Tuesday, May 17, 2011

School's out for summer

Greetings blogosphere!

We are packing up for the summer! Thank you so much for reading our blog this semester, and we hope you continue to follow us in the fall. We have a great new team lined up for next semester and we hope to see you right back here in August!

Thank you again,

The TGC team

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Buzz Marketing

By Megan Pouliot, Editorial Assistant

Secrets don’t make friends.

Unless of course you’re talking about Three Sixty Ecotique— the best kept secret in all of Chico—which in that case would make us BFFs.

A little late to catch on to this secret, my first visit to Three Sixty Ecotique occurred last Thursday and let me just tell you, I thought I had died and gone to vintage heaven.

From the moment I walked in, my eyes were jumping from rack to rack. Dresses. Blouses. Crop Tops. Coats. Belts. Bags. You name it, I wanted it.

Of course before I got too excited and began stripping the racks, I knew it was time for that pesky price check—the usual deal breaker. I figured I would start with this gorgeous, black, sequined cropped coat, one similar to those I’ve seen at other vintage stores, which usually ran close to about $50—a price steeper than my college budget can climb. As I lifted it from the rack, I anxiously peeked inside to check the price as if I were sneaking into an early Christmas present.

Written on the dainty, recycled price tag was an equally dainty price of $28; a price I cannot only climb, but I can sprint to the top.

In less than 20 minutes, I had filled almost two dressing rooms, leaving the racks almost as empty as my wallet upon leaving the store.

From the time it took me to drive from the downtown boutique to my house, I had already tweeted a storm, added the location to my Foursquare and told all of my closest friends—and everyone else I came in contact with for the next four days.

Since my shopping spree at the eco-friendly boutique, I know of at least three pals that have frequented the shop. This trend seems to come to life in small towns like Chico, where businesses rely on word-of-mouth by college students. This kind of buzz, which is the result of the human need to spread the latest gossip, markets companies without any allotted advertising funds.

I left Ecotique that day with a hefty brown sack, which I’m sure was made from recycled paper, and a newfound knowledge in the impact of buzz marketing. Secrets may not make friends, but friends sure make secrets.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What Tehama Group Communications taught me about life

By Caitlin Wallace, Social Media Director

Everything I know about the real world I learned from Tehama Group

You’ve seen those shirts, right?

“Everything I need to know about life I learned from my cat...” Stuff like that.

Well, I’m here to say that after the culmination of six years, two schools, two study abroad programs and countless classes, the real thing that prepared me for life post graduation, was Tehama Group.

Here’s my top four:

1. How to work with a team. Like, for real.

I know, I know, everyone loves a Chico grad because we are so social. But working on a group project for a teacher is a totally different ball game from working with a team that truly wants to be there, is qualified for the job and is working for a paying client. Sure, you sill have to deal with missed deadlines and over-scheduled consultants, but the work is quality and you can rest assured the whole project won’t fall on you.

2. How to manage time.

And with that goes how to not manage your time. Taking on too much is something I am classically known for, and this semester has been no exception. Learning to say no is a talent I have yet to master, but it’s something I know is applicable in the work place. For this semester I can successfully say: lesson learned.

3. How to be a better communicator.

I am professional communicator, so how could I need help? Trust me, I did...and I still do. I have always been the group leader and so learning to work on a team where I was simply a consultant was part relief, part balancing act. I had to learn how to “communicate up,” which basically means keeping my account lead informed on all my movements concerning our account. Since I was used to being the one who was communicated to, this was a lesson in learning to keep my team leader updated.

4.How to be a creative problem solver.

When you are in class, your future is up to you, so far as your grade is concerned. You can always turn to your teacher for guidance and ask if something is right or wrong. However, being plopped in front of clients and being expected to produce something that is worth their time and money is a different ball game. Knowing how to quickly field questions and think on your feet requires preparation, knowledge and a general ability to perform under pressure.

So there you have it folks. My life lessons, learned in the four walls of Tehama 310.

My dream apps

By Skylar Young, Account Executive

I have never used my iPhone so much until I joined Tehama Group Communications.

I find myself checking my email every five minutes and I have come to discover that in this agency, email is the new text. I depend one my iPhone so much that there is no way I could go back to using a regular phone.

I have recently organized all my applications into folders. For example, my Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and LinkedIn are under “social” while my camera, Photoshop Express and Instagram are filed in “photography.”

My latest folder edition is called “dreams.” This is where I keep my theater and public relations apps.

Just recently I discovered an app called Proton PR 007, specially made to help PR people’s lives easier. CEO Sean Fitzpatrick said it was like a Swiss Army knife of applications for PR people, according to theprcoach.com.

The application includes:

Spelling and Grammar Checker: So we won’t have another press release where adviser is spelled advisor.

Buzzword Manager: So we can scan news releases and blog posts instantly with our phone.

New Hook Detector: It scans and identifies news hooks to help us research the latest trends or breaking news.

Press Release Writer: It automatically creates a headline and lead paragraph so your press release will be catchy and news worthy.

Media Database: This database holds up to 50,000 contacts and you can instantly email pitches to everyone.

Online Influencer Evaluator: So we can see who has the most Klout influence by choosing from an updated list.

PowerPoint Projector: So we can present a pitch that will fit in our pocket! Your elevator pitch can now include a PowerPoint presentation.

Note Taker: So we can record phone calls and interviews.

Social Media Maximizer: I know how we all like to run for mayor on Foursquare. This app organizes all of your favorite social mediums.

This app does not come cheap, but I would not mind it in my “dreams” folder one day. Any app that can help me come up with an amazing headlines, spell check my press releases and let me give a PowerPoint presentation anywhere is my kind app.

Teamwork at its finest

By Sevie Michl, Account Executive

When people first think of public relations, many come to the conclusion that to succeed in the profession all you need is the ability to write and communicate well with others.

After having multiple internships, and especially in my current TGC internship, I have come to realize how much more is involved with being in public relations.

What people don’t usually realize—including myself before TGC—is how working with other professions outside of PR is vital to completing tasks asked of you by clients.

For example, there are the photographers. Through TGC I have learned the importance of being able to effectively communicate with a photographer on your team. Before this internship I didn't realize I would ever work with a photographer. What I have learned is that PR professionals communicate with photographers for their stories, websites, blogs and whatever else they may need photos or videos for. I had never really thought about the role a photographer would play in my profession, but am grateful for the work that they provide.

Just like with having photographers there is a heavy design aspect in PR. For instance, one of my clients is a nonprofit organization and it is my team’s job to help market their upcoming fundraising event. After my team writes the material for the event we give it to the designer to make “aesthetically pleasing” material like posters, postcards, banners, etc., that will grab public attention so people read the important information. Being able to work and communicate with a designer is vital throughout the entire PR process.

Yes, I have some skills in InDesign and photography, but nowhere near the skills my designer and photographer have. My team relies on them and their skills to help successfully do our jobs.

Having my internship with TGC has really opened my eyes to what it is like to be involved in a public relations agency. When I thought of PR before now I never really considered what was going on “behind the scenes” and how exactly everything worked. I had never worked with a designer or photographer before and I have to say, the experience has been enlightening and rewarding. My advice to future PR professionals is to not fight the process of working with other professions, but embrace the challenge and process of it all!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spinning the moral compass with social media

By Naubil Oropeza, Account Executive

Last year, Nestlé spun the moral compass with social media. Greenpeace spoke against Nestlé for unethical practices associated with the production and manufacturing of its chocolate products. As a devoted chocolate lover, I was disheartened when I heard the news.

Greenpeace launched a shock ad campaign against Nestlé hoping to encourage a boycott of the company’s goods. Customers and fans alike were outraged after the YouTube video surfaced, which had over 90,000 views, exposing Nestlé for its deforestation practices and criticizing its small attempt at green practices with the Fairtrade Kit Kat.

Angry comments and pictures on Nestlé’s Facebook and Twitter then followed, from criticizing Nestlé’s business model to altering the Nestlé logo to reflect the company’s practices. A Nestlé intern in charge of the company’s corporate fan page responded rudely on Facebook, deleting these messages and making questionable comments. This was a counter-productive effort by Nestlé and disrespected its consumers.

The main issue in this case is the social networking crisis that Nestlé found itself in. Nestlé’s website states that the company is “conscious of the fact that the success of a corporation is a reflection of the professionalism, conduct and the responsible attitude of its management and employees,” but the recent disaster shows that Nestlé needs to control its online presence.

Marshall Strategy, a well-known firm in San Francisco, knows the importance of managing these networks.

“Without clear corporate and brand strategies, companies risk diffracting their message and weakening their corporate or brand image with every blog, tweet or posting,” said Philip Durbrow, CEO of Marshall Strategy.

By deleting comments and responding negatively to fans online, Nestlé has found itself in this vulnerable state and has been accused of hiding behind “PR spin.”

While social media is still a concept that businesses are trying to incorporate, this is a great example of how companies need to learn how to use it to benefit their company and how to regulate it. Companies that have not yet utilized the social media tool should take this as a cautionary tale, showing that the implementation of policies for online conduct is crucial.

Don't tweet drunk

By Megan McCourt, General Manager

Some of the things my fellow college students post on Facebook astound me. Half-naked pictures, incoherent status updates, snaps of people double-fisting drinks or passed out on the floor.

I don’t care what you do on the weekend, but your future employer might.

With scarcely two months until we walk across the stage, flip our tassels and start careers, it might be a good time to start thinking about doing some PR for yourself. Where to begin?

Facebook: Clean up your act. Start with restrictive privacy settings so that people can’t snoop too much. Go through all your pictures and un-tag yourself from any pictures you wouldn’t want your grandma or potential boss to see. Don’t write angry rants about work, especially if you’re friends with coworkers. Follow companies you are interested in working for and stop following “I Love Beer Pong.”

Twitter: This is an invaluable resource for those looking to join the working world, but you have to watch what you say since everything is public (check out Sony’s recent Twitter flub in which the company accidentally retweeted the root code that unlocks the PS3). Keep your tweets industry related while still letting some of your personality sparkle through. Don’t tweet drunk (here’s looking at you, Red Cross), as nothing ever really disappears from Twitter.

Resume and cover letter: Brand yourself with colors and a personal logo to set you apart from the pack. Don’t go overboard — pick one, maybe two colors that you can sprinkle in sparingly for impact. Get familiar with Adobe Photoshop or InDesign and craft a simple logo for yourself using these logo tips. Use your logo on your cover letter, resume and website, along with your color scheme.

New media: If you can’t beat them, beat them to it. If you want a position in the PR world, you need to be ahead of the curve when it comes to social media. Get out your smartphone and post on Tumblr, Quora and Storify. Check-in everywhere you go on Foursquare, Gowalla or SCVGNR. Build yourself a LinkedIn, VisualCV or a Wix site. Post videos on Vimeo, Veoh or Dailymotion. Whatever you do, do it online.

Now log in, polish up your online presence and start posting the right way!

Using glass to see things clearly

By Kayla Naylor, Photographer

A couple of years ago when I was touring California colleges looking for my perfect fit, I was sold when I learned Chico State has a glass studio on campus. On an average walk through the doors of the shop you can feel the temperature jump about 20 degrees and the adrenaline starts rushing.

Class was about to start one Tuesday and my professor, Robert Herhusky, was preparing for a demo that would become a donation for a fundraiser to support Japan after the recent earthquake. In preparation for the demo, he used chalk on the concrete floor to outline all of the major steps he would go through while making the plate.

Once everyone was on board, the glass blowing began. Herhusky dipped into the furnace holding up to 300 pounds of molten glass at 2100 degrees for his first gather of glass.

After an hour of working and several sweaty bodies to prove it, the plate was created and placed into the annealer where it would hold the temperature at 900 degrees and slowly come down to room temperature. The whole process could not have been completed without a group of assistants.

When the bubble of glass was at its prime it weighed about 50 pounds and radiating massive amounts of heat. At this time several people would be working simultaneously.

While Herhusky was shaping the glass, a student named Kyle was blowing air into the bubble, another student named Sean was turning the pipe, Crystal and Sara were shielding heat, and Stephanie was opening the door to the glory hole to add some more heat to the glass.

Glass is such temperamental medium in which one wrong move can ruin an hour’s worth of hard work. This is only one of the many examples of how crucial having clear communication skills can be utilized in all kinds of different life situations.

Will tweet for work

By Sevie Michl, Account Executive

As a senior getting ready to graduate, the pressure of trying to look for a full-time job is a scary and intimidating thought.

At first when considering where I could find job openings I think of the usual websites such as monster.com, Craigslist or the companies themselves that I am interested in. I hadn’t even considered social media as a way to hear about job opportunities.

If you haven’t figured out the job searching capabilities that Twitter offers then you should definitely keep reading. For a public relations major it could open a ton of possibilities. For example, I started following many different people, companies and specific human resources pages that offer internships and jobs in the areas that I am considering to move to after graduation. I made myself a “PR job” list and am constantly adding to it when I see someone I think could help me out.

Some little secrets I will share if you are looking for an internship: Follow @InternQueen for internship opportunities or just general advice.

Looking for a job in the Los Angeles area? Follow @PRJobLA for public relations posting in the L.A. area. There are so many more people you can follow on your personal list when job hunting, but all it takes is a little research.

I have personally known friends who have used Twitter to land interviews with companies that they are interested in working for. You can retweet what they say, or directly go to the job posting they list and apply for the job. With the job market being so impacted and everyone wanting a job I figure the more ways you can find opportunities the better. I hope this helps some of you job hunters out there, and remember to utilize any site you can to make your Web presence stand out so future employers want to hire you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Say “Green” One More Time…

By Ian Twamley, Account Executive

I love nature.

I am also a firm believer in the core values of the green movement, but promoters of “green” need to change their wording before I explode.

As members of a species that will top 7 billion sometime this year, the necessity of investment in sustainable technology is more real than ever. Thankfully, green products that are made of recycled materials, use less energy and produce less waste have so far proven to be more than just a passing fad.

Yet as green is here to stay, so, apparently, is the rhetoric used to market it.

Spend five minutes watching TV and you will likely see multiple advertisements touting “efficient,” “eco-friendly” and “energy saving” technology. Although the benefits of these products are clear, the incessant happy-go-lucky tone their marketing strategies project make me want to vomit.

Take for example last year’s commercial for the 2011 Ford Fiesta. To celebrate the sub-compact’s 40 MPG average fuel rating, the Ford marketing department sets a scene of people riding unicycles, landing parachutes and springing up from man-hole covers, all to the tune of “Janglin” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. At one point I loved that song. Now every time I hear it I want to punch my TV.

Marketing sustainable practices is clearly a profitable venture, but why not change the tone? Why not make your company or product different from all of the competition that is off in some delusional green wonderland?

Lexus is currently my favorite car company because they do just that. To make the 2011 CT Hybrid catch the attention of sporty, gas-conscious drivers, Lexus touts the tagline “the darker side of green.” They simply added an MC Escher inspired cityscape and some electronic music and boom, an admittedly cool commercial that breaks the monotony of gag-inducing green marketing.

I strongly believe that consumer-minded innovation in sustainability benefits us all. However, if communicating these products does not evolve with the technology there is the risk of creating an apathetic, or, in my case hostile, public.

So please, marketers of green technology, try something that breaks the mold. I want to pay attention to what you have to say, but if doing so turns me against your message, you’ve lost me forever.

Public Relations: A Career Built on Stressed Professionals? What Are we Getting Ourselves Into?!

By Paul Wilkie, Account Executive

My week begins Sunday morning when I commence creating my oh-so-neurotic to-do lists for the following days. This is usually the time I put myself at risk for early balding. Caffeine doesn’t help either, although I love the beautifully legal drug. Am I destined to be a Rogaine-using, caffeine junkie for the duration of my professional career? According to a number of studies, I am. However, there is hope: There are many ways to deal with stress in productive ways that will leave you feeling healthy and a little less stressed (hopefully).

Public Relations is considered one of the most high stress jobs in the professional field. In fact, it’s second only to airline pilots.

PR professionals are constantly bombarded with new challenges on a day-to-day basis, maybe even hour-to-hour and sometimes every minute. These constantly evolving challenges, along with needy clients and an overly zealous boss could leave any PR professional banging his or her head against the wall. It’s these days when every stressed PR professional needs a way to unwind.

So, what do you do? Everyone has his or her own style. Some people eat to their heart’s content, others watch their favorite television show and some people call their mom and ask for advice (me). All of these are great ways to temporarily relieve stress, but what are some ways we can infuse de-stressing techniques into our daily lives?

Stephanie Goddard, creator of Work Stress Solutions, says one must take into sight his or her surroundings. This is why surrounding yourself with favorable people in your office should be a goal of any employee or employer. Studies show that people are much more productive when they are working or surrounded by people they enjoy being around.

Goddard also emphasizes breathing techniques. Although this might seem weird, Eastern medicine has always tried to tie together body and mind. We have all heard of the “Chi” from old Bruce Lee films. What the “Chi” really is is the balance between mind and body. Goddard believes that focusing on breathing for extended periods during the day helps focus this balance and will considerably help when you are seriously stressed.

Finally, Goddard stresses on finding a spiritual balance between you and your work. And it is important to note that spiritual does not necessarily mean religion. Here’s an example I have created: You’re working for a nonprofit organization running their publicity department. The purpose of this nonprofit is to raise money for starving children in suppressed African countries. In a way, your work is spiritually focused because you’re leaving people better off than when you found them.

So, if you’re feeling stressed as a PR professional, remember why you chose PR (for the love of it, DUH). Our job satisfaction should be greater than our stress levels, so use these techniques to de-stress if you think they fit your lifestyle. Finally, find your Chi!