3/20 Meeting Recap: FleishmanHillard

Meeting Recap FleishmanHillard

By: Hena Lee

Who actually likes being in the bullseye?

Stephanie Childs specializes in crisis and issues management and has been currently working for FleishmanHillard in Austin, TX for 6 years. She shared with us what she does, which is very relatable to public relations. Crisis and issues management is how one can quickly and clearly tell the facts to the public without speculations; they must clearly communicate what broke within the company and how they can fix it.

Series of events that led to where she is now clearly illustrates what it looks like to be constantly on one’s toes and adapting to the changing world field. After graduating with a major in International Relations, Childs worked in Washington, D.C. managing senators’ schedules. However, that quickly ended after she found her real passion in BSMG Worldwide. This job required her to build websites for clients, but also helper her land her next job by answering questions at the heat of the moment no one else could. Her next job was in the Food Industry within Trade Associations which required her to be on standby at all times. Because she loves being in the bullseye, the pressure and in the heat of the moment, companies paid her to talk to the public about crucial issues. She became a role and influencer by listening to her co-workers, being knowledgeable, and understanding her team.

Learning from all these experiences, she then gave us real situations she had to go through and walked us through how to resolve huge crisis within a company. First, one must ask, what’s the facility? Where’s the source coming from? One must know where this crisis arose from. Then, you had to get more answers. Always communicate with seats above you all the way to the CEO. One important advice she gave us was to never speculate because speculation causes confusion and distrust. Lastly, one must be prepared, and remember that doing the right thing matters. One never knows who can be of help in the future and the connections you build by doing the right thing.

Through all this information and from all her experiences, she clearly lists out lessons she has learned. You will fail and you will survive. Your actions may affect the company’s stock. Compassion makes a difference, try to maintain composure. Listen and learn by  absorbing information and representing it well. Importantly, acknowledge your own limits.

In conclusion, she really informed our students of helpful advice on how to move from an intern to actually getting recognized and getting a job. One must pay attention to the details, then roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done. They must discover a problem and try to find a solution. One must also learn how to continuously build lists, project authority, be confident, and build relationships- you never know who you’ll need.


3/6 Meeting Recap: Giant Noise

Giant Noise

By: Hailey Herzik

Madeline Brooks, an HR specialist, spoke with Texas PRSSA about Giant Noise, a PR firm born and raised right here in Austin. Giant Noise offers a wide range of services from Public Relations (obviously) to crisis management to even photography. The firm also has an impressive list of clients, such as Plucker’s Wing Bar and Home Slice Pizza.

Brooks told the story of how Giant Noise came to be. It all began when Elaine Garza, University of Texas alumni and founder of Giant Noise, decided to leave New York City to move back to Austin to raise her family. Before she left, one of her clients said to her, “If you open up your own agency, I’ll be your first client.” This was the moment Giant Noise was born.

Garza’s talent and hard work can be seen in the work Giant Noise does, especially in their case studies, which Brooks presented at the meeting. One case study was about Kemuri Tatsu-Ya. Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is an Austin-based restaurant that fuses Japanese inspired dishes with Texas BBQ.

The goal was to establish Kemuri as an essential “culinary destination” in Austin. The team at Giant Noise accomplished this by pitching the restaurant’s unique food and beverage combinations and the Tatsu-Ya team. Giant Noise’s work helped Kemuri be one of the most anticipated new restaurant openings in 2017.

Kemuri was featured in several magazines, some of which were Eater, Food & Wine and Vice. The restaurant was also featured in GQ, who wrote that, “If you’re not having a little fun here [Kemuri Tatsu-Ya] then you’re on the wrong Tinder date.”

The case study Brooks presented about Kemuri Tatsu-Ya highlighted just how effective good PR can be to a brand. Along with this, she highlighted the various services that can be offered and how clients sometimes need multiple services, and others may only need one. One client she mentioned only used Giant Noise to create a guest list to invite important influencers and media to their SXSW event.

To close off the meeting, Brooks presented some exciting internship opportunities with Giant Noise. There are three different types of internships: Public Relations, Social Media, and Business Development.

A Public Relations intern is what it sounds like: this intern assists the team with writing pitches and press release drafts and pretty much any task related to PR. Along with this, the intern would attend client events.

The Social Media intern helps draft copies for social media posts on the top platforms. They also do research to compile list of top social media influencers. Brooks mentioned that while the Social Media and Public Relations teams are still separate entities, the two cross paths often, allowing these interns to dabble in both of these fields.

The final internship position is the Business Development intern. While this program seems to deviate away from the Public Relations field, Brooks said it was an exciting and rewarding program. Business Development interns get the chance to become close with their clients by creating fact sheets, client case studies and participating in meeting with clients.

11/28 Meeting Recap: SXSW Agency Tour


By: Dariya Kizieieva

Do you have to start your career at a PR agency? SXSW professionals think you do not.

“Do you know what is Austin DNA? It is South by Southwest,” a current senior publicist of SXSW Brett Cannon states. On an agency tour, PRSSA members got to talk to him and learn about his experience of working for a large PR firm such as Edelman and his transition to South by Southwest.

Almost every PR student is told or believes that once you leave a college, you have to start your career at a PR agency, which according to Brett’s opinion, is not necessarily true.

If you think you have creative ideas worth sharing with others, a PR agency may not be the best place for you. You, as a PR professional, will learn a client very closely and will understand his needs, but whenever you come up with a creative idea, you do not bring it straight to the client. First, you take it to your agency table. Then you have to pass many red tapes, and most of the time it will not reach your client, because your idea was not approved by people within your agency.

PR agencies are not for everyone. They give you a range of experiences, but you do not have to limit yourself to them.

Allison Johnson, advertising coordinator at SXSW, recommends to apply for volunteering or internships at the SXSW festival. There are many positions related to PR to choose from, and they cover a variety of fields such as music, film and technology.

You will have to give up your spring break, but you will have a chance to be behind the scenes of one of the most famous festivals in the world.

Being an attendee and being an intern provides you a very difficult sight of South by Southwest, Allison said. You will grow your network, learn what you are especially good at and where you need to grow.

You have to realize that PR is all about who you know. You may not necessarily stay at the place where you have interned, but the people you meet there will help you to reach your top career choice.

As a PR student, there are many paths you can take in your career, and it can be very intimating. However, getting an internship is the best way to figure out which path is actually yours. 

11/7 Meeting Recap: Stand Up and Stand Out


By: McKaylah Austin

This week, a guest speaker, Chelsey Korman, from GSD&M Austin came out to speak to us about topics ranging from the biggest PR fumble of 2017 to maintaining press relationships and more!

GSD&M is an Austin based advertising agency that was started in 1971 by four University of Texas students that didn’t know a thing about advertising, but knew they wanted something to do with it- fast forward to today and GSD&M employs 400 staff members, with clients such as Southwest Airlines, John Deere, Whole Foods Market, Popeye’s, and Dodge. GSD&M prides itself on being a creatively-driven, purpose-based agency that exists to create ideas that make a difference.

To show an example of how fast and deep GSD&M takes on its clients and their ideologies, Chelsey walked us through a series of advertisements put out by Southwest Airlines, showcasing their full dedication to their flyers. The warm and heartfelt videos earned praise from Ad Week, USA Today, and other esteemed publications nationwide, earning Southwest the title of “The Brand with Heart”.

Chelsey went on to tell us tips and tricks to strengthen and maintain press relations:

  1. DO stay in contact
  2. DO know the brand
  3. DO make it interesting
  4. DO give the facts
  5. DON’T avoid giving the facts

One final takeaway from the presentation was to do what you love, love what you do, and stick with your morals and beliefs while learning what it is that you love.

10/24 Meeting Recap: Workshop with T3


By: Leslie Ortega

For our meeting we had T3, an advertising agency that finds innovative ways to develop a brand’s identity and marketing campaign. T3 employs 230 people across 4 cities with clients including Allstate, UPS, Whole Foods and Capital One.

T3 believes that consumers’ expectations have changed over time and it’s not just about communication anymore. They help companies get to the core of the business problem by framing solutions and building useful brands. They’ve mostly worked in digital advertising but also do different channel digital advertising experience.

Our meeting consisted of a workshop dealing with rideshare commuting problems. The challenge was to reimagine a better rideshare commuting solution and focusing on digital ideas and opportunities. 3 out of 4 commuters drive alone so how can we encourage people to be the driver and pick up others with them?

First, we established our key audiences: the established commuter and emerging commuters, then, we looked at ethnographic studies. The consensus across the studies were that commuters were hesitant to give up their freedom and flexibility, a negative stigma of carpooling, and being uncomfortable riding with strangers. T3 then reframed the challenges into opportunities and by modernizing carpooling and fostering a sense of community, it could change people’s perceptions on commuting.

Our activity included creating a journey map for emerging commuters by identifying key moments in a person’s commute journey and marking their peaks and troughs throughout the ride. This showed the commuter’s perspective and how it could be improved. Some of our members provided suggestions, such as modernizing it into an interactive app or offering rewards like gift cards, as a way to encourage ridesharing.

The final takeaway from our workshop is that this journey structure can be applied to anything else in communication while helping with tactics and overall user experience.

9/26 Meeting Recap: Striking a Chord

IMG_9985.JPGBy: Leslie Ortega

For our first meeting of the semester, we had a guest speaker from Margin Walker, a live-music promotions marketing company. Matthew Barron started a digital media company to mix digital marketing with creative and experiential marketing, which allowed him attendance at every music festival to take high level pictures for free. This has lead to his current employment at Margin Walker as a creative director. Matthew spoke to Texas PRSSA about experiential marketing and taking a creative approach to advertising.

When taking a creative approach, Matthew emphasized that one-on-one marketing is essential but also said to personalize things and remember to hone in on the audience you want. South by Southwest is one of the biggest events to try out these marketing ideas with big companies going head to head to see who can attract the biggest audience.

Matthew also explained that social media is a 360° appeal because it’s how consumers appraise your company. Digital presence should be a first priority as one represents their company on their social media posts. A great example of this is Wendy’s twitter account as their digital presence is known for their tweets and replies to consumers and other companies.

Lastly, Matthew talked about experiential marketing and creating experiences for your consumers. The epitome of what you give consumers at experiential marketing events is a lasting experience that they can keep forever. Examples of this include limited edition gifts and opportunities, such as hats, posters, and meeting celebrities.

One important thing to remember is that what and who you’re marketing is very important, but make sure to keep your audience in mind when creating these opportunities.