Lindsay Lohan and Lawyer.com

By Stella Galli

When I think of Lindsay Lohan, a few things come to mind: rehab, “Freaky Friday”, the early 2000s, and DUIs. One thing that does not come to mind is a credible spokesperson, but Lawyer.com did and ran with it. In March 2018, Lawyer.com partnered with Lindsay Lohan to become their representative and create the “Why did Lindsay Lohan join Lawyer.com?” campaign. Off the bat, many may think this is a bizarre move considering Lohan’s past. It’s no secret that this pairing is ironic, which is what I think made it a great, eye-catching campaign. 

Lawyer.com is a free service website and their target audience is simply anyone looking for a lawyer. By selecting Lohan, Lawyer.com chose to be transparent to their audience. For anyone who paid attention to the news in the early 2000s, it’s no secret that Lindsay Lohan has needed a lawyer a few times in her life. According to CNN, Lohan has been arrested four times and appeared in court more than 20 times. Upon accessing Lawyer.com’s website a video titled “Why did Lindsay Lohan join Lawyer.com?” is the very first pop-up. In the video, Lohan says, “Lawyer.com is just about helping people. From getting a DUI – let’s not pretend like I didn’t get one… or two or three… or some others.” With transparency and humor, Lawyer.com makes their website visitors feel understood. No, not everyone is Lindsay Lohan, but everyone in their target audience has made some kind of mistake that has led them to their services, and are on the site for the same reason. More than anybody, Lohan just gets it. 

The campaign has been successful in terms of media coverage. Buzzfeed wrote that the commercials were “iconic” and The Wrap called it Lohan’s “perfect gig.” For a small company that has only 2,000 likes on Facebook and growing, this is major exposure for Lawyer.com. Just as their website, Lohan’s face is the first thing you see when you open Lawyer.com’s social profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter. As part of the campaign, Lawyer.com utilized Lohan’s humor to draw attention to their brand by having her tweet to her 8+ million followers. When former President Trump’s lead personal attorney, John Dowd, resigned in 2018 Lohan was quick to tweet “Hey, @realDonaldTrump heard you need a lawyer… at http://Lawyer.com we are always here for everyone.” Lohan utilizing her humor surely got Lawyer.com’s marketing message noticed and even got a response from Kathy Griffin. Gerry Gorman, Layer.com’s CEO has said that Lohan has become “a very large investor” for the company.

Lohan says in the same website-opening video “When Lawyer.com first reached out to me, I was confused and a little scared because I thought I was in trouble. But when they asked me to be their spokesperson, I was intrigued.” Well Lindsay, so was I. By utilizing a celebrity who has had a relatable experience to their target audience, Lawyer.com was able to effectively communicate their brand’s purpose: to help you find a lawyer from someone who knows it the best. 

Start 2022 With 5 Ways to Grow Your Professional Presence

By Evelyn Zanowski

  1. Update Your Linkedin and Resume
What to Update Now on Your LinkedIn Profile - ProResource

Start off 2022 by updating your resume and LinkedIn to make sure all your current accomplishments and positions are up to date. Engage with your connections on LinkedIn and find inspiration on a post you can make, this is to show you are active on the site.

You can access resume templates from the UD Career Center here or get creative with Canva to express your personal style on paper. (remember to keep it professional and clean!)

**Dues-paying members please take advantage of Pitch+ for resume/cover letter advice, prepare for interviews and get help setting up your LinkedIn

  1. Buy a New Planner

Some people prefer online calender applications to plan but for me, having a physical planner is my number one way to stay organized. I love google calenders but physically writing in my planner is less distracting for me and helps me to remember important dates. Every Sunday I have the habit of sitting down, taking out my colorful pens, and organizing my week.

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite pens, highlighters, and planners!

Sharpie S Gel Pens– my go-to note-taking, list-making, everyday pen!

Mildliner Creative Markers– These highlighter pens are dual-sided so they are great for highlighting major events and using color to organize notes.

Target has an amazing selection of reasonably priced and high-quality planners

My personal favorites are the Blue Sky brand planners! Some other great places for planners are Papier and any big box office supply store

  1. Start Looking for Summer Internship Opportunities
HRACRE Summer Internship Program - Hampton Roads Association for Commercial  Real Estate

It is time to start looking for summer internships. Start with researching companies that spark your interests and look at their website career pages to see when their applications are live.

Visit the PRSSA UD Instagram for information on internship opportunities from HUNTER PR (application deadline 2/15) and BCW (application deadline 2/4)

My recommendation is to seek out summer internships by looking directly on company websites, many companies do not post their opportunities on large job posting sites as they are only looking for interns who do their own research to find the opportunities! Also do not feel scared to reach out directly to the companies HR/information email inquiring about internships. Keep your email professional and concise while expressing your interest in an internship!

**Dues-paying members more information on internships will be shared in our member group!

  1. Seek Out New Connections! Network, Network, Network!
A Network of Networks | Anna Lindh Foundation

Research professionals and companies that you find interesting and reach out for informational interviews. This is a great way to create connections, learn more about the industry, and help guide your career path! Cold LinkedIn messages and emails can be scary but do not let that hold you back from creating a professional network!

5. Stay Informed

news on phone with hand - Wyoming Department of Health

In 2022 you need to make sure you are seeking information on Public Relations outside of the classroom and reading up-to-date news stories in the industry.

Here is a list of some of my website recommendations

PR Daily– a leading publisher of corporate communications, public relations, and leadership development newsletters

PRsay– interactive public relations and communication blog by the Public Relations Society of America

PR Couture – fashion & lifestyle communications, specifically their articles under the category New to PR

Taking Care of You! Mental and Physical Health in the Hybrid Work Era

By Dani Raskin

I attended two ICON sessions this year that really stood out to me, mainly because they revolved around what our world is dealing with right now. One was about how to manage our mental and physical health in the hybrid work era and the other was all about how to thrive in your post-pandemic career. 

Mark Mohammadpour, an accredited communications executive and certified health coach and personal trainer discussed tips on how to take control of your health in our new normal. What I found really interesting about this session was when Mark spoke about how PR Professionals in particular have not been taking their paid time off. They are working TOO MUCH. They are having 15-20 meetings a week, in person or on zoom. Burnout is a real issue. We need to take care of ourselves, our mental health, and our physical health. Some tips he gave to balance work life and our own personal wellness were to go on walks, whether it be during your lunch break or after your workday. We can also jot down thoughts in a journal each day. We can see a therapist. Therapists can be for anyone. Having that unbiased, outside person to just talk about anything and everything could be very helpful for some people. My biggest takeaway from this session was that we need to be transparent. The world has changed in so many ways and changes take a toll on us. We are all human beings, we cannot handle everything thrown at us. It is okay to take a day off if needed, it is okay to contact your boss to express you are not at your best and it is okay to make time for ourselves. While the pandemic is not fully over yet, we still need to think about what is next for us. Career coach, Angee Linsey, shares some tips with us on how to thrive in our post-pandemic careers. With people who have never heard of zoom now spending full days staring at their screens and sitting in their childhood bedrooms, it will definitely be an adjustment. The year 2020 came with many disruptors such as an intense election, a pandemic, and mass protests. I took away a few really helpful tips from this session that I will carry with me post-pandemic. I learned to look for opportunities that are not just available to me, but those opportunities that I have reached a little further to get. Angee Linsey also spoke about how important it is to learn from others.

Taking a Stand: Evolving PR Roles as Activists, Allies and Cause Champions

By Lia Hyman

As Public Relations professionals, it is impossible to ignore the ever-evolving social justice issues that have become increasingly important and pertinent to consumers. From the Black Lives Matter movement, to Climate justice, to the Me Too movement, it is our responsibility to pay attention to current topics of conversation that impact the companies we work for.

This was the topic of conversation at PRSA’s 2021 ICON Conference during the session “Taking a Stand: Evolving PR Roles as Activists, Allies and Cause Champions”. 

When asked how prepared companies or clients are to respond to attacks from activist organizations, speakers at the session revealed only 31% of PR professionals surveyed reported “a great deal”. Even worse, 32% reported “not at all or slightly”. 

This lack of confidence in preparation indicates failure to execute continuous environmental scanning. As companies, now more than ever do we need to listen to what consumers want. Looking at trend tracking is a great way to process the media landscape and what we need to stay up-to-date with. If we do this, we will create better content and campaigns that resonate with our audiences.

Another problem within the PR field is an aversion to calling ourselves, activists. Speakers at the session discussed that only 24% of PR professionals identify as an activist, with 70% considering themselves an ally. Survey respondents indicated that they preferred to express their beliefs in more traditional ways, like voting, donating money, and engaging in community service. Engaging in more vocal methods, like protesting and striking, were less likely. 

During the session, speakers hypothesized this disconnect from the word “activist” stems from PR professionals’ belief that these people are protestors seeking to destroy PR’s carefully crafted reputation. However, the “new activist” is not what most people think. In reality, activists want to hold companies accountable to their word, something they should already be doing. No picketing or rioting needs to be done in order to fight for systemic change. 

Overall, this ICON session stressed the inability to separate our personal lives from our corporate life any longer. With an increased emphasis on societal change, 84% of PR professionals believe corporations have a responsibility to take a stand on issues related to their business. Before we as students venture off into the various communication fields post-college, it’s important to remember the lessons learned from these new studies: activism is here to stay, and we are responsible for listening and acting upon these causes.

ICON Session: Is Your Marketing Communications Accessible? 

By Mackenzie Meyers 

After attending this Icon session I was pleasantly surprised and amazed by the amount of knowledge I learned in just 60 minutes about disability accessibility, as it is not a topic commonly discussed. This session was extremely valuable for me not only as one who sees herself going into the communication/marketing field but as a future college graduate looking for an organization to work for.

Speaker’s Virginia Devlin, CEO of Current Global, and Sena Pottackal, Junior Associate at Current Global started their presentation by sharing visual descriptions of themselves to make it more inclusive for those with disabilities as well as Sena herself who is visually impaired. Many companies publish inaccessible content that excludes people with sight, speech, cognitive and hearing disabilities. We as a society need to do better. Current Global is the first global communications agency to ensure that every message and every piece of content created and shared on behalf of themselves and their clients is accessible to all. Virginia states that “People with disabilities are an under-served community. “Every day, communicators publish inaccessible content, excluding people with disabilities. At Current Global, we are committed to make all our content Accessible by Design,”. 

Moreover, Current Global did a research report on how media was consumed by people with disabilities and the results are below:

Social media is the most problematic channel. Social media is a struggle for many people with disabilities. 1/5th of the participants said that social media channels are very difficult to use and consume content on, making it the most problematic media channel.

-Assistive tools fail to solve the problem. 64% of participants who use an assistive tool said they experienced challenges consuming content. With 30% of these individuals contributing these issues to the content itself, directly pointing to where brands have an opportunity to help.

Accessibility of communications impacts attitudes and actions towards brands, affecting the bottom line. Inaccessible communications yield negative outcomes. When communications are inaccessible, 40% of participants said they would take negative actions toward a brand. Additionally, 81% of participants said inaccessible communications evoke negative emotions towards a brand. 

Furthermore, Sena explained the difference between good and bad Alt text. Good Alt text describes images in vast detail with about a paragraph of description for every picture, while the bad Alt text only provides a one-sentence description that does not help people with disabilities imagine the picture at all. 

Sena also gave viewers a list of tips for creating good “Alt text” for those with disabilities:

-Determine if the image is decorative(just for aesthetic purposes and doesn’t need a description) or meaningful.

-Avoid auto-generated descriptions, which do not provide sufficiently informative descriptions for users of screen readers.

-Write your own descriptive but concise alt text, explaining key visual elements and how the image supports key messages

-Craft your alt text in a word processor to catch typos and grammatical errors.

Sena additionally gave tips on creating audio descriptions and gave an example of audio description as closed captions on videos: 

-Describe what you see objectively. 

-Use the present tense in an active voice while providing third-person narration. For example, “Tim arrives home and unlocks his door.” 

-Use complete sentences when possible.

-Describe actions while or slightly before they occur on-screen

-Avoid recording your description over dialogue.

Finally, Sena gave listeners helpful advice on hosting an accessible video call that is accessible for people with disabilities:

-Enable closed captions.

-Ask participants to introduce themself with a self-description.

-Request participants state their name each time they speak to indicate a change in speakers.

-If discussing materials, email accessible versions in advance.

-If sharing your screen or presenting during a call, verbally describe important visual elements.

The end takeaway and “ask” from this Icon session was to work towards making all of your communication accessible and which means taking baby steps each day at your organization to make a more inclusive workspace. Unfortunately, making communication accessible for everyone is not a fast and easy change. However, as long as everyone in their own organizations makes an effort to change, we will be able to say that we are consciously making the effort to change and make the communications field a better, more inclusive place.

*****Additionally, to help with the lack of inclusivity in our society, Current Global partnered with the PRCA and PR Council to publish guidelines to help others to create accessible content and campaigns. The guidelines are free and cover:

-Accessibility features on social media.

-Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker and accessible PDFs.

-Audio description, alternative text, closed captions, and transcripts.

-Accessible event guidelines.

-And more…

What’s going on with Resident Life at UD?

By Elizabeth Folk

As midterms pass and we return from Thanksgiving break, let’s take a minute to call to mind what has been going on in the Freshman Residence Halls at the University of Delaware. When thinking of last fall’s very limited on-campus population, and last spring not being much better, it can be difficult to remember what a real, full, and excited population of freshman residents look like. Although difficult to manage through the ever-changing covid regulations, the Residence Life staff, combined with the help of residents in leadership roles such as NET captains (Neighborhood Empowering Team) have managed to put together some lively events to get this year started and connect our community.

The weekly events brought together by the Resident Assistant’s staff have been successful in their goal of bringing residents together to break the ice and enjoy themselves. With a couple thousand freshmen coming in, you see so many people from so many different backgrounds trying to find their place in the community. There tend to be strong feelings of isolation that stem from leaving home and being around so many new people. As a Resident Assistant, I had a resident say to me “It’s so weird to live with someone and see them all the time, yet still feel alone so often.” Involvement in the Residence Hall Community is so important in especially freshmen halls, to help reduce those feelings of isolation and enhance what UD values as the Residence Hall experience.

The events put on by Residence Staff (usually Resident Assistants with the help of a Residence Hall Coordinator) are typically simple and low budget, such as movie nights, tie-dye, bingo, etc. These are things that don’t cost a fortune but can spark interest in residents to come to check it out. Quite often, instilling a sense of competition is what makes residents want to attend these events. For example, Harrington Hall had a kickball tournament that brought together freshmen from five different buildings, connecting, and building teamwork and community for the price of next to nothing. Russell Hall had a lively bingo night where coupons for free UDairy were given out to winners, which brought in quite a few residents and turned a Wednesday night into an opportunity to get some free ice cream and connect with the community in the meantime. With proper advertising and encouragement from RA’s, these events can pull in quite a few people.

The events organized by Residents who are student leaders are usually big hits in the floor communities. Each floor has 1-2 NET captains who put on 2-3 events a month that are only for their floor. It can be refreshing for residents to know that an event being put on is by someone in their specific community. With just a little guidance from their Resident Assistant, NET captains have been able to put on multiple successful events this semester. These can be more of a welcoming atmosphere to students who are more introverted, and possibly a bit nervous about so many new people. Another benefit of these smaller events is that they can be more personalized. For instance, pumpkin painting was popular amongst these events since the event was just for one floor, not five buildings of people.

Overall, the Residence Life staff has worked extra hard this year to put on as many events as possible while still staying as safe as they possibly can. This semester will hopefully reignite the Residence Halls after a long year and a half of empty rooms, lounges, and dining halls. The Freshman and Sophomores of UD deserve to be given the Residence Life experience after being isolated for so long. This year, Blue Hens are connecting more than ever in our Residence Halls.

Lessons Learned From Netflix Brand Strategist, Collin Parajon

By Stella Galli

Colin Parajon

“I am not a PR professional…This might be one of the least professional sessions of ICON.” He must be humble, I thought to myself as I joined in on the webinar “Being Human in Big Tech” with Netflix Brand Strategist, Colin Parajon. That is a big title, why would he downplay himself like that? But quickly I realized after the first five minutes of Colin’s presentation that he was not kidding – this definitely was the least professional presentation I have seen from ICON 2021. As well as my very favorite. Here’s why.

Throughout Collin’s presentation, he gave memorable advice – but in particular, three pieces of advice really stuck with me. The first piece of advice that stayed with me was to “lean into what makes you different.” Colin said that he believes that everyone has a diversity of thought, and we all need to be leaning into that and really telling our own authentic stories. Colin explained that he did this himself by creating a portfolio in college that showcased what he did outside of class to showcase during interviews. This included campaigns that he created for brands that he loved, creating an advertising business as well as an app. By doing this independent work, Colin was not only able to prove that he hustles and cares, but he also marketed himself as an amazing candidate into the professional world post-college. 

The second important piece of advice that Colin gave was to “talk to real humans.” It sounds simple, but I feel as though it is often forgotten. We forget to simply sit down and listen to other people due to stress, hectic schedules, etc. In public relations, it is important to listen to people’s stories, opinions, and experiences to enhance your work. Collin explained that when he was working for Jose Cuervo, he asked his boss for gift cards so he could walk around New York City, buy someone a shot of tequila and ask those people to tell their tequila stories. Having those tequila stories in his pocket during a creative presentation to the client proved that he understood the consumers better than anyone else. 

The third piece of advice that Colin said was to “prioritize authenticity and vulnerability over ladder-climbing.” Collin elaborated on this by explaining that everybody can sense when you are just trying to get a promotion, and urged that we should all be ourselves to get to where we want instead. He suggested not to be afraid and to be vulnerable with the people you respect because they will respect you for having the strength to do so. 

Collin did not take himself too seriously and was not afraid to be himself throughout his career, which landed him great connections and a position at Netflix. Though at the beginning of his presentation he said it would be the least professional, it was the most valuable career advice I have ever received. I intend to follow these three crucial pieces of advice with me for the rest of my college experience, and into the professional world. Thank you, Collin!

To learn more about Colin, here is his LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/colinparajon/

Professor Bartoo’s Social Media Management Class – Your Own Hands-On Experience

By Corinne Dolan

With class registration among us, the University of Delaware’s communication department offers a variety of classes for undergraduate students to take. It can feel overwhelming looking at the course catalog and determining which classes would be most beneficial to you. With so many opportunities to learn about the public relations field in our major, I often find it hard to narrow down which courses would help me succeed and give me real, hands-on experience.

Social Media Management (COMM333) boasts a long wait list each semester- and rightfully so. Last semester when I registered for classes, I impulsively joined the class with one seat left simply because I thought the course description seemed interesting. I was not aware of how much I would learn about the industry and how much goes into social media management before I walked through the doors of Sharp Lab on the first day of class.

Professor Bartoo, who herself has years of experience in advertising and social media, offers a strategic and hands-on learning approach to social media management and an interactive learning style. In this class, you analyze real social media posts from some of the best brands in the social media marketing world – from Dunkin’ to Nike to Burberry to Red Bull. It’s much easier said than done to be an influential brand. Why are these Instagram handles so successful? What makes Red Bull’s 14.9 million Instagram followers so engaged in the brand – meanwhile they rarely post the Red Bull product itself? These and many other questions are discussed in COMM333.

Professor Bartoo often sends the class out onto campus to create our own social media content. We apply what we learn in class about what makes a post engaging, interesting, and memorable for our intended audience. Everything that goes into a post has a purpose, which you never truly realize until taking this course. Now, I find myself noticing social media strategies in almost every brand’s account that I come across. Social media management is all about capturing the attention of our audience in a relevant and repeatable way, and this class is a deep dive into everything it takes to be successful in this.

If you are interested in gaining real skills and knowledge that can help you during communication job interviews, internships, and your professional development, I highly recommend enrolling in COMM333, Social Media Management. This class has earned a spot on my resume, as I feel it has taught me so much about the industry and the science behind social media. I look forward to applying the skills I have learned in this class to my future professional endeavors.

Key Takeaways from ICON 2021 

By Becky Kazenoff

PR leaders are caretakers of the company, but it isn’t an excuse to neglect your own care. 

I enjoyed the Icon session “Managing Our Mental and Physical Health in the Hybrid Work Era” with Mark Mohammadpour, a business owner and Chief Wellness Officer. He stressed the importance of mental health post-COVID-19 and how mental health can still be prioritized in the workforce. This session enabled those in attendance to share their advice and experiences. I learned that vacation days increase one’s productivity and work satisfaction, actually boosting financial benefits later on. Moreso walks after a virtual workday helps your brain come to terms with the workday ending, along with dedicating certain spots of the house for work versus sleep and relaxation. I liked this session because it normalizes mental health since the more we talk about it, the less we stigmatize it.

PR professionals are resources to help people tell stories.

The general session with Yamiche Alcindor was captivating. She put PR in a different perspective using Emmett Till as an example that if PR was as evolved as it is now, the Emmett Till story would’ve had even greater exposure and possibly even a different response and reaction from certain audiences. It’s vital to portray a story as it was intended. Media professionals have the duty of reminding people of important moments and standing up for what’s right and who is marginalized. PR professionals are there to serve as translators and messengers. 

Surround yourself with mentors and a support system

Yamiche Alcindor says mentorship is important, especially for postgraduate students just starting in their industry. Mentors and peers who are happy for you will help one’s professional growth, even in the dark times. Having solid relationships with colleagues helps especially if ever laid off or transition into another job because they can counsel you and cheer you on from the sideline.  

Although things are changing so quickly, some fundamentals will never change and have become even more important in PR.

From this ICONversation I learned how important skilled writing, relationship building, and good judgment are. Good judgment can be in the context of knowing when you’ve said enough. Sometimes saying nothing makes a bigger statement than anything else. Further, skilled writing can go as far as the content in that it needs to cater to the reader and be current and relatable. Speakers from this session emphasized executive presence which means radiating a persona to everyone in the room that you are confident, capable of leading others, and in charge. PR professionals are supposed to be trusted and in order to do so, one needs to embody that through their behavior. Lastly, I learned that your fellow employees should be your biggest advocates. Having good relationships internally is just as important as externally. Valuing other staff can bolster a more positive, supportive environment and work culture is of utmost importance for mitigating job turnover. 

The Engagement Game – Pinterest Rolls Out New Features to Push Engagement 

By Corinne Dolan

It’s no secret that driving engagement is key to a brand’s success on social media. But in an attention economy like ours, it’s much easier said than done to drive engagement and to see concrete results from it. Another issue to tackle is which platform to focus on to ensure your key audience receives your message. This past month, Pinterest joined the list of social media platforms that are playing the engagement game, with new features for creators and influencers alike to drive meaningful engagement.

Move over, TikTok. Pinterest recently launched their new “Watch” scrolling feature which takes content from creator’s “Idea Pins” and allows users to respond with their own pin, or as Pinterest calls it, “Takes”. Unlike Instagram stories, these pins do not disappear and they foster engagement by linking the user’s pin to the creator’s and allowing the creator to highlight the user’s responses. This encourages community engagement and presents the opportunity for brands to have conversations with a variety of publics. 

Influencers also have the incentive to use Pinterest to drive engagement. Launching its “Creator Rewards” program, Pinterest is offering influencers with over 1,000 followers to receive monetization by posting content that the app assigns. The Creator Hub allows creators to make high-quality, organic content that aligns with their brand and interests. Celebrities including Megan Thee Stallion and Jennifer Lopez are among the first influencers to utilize this, as they encouraged users to interact with their Idea Pins.

Pinterest’s new features offer influencers and creators to receive engagement from highly interested individuals who are seeking out specific content, not ones that mindlessly scroll. This no doubt presents the unique opportunity for meaningful interactions between creators and users. 

As a student eager to enter the PR industry, I am excited to see what these new tools hold for the future of Pinterest and its users. I feel that brands that are looking to break into influencer relations can benefit immensely from these new additions. As getting user attention and driving engagement becomes more and more difficult, Pinterest now allows for a unique space to gain mutually beneficial relationships.

Sources: https://www.prweek.com/article/1731029/pinterest-launches-bunch-new-features-creators