Why a PR Career?

Why does a career in PR interest me?

Four years ago, once I finished school, I took a year out away from studies as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and what career path I wanted to follow. Heading off away from my work and responsibilities, I lived in Australia for a year and during that time I visited family friends, from back home that moved out a long time ago whenever I possibly could. Which therefore goes on to lead me into when and why I first thought about PR as a future career for myself.

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I was first introduced to PR by a family friend in Australia, who I and everyone knew as the ‘globe-trotter’. He was constantly travelling with his job working for a PR firm but as he said, at his own leisure (if he didn’t want to he didn’t ever have to, although I understand that this may not sit well with all jobs and PR companies). The excitement of having a fluid job seemed to pique my interest, so being intrigued I started to ask more questions about what exactly he did for a living and with that, he couldn’t answer me with a set-in stone answer as his job was always continually ‘evolving’. He stated the fact that I was a good outgoing person with great communication skills, this would sit very well with people wanting to go into the PR industry for a career. I was never particularly interested in a job that was completely enclosed in a somewhat ‘box’ which would have a repeated, recurrent routine also suited my personality. Having all these thoughts in mind, one particular word that he told me stood out from the rest: ‘Stunts’. Horton (2008) says that, ‘Public relations stunts are an effective form of message delivery when integrated with concepts being communicated’. I began to think of PR stunts and how interesting they were as a form of creative communication and began to think ‘I could think of some great innovative PR stunts myself’. Having this new-found perspective on PR, this was my first overall impression of the industry itself as a whole.

‘Public relations is closely associated with whatever is newest, freshest and most fashionable – and often with what is most successful (and indeed is, disproportionately, a young person’s industry)’ (Morris & Goldsworthy, 2015). With this little seed that my family friend planted in my head, I then started to look at different PR stunts and how they went about being created, what ideas were good and innovative (even mad) by looking at the likes of Red-Bull, who creatively took ‘Red-Bull gives you wings’ maybe even too literally by having a man jump out of a spaceship and plummet to earth, these great stunts began my interest in looking up degrees surrounding PR and Communication.

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Goldsworthy & Morris (2015) state that although PR work might be portrayed as artificial, it is rarely viewed as dull and it likes to be seen as ‘a creative industry’.  The creative side to PR is very appealing to me. The artistic approaches which can be applied to a career in PR would constantly leave me fascinated and with this always thinking and creating new ideas.  In popular culture especially, PR’s role can often be thinking up of ideas for certain events, parties and festivities (which might also lead to attending them). The communication side of this and constantly meeting new people for all various reasons, in my view this has no comparison to a certified office work routine, no matter how small the reality of it may be.

On the subject about a daily office routine, people in PR, like my said family friend, can work almost anywhere, even with a permanent post in a particular business, this doesn’t seclude the fact that in this industry you might and most likely will not be working a 9-5 job every week. Society pressures of having a specific routine do not sit well with me and a repetitive almost mechanical nature in a job wouldn’t suffice. A career in the PR industry could almost guarantee little to none boredom. How the economy of today’s world is working, this further reiterates my point of wanting a job in the PR sector.

Gordon (2011) mentions different types of PR sectors, that you can choose to branch out in, depending on what interests you. ‘PR seems to offer would-be practitioners the chance to decide what interests them, do the PR for it and get paid into the bargain’ (Goldsworthy & Morris, 2015). This would interest me as I could reach out and dip into areas of PR that would suit my liking, such as fashion, music, nature and even sports. As the variety of PR is so vast and complex, this would give me multiple opportunities to experience different sides to PR and the large variety of work would leave me to choose areas that I also wouldn’t be particularly fond of therefore stay away from and areas that I would like to stick at and delve into more that would suit my particular needs and interests.

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PR consultancies are having to distinguish themselves and seek out a competitive advantage as they are ‘selling an intangible service and ultimately the difference is about personalities, but this is notoriously hard to articulate convincingly’ (Goldsworthy & Morris, 2015). This therefore means that PR practices need to keep up to date and in trend with social media and society outside of this. Keeping on top of new technologies and rapidly responding to new social trends interest me as I like to keep ‘on trend’ myself, whether it be with my peers on online, so as this is an integrated aspect of PR this would interest me and my tastes of the work surrounding this.

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Like any career, you cannot go into a job knowing everything. ‘There are few if any scientific laws in PR’ (Smith, 2013). Learning from experience is always key, but this is even more validated within the PR industry. Creative working and thinking is wisdom and collective learning is very interesting and a career in this industry is so unsolidified and not set in stone that embracing your imaginative side interests me.

PR’s role can be tough, ‘pitching stories to sceptical journalists or bloggers, or taking that difficult call when the media have uncovered a damaging story’ (Theaker, 2012). Preparation must be done in advance for these types of situations, which can be make or break for some businesses depending on how big stories or certain situations are. Some people may find the responsibility of this too much, or not wanting the stress that may come along with some ambiguous, unplanned situations, although organisations value these type of PR people, that can stay cool, calm and collected in these types of situations. As I have a very calm nature, I like to work under pressure without it being to over bearing for me and I would like to be given the opportunities to experience these types of pressures. Overcoming these aspects of the job, particularly with myself, a strong sense of job satisfaction would come out of these types of situations for me if they are dealt with properly and respectfully. As being helpful in these situations this could make you a valued representative in an organisation which certain businesses would want and would definitely have perks.

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When naming some large international PR consultancies, I couldn’t think of any at all. ‘Most people have difficulty identifying PR campaigns, and, when they try, frequently confuse them with advertising and other forms of marketing’ (Goldsworthy & Morris, 2008). This interests me are PR as a whole is quite unknown. With certain names, fact and PR concepts, PR is kept at a rather large scale as a blank canvas. The mysteriousness of PR and that surrounding it keeps an interest towards it and I find that extremely interesting.

Public relations is and continues to be a heavily influenced aspect of my personality and I implement some aspects of it into my everyday life, influencing brands I buy such as what I wear, what I eat, and I watch on television.

The fluidity and creativeness aspects of the career, such as stunts really peak my interest in the PR industry as a whole. Interestingly in today’s society PR’s work is still relatively unknown to people outside of the industry and people actually working in a PR career, this ‘secretive’ aspect for me creates a magnetic pull ever more so towards a career in PR as the unknown is exciting and somewhat stimulating.

Alexandra McEvoy is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @alexmcevoy_ ; Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-mcevoy-111ba5171/

Dive Right In

The travel bug. Me, myself and I was fortunate enough to get bitten by this so-called travel bug back in the latter half of 2014, when I packed a bag, moved halfway across the world. It lasted well over a year until 2016 came swiftly around the corner and then I quickly packed my bags and moved back home to try and accomplish a degree (hopefully).

Since then my life has consisted of, Save. Travel. Save. Travel.

Four years later, and I can swiftly tick off, USA, South Africa, Australia, Thailand, Poland, The Netherlands, Malta, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesian islands of Bali & Gili, and the Philippines.

What has really captured my heart after the equivalent time of 19 months with a backpack glued to my back like a second skin?

Diving.

Having deep sea dived in numerous spots around the world, including Malta, The Great Barrier Reef; Queensland Australia, Gili in Indonesia and Bohol an Island in the Philippines,

I’ve found that nowhere (so far) can compare to Koh Tao. A small paradise island, somewhat isolated in the gulf of Thailand. Anyone that has been to Thailand or not has heard of the partiers dream the ‘Full Moon party’ and having been twice I can say it is a crazy experience. Well Koh Tao is situated just 1-hour boat journey north of the famous Koh Phangan land of the full moon parties and £2.00 Vodka buckets.

In English Koh Tao means ‘’Turtle Island’’ and it certainly lives up to that name let me tell you. No wonder this small island attracts thousands of visitors a year. The natural beauty of the place is close to utopia, both above on the snow white sandy beaches and below the water, with the rainbow coloured fish and corals.

Background check complete, now for diving.

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like a pro

Have you ever put much thought into or considered that there is a whole other world just out of our reach?

With simple breathing equipment, and goggles, a whole other world is at our fingertips. Experiencing the weightlessness while exploring the stunning visuals of the underwater wildlife you are truly immersed and feel like you have jumped into the screen of the latest David Attenborough documentary.

My first visit to Koh Tao, I completed my Open Water Diving course, which is the first diving course to complete, to gain a grasp and learn the fundamentals on diving, you also watch videos before even stepping into a swimming pool, after that you are thrown into the deep end ‘literally’ going to at maximum 18 metres down.

The first time you slowly sink down into the ocean, like that first scene in finding nemo, is pretty surreal. My brain felt like it was going to explode (not literally) but your body is screaming at you to resurface, as it’s the most unnatural thing. Breathing underwater. No matter how many times you silently tell yourself, your mind can’t comprehend how your lungs aren’t gasping for breath, and that you amusingly enough aren’t suffocating.

After my Open water course, the following year I chose to return to Koh Tao complete my Advanced Diving Course.

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When they call it advanced they really mean it. On my first dive I was 28 meters below swimming amongst Nemo and Dory, get this… UPSIDE DOWN. Head nearly in the sand kicking my legs like a propeller because apparently practicing being an underwater helicopter is an essential part of buoyancy skills.

If I asked you on the spot, tell me one of your happiest moments in life? What’s your first thought?

Mine? Hands down my first ever night dive. Pure serenity. My 13th dive to date was my first night dive.

Leaving the beach at 8pm to get on the boat while everyone else is popping open there first (or tenth) beer of the night doesn’t sound ideal, but the humming of the boat as it slowly ripples over the calm ocean water drowning out the white noise of the parties on land has a certain calming nature to it.

Jumping back first into the water with a small torch attached to your wrist, sounds chilling, but slowly sinking into the depths of the unknown wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

Once I was 20 or so metres down, looking up above was a school of stingrays swimming overhead, you would never see this during a day dive. It resembles watching birds fly as the majestically swam peacefully by.

Mind blown.

Next, the barracudas, skilful predators they have adapted to hunt at night as the torches from the scuba divers can sometimes stun a fish in a large school. Then strike… ripped to shreds.

Mind blown. (again)

Lastly the bioluminescence. Turning your torch off and diving in pure darkness, the miniscule particles of plankton at touch illumine. It doesn’t feel like you are underwater but high in the night sky. Psychedelic dancing colours of green, blue, and white right in front of your eyes, seems unimaginable to describe without first hand experiencing it. A mix of relaxation and pure joy. It’s completely different to any other form of scuba diving.

 

Honestly, if given the fortunate opportunity to try scuba diving, without a doubt…

Dive right in.

Alexandra McEvoy is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @alexmcevoy_ ; Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-mcevoy-111ba5171/

Christmas Ad Mad

‘Holiday’s are coming’ Instantly your first thought is without a doubt, the Coca-Cola Christmas lorries, along with soft jingles and choir music starting up. That’s when I believe you know Christmas is truly approaching.

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Christmas ads on our TV screens are extremely popular throughout the whole of UK and Ireland. Now with social media, and the likes of YouTube thrown into the mix, it’s impossible to not be inundated with them and their catchy music, you either love them or hate them.

home aloneSpending on Christmas ads are rising each year with this year (Advertising Association, 2018) 6 ½ billion pounds were spent on seasonal advertising, beating last years record by 5%.

 

 

Each year the ‘main’ brands such as, Aldi, Coca-Cola, Debenhams, H&M, John Lewis, Lidl and Marks & Spencer, bring out their eagerly anticipated Christmas ad as a now fully cemented tradition which viewers enthusiastically critique.

What’s Christmas Ads without the music?

Music is a big part of Christmas, this year Elton John and Take that were a few to star in some on the main Christmas ads, but Coca-Cola outshines every year with ‘Holidays are coming’ being chosen as the favourite song to feature in a Christmas ad. (Advertising Association, 2018).

Is social media changing the game?

YouTube has over a billion users and people are turning to the site to instantly watch the best new Christmas ads of the year

Making a list of this, from the video stats from last year,

  • Number 5 –Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert 2014 – Christmas is for sharing

(19 million views)

  • Number 4 –John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 – #BusterTheBoxer

(25 million views)

  • Number 3 –John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 #MontyThePenguin

(26 million views)

  • Number 2 – John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 – #ManOnTheMoon

(28 million views)

  • Number 1 – Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert 2015 – Mog’s Christmas Calamity – #ChristmasIsForSharing

(37 million views)

(Barnes: Nov, 2017)

The Worlds Number 1…

The German supermarket chain, Edeka. It’s tear jerker is number one around the world, online with its sentimental advert below.

 

This heart warming ad captures many hearts, but as the world’s number 1 ‘online’ doesn’t really make it the number 1 of all time?

What about the classics?

It’s hard to compare new advertisements of today that have so much social media backing surrounding them, compared to old masterpieces that were around before the world wide web even existed. For Example, The Kelloggs Christmas advert from 1991 with the little girl finding Santa and saying her cute little ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’ or the Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are coming’ ad from 1995 would surely be great contenders.maxresdefault

My Number 1;

Like the Classics, my number 1 has been around for 14 years, yet it is still played without fail on TV every Christmas.

When thinking about Christmas, the sentimental aspect always comes out on top for me, that’s why my favourite advert of all time is without a doubt,

The Guinness Christmas Ad

The quietness of Christmas Eve, and the chiming of the church bells as it turns midnight onto the 25th of December on the old gentleman’s watch. The picturesque scenes with the soft snow and the quiet city scenes from all over Ireland from Galway to Dublin and Belfast. The music of the soft flute at the beginning, building up a quiet symphony with violins more towards the end accurately bring that homely feeling.

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Of course the best Christmas ads can’t be determined with how many times it has been shown on tv, how many YouTube likes and views it has received or how many times you have cried watching them. Purely opinion, sentimentally and nostalgically grounded.

What would your favourite of all time be?

 

Alexandra McEvoy is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: Twitter – @alexmcevoy_ ; Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandra-mcevoy-111ba5171/

Sources from;

https://econsultancy.com/the-top-10-most-shared-christmas-ads-of-all-time/ https://www.digital22.com/insights/10-most-viewed-christmas-adverts-of-all-timehttps://www.extreme-creations.co.uk/blog/the-marketing-stats-behind-2016-christmas-ads/