Campaign reflection

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As my campaign with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank comes to a close, I want to share with you some of the the final works I have created to deliver as we part ways.

Kim Harrison explains the importance of stewardship to safeguard relationships with stakeholders. As I mentioned before, one of the major ways to ensure the continued success of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is by making sure they have a well developed plan for the rest of the year. The strategic communication plan I have developed for them include a crisis communications plan, a social media plan, a food drive informational tutorial among other materials.

Overall, I have to say I am happy to say Geaux Communications carried out a successful event in hosting its weeklong food drive in two different venues. After looking at the sign-up sheets of the apartment complexes that participated, I can say more than 50 students overall donated provisions for the cause. The totals for both complexes equaled 132 pounds, which is the equivalent to 110 meals.

When reflecting on my progress in this class and my time at LSU, I am able to say  the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication has prepared me for my future endeavors as a public relations professional.

I’d like to take a moment to thank Dr. Moore for making this campaign such a positive experience. Although the thought of carrying out a full fledged campaign on my own scared me, I was able to fully exercise the knowledge I had learned throughout my time at the Manship School. I couldn’t have come up with a better way to gain so much  experience in my final semester as a public relations student.

For more information on the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, visit their website and Facebook. For more information on me and my works, visit my website.

Thanks for reading!
-Carolina

Tools for PR practitioners

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As I mentioned on my last post, Geaux Communications was successful in promoting its weeklong food drive benefitting the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. While the drive was successful and raised two barrels full of food, I am still waiting to hear the exact measurements to calculate an approximate number of meals donated. This in part will be added to the campaign book I’ve been forming as part of the big deliverable to my client for when the hands-on approach to the campaign comes to an end (our official presentations are Wednesday.)

In addition to this campaign book, as part of our service-learning class, we have been required to form digital and hard copy portfolios showcasing our strongest works. As a student with no previous website building experience, I have to say I found Weebly uncomplicated and to the point. It is definitely something I would recommend to fellow students as a way to set themselves apart when facing prospective employers. Another site I’ve had friends and coworkers recommend is Wix, a similar site used for the same purposes. You can find my very own digital portfolio here.

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To follow the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank on its future endeavors, visit their website and be sure to follow them on Twitter. 

Wrapping up our Fight Against Hunger food drive

Today marked the last day of Geaux Communication’s food drives held in The Cottages and The Woodlands of Baton Rouge, and I can say that they have been a great success. Although I had been checking up on their progress daily, I had not expected the rise in donations that happened over the course of the weekend. Needless to say, I want to take the chance to thank everybody who contributed in any way to this event, and say this would not have happened without you!

As a student running the campaign on my own, I can not express how nerve-wracking the process has been but I can say I have some peace of mind knowing I have been able to foster awareness among students in my community.

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from many of you saying the age group our campaign is trying to target is one of the most difficult to engage because of the ways society can cause us to behave. While I agree, I would like to share with this picture to show how the smallest things start from nothing, and build up; its all a process.

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This small portion of the food bank – in comparison to the rest of the facility – is one which can not be filled by the provisions donated in one food barrel. However, any and all quantities can go a long way. Like Voltaire said, “no snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible,” but with a positive twist.

Normally, one-barrel food drives can help provide enough food to be sent out to at least one agency for its weekly delivery. The food bank could be serving a small group of community members out of those agencies, such as local soup kitchens, or a much greater scale of people, through organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army. After all, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank does serve 125 agencies!

I’d like to touch on a few of the methods used to promote this event; among those were social media marketing. Here’s a peek at one of the graphics that were distributed among one of the apartment complexes:
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I do have to say that among the tactics that garnered the most awareness involved personal contact with friends, coworkers and connections. The power of word of mouth is a force to be reckoned with, as I can say it was responsible for the development of this food drive.

To find out more on the results of this campaign, stay tuned for my next post. For more information about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, check out http://www.brfoodbank.org.

During a past internship, I worked at Senator

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During a past internship, I worked at Senator Mary Landrieu’s Baton Rouge office and was able to gain some wonderful experience on the legislative aspect of law making. Throughout my time there, I was able to work with various agencies of the state and act as liaison by providing assistance to constituents of Louisiana. Interestingly enough, it was only yesterday the Louisiana Food Bank Association held a rally on the steps of the state capitol to support an amendment to House Bill one. The amendment to the bill would provide five million dollars to the Louisiana Food Bank Association.

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank urged its followers to support the cause and participate in the rally. Footage of the event can be found through My ArkLaMiss and KLFY

To touch back on my previous post, “Hunger is a real issue in our state. It’s not something that is just overseas that you see on infomercials.  Hunger is real and, our neighbors, you know, people in our own communities our backyards need our help” said Jane Wright-Velez of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana. 

Through the experience I gained at my internship, I was able to advise my client to arrange a meeting between the Louisiana Food Bank Association, a representative of the GBRFB and a state legislator if possible. Although it can be difficult to meet with a senator, congressman or legislator, direct meetings are guaranteed to provide the most straightforward answer to the questions pertinent to the bills. 

If such meeting is unable to be arranged, the second best option is to meet with a staff member of said legislator. Usually they are able to listen to constituents concerns and address the issue directly once they are back in the office.

Sending out a press release to the media would also attract attention to the issue; something that was further advised by yours truly in regards to the matter. Furthermore, informing the general public about the issue could bring about a greater number of supporters. Social media and the organization’s website are prime examples of outlets that could be used for this matter. 

For more information on the development of this bill, be sure to visit the Louisiana State Legislature. 

To find out more about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, check out their Facebook page and Twitter. 

to take a look at some footage of the rally. 

Exercising the ROPES model: Stewardship

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned a few reasons that had drawn me to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for my service-learning project. Among those reasons was a sense of stewardship toward my community caused by the very nature of this organization. Helping provide one of the basic human needs to our community and raising awareness for this organization was something I wanted to participate in, and hit close to home. Something that many of you don’t know is that I grew up in Mexico, and although my family and I never experienced hunger directly, we were able to see its effects in everyday life. For those of you that have visited my home country, I am sure you can recall the images I am speaking to you about.

Interestingly enough, when I moved to Louisiana, I found the problem had not gone away. I was now living in the greatest country in the world, and yet I still had people approaching me in parking lots asking for money. It didn’t take long for me to realize Louisiana is one of the states with the highest hunger rates in the country; This in turn made me see hunger is a worldwide problem and can be found close to home regardless of location

This reflection brings me to one of Dr. Jensen’s service learning goals and objectives found on the syllabus: understanding social issues in our community. While many of us are aware of the problems that surround our community, it can be easy to justify any hesitations to help someone.

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Through this post, I urge you to take a step back, and reflect on the steps ROPES has taught us (research, objectives, planning, evaluation, stewardship) and focus on the stewardship sense of it. Take that concept outside the box and apply it to the community you are living in and not only the clients and contacts you have worked with.

Exercise your sense of stewardship toward your community and do one act of kindness that can make a big difference to someone in need. It doesn’t have to be much, a drop box for change at the supermarket, carrying the groceries of an elderly person, taking the time to ask a stranger how they are doing. All these small acts reflect on us as PR professionals and can help us gain a greater understanding of how stewardship can apply to not only our business contacts but to the world around us.

For more information about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and how you can help, visit their Facebook page or Twitter

Applying PR concepts: Backing all research efforts

As the end of my campaign draws near, I’ve learned to recognize the importance of backing my findings. While a majority of the work I have put into this campaign comes from has come from previous learning experiences, it does not mean I can use my knowledge without any kind of proof. I have been lucky to find much research online for the statistics I need for developing my campaign; statistics on hunger, Louisiana’s food shortage problems and unemployment statistics. With those numbers, I have been able to develop all my materials for my campaign, as well as the actual campaign book I will be delivering to my client at the end of this campaign. Sites such as MathWarehouse have been extremely helpful in developing my materials, something I had previously tried to do on Microsoft Word. Needless to say, I found this much easier than trying to create a chart on a writing program.

Other resources I found extremely useful for citing my sources included information I had already learned through all my classes. What I’m actually referring to through this is statistical information about the uses of social media sites we all know are effective.

In a survey conducted by Constant Contact, it was found business owners believed the major social media sites to be most effective for helping their organizations; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Yelp and Google+ in that order.

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Source, Constant Contact Inc.

While I can agree that those sites drive major traffic to a business I can also say Hootsuite is one major tool many organizations are not informed about. One of Hootsuite’s advantages is the ability to maintain a consistent social media image through a single website; a task that can be difficult for an understaffed business.

In a recent study by Deloitte, it was found Twitter can drive sales tremendously by engaging in positive brand image posts, interacting with its followers and maintaining consistency in hashtags. The study found that increases in positive tweets is more effective than an increase in traditional advertising. More examples on how to improve social media performance can be found here.

After taking a look at these studies, I thought back on the old saying “All PR is good PR” and found myself disagreeing. While thoughts of celebrity scandals gone wrong can come to mind, I more specifically thought of the importance of making sure all of our work is backed up by sufficient research. It is of upmost importance we allow ourselves the time to carefully look at what sources we use, before we use them, and to cite all of our sources as our campaign comes to an end. Overall, the public relations professional should be prepared to back their findings to ensure their campaign efforts are found valid and retain credibility.

For more information on the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and our campaign efforts, visit their Facebook or Twitter.

 

Community partners: How to get people engaged

It was just this morning I was sitting at my breakfast table when I noticed a cereal box one of my roommates had left out. The message on it caught my eye as I realized the box was promoting Outnumber Hunger, one of the various campaigns the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is a part of through its partnership with Feeding America.

The process for participating was simple:
1. Visit the page outnumberhunger.com/walmart
2. Enter a code located on the cereal box to help give 7 meals to your local food bank

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It dawned on me that although this was a simple process that could help thousands of people with enough participants, most people would only look at the box and not do much about it. I then started further analyzing the efforts Geaux Communications had made thus far, and the tactics the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank was engaging in to draw people to participate. Of their efforts, utilizing social media was the one which has the most cost-effective ratio.

What most jumped out at me though were the promotion efforts of the campaign. Feeding America, General Mills and Big Machine Label Group had all partnered to help draw people in to their efforts. I liked being able to see how they used country music singers to draw attention to their campaign, as that had been one strategy the food bank and I had discussed earlier for getting awareness to the organization. Using celebrities and other high profile people was also something the students in my focus groups had mentioned would get people listening.

Although we have not been able to do such a thing for our own local campaign, it is something that we are looking to incorporate in to our continuing campaign plans for when the hands on approach to our efforts are finished. Templates for contacting the media, press releases and others are being produced to ensure the organization follows an effective path for getting the media’s attention. Essentially, Geaux Communications hopes to provide the necessary tools for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to use when approaching various media outlets.

Additionally, I think it would be helpful for the food bank to organize more targeted campaign efforts when participating with a community partner. Some ideas for this would be hosting an in site campaign among the workers to see who can receive the most votes or likes throughout a campaign such as Outnumber Hunger. Incentives such as receiving an employee of the week picture in the office or receiving a premium parking spot for the month could get employees more involved and would allow for greater campaign awareness.

For more information about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, be sure to visit their Facebook or Twitter.