Response to Kate Marez


Kate Marez wrote a blog outlining a problem American Girl has found themselves in. They are choosing to discontinued four dolls, two of which were of different ethnicity other than Caucasian . Marez highlights how across Twitter and Facebook people erupted with conflict. 

I agree with Marez that the incident was a bit over blown. Two of the dolls that were discontinued were Caucasian as well. The incident demonstrates a growing ease for people to complain about whatever they want and even companies that are on the far end of the controversy are not shielded from the growing anger monster known as social media. What’s worse, is that prior to social media giving a voice to everyone, companies had relative ease dealing with conflict that arose unless it was big. Nowadays they must be prepared to deal with the worst of it from small mistakes or even small choices. 

This American Girl Doll incident showcases just how rampant and problematic this is becoming. As we continue into the future and this problem grows, companies will need to be diligent and intelligent with what they share.


Case Study: Spy Cams in School


In class this last week, we took a brief look at a case study revolving around an incident involving the usage of Spy Cams through publicly issued school computers. 

The situation was found that a school had put computers on loan to students. These computers were equipped with technology that allowed the school to turn on cameras while the children were in their homes. Besides the obvious breach of privacy the school denied that it had used the computers in such a way. Eventually the school approached a student having seen him take pills while in his own bedroom and subsequently ended up getting sued. The school board made a small settlement with the student and ended the situation without making national news. 

The school made a variety of mistakes when dealing with this conflict, but it draws into question much of our current practices and grey areas of life. At what point do we sacrifice privacy for safety? At what point do we trust those trained on working with students over our own presumptions of what is right and wrong. 

The case study doesn’t just raise problems with how the school handled the situation, although their consequences were much less than it could have been, but of how we operate in general. When we encounter controversy, it’s important to not only look at the problems at hand, but why they are problems. 

Meaningless Stats?


My friend and I were sitting watching his new born one and a half year old son watch the Seahawks game this last Autumn. We watch as the Seahawks score a touchdown (again) and his son throws his arms in the air and yells “touchdown”. Luckily he caught the picture on camera and threw it on Facebook exclaiming, “this is going to be Facebook famous!” His definition of Facebook famous was 20 likes. He got 82. That’s like 1/5 of his total friends! 

Now it may be easier to notice when your friends start talking about a picture or comment you made on a social media device but there is a huge disconnect between what people talk about and what they find amusing on the internet. Often times it can become difficult to judge the impact of “likes” “favorites” or similar aspects of social media. It’s challenging to determine the value of those aspects of social media.

and yet…

There is something to them. Popular brands and PR campaigns get likes and spoken about. So while they might not be an accurate measurement of what people are talking about or sharing, they do provide some insight. If you don’t have any likes that is a clear indicator that your campaign isn’t being talked about. While assessing some aspects of campaign success or impact, be aware of the impact of these stats and what they could mean. 

Here’s a link to a great article highlighting some of these details!

Understanding Your Audience


A recent article in PR News covered the changing lives of women. In it, it highlights the shifting cultural consciousness on women. The article states that 47% of Women that are in the child bearing age do not have children. So the article gives a lot of practical advice on viewing what is now half of all women in that age range. This could radically shift how we approach marketing and PR management for some companies. 

However, While it’s still good to know demographics, it is important for all viewers to understand these statistics and the actual weight they carry. 

  • Taking a blanket statement statistic that covers the entire U.S. may not reflect those stats in your area.
  • Marketing or PR campaigns range of influence is rarely limited to specific areas such as all women in a child bearing age range. Ads can have residual effects for women who are older or younger as well.
  • Of those 47%, it is unclear how many of them have aspirations of having families. Simply because they don’t have kids doesn’t mean they don’t want them. 

It is easy to see a glaring statistic and think “I must do something about this!” However, the reality of the matter is that the question is much more dynamic than a single number. As you continue in the PR world, think actively and thoroughly about your audience and don’t believe all stats your hear. 


Here is a link to the original article highlighting a perhaps growing area of women:

Response to Sarah’s Post on Colbert


Sarah Jane Johnson recently wrote a blog covering the multitude of activities Colbert has been involved in. he has done a remarkable job getting his face out there in a variety of different fashions. until Sarah’s post I hadn’t really thought of all of the PR positioning Colbert has done recently. He has been in the news, commercials, pretend running for office only to back out when he received a large sum of donations, and the list goes on. Colbert has done a phenomenal job “playing his character” out in his everyday life. he comes with a rather committed following and only seems to be growing. I wonder sometimes how he does as much as he does (he must have the Pepper Pots of Secretaries). So much of Colbert’s life revolves around saying controversial statements, being egotistical, and various hints of being real.

As a beginner in PR, Sarah’s article really revealed to me how much “positioning,” as my professor would say, that takes place in PR. Colbert is radically active not only in his own show and bringing current topics to the table for discussion, but he’s bringing dynamic characters to the show as well. 

It will be interesting to watch how the PR learns from some of the tactics that Colbert employs and if they learn how he does it so efficiently.

To check out Johnson’s blog and the original post, go here: 

Rethinking Goals of Non-Profit Work


Recently I stumbled across author, public speaker, and activist Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. Instantly I was challenged both in my personal walk with Christ and my idealism. Now I still have ambitions of being change in the world and an agent of peace but something Stevenson speaks on is so important for the Non-Profit sector. Many of us in the Non-Profit sector want to make the world a better place. We have passions flowing out of us. Personally I see a wounded heart and my whole being grieves. However, there is a pill I must swallow, that is that nothing I do will wipe the wounds away. I may be able to bring a smile to a tear stained face, but that doesn’t remove the tears. As we work with a wounded world we must accept that there is a limit to what we can accomplish. Not only is there a limit but there is a point at which what we are trying to do is impossible. Stevenson says, “Pure future oriented optimism dishonors the past irreparability.”

So as we look towards establishing goals for Non-Profit’s we must not believe we will ever get rid of the past wounds. We must work in conjunction with the reality of our limitations. If we neglect to be real with ourselves and our volunteers about the actual work we can accomplish it will create burnout and cause fatigue, but if we can accept our limitations and in Stevenson words “still show up” then we can do real work.


For more on Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, check out his Q ideas talk here:

Perfecting the Fundamentals of PR


Not being in the forefront of the PR industry, I sometimes forget (neglect) some of the technical aspects of working in PR. It’s easy to get stuck on crisis management plans, but there are many other behind the scenes activities. Recently I came across an article I thought was helpful! It outlines how to create a PR plan and six steps to do so. Really there are more than 6 steps with the advice, but they add more comprehensive elements to each step. Two of the scenarios I want to focus on and reinforce the importance of are; Understanding your current scenario and establishing your goals.

In 2009, devastating natural disasters hit the small country of Haiti. Campaigns across the states began to go help the nation by providing aid and support. In a small way, the campaign was a success. Peoples lives were on the up and up. Homes were being built and roadways repaired. There was a problem though, we didn’t understand the situation and our goals were too shallow. What America saw as the problem was the natural disasters, what they missed was that Haiti’s capital was the third dirtiest city in the world (and this was not because of the natural disasters). What Haiti needed wasn’t a quick financial injection, but a doctor. Our goals were to help those devastated by the natural disasters, but we didn’t think about it correctly. We sent free labor over to rebuild roads which did help, but it also took jobs from all the Haitian workers ultimately taking food off their tables.

In preparing a PR plan, thinking over some of these problems will help ensure your product is of high caliber. Even if it’s your first rodeo or your 150th, it’s good to go back to the basics.

Check out the original article here: