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Welcome to the New PRSSA Chapter at Fairfield University!

September 28, 2020 -- We're pleased to join The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as it announces the establishment of a new Chapter at Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Connecticut. Housed in the College of Arts & Sciences, the public relations major at Fairfield University focuses on ethical argument and advocacy, clear writing, understanding interpersonal relationships, and thinking critically about how to shape stories aimed at specific stakeholders.

Bora Yook, Ph.D. and Wen Zhao, Ph.D., will serve as faculty advisers to the PRSSA Chapter. In addition to serving as an Assistant Professor, Dr. Yook currently serves as a conference director and advisory committee member at the International Public Relations Research Conference (IPRRC). She also worked at AdAsia Communication, a multicultural communication agency, as a U.S. account executive. Her research focuses on corporate crisis communication, PR measurement and evaluation, social media and social change. Dr. Yook has presented and published her work at international conferences and in academic journals.

Prior to earning her Ph.D. and becoming an Assistant Professor at Fairfield, Dr. Zhao was a public relations supervisor and manager for Tencent Holdings Limited in Beijing, China, and an account executive for the Strategic Public Relations Group, also in China. Dr. Zhao does research on corporate social responsibility, new media and advertising, and emotions and information in decision-making. She has published several articles in academic journals and presented conference papers in the U.S., among other countries.

The Fairfield University Chapter will be supported by the PRSA Westchester/Fairfield Chapter, which will help foster student and professional connections by providing speakers, networking opportunities, career mentoring and other benefits. PRSA-WF Board Director Laurent Lawrence, APR, is the parent chapter's PRSSA Liaison to the new chapter.

The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is the foremost organization for students interested in public relations and communications. Founded in 1968 by its parent organization, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), PRSSA includes nearly 9,000 student members and advisers, and is active on nearly 375 colleges and university campuses, including in Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit #


April 2, 2020

Dear PRSA-WF Chapter member:

We know there hasn’t been a time like this one.  

All of us on your chapter board send our best wishes for health and safety to you and yours.

We have, of course, postponed our chapter programs, and will see what the summer brings.

In the meantime, please sign up for our chapter Facebook page ( if you’re not already on it; we’re posting info on free PRSA webinars and communications tools, and members are posting news, opportunities, shout-outs, and helpful links.

PRSA has compiled a library of crisis communications tools ( that you might find helpful at this time and in the future. It’s being updated on a regular basis and is worth checking out.  

You might also be interested in signing up for the Digital Communications During Covid-19 discussion board, which you can find by going to your MyPRSA page on the PRSA website.

As the quarantine period continues, we’ll be looking at other ways to stay connected.  Let us hear from you. Let us know if we can help you, and let us know what you’d like from us.

And if you’re interested in being a speaker in a virtual program for our members during this time, feel free to get in touch and let’s work together.  

All the best,
Stephanie M. Harwood, APR

2020 President, PRSA-WF
[email protected]

Ken Koprowski, Strategic Communications Professional and Educator, Passes Away

Kenneth M. Koprowski, age 69, of Stamford, Connecticut, died at Stamford Hospital (Conn.) on Friday, September 7, 2018, following a long and courageous bout with cancer.

Ken was Treasurer of the PRSA Westchester/Fairfieid Chapter, and a previous chapter president. He was also a distinguished corporate public relations executive, communications consultant, writer, poet and educator, and best defined as a giving teacher, guiding mentor, selfless volunteer, devoted husband and wonderfully loving father. He was long a leader in the public relations professional community in the Stamford-Westchester (New York) area and led a team of PR volunteers who helped Stamford set national and world records for training citizens to perform CPR.

Born May 28, 1949, in Pulaski, Wisconsin to Mitchell and Lorraine Koprowski, Ken grew up in Chicago and central and northern Wisconsin. He married his beloved wife, Pamela Cardinale in Stamford, Conn.

Ken earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a master’s in Creative Writing from Syracuse University.

For the past 40 years, he lived and worked in New York, southwestern Connecticut and southern Vermont, building an enviable career in public relations.

Ken was a communications leader at GE Energy Financial Services from its inception in early 2004 through 2009, and prior to that headed communications for GE Structured Finance for six years, managing all aspects of internal and external communications. He also served as a GE crisis manager for three years.

Before GE, he was a communication consultant and managing director with River Communications, a financial public relations firm, providing strategic advisory services to major corporate clients including American Express and Wells Fargo. Prior to that, Ken led U.S. marketing communications for Price Waterhouse, U.S., was a lead communicator for Primerica Corporation/American Can Company (now Citigroup), and held communications management positions with Texaco, PepsiCo, International Paper, and United Parcel Service.

Most recently, Ken taught advanced public relations writing and a range of public relations subjects in the master’s programs at New York University, Iona College and Manhattanville College. In addition, he taught crisis communication and reputation management – courses he designed – in the MBA program and business communications at UConn Stamford. His students valued his “real world” experience which he used to illustrate best practices.

Ken volunteered with a number of community organizations and held leadership roles with a number of professional associations in Southwestern Connecticut. He served as chair of DomusKids for many years, working to ensure its long-term sustainability. 

He also was treasurer and former president of the Westchester-Fairfield Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and led the chapter’s effort that won first place in the 2012 National PR Serving America Award competition. Called Hands for Life Stamford 2012 (HFL), the campaign set a new U.S. record for training in hands-only CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) and a new world record for training in the use of AEDs (automated electronic defibrillators). Today, nearly one in every 20 adults in the Stamford area is able to perform bystander CPR, which research shows can double the survival rate for cardiac arrest victims. PRSA awards are considered the “Academy Awards” of the public relations profession. 

Ken also served as informal leader of a group called Thursday III, a self-created group of veteran public relations executives who gathered monthly in Stamford to exchange ideas, share stories and enjoy camaraderie.

His 2016 collection of poetry, “Fathers—Collected Poems 1973-2015” from Ravenswood Publishing explores the mysteries, triumphs, magic, humor, pain and loss that are part of being a son and father.

Ken is survived by his wife, Pamela; his daughter, Lauren and her husband, Christian; his three sons, Jacob, Joseph and Anthony, and nine grandchildren. Surviving also are his mother, Lorraine, two brothers and a sister and their spouses. His father, Mitchell Koprowski predeceased him. 

A memorial service for Mr. Koprowski will be held on Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 1101 Bedford Street in Stamford, Conn. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Truglia Thumbelina Fund/Family Centers, 40 Arch Street, Greenwich CT 06830 in Ken’s name.

The Koprowski family would like to thank the staff of the Stamford Hospital for their kindness, help and support, and extend its deepest appreciation to all their friends for their outpouring of love and support.

From the obituary by Peter Giles, Giles Communications







March 2018 PRSA-WF Chapter Newsletter

Dear Chapter Member:

March is indeed coming in like a lion! But we're happily shouting over the Nor'easter winds to bring you promised updates and opportunities. 

Your PRSA-WF chapter heads into 2018 with a new board and committees, thanks to members getting involved, flexing their leadership skills and growing their chapter colleague relationships. What a great group you are.

Other updates:

  • Our very popular Agency/Solo Peer Group programs continue over the coming months. Our other professional development programs are on hiatus for a bit, while our Program Committee readies a survey asking you about your professional interests, work, and program preferences. Please respond when you get it – the results will shape 2018 program planning. Everything is on the table: traditional luncheon programs, online, local gatherings, and more. Stay tuned for details.
  •  Our sister Connecticut chapters, Hartford-based CT Valley and New Haven-based Southern CT, have consolidated into the Greater CT Chapter, led by 2018 president Evelyn Gard. They’ll continue hosting The Mercury Awards, which is open to our members. We’ll soon notify you by email and put 2018 Call for Entries information on our Mercury page.
  • Our chapter is a member of the PRSA Tri-State District, which covers Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Check it out; your chapter dues help support it and we’re exploring how we can work together to enhance your membership value.
  •  If you haven’t joined our chapter Facebook or LinkedIn pages, please do. You’re free to post news, ask questions or start discussions. Wade in and raise your profile.

It’s a good time to be a member of PRSA and of our chapter. The blatant ethical breach of former agency Bell Pottinger, the uncertain trust environment around traditional social media, and real vs. fake news issues all affect what we do and how we’re perceived. We advocate for ethical conduct, transparency and accountability, knowing that PR at its finest is an honored profession with a body of knowledge and a reputable standing within society at large.

Your chapter is here to serve you, to spark your interest, to help you advance, and to give you an outlet for your voice.

Let us know how we’re doing, and if you’d like to be a part of it.

Stephanie Harwood, APR
2018 PRSA-WF Chapter President
[email protected]



WESTCHESTER NY AND FAIRFIELD CT counties, Jan. 16, 2018 – Six local public relations professionals have been elected officers and directors of the Westchester/Fairfield Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the largest organization in the region dedicated to advancing the public relations field. The newly elected leaders, whose terms began January 1, will serve on a 10-member board with previously elected members.  

Stephanie Harwood of New Canaan, Conn.,was elected as president. She is an accredited (APR) member of PRSA and principal of S. M. Harwood Consulting, which provides internal, corporate and marketing communications and strategic planning. She has headed national communications for the March of Dimes, based in White Plains, N.Y., and been vice president of corporate communications for Porter Novelli, a global public relations firm and subsidiary of publicly-traded The Omnicom Group, based in New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree from United States International University and attended graduate school at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.

“The PRSA-WF chapter has been serving the region since 1965, serving the changing communications landscape and needs of our membership,” she said. “We’ll draw on the talents of our members as well as expert resources in the Greater New York region, to help our constituents learn the latest and meet industry leaders.”

Others elected officers for 2018 are:

Vice President: Colleen Brathwaite ofHartsdale, N.Y., currently manages communications, PR and marketing for WJCS, based in White Plains, N.Y. She has spent the past decade in the non-profit sector after spending most of her career as director of corporate communications at The Dannon Company, Cadbury Schweppes’ Mott’s Division and in PR and internal communications positions at IBM. Colleen also served as vice president in the corporate practice at Shandwick PR. She holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Brandeis University. She is a board member of Westchester Women’s Agenda, an advocacy organization and marketing committee member of NonProfit Westchester, which works to make Westchester a more just and caring community.

Secretary: Michael A. West, Jr., of Fairfield, Conn., vice president of corporate communications at energy services company AVANGRID, based in Orange, Conn. He is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of all communications, advertising and public relations for the publicly-traded company and its nine subsidiaries. He was previously with Ameren Corporation and prior to that was press secretary and assistant director of communications for the Office of The Mayor in the City of St. Louis. He has also worked on national communications campaigns at AT&T world headquarters in New Jersey. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master of Business Administration from George Herbert Walker School of Business at Webster University. He is also board member for New Reach in New Haven, Conn.

Treasurer: Ken Koprowski of Stamford, Conn., principal of Koprowski Communications. Koprowski is a consultant, writer and educator who advises organizational leaders in business and the not-for-profit arenas. He specializes in strategic, crisis, and marketing communications, reputation management and constituent relations.  He teaches communications at the master’s level at NYU, UConn Stamford and Manhattanville College. At Syracuse University, he earned his master’s degree in creative writing, completed his doctoral coursework and was a teaching fellow. A past president of PRSA-Westchester Fairfield, he has served the organization since 2008.

The following people were elected to serve three-year terms as directors:

John Brannelly of Fairfield, Conn., senior director of development for the American Heart Association, in Norwalk, Conn., overseeing Connecticut Heart Walks in Westport, New Haven, Hartford and Uncasville.He was previously with the American Cancer Society in Connecticut and California and was director of major gifts for Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y. Brannelly worked in public relations at The WorkPlace Inc. and was planning and communications director for the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA. He was a Bridgeport City Council Member from 1991-1997 and 1999-2001.  He is studying for a Master of Public Health degree at Southern Connecticut State University and is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and Fairfield Prep.

Anne Ryan, founder and principal of Danika Communications, in Greenwich, Conn., which specializes in the in the luxury category, including campaigns for leading independent hotels, consumer lifestyle brands and philanthropic causes. She is a graduate of Stonehill College, with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and a minor in journalism, and holds a Master of Arts in communications from Fordham University.

The newly elected officers and directors will serve with the following directors whose terms are continuing: Zeynep Altinay, Ph.D., assistant professor in mass communication at Iona College, in New Rochelle, N.Y.; Jennie Donohue, senior professional lecturer and director, Center for Social Media, Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and Kathleen Saluk Failla, of Weston, Conn.

The board is also served by volunteer senior advisors Don Levin, APR, Fellow, PRSA, principal of Levin Public Relations and Marketing in Larchmont, N.Y., and Kathleen Larey Lewton, APR, Fellow PRSA, principal of Lewton, Seekins and Trestor, LLC, of Stamford, Conn. Lewton is a past president of PRSA at the national level.

The Westchester/Fairfield Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), founded in 1965, is the local chapter of the world’s largest public relations professional association and the largest organization in the region dedicated to advancing the public relations field. The chapter provides professional development and relationship-building opportunities in Westchester and Fairfield counties. It also supports the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapters at Iona College and at Marist College. For more information, visit


Four Years Later, Little Traction for Barcelona Principles

 By PR News| Posted: 4/7/2014

 The Barcelona Principles, the declaration of standards and practices to guide the measurement and evaluation of public relations, is about to mark its fourth anniversary.

But don’t expect too much celebrating. Nearly four years after being introduced, the principles serve as a blueprint for PR professionals and communicators looking to legitimize their measurement efforts. And yet, not much has happened in terms of widespread adoption. It’s been a long, hard slog.

Truth is, there’s still a lot of work to be done in educating communicators about the principles and in convincing brands and organizations to adopt new standards stemming from the document.

“We needed a few years for everyone to wake up to the fact that it would be helpful if all of us spoke the same language,” said Linda Rutherford, VP of communications and outreach at Southwest Airlines. “We are now heading in that direction.”

Southwest Airlines, General Electric Co., General Motors Corp. and McDonald’s last October adopted the first round of standards proposed by the Coalition for Public Relations Research Standards, which was formed in 2012.

 The coalition’s participating organizations are a veritable alphabet soup of PR: the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the Council of Public Relations Firms and The Conclave, a groups of social media specialists.

 The first set of adopted standards covers traditional media measurement, digital and social media measurement, communications lifecycle (awareness, knowledge, intent, preference, and advocacy) and return on investment. (For details on the standards, go to

 For the last several months, the “core four” brands have been working with their in-house measurement executives and vendors on how to put the initial standards to use.

 “We’re applying the interim standards and trying them on for size,” Rutherford said. “It’ll be a game changer if we’re all speaking the same language, showing how we define success and how we measure it.”



 But there’s a growing sentiment that the PR practice needs to do a much better job of educating communicators (of all stripes) about the Barcelona Principles as well as the initial set of standards.

 A recent survey by PR News found that 66% of PR professionals are not familiar with the Barcelona Principles. The survey drew 145 responses.

 “We need improvement on the awareness of the standards,” said Frank Ovaitt, president-CEO of the IPR. “We need to get out there and promote more standards in PR measurement, which is not an easy story to tell. We’re winning the war even if some battles will require more firepower.”

 Giselle Bodie, CEO of the measurement company Salience Insight, added: “We have clear evidence that PR measurement is growing and in good health. However while it is pleasing for the industry that, slowly but surely, it is establishing a foothold in the wider PR and marketing consciousness, we are still a ‘work in progress.’”

 One test will be later this year, when the coalition is hoping to achieve widespread adoption of the initial measurement standards.

 Rutherford stressed that it will be a challenge to get measurement vendors on board, many of which have a vested interest in maintaining their own measurement tools.

 “We need to foster competition on the [communications] insights, not on the black boxes,” she said. “The pressure needs to come from the client.”

 PR Measurement standards will evolve, of course, to conform to macro changes in the marketplace. However, regardless of the nuts-and bolts, communicators need to put the concept of measurement at the forefront of all their activities, said Molly McKenna Jandrain, director of PR at McDonald’s (USA).

 “The big difference is we used to measure the results in terms of outputs,” she said. “Now, we’re using measurement to inform strategy and allow us to measure outputs as they relate to business outcomes.”

 Asked about the low visibility of the Barcelona Principles, McKenna Jandrain said: “It shows we have more work to do. If we want to elevate the PR profession, we have to take the standards seriously.”

 How to stay current on social media (in just 30 minutes a day) cont'd

The point is to organize your blog reading system. I organize my blogs by geography, discipline, clients’ industry blogs, and other miscellaneous categories (fun, business blogs, etc.). With Feedly, I can scan headlines in about 15 minutes a day (I give myself a hard stop). I look for posts relevant to clients and interesting to me. I bookmark the ones that meet those criteria, maybe share them on Twitter or Facebook, and move on.

Blog screen shot

Strategy No. 2: Scan and save

This is where a social bookmarking tool called Diigo does some serious heavy lifting for me. I use Diigo to not only archive posts (by tags/topics), but also to share them using the handy Diigo bookmarklet (see below).

Scan and Save image

My Diigo archive is a goldmine of articles and blog posts I’ve saved over the last five to years. I use these articles and posts in presentations, client decks, blog posts, and for reference in client meetings. It’s invaluable information, and it’s at my fingertips because of this “scan and save” process I’ve developed (not all that groundbreaking, keep in mind).

Other folks use tools like Instapaper and Delicious, which work fine. Everyone has tools they prefer. The point is to develop a process where you can scan and save a number of posts and articles on the Web quickly and efficiently.

Strategy No. 3: Maximize downtime

You know that time you waste each day standing in line for coffee, bus commuting on the bus or train, or (gulp) using the bathroom? You need to start using that time to your advantage. Use tools such as Flipboard, Reeder (iPhone app), and Cadmus (see below) to stay abreast of industry trends and business news. You have to maximize your downtime.

Cadmus image

Strategy No. 4: Make Twitter lists your new BFF

A colleague and I lamented this point a couple months ago: Why don’t more people take advantage of Twitter lists? They give you a great way to make Twitter smaller. Consider the opportunities, such as lists to follow industry thought leaders or bloggers you want to get to know better. You can even create private Twitter lists to follow competitors, industry influencers, and other folks you don’t want your competitors or others seeing.

What’s more, you can steal other people’s Twitter lists for you own. Why do all the work when someone else may have already done it. For example, I follow a list Lee Odden created called “MinneTweeple.” It’s a great list of interactive marketers and PR folks in the Twin Cities.

Use Twitter lists to your advantage to make Twitter smaller—and more manageable—on a daily basis.

Twitter feed screen shot

Strategy No. 5: Turn on the radio

I’m not talking about the radio, but podcasts instead. Again, consider your downtime. Specifically, think about the time you’re captive, where you have nothing to do but the task at hand. For me, it’s moving the lawn. I throw in the ear buds and spend 45 minutes mowing the lawn and listening to my favorite podcast (and thus, getting smarter about my craft).

My favorites are the long-running For Immediate Release, plus Marketing Over Coffee and Jay Baer’s new podcast Social Pros, in which he interviews front-line social media folks doing real work. Very useful.

Podcast image

Strategy No. 6: Keep tabs on news in your industry

There’s an easy way to do this. It’s called Google Alerts. Set them up for journalists, keywords, even competitors in your industry.

Recently, I discovered a new tool called Newsle (thanks Heather Whaling) that serves you up alerts (emails) each time one of your LinkedIn, Facebook, or email database contacts is featured in a news story. It might not seem like much, but this gives you a great way to keep tabs on journalists with whom you’re trying to develop relationships, not to mention colleagues in the industry, business partners, and other influencers.

Here’s an example of an email I received that contains a news story featuring a friend and local agency leader Blois Olson:

E-news image

Strategy No. 7: Read blogs/sources that curate content weekly

Here’s one thing I learned a while ago about curating content: If someone else is doing it better than you, steal from them. I shamelessly do this with my friend Heather Whaling’s blog, which curates the best posts from the previous week on her blog PRTini. Why reinvent the wheel? Heather already has all the spokes in place.

Don’t do all the work yourself. Seek out those sources that already exist and use that information to your advantage.

Blog image

Strategy No. 8: Curate your own content

Curating your own content can be just as powerful as reviewing others that have done it for you—especially when there are tools that can do the curating for you. One of them is

Many people use to curate content and share it content on Twitter. I, however, use to curate content and consume it myself. It does all the heavy lifting and serves me a daily/weekly digest of posts from people thinks I find influential/interesting. See below for an example.

Curated content

Anything you’d add?

Visit the author’s blog, Communications Conversations, to see the full presentation.

Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications. 

David Armano: The future of digital media (cont'd) 

1. What is the future of digital media? What will we be talking about 12 months from now? 

At a macro trend level, digital keeps creeping into our lives. It's increasingly mobile and social. At a micro level, I believe we will be talking about things like "social entertainment" in the not so distant future. We've been seeing how social is becoming connected to how we watch TV for example. In fact, "buzz" on social networks generated via programs is essentially a more pure form of ratings. If a program isn't getting a lot of chatter which can be measured via social, it's likely not doing all that well. In fact, we might even have to look at the whole ratings system based upon the potential to measure social data. Nielsen should look out. On that note, it's not just television. Sports and live entertainment events are tied to social media and as people "watch"—they also participate. Social is not a spectator sport, and entertainment will finally reflect this. 

2. What trend do you watch more closely? The evolution of different tools or how people interact? 

Most definitely how people interact. Tools are indicators but the good ones are a reflection on how people behave. Not too long ago, people in general thought that "blogging" was for a select few highly opinionated people—but now we all have Facebook status updates which essentially lets everyone "blog". What happened in between blogging and Facebook? Lots of people started doing things like Tweeting. Not just bloggers. Facebook understood this behavior and based on what people were doing—introduced the status update. But the core insight was this: people (not just bloggers) wanted to share. They were ready. Understanding how people interact now and taking educated guesses as to how they will behave in the future is the key to building any platform or tool. 

3a. Is there a specific tool we should pay attention to more? Why? 

Not sure I would classify these as tools—but there are two I would look out for. A social network called Path limits your friend count to no more than 150 connections. It's gaining momentum partially as the result of "social overload" from large networks where our friends have begun to over promote themselves. It's adding some intimacy back into social networking and it combines an exceptional mobile interface which does neat things like including song recognition software so you can share what you are listening to. Another social platform called "Pair" is also mobile centric, but limits interactions between you and only one other person. In an overly connected world, both these platforms act as an oasis or refuge for highly active digital types who crave connectivity but value quality and intimacy. 

3b. How will our interactions on social media change/evolve?  

As previously mentioned, we'll seek more signal and less noise. We will learn to filter and everyone will do it differently. Not unlike how we learned to manage e-mail, dealing with spammers etc. we will use whatever tools and techniques it takes to manage social noise. For a high end user like myself, it could be a Path or Pair, and for a more average user, it could be using mute features or functionality which selectively limits updates from connections. In short, we will develop the critical skills needed to navigate our newly hyper connected worlds.  

4. We keep adding social channels that we check, update.  Will it eventually condense or continue to grow larger? 

Depends. Some might continue to add while others consolidate. We will spend time where we see value. To some degree, social platforms are like nightclubs: some get really hot while others fade away and eventually close up shop. We're all "ADD" now to some degree and much in the same way advertising convinced us to buy things which would make our lives better, it is our social connections who use peer pressure to get us to join (or try) a new network. Logically, this seems unsustainable—but it's worth noting that human beings are far from predictable. 

5. What is the next big thing, biggest upcoming shift in digital media? 

I think Facebook's "reach generator" self service advertising model will be a game changer. I truly believe that companies will shift their advertising dollars over to Facebook over time due to how targeted ads will become. Also, Facebook is increasingly blurring the line between what was traditionally known as "paid" and "earned" media as it allows companies to promote select posts. And If the targeting data isn't great now—just wait because it will probably get better as the Facebook empire grows. Companies will still only be able to support so much budget when it comes to advertising and I think more if it is going to go through Facebook and the companies who work as part of their ecosystem. 

6. What role does broadcast media play in effective social media strategy? Will that change? 

Broadcast is still significant, but increasingly less so. If we are all spending more time on mobile and computer screens—then how much do we have left for broadcast media? I've seen studies show that as people watch TV for example, they are using it as background noise while they text, e-mail and tweet away via their mobile devices. The broadcast industry like any media needs to understand this behavior and make every communication and integration "digital friendly". One concrete way to do this is to make content "searchable & shareable". These are the two digital behaviors we see as driving digital media specifically—people share the things they like and search for the information they want. Expect these behaviors to define media consumption (and participation) in the future. 

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ 

The big PR study: 14 takeaways for the PR professional (cont'd)

By Michael Sebastian, PR Daily 

“As expected, social media monitoring and participation have significantly increased and can now be considered a mainstream responsibility of [PR and communications],” the study noted.

Among respondents, 30 percent are from public companies and 25 percent are from private companies. The remaining participants are from nonprofits (21 percent), military/government organizations (17 percent), and the "other" category (7 percent).

You can download and read the full study here.

Here are 14 takeaways from the report (when indicated, the results are unique to corporations):

PR budgets to (mostly) hold steady in 2012. Although PR/communications budgets increased modestly from 2009 to 2011, more than 50 percent of respondents expect them to remain steady in 2012. Roughly 25 percent expect an increase.

Social media as a “core responsibility” is on the rise. When asked about their chief responsibilities, respondents said corporate communications remains No. 1, with 88 percent indicating the task takes up more than 50 percent of their time. That’s followed by executive communication, internal communication, crisis management, and social media management, and social media participation. The social media categories represent 70 percent and 66 percent of the respondents' time, respectively—a significant bump since 2009.

Marketing/product PR takes a hit. Curiously, the category of marketing/product PR took the biggest dip from 2009 to 2011, with 50 percent indicating it’s a core responsibility, down from 61 percent. Among corporations, this category also saw an 11 percent decline in money allocated to its budget.

More dollars flowing to social. In terms of budgets at corporations, social media monitoring and participation saw the biggest boost in dollars allocated from 2009 to 2011, followed by SEO and internal communications.

More dollars flowing to measurements. Money allocated to measurement and evaluation is up 5 percent, increasing to 9 percent in 2011. Here are the top 10 tools for measurement:

Top 10 Measurement Tools graphic

Measurement is on the rise. According to the study: “Growth is concentrated in more sophisticated, objective, quantitative techniques that are likely to provide strategic insight to guide campaigns and evaluate campaign outcomes."

How you use it is key. Companies that measured outcomes—such as stakeholder opinions, bottom line, etc.—are more likely to be successful than those measuring outputs, such as advertising value equivalencies, clips, impressions, etc.

More money, more problems. The study also noted that with more money means greater responsibilities. Respondents indicated they’re accepting more tasks.

“Social networking sites” ranks as the top digital tool. Here are the top 10 digital tools, according to respondents from corporations:

Top 10 Digital/Social Tools graphic

Interest in Facebook and Twitter up, Wikis down. No surprise, the use of Twitter, Facebook and blogs was on the rise since from 2009 to 2011. Wikis and virtual worlds (such as Second Life) were on the decline. Twitter, Facebook, and SEO are most frequently used by public companies:

Percentage of frequent usage graphic


PR owns social media. Half of respondents from corporations indicated PR/communications controls social media, following by marketing, customer service and information systems. PR/communications also has the most strategic control of social media, according to the survey respondents.

Money for agencies declining. The amount of money corporations are allocating for agencies has dropped since 2009, although the study indicates that the fall might be exaggerated because of a change in reporting. The study further noted: “As corporate communication/PR budgets have increased, the decline of actual agency budgets was modest.”

Nearly all large-companies work with agencies. Among large public companies, the use of agencies “remains almost universal” with 95 percent indicating they employ them. The number of agencies retained by corporations continues to increase, the study noted. Here are the top reasons companies retain agencies:

Agency Relationships graphic


Access to C-suite increases worth of PR. As expected, the PR departments with access to the C-suite saw their recommendations taken more seriously, along with a greater role in strategic planning and a more significant contribution to their companies’ bottom lines. Among corporations, 60 percent of respondents said they strongly agreed with the statement: PR/communications attends senior-level strategic planning meetings. Eleven percent strongly disagreed and 29 percent neither agreed nor disagreed. Moreover, 69.2 percent believe their recommendations are taken seriously. A mere 4.4 percent said they don’t.
You can download and read the full report here.
The Annenberg school partnered with The Arthur W. Page Society, the Institute for Public Relations, the International Association of Business Communicators, and the Public Relations Society of America for the study. 

Gap’s social media policy a guide for other companies

By Gil Rudawsky | Posted: March 15, 2012

Gap Inc., struggling to make its brands stand out in today’s crowded marketplace, is turning its workforce loose on social media in an attempt to recreate some of the buzz for which it was known in the ’80s and ’90s.

The clothier—which operates the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta chains—gives each of its 134,000 employees a no-nonsense social media policy, and nowhere does it recommend to “just cinch it.” The policy is broken down into three categories, “Keep in mind,” “How to be the best,” and “Don’t even think about it.”

The guidelines were presented last week by Gap Inc.'s social media team as part of a crisis communication conference, hosted by U.K.-based Ethical Corp. The guidelines are not posted for the public, but highlights were taken directly from the handy, iPhone-size, five-fold brochure given to each employee. The brochure is titled: "OMG you will never guess what happened at work today!!”
Gap social media guide

The policy should serve as a guide on how a large, multinational corporation can strip away the legalese and provide a real-world manual on social media that keeps the company’s best interests in mind.

Even the warnings are conversational:

“These guidelines are important—because if you don’t follow them a few things could happen: your posts can get deleted, we could lose customers and investors, we could get in trouble, or, worst of all, you could even lose your job … So do the right thing, stick to the guidelines.”

Some highlights:

Keep in mind…

There’s really no such thing as “delete” on the Internet, so please—think before you post.

Some subjects can invite a flame war. Be careful discussing things where emotions run high (e.g. politics and religion) and show respect for others’ opinions.

It’s a small world and we’re a global company. Remember that what you say can be seen by customers and employees all over the world and something you say in one country might be inaccurate or offensive in another.

Respect other people’s stuff. Just because something’s online doesn’t mean it’s OK to copy it.

Your job comes first. Unless you are an authorized Social Media Manager, don’t let social media affect your job performance.

How to be the best …

Play nice. Be respectful and considerate, no trolling, troll baiting, or flaming anybody, even our competitors.

Be yourself. Be the first to out that you are a Gap Inc. employee – and make it clear that you are not a company spokesperson.

If you #!%#@# up? Correct it immediately and be clear about what you’ve done to fix it. Contact the social media team if it’s a real doozy.
Add value. Make sure your posts really add to the conversation. If it promotes Gap Inc.’s goals and values, supports our customers, improves or helps us sell products, or helps us do our jobs better, then you are adding value.

Don’t even think about it…

Talking about financial information, sales trends, strategies, forecasts, legal issues, future promotional activities.

Giving out personal information about customers or employees.

Posting confidential or non-public information.

Responding to an offensive or negative post by a customer. There’s no winner in that game.

As you can see, Gap Inc. has figured out a social media policy doesn't have to come from the legal department, and that a straightforward, conversational tone probably makes the greatest impact with employees. It covers everything, but it doesn't beat you over the head.

Gil Rudawsky is a former reporter and editor with 20 years of communications experience. He heads up the crisis communication/issues management practice at GroundFloor Media in Denver. Read his blog or contact him at [email protected].


Is Your Press Release Twitter Ready? 

By Tracy Jones

If you've ever played Chinese whispers, you know how easy it is for a simple message to lose its meaning.

Sending out a media release is like playing this childhood game. Very few journalists will ever replay it the way you want and the essential message can be lost as people reword and rework your beautifully crafted prose into just a few short sentences.

That's just the name of the game in public relations, but the advent of social media has made the job even harder. Thousands of citizen journalists are now reinterpreting your media release into less than 140 characters.

A recent example was an announcement from the Northern Territory Government in Australia during Cyclone Carlos allowing non-essential public servants with child-caring responsibilities to take personal leave if they could not get alternate care arrangements for their children. Employees should check with their supervisor if they were not sure if they were regarded as "essential".

The tweets from those spreading the word looked something like this:

Non-essential public servants urged to stay at home due to #TCcarlos

The result? Hundreds of public servants with and without children stayed at home without ever contacting their supervisor.

It's hardly the fault of the multitudes who retweeted this message, but it is a great example of how a message can lose its full meaning very quickly.

At Creative Territory, we've seen hundreds of original media releases, stories and blogs get mangled as well-meaning tweeters try to make sense of what the writer was trying to say and rebroadcast it in a tiny package.

So what can PR professionals do to make it easier for others to pass their message on?

We've recently created the "Twittercue"- the practice of adding a set of words to the bottom of media releases that enable tweeters to pass on your message without distorting the meaning.

So if I was writing a media release for the situation above, I would add the following to the bottom of the release:

Twittercue: NTG non-essent staff who need 2 care 4 kids may take prsnl leave. Chck with supervisor #TCcarlos

Some tips for writing a great Twittercue:

Forget the flowery language - concentrate on the facts
Use an appropriate hashtag
Include a url pointing to the full copy of the media release
Keep it to 120 characters in total to allow for unedited retweeting
Don't be afraid to use abbreviations - speak the language of your Tweeps.

Twittercue for this release: Is your media release Twitter ready? #PR #SM #twitter