3/21 Meeting Recap: Weekend Language

By: Tiffany Lin

As innate storytellers, Weekend Language is our default when we are out of the office, two days out of every week. Andy Craig, Principal at Elevator Speech Inc., came in to talk to us about weekend language and how we should use our default setting in any professional setting.

On the weekends, we tell stories to our friends, families or even strangers. If the story is good, our audiences tell our stories to their friends, families and strangers to them, which is communication nirvana. Companies want that same effect in journalists and consumers.

When we are placed in front of cameras, we tend to switch to our more “business” side and use the most ridiculous language to sound more professional. Questions like “What do you do” and “What’s going on these days” become the hardest to answer. Interviewees have a difficult time boiling down everything they know into one to two sentences. The downside to complicated language is it turns audiences away, which is bad for business. These same questions translate to “Tell me about yourself” in an internship or job interview setting and how you answer them can greatly impact the end result.

Craig then introduces us to what he calls Magic Words. Magic words like “Imagine… For example… Think about it this way” help translate, summarize, and illustrate your knowledge and experience to your audience to the point where they a) understand and b) care about what you’re talking about. Analogies and metaphors can also do the trick; they are tweetable and relatable. Journalists love them. Next, Craig shows us how we can build a narrative through the lead, story and language.

Firstly, how do you find your lead? Creating your lead is not focused on who, what, when, why and how. It is the entire point of the passage and pulls people in. Journalists have two tasks: report and write. No reader is going to care about all the research journalists have done or how well they have written it if it doesn’t relate to them at first glance. The same thing applies when trying to obtain your next internship or job: find what the interviewer or company cares about and start with that.

The story is the second piece in the narrative puzzle. Anyone can walk down a resume but telling a cohesive story that explains your skills and what you actually did during your time at the internship is what will really grab your interviewer’s attention.

Lastly, the more conversational your language is, the better. Companies typically want to include as much fancy jargon and claims as they can like “leading provider.” But these meaningless words can often chip away at the company’s credibility, and these words can do the same to you when in an interview. Speaking a bunch of complicated words doesn’t mean you are communicating.

Weekend Language helps companies reach their audiences and can help you get your next internship or job — your narrative is what sets you apart.


11/1 Meeting Recap: Creativity in Real-World Campaigns


By: Tiffany Lin

FleishmanHillard (FH) is a global public relations and integrated marketing agency with over 80 offices in 30 countries. A few of their most notable clients include USAA, AT&T and Chevrolet.  

Now running the Austin FH office, Kristy Wilson started out from Florida State University. Her decision to study in PR was cemented when she toured the Atlanta FH office as part of her PRSSA chapter. Before she began her 19-year career with FH, Kristy interned for two semesters, worked for a smaller agency and Spring as part of their corporate communications.

This week, Kristy shared her insights of creating a campaign from start to finish, using a USAA campaign as an example. When she began writing the five stages to creating a campaign, she googled the five stages of grief. Throughout the 9-month process, there was a lot of grief bringing these ideas and solutions to life.

The Ask

Campaigns are typically initiated when a client has a need.  In the real world, needs don’t always come in a question, they look more like:

  • We have an opportunity… to work with a partner
  • We have a problem… something is wrong or broken
  • We need some ideas… we have to do something new this year

As a PR professional, the first thing you think is:

  • What are our smart objectives?
  • What does success look like?
  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • What do we want the target audience to do?
  • Why does the target audience cares?

What you think about isn’t what many other people think about. They just have a problem and want you to help them solve it. When you ask these questions, that’s how you get the ball rolling on forming an idea. In USAA’s case, they wanted more military persons to go to them for financial services.

The Idea

In the darker days, advertising agencies were at the forefront of idea generation. Nowadays, ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. Good ideas are “channel agnostic” meaning they can come from anyone and anywhere; they are able to translate to each of the channels fluidly.

When first presented with the issue, you have nothing. You have no ideas to present to the client. Each agency, including FH, has a creative process to facilitate the idea production. In the first few steps, it becomes clear that research has a clear role.

Each idea needs to have a root in research. You can’t pull credible solutions out of a hat. Through understanding trends and drawing conclusions from analyzing research, you are able to put together the best possible formula to complete your client’s objectives.

Through research, Kristy and her team were able to find out the best people to reach, young military men who leave after four years of service. Most of these people join the military are 18, fresh out of high school and then leave after four years when they are 22-years old. When they leave, they are out of housing and health benefits. Their meals are not taken care of anymore, and they are left without a source of income. USAA wanted to help these men get situated when they are deciding to leave the military, usually a year before they actually leave.

Best places for Veterans was created to address one of the men’s issue’s: finding a job. They ranked the 352 metropolitan cities throughout the U.S. with a set criterion and provided a checklist of things to prepare prior to leaving the military. USAA inserted themselves through the job market, providing the men with resources and offering financial services along the way. Now that Kristy and her team came up with a plan, they needed funding to put it to action.

The Sell

When selling an idea, you have to make sure that it sticks to the wall for an extended period of time otherwise, you don’t really have something meaningful to sell.

To sell USAA’s idea, Kristy and her team had to go through:

Corporation—> Military Affairs—> Marketing —> Legal —> Partners

They had to explain the idea and how it was going to work to the corporation and military personnel.

In order to get mobile apps and ads going, they had to speak to the marketing department.

To avoid getting sued, Kristy and her team collaborated with the legal team.

The partners gave the campaign credibility. Sometimes other brands who are important to your target market have to tell your target market that you are important too.

Once the idea sticks, the hard work starts.

The Work

The Work depends on each client, but the work done for USAA included:

  • Website development
  • Contracts
  • Media pitching
  • Press Releases
  • Advertising
  • Mobile App

The Results

Once the campaign is done, you have to measure it. Good PR always has measurements. Throughout the campaign, USAA’s website sessions increased, especially on the checklist page.

If you’re successful, then the circle of the campaign life starts all over again.

10/4 Meeting Recap: Inside Fashion & Lifestyle PR with POM PR!


By: Tiffany Lin

Couldn’t make it to the meeting this Tuesday? Read all about this week’s speakers from Patterns of Movement (POM) PR!


About the Speakers

Kristin Chin’s background in the industry started in 15 years ago, working with multiple fashion brands in corporate public relations. She was involved in high profile and high fashion events such as the Oscars and Emmys. About 9 years ago, Chin moved to Austin where she noticed an abundance of food, corporate and other genres of public relations. She saw a need for an agency specializing in fashion public relations, which is when she founded Patterns Of Movement PR in 2010.

Mandy Mayekawa is a University of Texas alumna. Before graduating in 2013 in public relations, Mayekawa landed an internship with POM PR after hearing them speak at a PRSSA meeting. The internship was an amazing experience. She learned almost everything about the trade outside of her UT classes at the internship. She was employed by Lionsgate, where she worked for a variety of clients such as Hunger Games and Divergent. Mayekawa mostly handled film PR and international publicity. When a position opened up with POM PR, she couldn’t pass the opportunity up and she has been with the agency ever since.


A glimpse of POM PR

POM PR is focused on fashion and lifestyle. They are all about determining the best story to pitch to the press. They have clients all around Texas and have build a substantial network with editors and influencers.  

On a day-to-day basis, Mayekawa and Chin are in a whirlwind of writing; there is a ton of pitch drafting. When they are not writing, they are contacting the press and creating press clips after they secure the press. They are scheduling interviews and covering the interviews, as well as managing Instagram and Facebook for many of their clients.

Austin Fashion Week is a large project that POM PR undertakes every year. Along with the founders, Chin has been on the board since the very beginning. Though there were many changes, Austin Fashion Week has evolved into a 10- day event that starts with a kick off event. Now hosted at the JW Marriott, the project has retail events in the middle of the week and three to four nights of runway shows. Famous names have crossed their itinerary such as the judges from Project Runway, but recently there has been an increase in independent designers.

Some things have changed in the industry. For example, POM PR now spends a significant portion of time working with bloggers due to their influence. But some things haven’t changed. For example, the overall success of a story still relies on trends, timing, and what works for POM PR and the press.

Other than traditional hooks such as Mother’s Day, POM PR features the uniqueness of the brand to catch editors’ eyes.


Their Clients

Eleve, one of their clients is an all natural and vegan cosmetics brand. As a new client, POM PR discussed where the brand was in market, what their goals were and how PR can help them with their goals. Since Eleve is a newer brand, they wanted the agency to get the word out locally. POM PR reached out to boutiques and salons to see if they were interested in being wholesale vendors. Other than the more traditional methods, POM PR reached out to bloggers and piqued their interest through event invites and gifting. The company welcomed the media to meet the founder and try the products out.

Another one of their clients is Shaesby Fine Jewelry, where their main goal was to broaden their reach and to appear on national news sources. POM PR honed in on what made Shaesby special, which directed them to the brand’s unique collections at the time.

The Isle Collection was made with mixed metals, had a lower price point, and designed with a celestial pattern in mind. POM PR made the inspirations for the designs the focal point of the campaign.

The Bridal collections were attached to a custom experience. Customers could take their family heirloom diamond and make it into a brand new ring. The media visited the studio in Allendale, where they saw the process of how the jewelry was created. What was unique was the opportunity to see the rings being made and potentially meeting the artist or designer of your ring.

During the campaign, POM PR wanted to connect the brand to new and current clients. To achieve Shaesby’s second goal, they pitched to international outlets and cultivated relationships with the press.

PR is notoriously hard to quantify, so clips and social media shout outs are the results to show to clients that says, “This is where your money is going to.” Shaesby was featured in Refinery 29 and most recently in Elle during New York Fashion Week. The article in Elle was especially rewarding after a year of communication, gifting and nurturing of the relationship. Being able to see and share an article is the fruition of hours of hard work and is one of the best parts of being in the industry. Just make sure to notify clients on how long PR can take effect.


POM PR Pro Tips

  • Make your resume (include your name in the file):
    • Relevant
    • One page
    • Descriptive
  • Go to the interview:
    • Appropriately dressed
      With hard copies of your resume and writing samples
    • With a notebook
    • With questions and knowledge of the company
  • After the interview:
    • Send a thank you note/follow up
    • Send additional materials they request