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July | August Newsletter

July 14, 2010

What’s Happening At National

Our national Public Relations Society of America is continueing to develop new training and new opportunities for PR pros to enhance their skills, learn about new trends or refresh your creative juices. If you havne’t looked lately, go to and click on the “Professional Development” link to see all the new and exciting training programs that have developed. Many of them are webinars or teleconfrences, making it easy and convenient to provide training to your entire staff. As a PRSA member, you’ll receive a discounted cost to the training making it affordable for firm or office, no matter what size.

This summer is a great time to join PRSA if you are not already a member. 

Join in July and August and PRSA will waive the $65 initiation fee. You’ll be able to get on the inside track to a bright future.

Stay on Top of Emerging Trends and Industry News.

  • PRSA Issues and Trends delivers daily industry trends straight to your inbox.
  • Public Relations Tactics, our award-winning flagship newspaper, provides essential tips from PR experts.
  • The Strategist magazine delivers executive-level competitive insight.
  • Public Relations Journal, our online journal, showcases original research.

Extend Your Network While Increasing Your Knowledge.

  • Chapters deliver your membership experience in your local community.
  • Professional Interest Sections focus on issues, trends and research in specialized practice areas and industries.
  • PRSA’s RFP Exchange allows you to search and post your own RFPs to grow your business opportunities.
  • MyPRSA lets you access and manage your members-only benefits including our directories and e-groups.

Keep Learning and Stay Competitive.

  • Access our members-only database of case studies, articles and research.
  • Attend free and discounted learning and networking events.
  • PRSA’s Jobcenter helps you make your next career move, plus receive job alerts and access career advice.
  • Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), the only professional public relations certification program, lets you distinguish yourself and gain a professional edge.
  • PRSA’s prestigious awards programs, including Silver Anvil, get you recognized for your excellence and accomplishments.


What Did I Miss? May Luncheon Program

Political Consultants Lead Spirited Discussion on Upcoming Election at PRSA-CCC May Meeting

By John Frith

Two political pros gave their unvarnished views on how they see the June primary election unfolding at May’s PRSA-CCC lunch meeting.

Steve Maviglio, a prominent Democratic public affairs practitioner, and Kevin Eckery, a veteran GOP consultant, agreed on a number of things but – naturally – not everything.

To begin with, the pundits agreed that Meg Whitman will probably – but not certainly – pull off the Republican nomination for Governor over Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Why? “Amateurs talk tactics. Professionals talk money,” Eckery said, citing Whitman’s overwhelming ability and willingness to contribute to her campaign.

Maviglio told the group of more than 20 PR pros and – for the first time in recent memory, two reporters for the AP – that Democrats are joining Poizner and piling on against Whitman in a wave of TV ads because they see her as the stronger candidate against presumptive Democratic nominee Jerry Brown.

The two disagreed about why Whitman’s support has dropped so sharply. Eckery, former spokesman for Gov. Pete Wilson, thought it was because of the former E-Bay CEO’s ties to the investment firm Goldman Sachs, while Maviglio, who worked for Wilson’s successor, Gray Davis, thought it was because Poizner has rallied on the illegal immigration issue.

As for Brown, seeking another stint in the corner office 28 years after he left the Horseshoe, both agreed his famed intellect and equally famed short attention span will make things interesting should he win the election – especially if San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (who observers say has an equally short attention span) is elected Lieutenant Governor.

Eckery cautioned that Republicans will make a big mistake if they run against Brown’s actions during the 1970s and ‘80s, since many voters weren’t even alive then.

In the other major statewide race, both consultants thought former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina would win the GOP nomination. Eckery thought she would give Sen. Barbara Boxer a tough race, but Maviglio predicted Boxer would win handily as recent primary results in other parts of the country show that anti-Democratic sentiments aren’t nearly as strong as some observers had expected.

As for many of the candidates in the other statewide races, Maviglio dismissed most of the termed-out legislators running as not ready for prime time, saying it was a perfect example of why term limits don’t work.

Getting Real About Creating Change

11 March, 2010 | Written by Amber Naslund/Blog

Altitude Branding - Getting Real About Creating Change

I wrote a while back about social media and culture shift. I continue to believe that the biggest obstacle to social media adoption and integration is a culture shift, not an operational one.

But there’s a subtle point to be made.

The culture issues that exist in these companies have been years – even decades – in the making.

So, social media didn’t cause the culture disparities. They’ve been there all along. But the new expectations for responsiveness, accountability, personality and human focus as a result of the potential and visibility of new communication have put a big, fat spotlight on where those values are missing.

Social media may be part of the indicator, folks, but it’s not the issue.

Change is.

 And change isn’t instant, nor is it usually easy. We’re not really asking for companies to embrace social media. We don’t really care if they’re on Twitter or blogging. Those are just details.

What we’re asking is for them to take a good, hard look at why they’re doing business, for whom. We’re asking them to communicate better, more clearly, more genuinely. We’re asking them to spend the effort to rework the way they do business to make customers feel like they give a rip.

Social media is just the soapbox we’re using to ask for that change.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, of course. I’d be willing to bet that hundreds of businesses that we would identify as not putting their customers first will tell you all day long that yes, indeed, that’s what they aim to do. It’s the rare, ruthless business that would say they truly don’t care about people (and if that’s the case, we can’t help them anyway).

But what we’re NOT doing well – collectively – is really illustrating the disconnect points where organizations’ expressed positive values don’t line up with the way they do things at a functional level.  

We’re telling them to get on Twitter, but we’re really asking them to have more immediate and responsive customer service channels because their call center is a nightmare to navigate.

We’re telling them to blog, but what we really want from them is to understand more about the people behind their business, and what they’re thinking and feeling and doing, and feel like they really want to share those things with us.

I’m getting hungrier and hungrier for the next phase of this blog, because that’s where it’s all focused. It’s discussion with all of you about how to communicate, architect, and implement change. Big and small. Operational and cultural. Social media is one of the vehicles, but what we’re really focusing on is far, far more fundamental than that.

It’s down at the roots of these businesses, and in the minds of the people that have build them. It’s in the intent, the approach, the thinking. That’s where the pivot point is.

The challenge for us is to get thoughtful and articulate about what we’re really asking for. There may not be a one-size-fits-all approach to creating change, but we sure as hell can do a better job of cutting some clearer paths through the jungle that aren’t regurgitating the same old  generalized rhetoric.

I’m committed, and ready to tackle the tough stuff. Are you with me?

PRSA-CCC Welcomes Our New Members:

Cheryl Brownlee- CB Communications

Cassandra Rene Keyse- Blue Diamond Growers

PRSAY: The Give and Take of Mentorship

Posted by Blake Lewis in June 24th 2010  

The public relations profession recently lost its most treasured “early adopter” of student development. Betsy Plank, APR, Fellow PRSA, was a trailblazer in cultivating young energy and talent, founding what arguably is the premier public relations student organization in the world, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Her legacy of mentorship lives on, and its benefits flow not only to grateful students, but also to an enriched profession.

Earlier this week, my colleague on the PRSA Board of Directors, Steve Iseman, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, provided valuable insights in PRSAY into identifying and pursuing mentorship opportunities. Critical to aspiring practitioners, these opportunities also unleash immeasurable benefits to every one of us in the public relations profession. Each of us should give of ourselves to help students meet their potential. But, there’s also a big “take” coming back to the profession as they parlay our seasoned advice into tomorrow’s best practices. 

Clearly, mentoring goes well beyond a sense of benevolence for students and young professionals. Today, those young professionals are in the position we were ten, twenty, thirty or more years ago. Yes, many public relations professionals give a brief word of thanks to others who possess a vision and passion for the next generation of professionals. But, then they move on to the next plan, the next program, the next project.

If doing something good for the future of a young person isn’t enough to make the case for mentoring, here are some further thoughts that might help you reframe your thinking on the benefits of assisting newly minted public relations professionals and those who are still in training:

  1. The most significant developments in delivery channels now actively used in public relations arguably have been developed by young professionals, and younger public relations practitioners often have been the early trial and adoption advocates for these practices. Having young professionals who can merge their formal training with a solid command of current practices obtained from seasoned practitioners aids in the innovation process, making our work all the more relevant to current and future needs of our employers and clients.
  2. Beyond this superior understanding of new and emerging technologies and practices, younger professionals often provide immediate team access to an important voice and perspective — the younger marketplace. Having fast access to youthful perspective can be a critical factor in creating successful public relations programs with wide demographic appeal.
  3. Without new professionals gaining and applying practical, post-bachelor degree knowledge, demands for new team members to deliver tactical program elements could exceed the supply. That causes seasoned professionals to be stretched thin and results in less robust employer or client solutions. Contrary to how it may seem to some in our ranks, today’s senior professionals will seek to retire at some stage, with younger professionals advancing in responsibility and authority. A world that is getting ever more complx cannot afford not to have a steady supply of professionals who serve to interpret, interface and inform both organizational leaders and the audiences to whom these leaders are responsible.

There are many new graduates in the business who interface with a variety of professionals who can help them learn and grow. Often, students can find mentors among their teachers, as well as among contacts outside of academia. However, there are many more who need our attention both before and after graduation.

No matter how they connect with us, and us with them, the time to reach out is now. It’s an investment not only in our mentees, but also in the future success of our profession. It’s what Betsy did, selflessly, for decades. And, it’s the best recognition of her contributions that we can give.

Blake Lewis, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a member of the PRSA Board of Directors and principal and senior consultant at Lewis Public Relations in Dallas.

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