etc.) involved in the process.

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Image courtesy of Word Cloud

         Public Relations requires professionals be competent in various skills and situations. Ten competencies employers look for include action orientation, dealing with ambiguity, creativity, decision quality, problem solving, motivating others, planning, priority setting, strategic agility, and time management. In the short time we have worked with Big Buddy time management seems to be a competency I have had to learn to deal with the most. Senior year is hectic because while school is important, preparing for post graduation takes up a lot of my time and attention. As a group we were able to show how we were action oriented by volunteering at Big Buddy’s Burger Bash. It was great to show our organization that we do more than just come up with great ideas; we back up our ideas with action as well. The competency that I have been most impressed that our group possesses is problem solving. One of the first requests of Big Buddy is that we find a venue that would allow us to use their space free of charge. This task sounded hard to accomplish but when we put our heads together and used all of our resources we were able to come up with multiple options. Values and competencies are crucial in PR and I am already seeing how the campaign is helping us improve in both.

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Image courtesy of Dr. Copple-Moore

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.

-Grant Tarleton

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I am a senior mass communications major at LSU. I love to have fun and be spontaneous. My dream job would be to host a talk show but becoming a real estate developer will do as well.