Dressing and Addressing the Crisis: Confronting the fashion industry on body image

Victoria’s Secret’s ‘The Perfect “Body”’ campaign, promoting their “Body” bra has sparked a heated conversation. 26,000 people signed a change.org petition that asked the company to revise the slogan “to something that does not promote unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty, as well as a pledge to not use such harmful marketing in the future.”

Victoria’s Secret reworded the official ad but never released a formal statement apologizing. The lingerie company has committed a PR infraction by not addressing the crisis. Taking responsibility for misconduct is the first step to amending a damaged relationship with consumers. Owning a mistake says that a company is willing to compromise and move forward.

Calvin Klein recently faced a similar controversy after it launched its “Perfectly Fit” campaign that featured Myla Dalbesio, a size 10. Many were outraged that Calvin Klein’s plus size was a size 10. Klein handled the crisis much more eloquently than Victoria’s Secret. Klein was quick to point out that the model was never labeled as plus sized. The company later released a statement that says,

“The Perfectly Fit line was created to celebrate and cater to the needs of different women, and these images are intended to communicate that our new line is more inclusive and available in several silhouettes in an extensive range of sizes.”

The statement verbally addresses the controversy and the concerns in a respectful and responsible way.

It isn’t news that body image is distorted in our culture. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 24 million people suffer from eating disorders in the US and 69% of girls 5th– 12th grade said magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body.

A handful of progressive companies have received a lot of positive feedback for promoting healthy body image. Dove has pioneered this cause since 2004 when it launched the successful Real Beauty campaign that features women of all shapes and sizes as part of project to restore self-esteem. In the last year, Mod Cloth and Aerie adjusted their Photoshop policy by deciding not to retouch models.

While Victoria’s Secret is not the only retail company guilty of harmful advertising, it is notorious for the portrayal of thin, retouched ‘Angels’ who set the standard for an unhealthy female body image.

PR professional, Jason Mollica, who recently spoke to UD’s PRSSA chapter, said that by avoiding the discussion, Victoria’s Secret has done something wrong. “Anytime a company doesn’t apologize that speaks volumes,” Mollica said. “I love it when a company says we screwed up.” After all honesty is what consumers want in a brand. Instead of taking this crisis head on, the lingerie company turns down the opportunity to make a change and perhaps make the ultimate PR move—to use their power and influence to revolutionize the standard.

 

By: Margaret McNamara

Margaret McNamara is a sophomore Communications Interest and English double major at the University of Delaware with a minor in Journalism. You can follow her on twitter @marmcnamara

Resources used/for more information:

http://www.elle.com/news/fashion-style/myla-dalbesio-calvin-klein-plus-size?src=spr_TWITTER&spr_id=1448_109820562&linkId=10433707

http://jezebel.com/victorias-secret-acknowledges-outrage-alters-its-perfe-1655449139

https://www.change.org/p/victoriassecret-apologise-for-your-damaging-perfect-body-campaign-iamperfect?just_created=true

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3 Reasons Why It’s Okay To Intern at the Same Place Twice

Internships are something every college student thinks about as a way for them to get a job right after college. Getting hands on experience in an industry is deemed as one of the best ways to showcase why you’re the best. Even if you’re working for free.

That’s the way I saw internships when I was a freshman. I wanted to make my mark and have as many people know me as possible so I would have a better chance at becoming a full time employee after graduation. But I also wanted to stick my hands in as many cookie jars as humanly possible so I could learn from as many different supervisors as possible in as many different industries as possible.

20140405193314!MSG-logo-12My plan worked until last summer. Prior to 2012 I had 4 internships ranging from a blogging internship at a fashion/beauty online magazine to a marketing internship for Newark Beth Israel Hospital to a communications/marketing internship for an online sports memorabilia store. Everything changed when I got my internship at The Madison Square Garden Company. Telling people I was a summer associate at MSG, albeit in sales, was a dream come true and I was going to hold onto that for as long as possible…which is why I decided to come back.

Even though MSG was, and still is, my dream company to work for, I had a hard decision to make because I did want to spend my final summer as an undergraduate intern doing something different. And a lot of people recommend not interning at the same company twice but here’s why I think that’s wrong.

  1. Don’t Settle

This is something my boss told me from day 1 and it’s something I’m never going to forget. As soon as I put my stuff down at my desk this summer I sat down with my boss to discuss my new goals for this summer. I loved working at MSG last year and learned a lot about sales and marketing but I wanted more. If you choose to intern at the same place more than once make that clear. Learn as much as possible and don’t do the same tasks as the previous year. Do more.

  1. More Experience = More Responsibility

Another perk that comes with returning to a pervious internship is you know the lay of the land. My position requires a lot of data input and updating spreadsheets and pulling reports from different systems. Because I was here a year ago I only needed a quick refresher on how to do all of that. If I was just starting out it would have taken about a week, maybe more, to learn everything. This meant I was given bigger projects faster because I knew what I was doing.

  1. You Know The Players

In my opinion this is the most important part about returning to a company. Depending on how long you go between internships, people might have left or been fired but regardless some people will still be working with you that you already know. For me, 95% of the people I worked with last year were here this year. And the cherry on top was a lot of them remembered me. Knowing people is great but the most important thing, regardless of if you plan on returning or not, is making sure they know who you are. I walked in on day 1 and people were welcoming me back and saying how great it was to see me interning here again. This also relates to point #2 because some of the people from last year got promoted and they have asked me to help them with projects they’re working on because they know what I can accomplish.

A lot of people have asked me why I decided to intern at MSG again doing the same thing as last year. I respond with a smile and tell them it’s because I don’t plan on doing the same things as last year. Sure, there still are some day to day things that I find myself doing that I did a year ago but I’m now working with the Senior Vice President on a few big projects for the President of the company on top of that.

Even though there are a lot of benefits to having a variety of internships so you can have different experiences, whatever you do, make sure it feels right. MSG felt like home to me because I had a background working with the company, had new goals I wanted to accomplish my second time here and I knew who I was dealing with. So that’s why I came back.

-Written by: Nikki Kirschner

Niki Kirschner is a rising senior English major and Journalism minor who is also a devoted member of PRSSA. She is also a Social Media Ambassador for the University, and will be combining her love for social media and sports this year when she helps run UD Athletics social media. She is currently in her second internship at The Madison Square Garden Company working in the MSG Media department and loves every second of it and hopes to one day be working for a sports PR or social media team. Be sure to follow her on twitter (@BlueHenNiki) and check out her blog (http://nikikirschner.wordpress.com).

Strike Gold: Uncover Your Dream Job

As college students, we extensively prepare for our futures—raising our sails, gripping the wheel, pushing off the dock and venturing into the vast sea of our future. We don’t quite know what lies ahead, but we do have our sights set on one thing: finding our own treasure chest of joy, otherwise known as our dream job. We begin our search with internships and test out
the waters. But how do we find that one perfect match, our true passion, our calling? Well, we all embark on different journeys, but six key components can help all twenty-somethings set sail and strike gold.

  1. Explore your Interests/Passionsspongebob

We’ve all heard the saying “work hard to play hard,” but what if you could do both simultaneously? Try interning with an organization of which you’re already apart (like your school, church, gym, part-time job, country club, favorite charity, food bank, community theatre, etc.) and see if it strikes your fancy. You might just fall in love with working behind-the-scenes and discover you were standing on your treasure all along.

  1. Try new things with an open heart and mind

Perhaps you yearn for something new, uncharted waters in which you may sink or swim—and why not with a short-term internship! You won’t have enough time to sink if you tried. 😉 Branch out by working in a completely unfamiliar environment and appease that adventurous appetite of yours. Maybe you’ll shift your sails in a new direction. Maybe you’ll return to your previous route. Regardless, you can look forward to attaining a wealth of self-knowledge and a priceless confidence boost.

  1. Monitor your energy and attitude at work

Find yourself whining and groaning as you get ready for work every morning? Bashing your forehead on the desk in boredom? Counting the hours ‘til you go home? Or do you smile through your lunch break, leave work excited for tomorrow, and incessantly relay stories to friends? Every day presents ups and downs, but when measured in the long term, these habits reveal a great deal about our happiness and mental wellbeing. Monitor yourself every couple of hours—discover trends in your emotions, likes/dislikes, thoughts and habits in a diary or Word Document. This way, you can define your nonnegotiable needs for your fulltime job.

  1. Set up informational interviews

Take a walk in someone else’s shoes—meet with professionals who work in your dream job/industry! Prepare questions and jot down notes as they give you an exclusive one-on-one. They can tell you all about their college experiences, job preparation, current job responsibilities, daily workload, work/life balance and more. Perhaps they already found the treasure you seek and could drape you in their pearls of wisdom.

  1. Look forward to the future

No two paths identically match, no one reaches his or her treasure on one defined route and no one knows what waves or tides may pull your search in a new direction. Instead of feeling fearful, embrace your courage and college diploma and embark on the adventure of a lifetime—the adventure of your lifetime. You may find your treasure or your treasure may find you. Either way, you’re in for a great ride and a tremendous prize. Happy hunting!

Written by: Laura Hepp

Laura Hepp is a rising junior mass communication major with minors in advertising and theatre performance studies. She proudly serves as Vice President of Professional Development for PRSSA-UD. Her other roles include Blue Hen Ambassador for UD’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions and active volunteer at The Journey church. With a passion for musical theatre, she performs with Harrington Theatre Arts Company and multiple community theaters in the Tri-State and Lancaster County areas.

Social Media Safety Tips for Young PR Professionals

With social media being such a great outlet for people to speak their minds, it also has created an issue—what is too much to be put online? What is okay to be shared, and what should not be?  Sometimes, it is hard to determine, but it is important for students looking to enter the world of PR (or looking to become any professional, really) to understand their limits.  Within the last year, I have learned that I need to take more precautions with my social media accounts after realizing that they really are important in representing you as a brand to future employers, and that your representation online can really help or damage your chances of landing that internship/job. Here are a few social media tips I found online that can help you utilize Facebook or Twitter to give you an edge over another student.

  • Conduct a “social media sweep” every month.

Make time every month to go through and check your accounts, making sure to delete anything that does not portray you in a positive light.  Un-tag yourself from Facebook pictures that might not be too flattering, and even check what pages you are “liking.”  Other people can usually see these, too, and what you like says a lot about you.

  • Make sure your profile picture is professional.

This may seem like common sense, but your picture is the one feature anybody can see regardless of your privacy settings.  Just remember to keep it relatively classy, because your profile picture will also come up on Google when your name is searched.

  • Consider your Facebook page your live resume.

Ask yourself:  Would you print out your Facebook page and hand it to a potential employer?  Would you be proud of what you have posted?  It is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to posting if you are not sure of its level of appropriateness.  Even if you delete things, it is not necessarily gone forever—Google and Facebook can keep track of what you have posted, and it is better to keep in mind that an employer will potentially be able to see anything you have posted.

  • Find an honest friend to look at your social media profiles and tell you what should be removed.

Find someone who has your best interests in mind and is willing to look through your sites for you, and ask them what are the top three pictures on your profile that should be taken down.  Once they tell you, at least seriously consider deleting them.  Same goes for posts and likes, if you are not sure.

  • Set your Facebook profile so that everything is private.

This shows that you are smart with social media, and you know how to control your own profile!

  • Don’t air frustrations and concerns for all to see.

No offense, but no one really wants to see a bunch of passive-aggressive “sub-tweets” or Facebook statuses about other people.  It damages your social media presence, and ultimately does not accomplish much.  You would be much better off by having a private conversation with the person you are having a problem with.

These are just a few tips to help you manage your online presence.  You use Facebook and Twitter everyday anyway; why not use it as tool for getting a job, too?

Written by: Allison Knouse

Allison Knouse is a rising junior Mass Communication major with a minor in journalism.  Along with being involved in PRSSA-UD, she will be the Vice President of PR for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars at UD starting fall semester.

New executive board spotlight: VP of Professional Development, Laura Hepp

– Name: Laura Hepp

– Class year: Juniorlaura hepp cinderella

– PRSSA E-Board Position: Vice President of Professional Development

– Nickname: I have no idea!

– Favorite meal/foods: Lunch! I’m a veggie addict with an additional love for soups and salads…needless to say, lunch makes me very happy.

– If you could meet anyone: Maya Angelou, Kristin Chenoweth, and/or Chris Colfer

– Dream career: With emphasis on the word “dream,” I’d say starring in a Broadway musical (Christine in Phantom of the Opera, Glinda in Wicked, Cinderella, or originate a new role!). Being realistic, I’d love to work in a creative environment like a nonprofit or agency. I ultimately hope to incorporate all my passions and live a fulfilling life.

– Sibling(s): I’m the baby of my family with two older (and scientific) siblings. My sister Courtney works as a pharmacist, and my brother R.J. works as an engineer.

– Pet(s): Growing up, I owned a pet rabbit named Lily. She was essentially the rabbit version of a Persian cat (80% fur, 20% bunny).

– If you could travel anywhere: Hogwarts. Hands down.

– Favorite place to study on campus: When I need to focus, I always go to the ISE Lab. If I need to lightly study or complete smaller assignments, I go to Perkins so I can socialize and drink Dunkin Donuts coffee.

– Guilty pleasure: N*SYNC, the Jonas Brothers and Disney Channel Original Movies.

– Weird fact: I only hate one thing in this world—velvet (the fabric, love red velvet cake). The touch of it or the sound of something brushing against it just freaks me out.

Facebook Analytics: What You Need to Know

Many public relations professionals are tasked with monitoring and managing the numerous social media accounts for the different clients they work with. Since clients need their brands to be seen by their targeted audience in order to do well against competition, it is up to the PR professionals to make sure that the social media platforms utilized are being used to the best of their abilities. For all social media sites, there is a way to track the metrics of the reached viewers in order to analyze the progress or demise of many accounts. For Facebook, it is not just another social media platform that uses posts to reach their targeted audiences; it is a real tool that has built-in analytics for PR professionals to view and make sure the company is on track.

But as students we aren’t typically asked to view these metrics and analyze the numbers, so not many of us would know how to do that. When I was given the task of looking over the Blue Hen Says page for the Office of Communications and Marketing, I was unsure of the best way to go about analyzing the data I gathered and a little confused on terminology. But with a little help from Google, I learned ways to make the data search and analysis a little bit easier.

Below are some terms and tips to keep an eye out when monitoring a Facebook page specifically.

When you manage a Facebook page you will be able to click on page insights to find metrics on Likes obtained, Post reach (or the number of people your post was served to), Visits to the page, and information about your Posts such as which is liked most by viewers or even when your viewers are online to reach them at opportune times.

For the Blue Hen Says account, I was interested mostly in the Reach section to see where our engagement with viewers needed work. Reach shows how many unique people saw something about the Page and Impressions show how many total times something was seen about the Page. These are then split into three different groups.

1. Organic Impressions:

These come from people seeing your content in their newsfeed.  According to PageLever, “when you publish a new photo or status update to your Page’s wall and someone sees it, this number goes up. This is by far the most common way you’ll reach your Fans and their friends.”

2. Paid Impressions:

This is where sponsored stories and other ad units can be found. PageLever notes that understanding both paid content and original content are extremely important to the success of the page.

3. Viral Impressions

Viral Impressions are impressions on “stories” that get created when someone engages with your Page somehow.

Fan Story:  This means that someone became a fan or liked your page

User Post:  This means that someone else wrote on your Page’s Wall

Page Post:  This means that someone commented, liked or shared one of your Page’s posts

Mention: This means that someone mentioned your Page or tagged it in a photo

When viewing the Reach section of the page, exporting all of this information is vital to organizing the content and analyzing the data. It’s a great idea to keep these terms in mind when analyzing those metrics to determine where your Page is successful and where it needs more work to truly benefit your client’s brand or company.

For more information regarding analytics, check out this link: http://pagelever.com/understanding-insights-reach/

By: Nicole Sullivan

Nicole Sullivan is a Mass Communication Major with Advertising and Journalism minors. She is the Vice President of External Affairs for the Public Relations Student Society of America as well as a Senior Reporter for the University of Delaware’s independent student-run newspaper, The Review.

@PRSSA_UD and @TemplePRSSA host #TUDPRSSA chat to discuss PRSSA experiences

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WHO: PRSSA-UD (@PRSSA_UD), Temple PRSSA (@TemplePRSSA) and any other PRSSA members around the country who want to participate.

WHAT: A Twitter Chat, focused on discussing PRSSA experiences. PRSSA-UD and Temple PRSSA alternate questions.

WHEN: Thursday, January 17 at 8 p.m.

WHERE: On Twitter, using #TUDPRSSA.

WHY: To connect with other PRSSA members around the country and in our region, to discuss the benefits of PRSSA and to learn what we can do to continue improving as an organization.

Spread the word about #TUDPRSSA chat, and join @PRSSA_UD and @TemplePRSSA on Thursday, January 17 at 8 p.m.!