WHY DOES A CAREER IN PUBLIC RELATIONS INTEREST ME?

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First of all, what is Public Relations? The Chartered Institute of Public relations has defined Public Relations as ‘the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.’, in other words it is about ‘what you do, what you say and what others say about you’. Reputation is key in this industry, especially if a person or company want to survive and be successful in the field that they are associated with. Over the last few years studying Communication Management and Public Relations it has opened my eyes to Public Relations and how varied the industry is, we may not realise it but it is all around us in nearly every aspect of our lives and adapts to the twists and turns of society. In turn it has made me question myself as to whether I am suited for this career path, and if my personality moulds to this ever-changing environment as no two days are the same.

CIPR created a PR personality quiz which was very interesting and made me really think about my personality and skillset. One of the first questions was ‘Do you cope well under pressure?’ and to answer that I think that stress is very important to me and surprisingly I perform more efficiently, it gets my brain ticking and helps me to stay more motivated to complete a task whether it is completing an essay, studying for test or changing a layout in work with the newest clothes. The quicker I react the quicker something gets done essentially, which is needed for the PR industry as it is so fast paced and invigorating.

Another question which I found very interesting was ‘Are you interested in current affairs?’, with this industry growing and changing every day is essential that I am on top of what goes on in the world we live in and the current trends and issues that are happening around us and on social media especially. As social media is such a big part in my life, and is shaping the future of PR, I find that I am more up to date and aware with everything around me, I am in the now if you will. Whether it be politically or the latest scandal happening in the social influencer community, there is always something catching my eye. This will benefit me as campaigning and marketing is such a major factor and will contribute to my creative streak, in turn enabling me to have quick brain storming skills especially when it comes to advising a client, altering to their needs and creating a more in depth relationship with their audience.

My main form of social media would be Instagram and I feel that it fits well into a lot of PR strategies now days, as it is such a simple and huge platform for self-promotion, increasing brand awareness, or connecting with a chosen demographic as well as other influencers. I love to be creative and I feel the social media side of Public Relations is best suited to me and coincides with the job I am currently in as a ‘Social Media Assistant’, as it is teaching me to think outside the box and attract an audience. As Plannthat.com states, ‘Content is QUEEN’ and it tells a quick and snappy story to your audience, and that is exactly what I want to do.

This relates to another question that is ‘Do you have a creative streak?’, and as stated above I feel that I do but I want to enhance on that, and I feel that having a career in PR could help me with that, as nothing is consistent or the same. Throughout school I was always interested in IT, Media Studies and Art which led me to my chosen course at University, these subjects enable me to create imaginative concepts and promoting. However I feel that a downfall would be my writing skills, I want to be able to grasp an audience whether it be during a press release or a post, language is key and it is within my best interests to portray a positive light on my client and send a message without there being any miscommunication. To improve on this I have started to create blog posts, my most recent one was on FOMO aka ‘The fear of missing out’ and ‘The Rise and Shine of Kylie Jenner’,  although both were quite informal I was still able to express myself and my opinions and essentially let myself go, but I am going to focus more on professional pieces to enhance my writing skills and the language that I use.

The next big question for me was ‘Do you enjoy socialising’ and although I love meeting new people and building relationships; which is essential in certain aspects of PR, I am a naturally shy person and can struggle to be vocal. As crazy as it sounds to me, there was a time when I wanted a career as a teacher but due to my personality, I felt that my skillset would not have been put into full effect. So over the last few years my perspectives have changed, and I would love a career where I am behind the scenes and am able to show my true self without any pressure, which is why the social media aspect such as creating posts and content has always appealed to me.

I envy the likes of Cathy Martin (CMPR) who is such a vocal character on social media and compels so many people to view her posts and watch her stories. I click on to her icon straight away when I see she has posted because she is such a vibrant character and can promote a brand or send a message without it feeling cliché or forced. Herself as well as many others are an example of ‘Good PR’. She comes across as very relatable and connects with so many people, which persuaded me to get in contact and do an internship with her and see first-hand the industry I could potentially become involved in. Although in my GCSE year at school I went to a PR firm for my placement, it was not a very good experience as I was just the young person sent to get coffees and file paperwork, so I felt that going to Cathy Martin would be an eye opener. I was there for 3 days and although I felt out of my comfort zone at the start, I was made to feel welcome and was given plenty of work to do, especially with the Belfast Fashion Week approaching. I was mainly given the task of social media activity, such as following people, liking posts and reacting to mentions, which was all pretty straight forward. As the next few days went on myself and other interns were able to create outfits for the fashion week, which really let my creative streak flare. Although this may only have been a small part of PR and the way Cathy works, it was still very informative and fast paced, therefore further influencing my opinion on this career path.

Like anyone they want to do a job that they love, and I want to get as much experience and insight as possible before I enter the PR industry or any industry for that matter. It is such a dynamic environment and although that can be daunting, I like a challenge and want to push myself in order to get involved in career that I know is ‘me’. I was able to easily answer questions about myself, but it is now a matter of proving that I can fit into an industry that never stays the same. To attract employers and show myself professionally I am setting a few tasks for the next coming months:

  1. Posting more blogs on the Ulster PR blog website (more professional than informal).
  2. Becoming more active on social media and making it a respectable network.
  3. Firing up my LinkedIn account to help increase my visibility and create my personal brand so employers can understand who I am professionally.

All of these are simple yet effective and with it being my final year I want to ensure I have the qualifications and the image to help me get into my dream job.

Chloe Light is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be found on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-light-358421172/ and Instagram @Chloe_lightbulb

The Fears of Social Media

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I have always been interested in social media and how it has influenced every aspect of our lives. People are obsessed with their image, likes and how they present themselves on various platforms, and as the years have went on our social skills and social anxiety have plummeted. We feel the need to be constantly connected to what people are doing, what they are wearing or how many likes they get on a photo of themselves on a Saturday night sitting on the swing at ‘Ollies’, which has manifested the term ‘FOMO’. ‘FOMO’ is simply defined as the ‘Fear of missing out’ or otherwise known as fear of regret.

It can lead to a ‘compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity for a social interaction, a novel experience, a profitable investment, or other satisfying events’. It essentially puts a fear in us that we are not spending our time wisely and makes us imagine how different our day would have gone if we had of just said the simple word ‘Yes’. It is alarming how this affects our psychological wellbeing, and can so easily add to a person’s negative mindset and depressed feelings. If we type in the ‘Fear of missing out’ the first thing that comes up is a definition, which was helpful for me as I used it in this blog, but further down there are pages upon pages of psychological websites on how to ‘deal with it’. This is not just some relatable quote a person posted on Instagram to try and get a trend going, it is real for a lot of people whether they realise it or not.

Personally, and although I hate to admit it as I got older my FOMO has only gotten worse, and that applies to my generation as we grew up with social media and it is everything we know. On that note, this vulnerability has subjected us to be an interesting market to target, as marketers are able to tap into the powerful emotional effects that are associated with this fear. On a realistic level regardless of the situation FOMO may affect people differently, whether it’s not being able to make it to dinner with your friends, not seeing the latest movie when it comes out, missing that hyped up holiday, or not attending your weekly/monthly group night out. But for many it is the sense of knowing that all your friends are out ‘living their best lives’ and you missed it due to something coming up or you just didn’t feel like it. Sometimes you may seem to find yourself checking your group chat for updates, snooping at Snapchat stories to see where your drunk friend has passed out next, or going into work the next day to find out any gossip from the night before. Without realising it you have tricked yourself into thinking that what you were doing was boring, and started to imagine how your day would have gone differently.

Whether we like it or not, we always seem to have those people on Instagram who we jump at the chance to view their stories or latest post because they go on 36 holidays a year, never wear the same thing twice, drive a brand-new Audi, have the best hair extensions, Russian lashes, fillers and around 3 different pairs of Alexander McQueen trainers. By looking at these types of people it tricks us into thinking we are not progressing in life and triggers that tiny voice in your head saying, ‘why can’t I have all that’. But if you think about it these types of people are probably so anxiety riddled and obsessed with keeping up their ‘image’ and social media status that their life is not actually so perfect after all and as the saying goes ‘you don’t know what happens behind closed doors’.

Although this topic you could say is quite sensitive, people including myself need to remember that it is not the end of the world, and someone out there could be looking at everything we do and thinking the exact same. It is nice that we don’t all have the same goals, want the same things, or live a certain lifestyle otherwise life would be dull, and moments would never be unexpected. We need to stop focusing on the what ifs and start focusing on the here and now, forget FOMO and remember JOMO (‘acronym for joy of missing out and describes the pleasure of taking a break from social activity- especially social media to enjoy personal time’).

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Chloe Light is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be found on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-light-358421172/ and Instagram @Chloe_lightbulb

 

The ‘Rise and Shine’ of Kylie Jenner

It is without a doubt that everyone under the age of 30 knows the infamous Kylie Jenner who has made her mark on the beauty industry. She was recently proclaimed as the youngest ‘self-made’ billionaire at just 20 years old but given her family background this term is debatable and sparked major controversy in the online community.

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As the youngest member of the Kardashian/Jenner dynasty, it is clear that she had a lucky start to wealth and fame that many cosmetic brands and people can only dream of. Before Kylie Cosmetics there was the hit reality show ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, 12 years and 17 seasons later we have seen her life and personal growth projected on our screens. But Kylie became her own person aside from her family and built an enviable social media platform, with 151 Million followers on Instagram she is the 7thmost followed person in the world, alongside sister Kim placing 6th. So, on the marketing aspect of things she had already created her own brand and status even before Kylie Cosmetics, but the financial aid from her family and amazing looks made it easy for her to create her own business and become the woman she is today.

 Ultimate Influencer

There is no question that she is the ‘ultimate influencer’ and unlike a lot of beauty companies she only needs to rely on herself to promote and model her products due to her porcelain features and infamous lips, therefore saving money and creating demand as consumers will see every product on her and influence their decision.  This was unsurprisingly the starting point for kylie cosmetics as the ‘Kylie Jenner lip’ trend peaked in 2015 and is still the standard look for many wanting to get lip filler. Whether it is a new holiday/birthday collection, skincare or Collab with her family, Kylie Cosmetics has come a long way from the ‘OG’ lip kit trio, Candy K, Dolce K and True Brown K.

Although there is a major comparison between Kylies’ personal account (151M) and Kylie’s Cosmetics (22.4M), she is still ahead of her game with beauty giants such as Anastasia Beverly Hills (20M), Jeffree Star Cosmetics (6.9M) and ColourPop (8.6M). All of which specialise in their own products, but have expanded due to the pace of the beauty community, and its demand for new and out of the box products.

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Kylie Cosmetics is able to survive because of successful marketing tactics, and with her being such a relatable and influential figure to a demographic of 18-24-year olds they have developed FOMO. The ‘fear of missing out’ happens to so many of the beauty communities’ consumers as products are marketed on a ‘need to have’ and ‘limited quantity’ bases. An example of this is the very first sale of the original Kylie Lip Kits, the lipstick and liner set came in 3 shades and due to the hype it caused ripples on social media, and those ripples caused waves. The kits were sold out in 30 seconds and crashed the website due to extreme online traffic. With every purchase of a lip kit, girls were being sucked into this fantasy of getting the perfect ‘Kylie lip’. This set the bar for the company and over the years they have expanded into eyeshadows, highlighters, blushes, brows and skincare and became more versatile in such a competitive industry.

In terms of driving demand her brand was based in the US and created urgency from those in other countries to buy her products, meaning people were waiting in different time zones at launches and willing to pay more for shipping. She also used the tactic of pop up shops for the first 2 years of running Kylie Cosmetics. Since her products were only sold online it created a want in customers as it was a one-time opportunity to get her products and potentially meet Kylie, so they were inclined to go. Although she was known for her amazing swatching videos, the pop-up shops gave customers a real-life experience to try the products and not be stuck into the commitment of making a purchase solely based on images and reviews. This is an appealing aspect for her target audience of young women who most likely do not have the income and need to ‘try before you buy’ as her brand was not portrayed as being cheap or drug store.

Whether you gravitate to Kylie or her family, it is undeniable that her marketing strategies are simple but effective, and regardless of her pretty face she is able to connect with her fans and create such a strong brand image that drives demand. But on top of being a makeup mogul she has recently become a ‘meme queen’ with her hilarious line ‘rise and shine’ as she woke up her daughter in one of her YouTube segments, to which she trade-marked and merchandise was on her website within a few days. Further showing she is business savvy by capitalising on viral trends. It will be interesting to see how her empire develops as she recently sold 51% of the company to COTY, who deal with the likes of Rimmel and Covergirl, as well as other major self-care brands. They see potential in expanding Kylie Cosmetics and Kylie Skin into more in-store retailers around the US and internationally.

Chloe Light is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University.  She can be found on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/chloe-light-358421172/ and Instagram @Chloe_lightbulb