Friday, December 08, 2006

Lessons to live by from Jour 4470

We have all learned many valuable lessons from this course and tools that we can take with us as we progress into the "real world." Here are some key reminders as we get jobs in the future:

-Keep a calendar with ALL HOLIDAYS for planning (there are many other religious, celebration, etc. holidays that we need to respect when dealing with others)

-When dealing with someone who you know is performing a task in a way that you think is unethical and/or destructive, confront them politely, then make sure their ideas cannot be put into action!

What should we do with cosmopolitanism?
*when confronted with a need....HELP!
*do not throw your hands up in despair
*don't require us to abandon our own lives
*clear headedness, not heroism
*people of richest nations can do better

Stangers - who are they? They are people you should get to know (the "powerless")! Why else do you think we did the exercise in class where we met and learned about someone we never really talk to? So we each have one less stranger. It is up to us to learn about the people around us, because we can recraft them as stakeholders! In the business world, we need to not ignore them as most people would, but combine them with a group that is more involved that has more power. As a part of cosmopolitanism, we need to not leave people out. Everyone means something in this world and if we work together, we can learn a lot and grow as a nation.

*Always remember it's a two-way street in all you do!

*It is ideal for us to be more communitarian and cosmopolitan in our ways of thinking. Most people are being more utilitarian, so that's something we can work on.

*Always ask permission to take one's picture for promotional materials.

When a customer calls to complain...
1. Stay calm.
2. Listen to criticism.

Do not attack others by using "red flag" words! (ex: crazy) Especially when being interviewed!

*In case of crisis situation, the 1st press release goes out in the first 15 minutes of the situation. It is vital to have a crisis plan for any and every company for many situations so you know what to do when the time comes. In the heat of the moment, it is hard to make logical decisions but with a plan at hand, things will get taken care of more efficiently. I think it could have helped the 9/11 situation a whole lot if we had a plan in place. Unfortunately, we never thought it would happen on our ground. (That's why one can never assume!)

*In parts of PR, you are actually legally bound to hold good relationships and keep the public informed. If something is inadvertantly let out, PR professionals are legally bound to follow-up within 24 hours.

*Protect competition by keeping business from using misleading ads to steal customers away

Although some days Dr. Lambiase probably felt like she had to pull teeth to get us to communicate our thoughts outloud, I think our discussions were very helpful and it really encouraged me to think in a different way this semester. I am more confident to go out there and make a difference. I want to set the standard to a new high in the PR practice.

Pope Issues

Although the pope issue happened a while back, I still had my notes from our class discussion and wanted to come back and speak briefly about it. This was basically a communication blunder. One main thing that went wrong here was that he wrote his speech alone - in isolation where one is not open to change because he stuck to his own thoughts.

He was not thinking about his audience as a whole, and in PR, it is so extremely important to think about our audience when writing, speaking, etc. Otherwise, it will create trouble - as it did in this case. The pope needs to be reminded that not just the physical audience is listening, but that people all over the world who have access will listen as well. He was thinking the audience was simply 1/3 Muslims and 1/3 Christians/Catholics and the rest were "others." This is a case of rigidity and conformity.

The lesson here is that you should always have someone else edit/read your stuff before presenting it. Also, in a speech, DO NOT go off the text! That is a main reason why speakers get in trouble because their mouth keeps going without them pre-thinking what is being said.

Also, timing is everything. When something goes wrong, we need to act quickly and fully! He needs to say sorry for acting like a jerk, not sorry for "hurting their feelings."

Financial Conflict of Interest

When we had our discussion about financial conflict of interest, I was shocked to hear some opinions on the subject as we spoke about alcohol companies trying to donate to M.A.D.D. In an ethics class, you would think everyone would try to be open and hear out the teacher's lesson, but some people are just set in their ways, I guess. That is exactly what we need to change in this world though. People need to be open to hear what could even be a better way!

We mentioned that there are many other places that alcohol companies can donate to...why do they have to go with M.A.D.D.? Do they understand that a lot of those people think alcohol is the "enemy" and want nothing to do with it? I understand that the companies are trying to make a better name for themselves and show that they aren't all bad - (like we said, it's the person that killed, not the alcohol...) but it is a major conflict of interest. Would M.A.D.D. really want to have the Grey Goose logo, for example, on one of their brochures at a convention or something, showing that they're a sponsor? I don't think so - there would be many people that would be very upset with that.

I thought it was a good idea for the companies who really want to give, to create a taxi service or something to truly help out for the cause. Just cutting a check doesn't really help as much as a service would - but that's also more work than those companies would like to do, I'm sure.

I was so fired up on this topic that I actually changed my final case study to this, so you will hear more of what I think in my paper! :)

Saving Truth

I definitely caught on that Dr. Lambiase's saving truth was that money should never be the sole reason for our decisions and that accepting money despite conflict of interest is completely hypocritical and selfish. I couldn't agree more. I feel like the goal for everyone is getting money, but you can either get it by "cheating" and being unethical along the way, or you can work hard for your money the right way, and you'll ultimately be rewarded more in the end.

In cases such as Enron, (that I spoke about in an earlier blog) I think that the employees involved were a great example of how money can control one's decisions and make them do crazy things. The execs of Enron had the guts to actually make jokes and laugh about their control over California and the destruction that they were causing over there. They loved feeling the power and knowing that they were in control. It amazes me that they are really that heartless to not think about the deaths they were causing as a cost for their fortune.

Slave labor in Brazil

In our world, there are many things going on that we don't really think about when we go through our day. Everyone is so caught up in their own world of their particular area of living that it is easy to overlook everything else that is going on around us. It is our responsibility to become aware of the world as a whole and take action when there needs to be.

I am reminding myself this, because I am one who needs to open my eyes and look around. I need to read the news more and become more well-rounded with many cultures.

As I was reading the article about Toyota and Nissan and their connection to slave labor in Brazil, it really hit my heart hard. How do we not think about the people in supply chain working in the horrible conditions? Why aren't we taking action against such unethical behavior?

I was pleased when I read the statement from Toyota -
Toyota, based in Toyota City, Japan, will remind suppliers that it doesn't accept parts from companies engaging in illegal or unethical practices and will ask them to check for abuses, spokesman Dan Sieger says.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Connecting with our Differences

The other day, Dr. Lambiase allowed us to take a little bit of time in class to talk to someone we normally don't talk to, or simply don't know much about. I partnered up with Jacob Stapp Cigainero, commonly known as "Jake" in class.

While at first, I was not sure what to say, we actually got into a deep conversation quite fast. All I knew about Jake was that he was very friendly and outgoing. He always seemed like he had many thoughts in his head, but he didn't share them with the class every time - similarly to me. I knew his last name was very uncommon to me, but I wasn't sure what his ancestry was.

So, we began talking and we found many differences between us, but some similarities as well. He grew up in Texarkana and spent some time in the farming atmosphere, while I was in a suburban cookie-cutter family "bubble" called Kingwood. He has one brother and two sisters, while I only have one sister that serves as my best friend. Since I only grew up with one other sibling, it wasn't that competitive to find a "role" in the family - it was simple: I was the goofy, realistic perfectionist and my sister was the very religious, dramatic singer who loves living in a fantasy world. (Both are great - and although we are different, too, we are best friends!)

He is Italian and his role is the "peacemaker" in his family. Both of us weren't as close to our fathers, but for different reasons.

The truth of the matter here is, everyone comes from a different place, having different opinions, thoughts and ways of doing things. But this exercise proves that taking 10 minutes of your time can improve your view of a person by simply getting to know them through conversation. It is our job as PR professionals to create relationships and it's important for us to be aware of the many differences between people and to know and respect that.

PR Week Interactive Career Fair

Attention class:

If you haven't tried this today yet, you should do it! I've been online talking to many companies this morning and networking with hopes of landing a job upon graduation in May. I encourage you all to start researching companies early (look for the case studies and news reports, as Dr. Lambiase mentioned in class!). There are many tools to use in order to find a job through the wonderful thing called the Internet! Gosh - what would life be without it?! Not to mention the pure pleasure of e-mail!

Anyway, if you read this, there should be a representative from the companies online for a few more hours.

Good luck with your job searches!

7-eleven Sets an Example

I was shocked when Dr. Lambiase told us about the drink, "Cocaine." First, I thought - I need to read the news more! How am I unaware of these impacting topics that we discuss in class? Then, I thought - how did that get past everyone and become on the market at all?

But, I was very pleased to hear that at least one store, 7-eleven, made the right decision by rejecting the drink so that it was not sold in 7-eleven stores. It was refreshing to know that there is still hope for ethical behavior out there. There are still good companies to work for, but it is up to us as the future employee to do the background research on the companies and make sure you are going into a company that you believe in and that you stand for.

7-eleven was smart by thinking through their decision about this controversial drink. They could have easily gone along with many other convenience stores just trying to make another dollar, but they didn't. I applaud them for that.

Enron video

I just wanted to thank Dr. Lambiase for bringing in the Enron video. To be quite honest, I had no idea of the specifics on the case until I watched the video in class. I was blown away when I realized that not everyone is ethical. I think I am learning more about the world through this class and the ideas of cosmopolitanism. I was naiive to assume that most people have the same thoughts of what is right and wrong. I just couldn't understand how someone could live peacefully day by day, with the overwhelming amount of guilt that should be building up within the person. I guess that explains why one result was taking one's own life at the end of the case. If they could have run the company ethically and honestly, it could have saved a life....that's huge. Every decision we make is a domino effect to our next decision. We need to think through our choices and make the best of each one.

What was more disappointing was knowing that somewhere in the line of Enron employees, someone knew it was wrong but did not stand up for what was right. Although there was someone in class that discussed that she knew someone who left, having a feeling that something shady was going on. I think this semester, Dr. Lambiase has truly emphasized, as she should, that the future is up to us. We are the ones that need to get jobs in the industry and change what is going on, or at least make a positive impact and set a good example that can bounce onto others and spread through the world.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


The link to the T.O. article on Dr. Lambiase's blog was very interesting. Especially, since I've followed the T.O. story since Katerina and I completed the full case study last spring.

In the article, it speaks of how T.O. and his publicist are the only ones that know what really happened. I agree with the writer of the article when he comments about how unusual it was that we didn't hear comments from Parcells or Jones - when normally, they will tell it how it is.

When stories don't have many angles or comments from many sides, it seems that information is missing. Therefore, it creates a "shady" feeling about what really happened. Here, it's the same way. We don't have comments from the coach or owner, and so now the rumors are flowing more wildly. I think if either of those two could have make a true statement that cleared up a few questions, rumors would slow down. But, since the public is left not knowing, everyone takes it upon themselves to create in their imaginations what really could have happened.

Obviously, this is tough because if T.O. in fact WAS trying to commit suicide, that's not exactly something you'd want to announce to everyone.

We can definitely apply this to our own jobs later, and make sure we are open to the public but remain truthful at the same time. (No one should feel like you're trying to "cover up" a mistake because if it's a product you're dealing with, the customer will probably not buy that product again if they know you aren't an honest company.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

HP case

Just a while ago, my homepage of had the HP case on its front page! So, naturally I wanted to keep up with it and read more to see what else I could learn from it.

Now that Dunn has left the company (as it was in her best interest, I believe), Hurd has taken over her position in addition to remaining CEO. In his statement it reads, "We have spent the past few weeks getting further clarity as to what happened in the investigation into the disclosure of unauthorized material from the board. While this process is not yet complete, it is clear that inappropriate steps were taken in conducting this work." Here, at least he admitted that they were in the wrong instead of cover it up. It's always best to be honest and open from the beginning. Then, he goes on to sincerely apologize...(the next best step)...

“I wish to apologize both personally and on behalf of HP to each of those who were affected. We believe these unacceptable measures were isolated instances that do not reflect the broader behavior and values of HP, its employees or its board. But they cannot occur here again. Our actions today are intended to ensure that they never do.” Hurd made a nice statement, using words that ensure a clean start for the future of HP. We'll see what happens next...

lessons to be learned...

Unfortunately, I had written a few paragraphs about the Newsweek article and my computer crashed, so I will do my best to reword my thoughts again. Hopefully, this doesn't happen in the middle. Maybe I'll write half of it now and publish it and begin a new one later this weekend.

Anyway, the article about the HP scandal left me in shock. It's amazing how things can get out of hand from the start of one unethical decision. This was a great article for us to read to relate these laws that we've learned in class, as well as the SEC regulations, into real life situations. It truly makes you wonder, who truly thinks something like this could happen in their company when he or she first gets on board? When one decides to interview and ultimately be an employee of a certain company, do they really know the group they are working with? They can do background research, but who knows what could happen in the future...

I think that's why it's up to us, as the new generation, to understand what ethics and law truly means so that we may change the actions and decisions of these companies when we are the ones controlling them. How horrible for personal relationships to be part of the cause of an act that destroyed the reputation of this company... I hope we all learn from this case.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Speech in PR

In chapter 2, we learned all about speech in public relations. Communication is clearly a huge part of public relations, and with that, comes the risk of lawsuits if one's "freedom of speech" is used carelessly.

In public relations, there are two categories of speech that are used: corporate ("speech by corporations concerning political and social issues" - p21) and commercial ("speech more directly related to the promotion of a product of service" - p21).

What I had forgotten before learning from our book, is that in parts of PR, as the professional, we are legally bound to hold good relationships and to keep the public informed. (I was only thinking if we communicated something wrong, then we'd be in trouble, but not doing anything is just as worse.)

Also, think about the companies that try to cover up their mistakes and move on with business. Let's be honest, telling the truth can be a hard thing sometimes if it isn't what the public wants to hear, but at the same time, they will respect you for telling them what they need to hear. And later, they will have trust that you are telling the truth if you've done so in the past.

In chapter 3, we take a step further into the speech of PR and learn about what's considered unfair and deceptive when dealing with public speech, (which is regulated by the FTC.)

"The FTC defines deceptive advertising as a material representation, omission, or practice that is likely to mislead a resonable consumer," (p 41).

So, there are protections to the competition by keeping businesses from using misleading ads to steal customers away.

Overall, all PR professionals need to be aware of these laws and regulations that are in place in order to be a successful company. The laws are the foundation, but then we need to mix in the ethical views in order to make the absolute best choice for the company.

Monday, September 04, 2006

just testing..