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.

Comment on How do you Explain PR?

1 04 2009

Fellow classmate Cara Mitchell wrote a very interesting post on explaining what PR is.  We have learned many definitions in our PR classes, but often these can cause confusion.  Check out the comments on the post and post your thoughts as well.

Feature Writing and PR

21 02 2009

This week in Dr. V’s PR class we discussed feature stories and their importance in PR. We also had a journalist come to talk to the class about writing features. We decided that feature writing not only is an important skill for journalists, but also for PR people. PR people need to know how to write features so they can pitch to journalists more effectively. Also, features appear in internal media within a company or organization. Feature writing can be applied to news letters and also blogging.

In my intro to journalism class in Spring 2008 we used Tim Harrower’s book, Inside Reporting ,to help us learn the ropes of journalism. I highly recommend this book. Below I have summarized the different styles of features that are described in his book.

Styles of Feature Stories

  1. Personality Profile: Is about a person. This story combines facts, quotes and descriptions to talk about a subject.
  2. Human-interest story: This is a story about real people. A situation that is tragic, funny, odd or inspirational.
  3. Color story: You write this when you are asked to attend an event. Interview people and describe what you experience.
  4. Backgrounder: This is an analysis of an event or issue in the news. You tell the 5Ws of the story.
  5. Trend story: These are stories about things, places, people that are affecting today’s culture.
  6. Reaction piece: This provides a sampling of opinions about breaking news or a controversial topic.
  7. Flashback: These are commemorative stories that combine photos, facts and interviews to describe something that happened in the past and why it is important.
  8. How-to: This teaches reader how to do something. Often contains bulleted lists and diagrams.
  9. Consumer guide: This is a story that rates a place or product. Tells readers the good, the bad and the ugly.
  10. Personal narrative: A story told in first person about something that you experienced.

Cluetrain Manifesto

2 10 2008

Important points:

  • Markets are conversations.
  • The Internet has made it possible for people to speak their minds and be heard.
  • We are not just consumers, we have minds and things to say.
  • When PR practitioners start making connections with people instead of constantly “pitching” is when contacts and relationships are made.

Chapter 9: The Tactics of Public Relations

23 09 2008

Important Points

  • Tactics are actions that should accomplish the goals from the written PR plan.
  • The tactics should try to create a win-win situation, where both the organization and the publics benefit.
  • Communication begins when the tactics are executed.

Chapter 7:Research and Evaluation

16 09 2008

Important points:

  • PR practitioners must be able to measure the effectiveness of the decision they make and actions they take.
  • Research and evaluation are critical tools for PR practitioners.
  • PR practitioners must always ask themselves: What do we think I know and what do we not know
  • 5 main types of PR research are: secondary research, feedback research, communication audits, focus groups and surveys.

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. 

Chapter 2: Jobs in Public Relations

4 09 2008

Key points from reading:

  • All public relations practitioners share one goal: to help create and sustain relationships between an organization and its publics.
  • Most PR jobs fall into 5 main categories: corporations, nonprofit organizations and trade associations, governments, public relations agencies and independent public relations consultants.
  • Public relations practitioners have a wide variety of activities and duties.  However, they can usually be grouped into two types of tasks: managerial tasks and technician tasks.
  • The salaries of public practitioners vary depending on their position, but for most in the field salary is not the most important thing.  PR practitioners love their jobs!

Crazy things happen in PR

2 09 2008

After reading the FLACK and HACK email exchange form Kevin Dugan’s Bad Pitch Blog, I commented on the post that referenced it.

Chapter 1: What is Public Relations?

28 08 2008

Major points in Chapter 1:

  • Many people have no clue what public relations really is and use it to describe things that it is not.
  • This confusion gains help from the media.
  • It is hard to pinpoint one definition for public relations.
  • All definitions seem to agree that public relations involves  two way communication, that it is a planned activity, that it is based on research, and that it has a social responsibility.
  • Also, it is agreed upon that public relations is performed in a 4 step process: research, planning, communication and evaluation. 
  • However, public relations occurs in a dynamic setting, meaning that these processes do not occur in a linear fashion.
  • Also, when public relations takes into account the values of the society and the organization it is called the values-driven approach to public relations.
  • Public relations is a very important job, and often the work of public relations practitioners is not accredited to them by the public.