PR for Social Change – “Rage Against the Haze”

30 08 2010

Rage Against the Haze is a movement initiated by Brains on Fire, an identity company out of Greenville, SC.  Brains on Fire helps organizations build movements.  They use a fusion of word of mouth marketing and identity development to initiate marketing efforts that take on a life of their own.

Rage Against the Haze is one example that has seen great success in the South Carolina.  This is not only a PR effort, but has become a movement for social change in SC.

Brains on Fire wanted to create something powerful that would survive for many years after the money was gone, decrease teen smoking by 5% and create awareness about the dangers of using tobacco.

This effort blossomed into a youth-led movement, where 92 local teens were given the responsibility of continuing this PR/Marketing effort.  They helped to plan and sustain the effort.  Youtube videos, swag, an interactive website and retreats were used to help train the students and spread the word.

The Youtube video above is one example of how the teens worked with Brains on Fire to create communication that would initiate social change in SC and help to decrease teen smoking.

As a result of this anti-tobbacco movement, youth tobacco use rates dropped 16.9% and the movement has grown to include 6,000 active teens who are “raging against the haze.”

This movement shows what communication and public relations can do for society.

What does PR history teach you?

9 09 2008
  • The history of public relations follows closely the history of the United States.
  • PR did not get its name until the 20th century, but has been present throughout the history of the United States.
  • Throughout the years PR has represented different things: the movement for independence, social improvements, technological advances, and effectiveness and efficiency in the 20th century. 
  • By studying the history of PR you can understand how and why it developed and this allows us to predict which way it will continue to develop. 

Important Skills for PR Practitioners

4 09 2008

After reading the book, John Bell’s blog posts about 13 Skills of the PR Pro of the Future, talking with Kevin Dugan in class and some outside research I have complied the following list of important skills for future PR practitioners:

  • Always be aware of your publics.
  • Be technologically savvy; know how to use current media such as: blogs, messgae boards, wikis, directories, multi-media, and social networks.
  • On-line tools are the first responders; know how to effectively communicate with your publics through these media.
  • Be prepared for change and be able to handle it effectively.  Time management and stress management is a must when you are a PR practitioner.
  • Professionalism is a must!  This is expressed in the way you dress, speak, write emails, and also your overall disposition.
  • Excellent writing skills are also a requirement. PR practitioners need to be able to write clearly and efficiently.
  • A PR practitioner also needs to exhibit that he/she can think critically and bring a fresh perspective to an organization or company.
  • According to Kevin Dugan, passion is also a must.  You need to love what you do and show others that you are willing to put in the extra work to go the extra mile.

A few of these skills that I feel I still need to develop is my knowledge of on-line media and tools.  I just recently learned to blog, thanks to Dr. V, but I still have so much to learn about the online tools of a PR practitioner.  Although I feel I am a good writer, that is an area which can always be improved.  The more experience I have with writing the better I will become.  I also feel that I have the drive and passion for this field.  I have enjoyed the internship experiences I have had with PR and also this class.  I feel like this sets me apart from other young students and potential internships.

I feel like the best way to develop these skills is through practice and experience.  I plan on doing a few more internships before I graduate.  Also, this class and PR classes in the future will help me to develop these skills.  I really enjoy writing, so I plan to further this ability by writing on blogs and possibly for The Tiger, our university newspaper.  I am a very determined young woman and have big dreams for my future.