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PR by Taylor Swift

November 22nd, 2017

In the wake of the explosive pop-culture response to Taylor Swift’s new album Reputation, the main point of discussion seems to be how different the genre of her new music is in comparison to her past endeavors. But, what about the actual content of her songs?

Although Taylor may not be the unassuming 15-year-old we once knew and loved, the themes of her songs are extremely familiar. Her references may have changed from high school classes to private islands, but the shear essence of what she sings about is closely matched to her younger years.

Many artists have tried to evolve their sound, but she is undeniably one of the most successful in the plight to change her musical style while maintaining and growing her fan base.

One of the foundations of successful public relations is to understand various stakeholders individually and communicate the same message to all of them in a way that is most meaningful and clear to each party. The messaging is unchanged, but the medium, language, and timing can drastically affect how the message is received.

Taylor has proven herself extremely capable of relaying the same themes, but in a way that draws in a new and different demographic of listeners.  Maybe we could all learn something from Taylor Swift, other than the execution of a perfect break-up.


#WeddingHashtags

November 8th, 2017

Wedding hashtags in a nutshell:  they’re cliché, rarely as clever as you think, and honestly your guests are probably embarrassed to use them. And yet somehow this trend continues to trend to the point that the majority of couples getting married these days have one.

Most people have seen their fair share of cringe-worthy wedding hashtags, either being overused, only making sense to the bride and groom, or not quite hitting the mark of a successful pun.

This whole situation is inciting real concern in young adults as Grace Randles tweeted this summer: “what if my future husband’s last name doesn’t make a cute pun for our wedding hashtag……like this is the stuff that keeps me up at night.”

Steven Kleinschmidt responded by tweeting “I want to apologize now to my future wife”.

BuzzFeed featured this Twitter debacle and showed a few of the many outpouring of responses that Kleinschmidt received. The Twitter-sphere came together to help poor Steven find a wedding hashtag that wouldn’t leave him lonely. A few of the suggestions were:

Love is patient, #LoveIsKleinschmidt – Noah Cook

#HolyKleinschmidtWereGettingMarried – Landon Wade

#GetLitWithKleinschmidt – Emily Schrecengost

No need to worry if you’ve had similar issues coming up with the right wedding hashtag, as there are countless wedding hashtag generators that you can utilize.

As ridiculous and borderline sarcastic as wedding hashtags seem, there is one valuable trait that may just be enough to salvage their existence altogether. Wedding hashtags really are a huge gift to the happy couple, allowing them to follow the hashtag and share in all of the memories that were made during their special day.

So, next time you’re considering not including a wedding hashtag in your post, consider it a gift to the happy couple and swallow your pride.


The Startup Culture Secret

October 25th, 2017

Startup culture seems exhilarating; the concept of wearing vintage tees to work and being part of something new and cutting edge. Why does this environment seem so attractive and something that organizations try to maintain even after they’ve grown beyond their initial garage-based business stage?

Here’s there secret: There’s No Directional Compromise.

At least not for a while, that is. In most organizations, there’s a directional compromise that takes place and it often boils down to the question of tradition vs. progression. Without a traditional precedent for people to fight for, there is less directional compromise (in startup culture).

It’s natural for industry veterans to hold onto the way they’ve always done things, so often times the “progressive bunch” with new ideas and French press coffee will compromise their cutting edge (maybe too cutting edge) ideas for something that will please those who have been around longer.  This type of generational change happens in all organizations, but one reason startups seem so revolutionary, is because they haven’t had to encounter that situation quite yet.

Innovation and progression are vital to any successful organization with the respect of history and expertise gained along the way. There are many businesses, non-profits, and clubs that fail due to the inability to stay innovative. But, just because a startup seems innovative when it begins, doesn’t mean it will maintain that culture by default.

Somewhere along the line every startup company that “makes it” will become an aging company and the way they navigate that transition will determine whether they’re really a startup at heart. A true startup company will navigate all decisions with innovation and progression regardless of the traditional precedents.


Starbucks or Save?

October 11th, 2017

This is the question that haunts us on early mornings five days a week. On one hand if you saved five dollars every day, that could really add up! One the other hand, five dollars is a small price to pay for happiness…

Or could it be that it’s not even the taste or caffeine that you want, but rather you want something to hold. Let’s face it, people are more confident with a drink in their hand. Alcohol? yes—but your morning coffee shop drink can have some similar effects. Just like a singer who has never had a mic stand before, there’s comfort in holding on. Having a Starbucks drink in hand does a lot for a person—all of a sudden they’re caffeinated, part of a club, more proficient in their skills, and five years older.

So, when you go to choose if you’ll be settling for your Keurig or embracing that five-dollar Pumpkin Spice latte (or whatever your drink of choice may be), you’re really deciding who you want to be that day.

Maybe this should be considered in terms of your return on investment. If that Starbucks drink will motivate you to work harder which in turn pushes you towards success, you might make more money that way than you ever would have by saving your daily coffee spend. Or if you invested that Starbucks money right now, and make your own coffee for the rest of your life, you might be able to retire early. It’s certainly something to ponder…

But, in the end regardless of your opinions on this debated topic, you’ll still be in the Starbucks drive through on Monday. Happy Drinking!


5 Ways Non-Profits Can Keep & Grow Their Volunteer Base

September 27th, 2017

As a nonprofit organization it’s obviously important to use a majority of funds to support the mission. But most nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers to manage a variety of aspects of their organization. So what can you do when your volunteer base is dwindling?

  1. Take An Outside Look:

It’s easy to love an organization that you’ve been a part of for years. Take a step back and try to imagine what your organization is like from an outside perspective. What would be a newcomer’s first impression? Do volunteers feel welcomed? Do volunteers leave with a sense of fulfillment?

  1. Listen To Others Objectively:

Refrain from becoming defensive when someone explains how a process could be done more efficiently. Successful nonprofits are always seeking new ways to improve, and embrace a free flow of ideas from volunteers, sponsors, and other stakeholders. While your ideas may be great, make sure that others feel like they are being heard since their ideas are essential to the nonprofit’s success. Stakeholders will be more loyal to your organization if they feel they are needed.

  1. Help Them Make Connections:

Be intentional about connecting volunteers to staff members and those you serve. Volunteers will be more likely to come back if they felt socially noticed and accepted initially. Make them feel like they will be personally missed if they don’t return.

  1. Provide Opportunities:

Give them a job & provide clarity. They came to volunteer. Before having volunteers come, make sure you have enough areas for them to help in. No one likes going to volunteer, and then being put on a one-person task with five other people. Make sure to plan well, so that people can be fully utilized.

  1. Sell Them On Your Mission:

Great non-profits have leaders who believe in their mission, and help others believe in it too. Sell volunteers on your mission, and then let them sell others – they become your brand ambassadors. Educate new volunteers on what your organization does and why that’s important, and then let them advocate for you.