My year out!

‘If you didn’t do placement what did you do all year?” A question I was asked when I started final year in September and the answer is well instead of placement I moved to Scotland for the year (bit random I know). In May of 2nd year I realised I wasn’t ready to go straight into final year and that I didn’t want to do placement so instead I made the big decision to move to Scotland. Luckily for me I wasn’t just moving there knowing nobody my dad and step mum, brother and sister live over there so at least I had 4 friends.

LC1Even though Scotland is only a 40 minute flight it isn’t in any way similar to northern Ireland and especially not my tiny village in county Tyrone. Everything is soo different, there villages are the same size as Omagh my local town in Tyrone, they have train stations everywhere so you can actually go places even if you don’t drive and there is soo many houses soo soo many. One thing that took me a while to grasp was how Scottish people speak and Scottish words.

Here’s a few words that took me ages to understand “Ken” means “I know”, “braw” means very nice, “smart” means that looks well etc.

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I lived in a place called west Lothian and I was 25 minutes from Edinburgh and 30 minutes from Glasgow couldn’t have been any better. I worked 40 plus hour weeks in a Toby Carvery, Christmas dinner all year round basically (it was GREAT) and the tips were the best thing. There’s a saying that it’s the people you work with that makes you enjoy your job (or something like that) and it couldn’t have been any truer. Being the only Irish person I got asked atleast 5 times a day if I was from Dublin and each time I sadly had to say I wasn’t. I always told guests I was from Belfast because there was no chance Scottish people would know of Tyrone. Even though I didn’t do a Public relations or communications placement I still feel like I gained so much more experience than I would have if I stayed at home. Moving to Scotland made me more independent, more confident and also I got to experience something new rather than just being stuck at home. For me moving to Scotland was and will always be my best decision of my years at university. I’ll definitely be moving back. If you are considering moving away then these are my top tips:
• Definitely do it, it will be hard at the start but in the end it’s the best decision you will make.

• Home will always be there.

• To ease the home sickness visit home once in a few months don’t’ leave it 10 months, that one visit will make you want to move home even more.

• Go see the world, there is more to life than living in Northern Ireland forever.

Lena Coyle is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @Lena_coyle

The best PR campaigns of summer 2017

During the summer months there was some really memorable PR campaigns. Here’s a few of my favourite campaigns:
1. Hidden job ad found on Apple’s site source code.
I’m sure many people have had the dream of working for apple. Well that dream could have become a reality in August when it was posted on social media that Apple had hidden a job offer on their site’s source code. The text said ‘hey there! You found us.’ It said the firm is looking for ‘a talented engineer to develop a critical infrastructure component’. I seen a post about the hidden job while scrolling through my Facebook. It was a perfect PR tactic by apple to get some publicity about their ‘inventive and creative’ job ad. Many people shared posts about it all over social media so apple definitely had people talking.

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2. Walker’s ‘Choose me or lose me’ Campaign.
This PR campaign was a huge topic on twitter with people shocked and annoyed at walkers getting rid of three British favourites. They left the fate of this on the public. This ‘choose me or lose me’ referendum campaign took some inspiration from Brexit, ‘vote in or vote out’. Each ‘British’ flavour is being challenged by some international flavours. American Bacon and Cheddar challenges the popular Smoky Bacon, Spanish-inspired Paprika going against Prawn Cocktail and the classic Salt and Vinegar versus lime and black pepper from Australia. The #chooseorlose ‘crisp referendum’ started August 14th and closed on October 22nd.

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3. Björn Borg plays a tennis match on the border between the U.S and Mexico

This has to be one of the best PR campaigns I’ve seen this summer. It was created by the Swedish sportswear brand Bjorn Borg. The campaign was to highlight that sports has the ability to ‘unite people’. The campaign was orchestrated in response to President Donald Trump’s ‘Build a wall’ policy. Mexican player Mariano Argote and American player Peter Clemente played a tennis match on the US and Mexican border. It was called the ‘Borg open’ one player played in Mexica and the other played in America. The campaign was an emotive and thought provoking idea of finding commonality across borders.

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4. Tourism Ireland’s Game of Thrones 250ft tapestry
Tourism has increased in Ireland over recent years and this is partly due to Game of Thrones being filmed here. Ireland has benefited hugely from this and now a 250ft tapestry has been unveiled. During every episode of season 7 a new part of it was unveiled. This is an ambitious and great PR campaign by tourism Ireland as even when the show ends there will still be a part of vestros to visit for years to come. The tapestry is on display in the Ulster museum in Belfast. I know where I will be going this weekend.

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Lena Coyle is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @Lena_coyle Continue reading “The best PR campaigns of summer 2017”

Donald Trump- PR mess or PR genius

It’s been over a year since Donald Trump became the most powerful man in the world and the 45th president of the United States. Do you remember what you were doing that very day and hour he won? I remember I sat up that whole night watching the results come in flicking between CNN and Fox news. I along with all the Hollywood stars though America would vote in Hilary Clinton but gosh weren’t Katy Perry and I wrong. In a year where Brexit won the vote it was silly looking back to think Donald Trump wouldn’t become president.

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Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign and even now not an hour goes by without a headline or some sort of uproar about something President Donald Trump has said or tweeted. No time in history has public opinion or the media been as widespread and ongoing since ‘the Donald’ announced he was running for president all those years ago. Half a decade ago Donald Trump wasn’t really a name which people mentioned here in Northern Ireland and I’m sure it wasn’t mentioned much in any other part of the world. Back then all Donald trump was known for was the U.S apprentice (he was no Sir Alan Sugar) and for owning most of New York and Manhattan. Back then I didn’t even follow him on twitter or ever even consider following him on twitter. Nowadays, he is usually one of the most trending hashtags or something related to what he has said or done is trending. Not going to lie, but one of the best decisions I made in 2015 was following Donald Trump on twitter. L5
Donald Trump has definitely rewritten the rules on messaging and communication. From a PR perspective (or well a final year PR students perspective), some would say Trump’s approach or lack of has been a horror show (possibly similar to the shinning) from his incorrect messaging to his attacks on people (remember when he was team Robert Pattinson after his breakup with Kristen Stewart) to now his attacks against the media and their ‘fake news’. It’s fair to say Donald trump has made himself a poster boy for how not to communicate to the public… or has he?

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It’s very easy to see Donald Trump’s tweets or on television and think he doesn’t know anything about communicating or Public relations but maybe just maybe he has rewritten public relations? Stay with me here…

Public relations is the professional maintenance of a favourable public image by a company or other organisation’s or individuals. Donald Trump doesn’t get much positive interactions, usually people’s public relations strategies is to gain positive interactions and dismiss backlash. However, Donald Trump’s public relations strategy is the exact opposite even now a year later after he has won the white house. Trump’s immediate off the cuff responses to the Middle East, china, the latest SNL skits, fake news or repealing Obamacare is his main strategies.

Some people believe he has thrown away the traditional pillars of talking points, messaging, communicating and replacing them with no-holds-barred dialogue. Donald trump choosing to do this means no matter if you are a democrat or republican or a member of the green party you are giving him visibility.
Trump’s approach is to raise any issue no matter what time of the day it is even if tis 3am in the morning on twitter.

Even though many hate to admit it, this strategy of Donald Trump’s is working and it is working very very well. Throughout his presidency and probably long after he will continue to have control of the topics and issues he wants on the agenda for that day.

This approach to taking over the white house has been to keep the audience tuned in and on the edge of their seats, keeping us all guessing what next will Donald Trump say.

Who would have thought Donald Trump could possibly change Public Relations? But then again suppose we never believed he would actually become president? Who’s ready for Kanye west or Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) presidency race for 2020…. L1

Lena Coyle is a final year BSc in Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @Lena_coyle