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Archive for the ‘Personal Branding’ Category

Personal branding – job hunting (part 3)

We have to agree that it is not easy to get a job, especially when you are a recent graduate student with little or no experience in the domain you want.

Check this email:

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I’m a recent college graduate and have been actively job hunting for about 6 months. As the number of resumes I’ve sent out approaches 300, I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong and how I can stand out among the hundreds of other applicants I’m competing with. After Googling “creative ways to get hired”, I came across the idea of wearing a t-shirt with my resume on it. My dream job is to do PR in the racing industry. I’m attending two races in the coming months and I am contemplating doing this in order to get the attention of some race teams and potential hiring managers. Would you recommend wearing a resume t-shirt or does it come across as too desperate?

What do you think ? Would you hire her ?

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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Social media: limit or limitless ?

As company, do you need one Facebook account connected with one Twitter account or you need more? Maybe two, three, four ? How much is too much asks David Rogers in Bnet.

What’s his answer?

By now, most businesses know they should have a presence on Facebook or Twitter. But the more digitally-savvy businesses often ask, How many? Should you have only one Facebook page? Or multiple ones?

While some brands, like JetBlue, are represented by a single corporate Facebook page and a single Twitter account, other brands, like Dell, seem to sprout new Twitter accounts and Facebook pages every day, one for every department or division. Does this make them more efficient? When is it too much–or too little?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach depends on your business, customers, brands and overall media strategy.

When One Voice Is Best

The benefits of a single, unified presence on a given social media platform are clear. A single account makes it easier to build a sizable audience. It may help focus your social media efforts (especially if you are a small or medium-sized business). It will provide a clear presence for your brand, and will avoid confusion among your customers about where to go to find you online.

When You May Want to Manage Multiple Accounts

However, there are many cases why multiple voices may be more effective for achieving a business’ social media goals.

Following are 7 reasons why a business may do better with multiple accounts:

1. Different Business Units. Many larger companies are structured around distinct business units that serve customers with different needs. In these cases, it can be much more valuable to the customer to follow or connect with a social media presence that is specific to their own needs. Dell, for example, has separate Twitter or Facebook accounts for its enterprise (@dellenterprise), education (@dellEDU), and small business (@dellSMBnews) operating units. That way each account can provide content and interaction that is more relevant to the right customers. SimilarlyGE has separate accounts for GE capital, water, aviation, appliances, and lighting. And at Columbia University, where I teach, there are separate accounts for the Schools of Journalism, Law, and Business.

2. Different Geography & Languages. Businesses operating in different countries may find a need for distinct social media accounts, especially to suit different languages of customers there. Dell has separate Facebook pages for India, Thailand, and Malaysia, among others. The Johnnie Walker spirits brand has a single master Facebook page that links to 32 international Facebook pages, allowing for content that is customized and in the local language: Mexico (Spanish), Brasil (Portuguese), Israel (Hebrew), and others.

3. Different Content Topics. Media companies and other idea-focused businesses that are producing a great deal of content for their customers may want to set up different social media accounts around different topics, so that customers can select those which are most relevant to them. The New York Timesruns numerous Twitter and Facebook accounts that spotlight the content of its various sections: Politics, Science, Travel, Food, Music, or even the Crossword Puzzle. Similarly, a university may set up separate accounts focused on atheletics, arts events, career placement, or even specific events or conferences.

4. Different Local Branches. Some businesses that have a brick-and-mortar retail presence may benefit from separate social media accounts for local branches. Whole Foods combines an overall corporate presence in social media with numerous accounts for individual branches (from Detroit and Chicago, to my hometown market in Montclair, NJ). This allows customers to get localized information about events, store news, and special deals happening at their own branch.

5. Different Social Media Strategies. Separate accounts can also be valuable when a business is trying to use the same social media platform for different strategic aims. Comcast uses one Twitter account as a customer service channel, and another one to share information on its community investment program. GE’s @GEreports provides news on technical innovations to its investor community, whereas accounts like @GEresearchjobs focus on hiring. Dell has run a very successful standalone Twitter account focused on sales of discounted inventory, @delloutlet.

6. Unique Voices within the Company. For companies with social media-savvy employees, and a great many customers seeking to interact online, it is sometimes beneficial to add personal corporate accounts in social media. These are accounts that are named by the company, but identified by a particular employee (from Zappos’s CEO Tony Hsieh, to customer service specialist @ComcastBill).

7. Unique Sub-Brands with Strong Personalities. If a company’s product brands, or sub-brands, have a strong enough personality of their own, customers may be more interested in connecting with them in social media, than with the corporate master brand. (Would you sooner “like” the Dove brand, or its parent Unilever corp?) Chevrolet has its own accounts on Twitter and Facebook, but also maintains accounts for Chevy Trucks, Chevy Camaro, Corvette, and the new all-electric Chevy Volt. The typical customer for Chevy Trucks and the Volt are likely quite different.

Making Sense to Your Customer

In essence, the decision of one or many voices within social media comes down to an understanding of your brand architecture (are you seen as one company? Or a collection of exciting brands?), and of your customer base (is it relatively homogeneous? Or do you have distinct networks of customers, which don’t overlap very much?).

If you do have good reason to establish separate social media accounts, and the resources to support them, make sure you keep them clear for your customer. The goal should be to avoid confusion, while allowing for more relevant and meaningful interactions with customers that build long term relationships and add value to your business.

 

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Tips and tricks: social media for companies

I know for sure that many companies would like to understand better how does social media work for them and their products. Many of them are using the basics, meaning the website, the blog company, some Facebook and Twitter. Mashable presents us some case studies which can help a company to improve its social media impact by showing different media channels. 

  • Narrow your focus to responding to customer complaints, as Comcast does on Twitter.
  • Build brand loyalty, as Bisnow does with e-newsletters, as Skittles does on Facebook, and as the Wine Library does with its podcasts.
  • Issue blog posts and tweets instead of news releases, as Google does with its blog, and as its now-former CEO did with Twitter.
  • Re-purpose your existing content, and thus enlarge your audience, as The New York Times does with Twitter, as the FBI does with Scribd, and as Dell does with SlideShare.
  • Manage your reputation, as countless companies do — or try to do — with Wikipedia.
  • Conduct crisis communications, as Johnson & Johnson does with its blog.
  • Hold contests to improve your algorithms, as Netflix did with the Netflix Prize.
  • Crowdsource your challenges, as the U.S. Army did with its field manuals.
  • Demonstrate thought leadership, as recruiter Lindsay Olson does with her blog.
  • Research free advertising opportunities, as Allstate does on YouTube.
  • Showcase your wares, as Zappos does with its blog, and boost your sales, as Dell does on Twitter.
  • Recruit employees, as Booz Allen does on LinkedIn.
 
Better tomorrow,
PR Pret-a-Porter.

Personal branding – Job hunting (part 2)

oana vasiliuI was presenting here one of the most creative CVs I’ve ever seen. Now I’ve found something new at #truRomania, one of the most interactive HR un-conferences from the world. (more…)

Presidential reading list

oana vasiliu

I just found on the Internet what president of US, Barack Obama, has read during these years of presidency. Let’s take a look: (more…)

Journalists vs. PR practitioners: trick questions

oana vasiliuDays ago, I wrote an article about do’s and do not’s for media interviews, from Crisis Communications A Casebook Approach written by Fern Banks. Today, I’m going to write trick questions that journalists use to obtain more spicy information.

  • speculative questions begin with if – “If an earthquake had happened during business hours, how many people would have been killed or injured? “
  • leading questions imply that the reporter already has the answer – “You do agree that the company could have avoided this tragedy, right ?”
  • loaded questions are designed to elicit an emotional response – “Isn’t it true that you knew there was asbestos in the ceiling and failed to do anything about it ?”
  • naive questions indicate that the reporter had not done any homework and does not know what to ask – “Tell me, what does your company do ?”
  • false questions intentionally contain inaccurate details in them – “You fired half of over-50 staff, right ?” where the public relations professional, knowing the statistic is wrong, could counter with “No, only 40%”, not realizing the reporter was aiming for that information all along.
  • know-it-all questions begin with “We have the story. I just need a few wrap-up facts.” The reporter may want you to merely confirm an already formed viewpoint.
  • silence is used by reporters who want you to spill your guts, to talk on and on.
  • accusatory questions are designed to force you to blame others
  • multiple-part questions can be confusing to you as well as to the public. Ask which part you should ask first, then answer each part as separate question.
  • jargonistic  questions are those in which technical words or professional jargon are used.
  • chummy questions are those in which the reporter, pretending to be your buddy, may ask – “Say, pal, off the record, what do you think … ?”
  • labeling questions aim to make issues negative or simplistic by seeming to ask for clarity – “Would you call the company’s work schedule stressful ?”
  • good-bye questions are posed at the end of an interview and may even come after the camera or tape recorder is turned off – “By the way …”

If you want to discover what these trick questions can do, I highly recommend you to watch All the President’s Men , where two journalists Woodward and Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Nixon’s resignation.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Social Media Jobs Titles

Almost everyone knows what Internet is. I assume that almost everyone has an idea of what social media means, or have heart that it is a new type of communication and expressing.

oana vasiliuAccording to Wikipedia, social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.

Social media can take on many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microbloggings, wikis, podcasts, photographs or pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking. By applying a set of theories in the field of media research (social presence, media richness) and social processes (self-presentation, self-disclosure) Kaplan and Haenlein created a classification scheme for different social media types in their Business Horizons article published in 2010. According to Kaplan and Haenlein there are six different types of social media: collaborative projects, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites, virtual game worlds, and virtual social worlds. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing to name a few. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms.

Here are some examples offered by Wikipedia:

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Communication

Collaboration/authority building

Multimedia

Reviews and opinions

Entertainment

Brand monitoring

For all these sites and online platforms, someone invented a job which is traditionally known as: social media something. What I found today via Linkedin, was this funny article written by Sam Fiorella, one of the editors of PR Daily. You can find the whole article here.

In my business and online travels, I’ve seen an alarming trend in the manufacturing of unusual job titles. Someone has to stand up and say, “Enough!” So, I’m going to call out the 12 most ridiculous social media job titles, in no particular order, in hopes of curbing this trend.

1. Web Alchemist

2. Head of Interactions

3. Ant Colony Foreman

4. Chief People Herder

5. Chatter Monkey

6. Community Data Guerrilla

7. Social Media Guru

8. Social Media Swami

9. Public Happy Maker

10. Social Media Evangelist

11. Social Media Rockstar

12. Social Media Missionary

You’ll notice that I left out the ever popular: “Social Media Expert.” It was omitted purposely. It’s simply too ridiculous to make even this list. The reality is Social Media is simply too new and evolving too quickly for anyone to legitimately be called an expert. Even if it wasn’t, a “social media expert” is akin to being a “talking expert.” It has no real meaning.

Hope you enjoy it!

oana vasiliu

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Pronunciation and spelling – big issues

oana vasiliuWe have to admit that not everyone has a natural language talent and can pronounce correctly names, places, locations, especially if these aren’t in the native language.

Spelling city offers us some scientific explications, which are extremely useful.

The importance of spelling has been questioned in recent years, as word processing programs are equipped with spell checkers, and some educational reformists have suggested that focusing on spelling holds back the creative processes of writing.  Reading Specialist Susan Jones, M.Ed., has researched how spelling improves reading and writing fluency and how it improves vocabulary and comprehension.  Professor Jones helps Vocabulary and SpellingCity.com as a member of the newly-formed educational advisory committee.  Below is her recent paper debunking some common myths about spelling and helping to establish the importance of spelling in education.

The Importance of Spelling
by Susan Jones, M. Ed.  2/2009

Spelling over the last few years has been the subject of a commonly mailed piece of Internet “wisdom.” And I quote:

 Aoccdrnig to rscheearch by the Lngiusiitc Dptanmeret at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.Translation: According to research by the Linguistic Department at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place.  The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without a problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself, but the word as a whole.
This paragraph has been widely circulated on the Internet since 2003, and it is still referred to, either as a point of interest or to defend inconsistent (poor) spelling, or choosing not to teach it. Is it because it rings of the truth that it makes scholars and educators cringe? Hardly. Among other things, there was no such research, and the words in the passage don’t follow the rule of “only the first and last words matter.”  It’s a myth. It is fluent readers who can figure out this highly predictable text – and the path to fluent reading includes a firm foundation in the sounds represented by letters and their spelling .
oana vasiliu

In journalism and PR, these issues are extremely important: your mistakes are seen by thousands if not millions of persons. Some of these mistakes are drastically punished, from cuts of salary to losing their jobs.

Online TV, in the breaking news section, is the most predictable place to make mistakes. You may have a prompter, but transmitting live can be sometimes overwhelming, especially if the subject is very juicy.

Please take a look on Obama vs Osama:

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Office dress code

It’s summer time for a while now. And it is gonna be much more hotter than these days, so we have to dress properly for the office, not for a walk on the beach. I know that Forty-degree weather and a suit jacket don’t exactly mix and match, but neither do guys in shorts and corporate boardrooms. Not to mention the fact that, at any given point during the summer, it’s about 20 degrees cooler in the average office building than it is outside.

I think it is possible to create a summer work wardrobe both comfortable and professional. Resume Bear offers us some great tips:

1. No flip flops: Ladies, this faux-pas is typically committed by you, so listen up: “Flip flops are beach wear which transpired into ‘commuter-wear’ and then slowly into office wear,” says Lizandra Vega, author of “The Image of Success: Make a Great Impression and Land the Job You Want.”

Not only do they look unprofessional, but their namesake “flip-flop” noise is an easy way to drive your co-workers nuts every time you walk by their desks, so opt for strappy sandals, espadrilles or ballet flats instead.

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2. Choose light colors: “Lighter color garments help you keep cool during hot summer months,” Vega says. “Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect heat.” That said; make sure the color isn’t too light. See below.

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3. No peep shows: Summer clothing is often made of lightweight, lightly colored fabric. This can make for a comfortable commute, but it can also make for awkward over exposure. “Avoid apparel in fabrics that are so lightweight that they are see-through,” Vega says.

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4. Wear an undershirt: It may seem counter-intuitive to add an extra layer when it’s hot out, but (men especially), if you don’t already wear an undershirt, you might want to start now. The extra layer will help absorb sweat during a mid-summer commute.

“Wearing a cotton undershirt actually helps men feel cooler as it will absorb perspiration,” Vega says. “[Plus],if a lighter fabric shirt is chosen, the undershirt will prevent it from being see-through.”

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5. For women, dresses are best: Women are at a serious advantage when it comes to dressing for summer at the office for one simple reason: They can wear dresses.

“Dresses are a great option because it avoids having to wear a jacket,” Vega says. “A wrap dress, a sheath or shift dress are appropriate options.”

If you will be forgoing the jacket, look for styles with short or three-quarter length sleeves, even sleeveless if you feel comfortable. Tank-style dresses are too casual for the office without a jacket or cardigan, though.

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6. Keep an extra layer at work: Women can keep a wrap or lightweight, neutral-colored cardigan in their desks in case the air conditioning is kicked into overdrive. Men can do the same with a blazer or sweater.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Personal branding – job hunting (part 1)

oana vasiliuWhat would you do for the job you like most ? How will you impress the HR team ? What is the difference between you and other candidates ? In other words, how do you promote yourself ?

Last week, it was a viral news among HR specialists about a excellent-creative CV. I wonder who gave him the job he wanted most.

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You can find more information here. Thanks Ruxandra for the idea.

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

If Google can, you can even better

As part of my career, I am also a website editor on a volunteering blog. Days ago, I wrote my conclusions about a book I have recently read, recommended by Ciprian Gavriliu, so I translated the content here. In Romanian, you can find the article here.

oana vasiliu“What would Google do?”, written by Jeff Jarvis, launched in Romania in 2009 is no doubt one of the most motivational books I have read since now.

Jeff Jarvis is not one of the Google creators, nor one of Google employees, he is just one of the best known social media person worldwide. Among other jobs, he also teaches Journalism at Superior School of Journalism from City University, New York, and he is a person who understands, explains and motivates with excellent arguments what a business means today, in web century.

If you ever thought to launch your own business, you have thousand of great ideas and more than that, you would like to become an entrepreneur, this book can make (some) order in your priorities.

Google discovers problems and solves them. To sum up, Google works in personal branding terms and it all reduces at finding your own new vision of world.

The book doesn’t sell anything, doesn’t glorify anyone and definitely doesn’t say a malicious word about the completion. It explains, with extremely simple words, what means internet century and what human resources  it has. The book talks about the people behind www.google.com, those names we have never heart, the mistakes that multinational companies have made and how they figure out that Google is their friend, not their enemy.

“This searching engine will control the planet”, said Paulo Coelho. But Google doesn’t want to control something as boring as a resource or a phone company, or maybe a restaurant (although the chef from Google restaurant has written Food 2.0). Some people would like that Google become the owner of a newspaper – like New York Times- or a company, as Microsoft. But no, Google knows who he is. His great, great ambition is to organize the world, not to take charge of it.

As a reader of this book, I have finally understood that my objectives are only mine, no matter how many things will come across. And that money doesn’t always count and that is why so many Google services are free, with a great venue, where hundreds of people worked millions of hours to make the application perfect.

oana vasiliuIn such books, what I appreciate most is the quality of the tips given. I love to learn by examples, to understand how the engine is working by testing it before knowing more things about. What is Google doing, in fact ? Basically, he puts you in his front page, on the top of everyone else, if you give him the right things:

  • distinctive content
  • let yourself searched, in order to be found
  • after generating links and public, YOU have to explore the benefits, usually by ads
  • you should use links to work efficiently
  • find opportunities for creating value.

Google helps. And if he can, you can do it as well, no matter where or when you start, only if you have in mind a great project and you are willing to receive both positive and negative feedback. And if all of the critic you get , you’ll invest in the project, maybe you will find the secret of success.

What would YOU do ?

oana vasiliu

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

Hello world!

My dearest,

For  a couple of months, I was thinking of starting a blog about things I like most. Now, the idea is an online project, thanks to Alecs, Ruxandra and Alex.

It’s gonna be a journey in the online world, in social media networks and in the field I want to succeed: public relations. I’m preparing to become a decent online presence, I have lots and lots of ideas and subjects I would like to share with you and experience as well. Communication is the key to success and Internet is just the perfect channel to fulfill your life goals and professional objectives.

About me I could say I’m a beginner, a planner,a strategy thinker and also a fast learner. I love colors, I enjoy spending time with my nephew, I dance tango, I like fashion in a shopping way, I’m a traveler  and I really appreciate quality time spent with nice, pro-active people. I’m the kind of action, not words person, who works with passion, otherwise, better not counting on me.

I guess that in the online world are thousands if not millions of blogs from high achieving young people and clicking on my personal blog will be an amazing challenge. But each one of us has that little something that makes us different. Well I, PR Pret-a-Porter author,  am like an event organizer; a meticulous backstage planner, sometimes a speaker, usually a journalist and always an active listener.

As a child, I have never seen myself in the future doing a particular well-known job. I grew up with my grandparents in a small town, where my grandmother has had plenty of friends. We were always visiting someone or someone was visiting us. My favorite part was to see the fascinating ritual of preparing the household goods for the said visit: fine china, crystal glasses, elaborate food design, new recipes or complicated desserts. Since then, I have kept in mind the word “event”, with this particular meaning: something that happens at some point, especially something important, interesting and unusual.

I strongly believe that in order to achieve success in this field, you must have communication skills as a top quality. My journey in the communication world has begun eight years ago, when  I was standing in front of a microphone, staring at the audience and not talking for a few seconds, which for me seemed like a few hours. Then I started to talk about the project my school won in a national contest, without reading a line from the paper I had in my hand. After that, everyone congratulated me for being such a great speaker. From that moment, I started to develop myself in the communication field, participating in different debates, student councils and school projects. Now I’m an undergraduate student specialized in Public Relations.

All the experiences I went through made me a fine observer of details, transformed me into a patient person, showed me how my body responds to stress and the most important thing, I became a responsible person, who can argue her decisions and maintain her opinions no matter what. Nonetheless, knowing people and specialists in the domain was the biggest advantage, because theory without practice means nothing in the real world. I will soon write about wonderful people I met and how they contribute to my professional or personal development.

All in all, my Hello world! post, the first one, is officially over. The journey began. Thank you !

Better tomorrow,

PR Pret-a-Porter.

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