Applying professionalism and ethics for the first time in the PR world

We’ve learned so much this semester, including how to write and how to communicate effectively and efficiently. The most important lessons have definitely been in professionalism and ethics. All PR skills aside, there is nothing more important than those two aspects. I can be the best writer, have the most innovative and creative ideas out there, and know how to communicate like a pro, but if I don’t understand the importance of ethics and being professional then everything else is a waste.

Understanding exactly what ethics how and how they are important to your job is key. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) created their own code of ethics that serves as a perfect example of what ethics are and how to follow them. The key aspects of the PRSA Code of Ethics are:

Advocacy: “We serve the public interest by acting as responsible advocates for those we represent. We provide a voice in the marketplace of ideas, facts, and viewpoints to aid informed public debate.”

Honesty:  “We adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in advancing the interests of those we represent and in communicating with the public.”

Expertise: “We acquire and responsibly use specialized knowledge and experience. We advance the profession through continued professional development, research, and education. We build mutual understanding, credibility, and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.”

Independence: “We provide objective counsel to those we represent. We are accountable for our actions.”

Loyalty: “We are faithful to those we represent, while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.”

Fairness: “We deal fairly with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media, and the general public. We respect all opinions and support the right of free expression.”

The above aspects and their descriptions are courtesy of the PRSA website and are available for any to access here. This code of ethics is not only essential to professionals in the public relations world, but to any other professional in the business industry. I feel that these attributes should be the foundation of all individuals’ personal and professional image. It is key that we learn these things while we are in school, as well as learn how best to apply them in a real world setting. This is where our mini-campaign with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and SCVNGR comes in to play.

I’m sure it’s safe to say, on behalf of myself and my classmates, that we’re all so incredibly thankful for the experience we’ve had with the BRAC and SCNVGR partnership through LSU. Knowing and practicing the PRSA Code of Ethics has been an essential part of the process every step of the way. It’s created the doorway for our growth in professionalism.

Professionalism requires some solid common sense. However, it also requires some learning and growing. We as students are at such a crucial point in our lives concerning the growth of our maturity. If we haven’t matured into professional young adults by the time we graduate, we are going to be out of luck. Professionalism covers a wide range of things, from being on time to the way we communicate with our peers and clients.

Through our project and working with BRAC as an actual client, we’ve learned how to apply what we’ve learned about professionalism in a real world setting. Not many non-graduates get to have this experience. I feel like we’ve had a a great trial run with our first experience with a client. I’m so thankful to Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple and BRAC for this amazing opportunity for growth and learning. I can’t wait to see where I go  and apply the knowledge I’ve acquired. Maybe it’ll be in Baton Rouge! 🙂

I just have to remember, que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be.

Until later, much love!

– Alex

You can follow me on my journey through my Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram!

 

 

My semester of service-learning, BRAC and public relations

My semester has been interesting, to say that least. It’s had its highs and lows and lot of in-betweens. Is the semester really almost over? It’s hard to believe. I’ve learned so much in such a short period of time.

photo from twitter.com/manshipschool

photo from twitter.com/manshipschool

I faced my very first service-learning public relations course: MC4001 taught by Dr. Jensen Copple-Moore of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University. As you can recall from my first blog post I was terrified at first, to be quite honest. I always avoided service-learning classes. It usually meant a lot of extra work for not much extra reward. I definitely had a freak out moment when our professor told us about the project with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and SCVNGRWait, a real client? What if I mess up? Several bad situations rolled around in my head for a while before I realized it wasn’t impossible. I realized I was here to learn – I’m supposed to mess up.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 12.52.59 PM

Thankfully, once I met my group and we got started working on the project I felt much better. Working with Brittany, Helen and Regan has been great. Our public relations agency is Reveal PR, and we were assigned the project of Rediscover/Discover Baton Rouge. Basically our job is to show how Baton Rouge has maintained its culturally rich roots while growing and keeping up with modern times. BRAC wants to showcase the city as the creative capital of the South. Baton Rouge has so much to offer, not just culturally, but economically. The business industry is booming, and it needs young professionals to to come in and fill the employment gaps.

photo from brac.org

photo from brac.org

photo from scvngr.com

photo from scvngr.com

I know I’ve said this in probably every blog post so far, but I feel so lucky to have had the chance to gain such an experience while still in college. The grant we received from SCVNGR is something that no one else has been able to do – the fact that we were able to work on this project for free, when companies normally pay thousands is just mind blowing.

I have learned so much throughout this course about professionalism and ethics. I’ve learned the importance of maintaining a positive and professional image not only for yourself, but for your client. I feel like I am more prepared to graduate now than I ever have – and I still have a semester left!

So about my super-scary-how-will-i-ever-make-it service-learning course I took this semester? I survived.

I did something a little different with this post and added a video, where I talk about my experience with the class. I encourage y’all to check it below and my other social media sites out. I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

This isn’t so bad: Surviving service learning

Like I said in my first post, I never really thought service learning was my cup of tea. It intimidated me. It always had. They aren’t your typical breezy college classes. I have to admit that I didn’t know what I was signing up for when I decided to take the PR route. At first, I was doubtful – I thought it might be too much for me. I never thought in a million years that one class would change my opinion, but it did.

Working with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) on the SCVNGR trek in my MC4001, taught by Dr. Jensen Copple-Moore, has definitely confirmed my fear of hard work and high expectations. However, it’s transformed from fear to excitement. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have the chance to apply what I’m learning in the classroom to a real-world situation. The Manship School at LSU provides SO many opportunities for its students to grow and learn. I’ve never been more confident about the decision to pursue mass communication as my major.

This service learning course has definitely helped to shape my view of public relations. PR is not exactly an easy concept to grasp in a nutshell, but working with BRAC has helped me to understand some of the work involved. I’ve learned the importance of knowing exactly what your client’s needs are – there is an incredible amount of information you have to compile. You have to know your client – background, product, strengths, weaknesses, etc. You have to know their audience, where they’ve been and where they want to go. You need to be able to show them something they didn’t come up with themselves – take them to new places, redraw boundary lines.

PR is all about knowledge, drive and innovation. You have to KNOW. You have to have the will power and determination to DRIVE yourself and your clients to new things using that knowledge. That’s the only way you’re going to become innovative. One of the hardest parts of the process that I’m learning to deal with is negativity. You’re going to mess up. You will forget something. Your idea will be rejected. There was a time I couldn’t handle any of that, but now I find myself feeling more driven to thrive under negativity. I feel as though this is an essential part of public relations. Every not so awesome grade I get on an assignment makes me double and triple check most of my work now. It’s only made me better.

I used to be scared about the path I’m on. I may not know what I’m doing still a lot of the time, but I feel more driven now. If I don’t know the answer I don’t sit there helpless – I seek it out. I don’t let myself stop. I’m really excited to see how this SCNVGR trek turns out and find out what more I can learn about the exciting world of PR. Stay tuned!

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BRAC and Social Media: A whole new world

There really can’t be much of an argument when it comes to the fact that social media is an invaluable tool that has the potential to help your business grow by leaps and bounds. It reaches across boundaries that couldn’t be crossed before. You have access to pretty much anyone, anywhere.

The Manship School at LSU is crazy about social media these days – it’s the shiny new toy. Learn social media! Build on social media! Love social media! I feel like all the lessons I’m learning can be summed up in those three proclamations. It truly is an exciting and valuable resource, for both personal and business use. All you have to know what to do is exactly how to utilize it to benefit your business the best. It can do a world of good and a world of bad. You need to know where to plug in, who your audience is, how to engage them, and how to keep them.

Major social media outlets in the United States today include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and many more. Companies that plug themselves into these outlets will find themselves in a whole new world. The identity they establish through social media can have a mega-impact on the direction the business takes.

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) has successfully used this revolutionary technological advancement to their advantage. They have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Advancements can’t be made unless people are willing to go where others haven’t. BRAC aims to get ahead of the game through the use of SCVNGR, a geolocation-based mobile application. It’s yet another useful platform that BRAC is establishing itself through to reach more people.

I feel so lucky to be able to have the chance to create a SCVNGR trek for BRAC along with the rest of my MC 4001 class at LSU. No other students in the nation get to have this chance – it’s invaluable experience! Establishing a presence on SCVNGR in my opinion is great for BRAC. The application engages users to check into different places around the city, gain points, and earn real-world rewards for their efforts. They can be awarded coupons, discounts, freebies, and all sorts of other things. Not to mention full access to knowledge of the city’s ins and outs. It really puts you on the same level as a local – who wouldn’t want that wherever they went?

Technological advancements continue to amaze me – and I’ve grown up in a generation filled with them. I shouldn’t be that surprised, right? I’m sure most people my age have had to sit through the whole, “Well, when I was your age” speech from their parents or grandparents at one point or another. But to be honest, I feel just as shocked as them. I know I take most of the resources available to me for granted, but when I actually sit down and think about all that I have right at my fingertips – I am in awe. It’s a whole new world. And it keeps on evolving.

Find me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & Instagram!

Here goes nothing: Surviving Service-Learning

What have I gotten myself into?  Those words have been rolling around my brain ever since I decided to join the PR world. One quick flip through the syllabus of my MC4001 class, and I knew I had my work cut out for me. On day one, as my professor discussed everything that we’d be doing in the course this semester, I felt myself growing smaller and smaller in my chair.

Service-learning. I’ve never been one to jump for joy at the sight of these classes. For it mostly meant extra work with no long-term pay off. Also, to be quite honest, the idea scared the living crap out of me. Learning in a classroom is one thing, conquering it in a real-world setting is a whole different monster.

You can imagine that when my professor told us that we would be applying our newly-obtained PR skills by working with the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and mobile application SCVNGR, I had a moment where I thought I was in way over my head. I just thought to myself, Okay Alex, breathe. You’ve never done this before, but it’s okay. You’re here to learn.

Luckily, it didn’t take long for my mind to be set at ease.

Once I met my assigned group for the project- Helen, Brittany and Regan – I felt a lot better. When we sat down and started throwing around initial ideas, I knew that it was going to be a much more positive experience. I even go the position of writing director on the project, which just so happened to be my first choice. Finding that small corner of comfort definitely goes a long way as I’m trying to find my niche in the PR world.

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely still daunted by the task – it has a lot of different aspects to it, and there isn’t much room for error. However, I know that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s all part of the learning process. The world of public relations is definitely fast-paced. You can’t really afford to sit back and wait for all the answers to come to you. I’m quickly learning that you have to be proactive about progression – the only way to get better is to just do it.

I think the decision focus on PR has been one of the best in my life so far. The Manship School at LSU  is filled helpful counselors, teachers and students. Everyone dedicated to helping each other thrive and pursue the endless opportunities. In a world where you are constantly challenged to try and keep up, I’m so thankful that I’m surrounded by such driven people. What have I gotten myself into? Honestly, I can’t wait to find out.