My first blog touches on how I was unsure exactly what public relations (PR) was. This class helped answer that question and beyond. It was beneficial to learn in real life by given a real client and working with them as a professional PR practitioner would. Our client this semester was Laker Traditions and it started by the client coming in to discuss the organization as well as their problem. As a class, we came up with a common goal for our campaigns. From there, we split off individually to do research and come up with strategies and tactics to help the Laker Traditions organization.

In this class, I learned research is a major part of public relations. Before implementing any kind of tactics, it’s important to research the company as well as the company’s audience. With proper research, there are reasons to think up certain tactics and have theories to why they should be successful. If a tactic is thrown out but has no correlation to relating to the company or audience, it most likely will not be effective. Our class was able to do this first hand by doing secondary research that could be beneficial to the Laker Traditions organization. My research included how to get better to care about your organization, fundraising, and social media use. Understanding those topics is what lead me to think of what strategies could help our goal of raises awareness of Laker Traditions’ event of Battle of the Valleys. To gain insight regarding the audience and their habits and/or preferences, primary research was done including a focus group and a survey. The focus group is what was mainly beneficial for thinking of tactics. Open-ended questions help engage in conversation with the target audience which is relevant since the public relations process focuses on two-way communication. This class helped gain real world experience of working for a client and getting to understand their audience and what tactics will be beneficial through the research we did. The class also taught us about planning a timeline, budget, and evaluation.

Evaluation is another key to PR. The evaluation process is important to know if strategies and tactics are effective. Some results are immediate such as impressions on social media, but others take longer such as measuring opinion, attitude and/or behavior changes. Social media is another aspect of PR. Having a voice and a brand personality can be beneficial for an audience to connect to a brand. This is also another way to touch on the idea of two-way communication. Social media gives companies a direct chance to communicate with their customers and see what people are talking about to further benefit their own company. Social media is also a place where a lot of people can get together to get upset over a brand when it comes to controversy. When a company faces controversy, it is most likely to spread extremely faster on social media and become a bigger crisis.

This class taught us about crisis management and the four stages: proactive, strategic, reactive, and recovery. Although, the brand may be getting negative attention, sometimes publicity is better than nothing: either positive or negative. With knowledge from this class, I understand the four stages of crisis management and am able to implement them if necessary to maintain the reputation of brand’s image.