Sunday, March 8, 2015


Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of watching the indie film, "Chef." The film came out in 2014 and is the most trendy and current film I have seen yet. The plot is centered around a gourmet chef who lost his career largely in part to a tweet that he sent to a food critic that wrote him a poor review. He ends up being inspired by a trip to Miami and starting a food cart that has huge success because of social media.

The film highlights the important issue that I have learned in my public relations classes of the huge impact social media has on our world today. In the film, the chef's 10-year-old boy goes along the journey with his dad to help him start the food cart. He creates a Twitter, Vine and Facebook page for the food cart, where he constantly posts photos of their whereabouts. His dad knows nothing about social media and the boy teaches him its importance and how it can really make a business grow and succeed.

One thing I have learned is that when we enter the real world, employers are going to assume we know everything about social media because we are millennials. One of my favorite people to follow on Twitter is Peg Fitzpatrick, a social media master, who posts and blogs daily about social media tips and hacks.

The whole time I was watching this film in my living room, people kept walking in and saying, "Whoa, when did this come out?" It was so current and revolved so much around social media, I think that every aspiring PR professional should watch it. "Chef" is a perfect example of how negative press can turn into something great, and there is always a way to put a positive spin on things.

The film was very realistic and clearly showed the positive and negative impacts of social media in a business setting. While I had previously looked down upon the idea of working for a start-up, this film inspired me that it could be an exciting and fun career, as long as you are passionate about the company and its growth.

Takeaway: watch "Chef" and be inspired like I was.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

How Moving To Oregon Made Me Appreciate Beer

Microbreweries are everywhere in Eugene and all over Oregon. Since I turned 21, I have realized how much I love trying new beers and going to breweries. There is nothing like it in Southern California (though I think it's on the rise), and so it is something that really reminds me of being here.

It's an atmosphere thing. The beer is good, the food is good, the people that work there are down to earth and easy going, and the overall feel of the inside always gives off good vibes. Microbreweries have really found their niche and understand how to reach their target audience.

Like many other hobbies and activities, the microbrew world has become a culture. It is about more than the beer. Like I mentioned before, it is about the overall atmosphere of the brewery. These companies have done an awesome job of catering to their audience, which is mainly millennials.

Here in Eugene, local restaurants and bars have all the major local favorites on tap: Hop Valley, Ninkasi, Falling Sky, etc. They also have other Oregonian favorites like Windmer, Deschutes and Ten Barrel.

This article analyzes how microbreweries are on the rise in America. It discusses the business and science behind it and why it has become such a craze for young people everywhere. This article focuses on the importance of collaboration; this is what made companies actually start to make good beer.

But let's look at it from a PR standpoint. I see a ton of PR success in Eugene surrounding microbreweries. Stickers, for one, of beer labels are everywhere. Any time you go to a brewery, there are stickers by the register and it has become sort of a trend to put them on your mini fridges, lap tops, water bottles, etc. Stickers are such a basic form of PR that, in my mind, works like a charm.

Another aspect they've mastered is social media. Since most of these labels are run by young men, they are tech savvy and know how to reach their audience. They tweet about happy hour specials, events and new beers to test out. Social media is a major platform for these companies, and they have definitely used it effectively.

Almost every person between the ages of 21-26 like beer. Men and women alike. And this industry has really discovered that and done an awesome job of reaching out to us millennials.

The Job Search: Doing It Right

The job search process is unlike anything we've done in life thus far. We've worked hard to get to where we are: summer internships, portfolio building, intense coursework. And no it's time for us to show it all off.

Forbes wrote a great article about how what millennials can successfully make connections and take advantage of the resources around us. The article offers a lot of great advice, but my favorite piece from it was "Sometimes bigger - and more established - is better." 

The article goes into detail about how working for a larger company can end up being more beneficial to your career in the long run. I completely agree with this statement having experience working for both a large corporate company and a small startup.

While working for a startup can be beneficial and exciting, you make way more connections and learn more beneficial lessons working for a corporate brand.

The job search can be daunting and going through it has definitely been difficult and stressful for me. However, I have a few tips that can make the process easier and less scary.

My first piece of advice is to create an Excel sheet with all the current job openings that interest you. I did that over winter break, and it has really helped me stay organized and on top of dates and deadlines. It is a good place to write down companies you are interested in, and a place to keep the link to their job openings page in order to check it regularly. The Excel sheet has really made things easier for me thus far.

Next, is to be active on LinkedIn. I was totally confused by LinkedIn when I first created an account, but just like any social network, the more time you spend on it, the easier it gets. Something I have just learned over the past few weeks is how important it is to like and comment on things. When you do this you can get your name out there a lot easier. In fact, recruiters can then find you, view your profile and inbox you about job opportunities.

I have not had much success with websites that post job openings like Malakaye and Craig's List, so I would not recommend using those. I have found that simply looking on the websites of companies that interest you and being active on LinkedIn is the most effective way to find job postings.

So while the job search is freaking all of us out, if you take a step back and organize your thoughts and research, it can be a lot more enjoyable. The real world is waiting!

Monday, February 23, 2015

"Instafame:" Using It Effectively

Instafamous (noun): Someone who becomes famous by gaining thousands of Instagram followers for simply posting cool photos.

I love Instagram, and I think it is an awesome outlet to brand yourself, get your name out there and make connections. By staying current on Instagram and keeping up with the movers and shakers of relevant trends, you can really do a lot with your brand. I have worked to create my personal brand by posting photos that show who I am, the things I like and how I spend my time.

 I recently became inspired by the Instagram account: @helloamerica_. It is run by a couple, who is road tripping across the country to create a photo book of all of America's hidden gems. When looking at their website, I noticed they have a tab titled "press." It turns out that companies like Free PeoplePoler Stuff and Urban Outfitters have featured them on their website blogs and social media. These companies and other small apparel brands have also reached out to them to do photo shoots and post pictures of their products on IG. When these companies are featured on @helloamerica_, they tag the company, and people like me who follow the couple's story can then follow the brand. This helps the brand gain followers and positive media attention.

By exploring on Instagram, noticing who their audiences follow and staying in touch with their consumers, companies can capitalize on opportunities like this for positive PR. I see this done all the time, and it is amazing how many of the brands I follow come from accounts like @abikiniaday and @tifforelie. These accounts promote other brands almost every day, and the collaboration and success that comes from it is vital and easily measured.

People can become "Instafamous" for a variety of reasons. It is important to note the credibility of an account before reaching out to it for collaboration. This can be easily figured out based on their photos, the number of followers they have, and the amount of likes and comments they get on their pictures. It is pretty easy to figure out if the person legitimate if you do some research and take a good look at their account.

Taking advantage of Instagram can be very beneficial. It is difficult to start from scratch with an account, but working with "Instafamous," creative people can quickly improve your brand's credibilty

Celebrity Branding: Finding Yourself And Creating A Loyal Fan Base

This article about singer/songwriter, Josh Tillman, reminded me of the importance of transparency when creating a following.

Tillman took a while to figure out who he was. He struggled to discover what type of musician he wanted to be. He went from being a depressed songwriter in Seattle to a drummer in Fleet Foxes (link), to the self-proclaimed, "Father John Misty" today.

The article describes how he never really became famous when he didn't have a brand image. It is so true that artists need a brand image to really gain true fame. When I think of people who have really mastered this, the ones who first come to mind are Miley Cyrus, Beyonce and Lady Gaga.

I want to focus on Miley Cyrus because she gets so much criticism, but is actually so talented and has mastered the way to get a crowds attention. Part of her success comes from the fact that she is honest and transparent with her fans. Cyrus does not try to be something she is not. She successfully transformed from the immature Disney Star, Hannah Montana, to a sex icon and edgy trendsetter.

Cyrus does outrageous things that, at first, are criticized and hated by many, but later become a major statements in pop culture. For instance, her "Wrecking Ball" music video became an internet phenomenon, and even though people made fun of her for it, the video and song became extremely successful. Everyone on vine also loved it.

Stars like Miley Cyrus are in touch with their audience. They know who they want to come off as and who they want to be. Cyrus is always sure of what she wants and who she is. When watching interviews with her, it is clear how genuine and honest she is. So even though she does some pretty ridiculous things, she gains fans, fame and success because of her transparency. She is honest about her personal life, her social life and her professional life. Check out her interview on The Ellen Show where Miley opens up about her relationship and break-up with Liam Hemsworth.

As a consumer and avid trend follower, I notice the things I like about the celebrities I follow and admire. After reading the article about Josh Tillman, I hadn't realized how much of an affect transparency has. I think celebrities like Miley Cyrus and others have done a good job of being honest and loyal to create a fan base, while still having a private personal life and keeping things to herself.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Celebs representing your brand: good or bad?

Watch this video of Kanye West bashing Nike on stage at The House of Blues. Kanye's "Yeezus" sneakers are expected to be released later this month and it is causing some tension with his past collaboration with adidas' competitor, Nike.

The rise of hip-hop had a surprisingly large affect on the fashion industry. Since the 1980s, rappers and musicians have been chosen to represent brands in their songs and music videos. Whether the company hired them or not, rappers make shout-outs to labels in classics like RUN DMC's "My Adidas", and recent releases like Riff Raff's "Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz". Both videos feature the label all throughout the song, and now, people will associate Riff Raff with Jordans.

This article clearly identifies the positive and negative outcomes of celebrity endorsement. It can be very beneficial to use a celebrity to help a company break into a certain industry. This is what adidas did with RUN DMC and what Nike did with Michael Jordan. Jordan basketball shoes have since come full circle to represent not only the basketball world but the hip-hop world as well. The companies wanted to expand their audiences, and did so in a productive way that is still effective today.

On the other hand, we have seen it work against them in situations such as Nike's with Kanye West. If relationships go south or celebrities represent the brand in a negative way, it can greatly affect sales. While Kanye West is not everyone's favorite Hollywood hothead, he is still constantly in the spotlight and is always wearing the latest trends (even though he may be a little over the top sometimes).

Nike has fallen victim to unlucky endorsements a few times, most importantly with Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. There really isn't a good way to tell if these relationships could go south. Both Woods and Armstrong seemed like smart candidates at the time that they picked up Nike, and they ended up being involved with two major scandals in the sports world.

The important takeaway is too choose a celebrity wisely when looking for endorsements. If those relationships take a turn for the worse, it is the PR team's job to fix that reputation and not lose too many customers. It is always possible to turn a negative into a positive with strategic planning.

How To Survive A Trade Show

Agenda Long Beach, 2014

Last July, I was fortunate enough to attend the Agenda Trade Show in Long Beach. I had never been to anything like it before, and it was the perfect opportunity to network and get my name out there. It inspired me even more to be a part of that world. There were all different kinds of people there, and everyone was dressed in the latest So Cal summer trends. I felt like the tiniest fish in the ocean surrounded by the most creative and artistic people in the fashion industry, but I had to act like it was just as important that I was there as it was for the creator of Volcom.

Agenda show is a traveling trade show for action sports, streetwear and lifestyle brands. Brands big and small are invited to attend in three different locations: Las Vegas, Long Beach and New York City. It is an opportunity for designers to show off their creativity to other professionals in the industry. It stood out to me as an insane PR and networking opportunity for all kinds of companies.

Creators attend to collaborate and show off, buyers come to see the latest trends, and up and coming businesses attempt to work their way into the industry and be seen by big name buyers and important labels. It is top ten on's list of best trade shows to attend in 2015.

This particular show had a strong emphasis on surf and beachwear. Each company had a booth, and they were arranged alphabetically by product. Bigger companies like Converse and Nike had entire walls and corners of the room, and you had to schedule a private appointment to see their products. 

It was so inspiring to see such an array of talent levels in the same room. Everyone was friendly and eager to learn about your story and what brought you there. Here are five tips for young people trying to break their way into the industry, and how they can make the most of a trade show such as Agenda:

1. It's all about who you know. Get on a list. Most trade shows are invite only, and they are pretty strict on letting people in. Contact anyone and everyone you know in the industry ahead of time to see if they can get you in as a member of their team. People will be more willing to help than you think.

2. Wear the right clothes. It's a compliment fair, and conversations are started left and right based on outfit decisions. You never know what kind of connection you can make by having someone come up to you and say, "Cute romper; who makes it?" They're all about the labels, so choose wisely and wear pieces that will make interesting conversation starters (i.e. wear a top that a local, startup boutique designed vs. one from Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters).

3. Bring business cards. Whether you are attending the show in search of a job or to promote a brand you currently work for, network with everyone that you come into contact with. Leave your card with anyone you have a strong conversation with.

4. Have your elevator pitch perfected and ready. People will ask you your story: what you are doing there, why you want to be there, what the most creative thing you've seen all day is. Be ready to impress people with your drive and knowledge of the industry. 

5. Be a sponge. Take it all in. Visit booths of brands you've never heard of and get to know as much about them as you can. Even if you can't make a connection with them, knowing their story and what they stand for can benefit you in the future as you make your way into the industry.

Take advantage of these opportunities. It is easier to get involved than you might think.