Saturday, November 29, 2014

An Unforgettable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I appreciate this holiday more than others because it is a day to stop and be thankful for the rich life God has given to us. I enjoyed a slightly different Thanksgiving this year.

Every year for as long as I can remember, I spent Thanksgiving at my grandparent's house on my dad's side of the family. We always gather to eat, play games and give thanks. This year though, I flew to Atlanta, Georgia to spend the holiday with my grandparent's on my mom's side of the family. My holiday was spent with my grandparents and one cousin.

Although there were only four of us for dinner, my grandmother still prepared a feast! She prepped turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, corn, pumpkin pie, carrot cake and cookies. I definitely had a stomach ache after enjoying all of the delicious food.

My entire Thanksgiving break was spent wisely. The beginning of my break was spent visiting family at home before I left for Georgia. In Georgia I have gotten to relax more than I would have at home and I was also able to get some homework done. My grandpa and cousin and I went to the new Hunger Games movie today and spent Black Friday shopping until we dropped.

The Georgia weather has been very enjoyable. Although it may not be 70 degrees outside, the weather is still sunny and in the 50s. I have really enjoyed myself over this Thanksgiving break. I am sad to leave Georgia tomorrow morning, but I have had a blast. This vacation made for an unforgettable Thanksgiving.

My cousin, my grandfather, me and my grandmother

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Measuring a Crisis

Chapter 11 in "Measuring What Matters" explains how to measure a crisis. The chapter explains the only reason an organization exists is because society allows it to exist. It also touches on how important it is to follow social media during a crisis to see what is being said about how your organization is handling the crisis and to speak to your audiences about what is happening.

Recently, Trine University had an incident where they found a suspicious package in one of the academic buildings. Luckily, my mom is the spokesperson for the university so I got to hear some of the steps they took during the incident.

One of the first steps taken was briefing my mom, the spokesperson, on the situation at hand before the media and law enforcements arrived. They then decided to evacuate the building and let everyone know why classes were cancelled until further notice. The explosive ordinance technicians (or bomb squad) were then called in to search the package for any explosives. The package was cleared and opened and ended up being a puzzle.

During this whole crisis situation, the crisis team was checking social media and posting updates to their key audiences. The team took the steps explained in this chapter and everything turned out alright.

Although this crisis did not end up being a real crisis, Trine University took the correct measures to make sure they were prepared for the worst. Some people joked about the situation, but after Trine University measured what everyone was saying, it was apparent everyone appreciated how well the university handled the "crisis."

This goes to show the authors of "Measure What Matters" really do know what they are talking about.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Proud to be a Polar Bear

After attending Ohio Northern University (ONU) for almost four years now, I have learned specific things I like about the university and specific things I do not like about the university. I chose three major things for each category.

Things I like about ONU:
  1. I love how small the campus is at ONU. The small town of Ada that the university sits in is also very appealing to me. This is because I grew up in a very small town. I enjoy going places on campus and knowing almost everyone there. As I have grown and become a senior, I know less people on campus, but being in a sorority helps.
  2. I love how ONU provides me with the option of being in a sorority . I have met many wonderful girls I would have never met if it weren't for me joining a sorority. Our sorority also has socials with fraternities so I have met many men I would not have met if I were not in a sorority.
  3. I love the layout of the ONU library. If you walk into the library, you are greeted by the friendly faces of the workers and study groups studying on the first floor. If you go up one floor, you see many people with headphones and some study rooms for you and a group to study in. On the third floor, you will not hear a peep out of anyone. The library gets quieter with each floor. I appreciate these options because everyone studies differently.
Things I dislike about ONU:
  1. I dislike the food at ONU. McIntosh is good for a week or two and then it gets old. The same food choices repeat and most of the food is not even real food. I do not consider powdered eggs to be a delightful source of protein. If the campus provided more food options or less pricey options, I would be a little bit happier.
  2. I dislike the showers in the freshman dorms at ONU. I came to ONU from a home that my mom always kept very clean. When I moved into the freshman dorms and saw the dirty showers, I was slightly disturbed. I know the showers were cleaned on weekends, which I truly appreciate, but when Mud Volleyball is going on and you have 50 muddy girls showering in those showers, you do not have the option of getting clean.
  3. I dislike how some majors are favored over other majors. I take GREAT pride in being a part of the public relations department at ONU and I do not feel the department gets enough recognition for what it does. Our PRSSA Chapter has won many awards and represented ONU in a very positive light over the years. This definitely goes unnoticed though because we came back to school for another semester this year and our budget was cut in half. I wish public relations was appreciated more on this campus.
There are minor things I would change about this school but I am sure everyone feels that way about things at their school. Overall, Ohio Northern University is a phenomenal school. I am getting an amazing education, I have been provided with connections all over the United States and I am leaving with lasting friendships. When it comes down to it, I am proud to be a polar bear!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why is That Popular Restaurant Getting Bad Reviews?

The other day, I came across a very interesting article on The article was about a restaurant where the staff was baffled by the large amount of bad reviews they were receiving from customers. They decided to hire a firm to come in and figure out the mystery.

The firm first researched the restaurant and gathered information from staff. Most of the staff said they were a very popular restaurant to both local and tourist groups. The restaurant had been open for many years and while they were bringing in the same amount of customers as they always had, the service seemed to move slower. This baffled most people because the restaurant had dropped some menu items and hired more staff.

The article then explains the firm and a manager looked at some old security tapes to compare what was being done differently. What they found out is so interesting! The article compares 2004 to 2014. In 2004 business was bustling. The average time a customer was in the restaurant from start to finish in 2004 was one hour and five minutes. The 2014 analysis was much different.

The staff and firm figured out the average time for a customer to be in the restaurant from start to finish in 2014 is one hour and fifty five minutes. The reasoning behind this big change in numbers is the result of cell phones. I was shocked when I first read this, but after the article explains why, it makes so much sense!

When going out to eat, people take time to check their phone and look at their social media sites on their phone prior to deciding what they would like to eat. This then takes the server longer to get their order in. Some customers even show the server something on their phone or ask them to take a picture of their group. This then takes more of their servers time than it should have.

A quote from the article, "Given in most cases the customers are constantly busy on their phones it took an average of 20 minutes more from when they were done eating until they requested a check. Furthermore, once the check was delivered it took 15 minutes longer than it did 10 years ago for them to pay and leave."

This shows how important phones are becoming to people in the world. Yes, I do think social media is a wonderful thing, but I do not feel it is necessary to be on your phone when a server comes to your table or even when eating. Eating is a time for people to mingle and learn more about one another. That does not always happen when everyone constantly has their phones out on the table.

Next time you are out to eat, remember if you are on your phone you are not only taking up your own time, but everyone else's time around you as well.

Monday, November 17, 2014

ONU PRSSA Leadership

In my social media class, I was assigned with the task of creating a 30-90 second video about individual ONU PRSSA scholarship and award recipients and ONU PRSSA national committee members. Mariah DiBiasio and I worked long and hard and this was this finishing product. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Who is Your Community?

Chapter 9 in "Measure What Matters" discusses the importance of the community relationships your organization builds. The chapter explains that organizations today are developing relationships with who they think their target audiences are, but they always leave someone out and in a crisis, that someone could be a very crucial variable.

This specific chapter made me think of organizations I see marketing or developing relationships with the wrong audiences. The first organization is where I get my hair cut. Every time I drive past the building, there is a sign out front advertising a deal for new customers. This deal is great, but what about the customers who have been loyal for years? There is never a deal or special offer to returning customers.

Building relationships is key to having thriving organization or business but you must not forget about keeping strong relationships with the customers you already have.

Another organization I thought of when reading this chapter is Arby’s. I went through the drive thru at Arby’s the other day and as I was pulling up to the window I saw this sign…

This sign was outside
of Arby's. It was one of two
disturbing signs. The other
had a sandwich on it as well.

Do you see what I noticed? This sign has a big meat sandwich on it and also animals. As I was pulling around to get my sandwich I see this sign with animals on it and I almost pull out of the line. This does not make meat sound appetizing. Arby’s did not take into consideration who they are advertising to. This sign did not strengthen their relationship with me.

As professionals, people cannot leave a specific audience out or forget who they are advertising to. This book emphasizes this in Chapter 9. Target audiences are important to every business and organization, but it is crucial to remember all of them!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Home Sweet Home

Angola is the place I call home. It is a small Indiana town where everybody knows everybody and everybody is a somebody. Growing up, I have learned to appreciate this little town much more than I did when I was living here full time. I am home for the weekend and as I drove into town yesterday, it just felt right. The familiarity is something I enjoy very much.

I pulled up into my driveway yesterday and my dad and dog greeted me like they always do. My dog always runs back and forth down our hallway and my dad gives me a big bear hug. Aside from all of the things that were the same this weekend, there were also things that were different.

My dad got a brand new truck! This truck is huge and I struggle getting up into the front seat. I love it though. I feel much safer in this truck than in any little car. Last night we drove to my high school to watch the girls’ basketball team play a game. On the way, we saw three bad accidents. One of the accidents involved an SUV that ended up upside down. This was a big eye opener. It goes to show, no one is invincible.
My dad in his brand new truck
Today has been a wonderful adventure. I completed my summer internship at the hospital in my hometown and while I was there we were preparing for the grand opening of the brand new hospital.  They had raised enough money to do a much-needed update to the hospital.

Today was the grand opening everyone worked so hard to make happen. My dad and I walked to the hospital and got a tour of it after watching the ribbon cutting. It was a wonderful experience. It felt great knowing I had a small part in making the whole event happen.
The ribbon cutting at the new hospital
Later today we are going to a Trine University football game. These football games are amazing because of the amount of team spirit everyone brings with them. It is a very uplifting atmosphere. Everyone has so much spirit that you cannot help but be proud of the little school, even if they end up losing the game.
The Trine football field at one of the games with the marching band waiting for the players to run out

It is only Saturday and this weekend has already been very interesting. Tomorrow I am going to a close friend’s baby shower. I cannot wait to celebrate her next stage in life. This is a very good weekend and I am happy to be home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Monitor Your Social Media!

Chapter 6 in Measure What Matters by Katie Delahaye Paine focuses on how important it is to monitor social media channels. Monitoring social media channels can help an organizations know what people are saying about their brand, their services and their products. When reading this information, the first thing that came to mind is crisis events.

In the event of a crisis, it is crucial to check social media. Recently, Trine University experienced a false alarm crisis. The situation was almost humorous but the school is getting kudos for handling things so well.

A professor found a suspicious package in one of the education buildings and called in someone who would know what to do in this situation. This person decided they should take cautionary actions while dealing with this package. They called in an explosive ordinance technician to check for explosives. The technician brought a dog in a the dog assured everyone the package was not explosive.

The package was then safely opened and the contents were not something that needed more attention. This situation was handled very well. Trine staff briefed the university's spokesperson and got her ready to speak with media. They then evacuated the building. The staff continued to take all of the right safety measures this situation called for.

The most important step Trine University took in this process was checking what was being said on social media. By doing so, they knew what was being said, who to watch and what to announce in case rumors were being spread. This is just one example of how monitoring social media can help an organization.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Bucket List

In May of 2015, less than a year from now, my life will be completely different. My entire life has been spent in school and in May 2015, I will graduate from school altogether (unless I decide on graduate school). I have mixed emotions toward this new chapter of my life. I am nervous about having to pay bills, find a job and live on my own, but I am very excited about having more time to do what I want instead of what is asked of me by different professors and organizations. The following is a list of fun things I would like to do right after I graduate (aside from the obvious like getting a job, etc.):
  • Read a book for pleasure
  • Find a new hobby
  • Work out more often
  • Run a half-marathon
  • Run a full marathon
  • Watch an entire series on Netflix
  • Get a puppy and take him/her on walks every single day
  • Be active in PRSA
  • Road trip through the state of California
As you can tell, I am excited to enjoy the simple things in life. What's on your bucket list?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Your Website Is Crucial

In this blog, I would like to focus on how important a website can be to an organization. The website I would like to focus on is the Whole Foods website. Not only is this website aesthetically appealing, but it also provides good word choice and valuable information. I would like to focus on all of the things Whole Foods does well on their website:

  • The Whole Foods website advertises to all audiences. Their website homepage includes a section where words slide through saying things like, "Calling all challengers and cheese lovers." There are various sayings that scroll across the screen and the variety of sayings helps them advertise to all audiences. Most people can relate to at least one of the call outs. 
  • The Whole Foods website refers to its customers as stakeholders. By referring to their customers as stakeholders, Whole Foods shows how important the think their customers are. In one section of their website, Whole Foods states, "They are our most important stakeholders in our business and the lifeblood of our business."
  • The Whole Foods website focuses on education. Whole Foods focuses on educating their customers how to use their products to benefit their life. The company also educates audiences by letting them know how organic products can improve their life. This will bring in new customers who previously did not understand why organic foods and other products are an important investment.
  • The Whole Foods website is aesthetically appealing. The Whole Foods website involves creativity with pictures, placement and words. There are many pictures of healthy but normal looking people. Some of the pictures are also of families or people holding animals. This helps loyal or prospective customers relate to the company and their products. The word choice helps people feel important and understand why Whole Foods is doing what they are doing.
Overall, this website provides many valuable aspects of information. The website proves to everyone that Whole Foods promotes family, good health and strong values. There are many organizations with strong values and impressive results but their representation is poor because they do not have a good website that shows all of the amazing things they accomplish.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Three Key Points

In one of the college courses I am taking, we are reading the book "Measure What Matters," by Katie Delahaye Paine. The first section of this book explains why it is so important to measure social media for an organization. There are three major points that I feel are important to take away from this section.

One of these important points is that it is more important to have the right data than to have more data than someone else. If an organization has a pile of data but they do not understand what it is saying or they have too much to contain, it is worth nothing to them. If they have a smaller amount of data they can explain to someone or they know very well, it is going to help everyone in the long run.

Another important point is that measuring is not just about counting. Measuring is about counting and analyzing so the organization can be improved. If an organization is just counting numbers and not doing anything with them, they are wasting time and valuable information.

Finally, organizations should not be focused on how many customers they have, they should be more focused on the number of relationships they have. There is a huge difference between the two. An organization could have hundreds of customers but if they do not build and maintain relationships with those customers, they will not continue to have the support they need to be successful.

Measuring can help with these relationships. If an organization measures what their customers are talking about on social media, what advertisements they are clicking on different websites, etc., they will know what their customers want and focusing on what they customers want will build a stronger relationship with them.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Take a Second Look

Do you ever catch yourself judging someone based on how he or she looks? We all fall victim to disobeying the famous rule, "don't judge a book by its cover." There is a very touching story that makes everyone who watches it rethink who they are and how they treat other people.

Susan Boyle is an average looking woman who everyone underestimated. She walked out on the stage of the famous show Britain's Got Talent and took everyone by surprise. Every face in the crowd was doubting the woman who said she wanted to be a famous singer.

When Susan opened her mouth and stretched her voice across the crowd, the place became silent. No one could believe what they were hearing. Her voice is truly beautiful.

She ended her song strong and received a standing ovation from the crowd. She got three "yeses" from the panel of judges and moved on to the next level of competition. She had so many emotions after hearing the good news. Not only is the woman an amazing singer with great talent, she is also humble and has a wonderful personality.

The whole moment really made everyone want to reevaluate themselves and how they handle certain situations. We all know we should never judge someone based on their outside characteristics, but we are all guilty of being too quick to judge.

I hope you watch enjoy the video of Susan Boyle and next time you start to judge someone based on their outer shell, I hope you stop yourself and take a second look at what is on the inside.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lauren Hill

Today, a wonderful thing happened. An Ohio college student named Lauren Hill got to play in her first-and probably only-college basketball game. Lauren was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and told she only has a short time left to live.

Instead of sulking and feeling sorry for herself, Lauren made her dream come true. She has always played basketball and recently committed to play basketball at Mount St. Joseph University. When the school found out she was running out of time, they got the first game of the season moved to a closer date.

Today, that game started with Lauren getting her first college lay-up. The crowd went wild and it was such a moving moment for everyone that was watching. Not only was this a moment Lauren will never forget, it was a moment others who were watching will never forget as well.

This very unfortunate situation has done a very big thing for the university. The amount of positive PR that Mount St. Joseph University is receiving is huge. They took this precious moment for a young girl and made if everything good that it could possibly be for her.

This moment was hers but the university benefited as well. This goes to show that PR can come in many different forms, whether you expect it or you do not.