How Influencers Must Adjust If Instagram Hides “Likes”

By: Logan Trautman

In an effort to relieve pressure on its users, Instagram is conducting trial runs of hiding the number of likes a post receives in markets around the world.

The new method comes after several studies have shown that the social media platform contributes to self-esteem issues in its users. By not displaying the amount of likes a post receives to the public, Instagram hopes its users will feel less judged, and focus more on sharing their stories. Users can still see how many likes their own post receives.

So, what does this mean for those users who make a living on Instagram? Will Influencers cease to exist without “likes”? Not exactly. However, the way they use the platform and measure their success will have to adjust if Instagram decides to implement its new model worldwide. Here’s how:

Engagement rates are a thing of the past

Initially, brands cared about how many followers their influencer partners had. This quickly transitioned to brands caring less about how many people followed influencers, but rather how many users engaged with their posts, seemingly proving that the content was read and consumed. But in a world where likes aren’t visible, engagement rates don’t hold the same weight.

Influencers will need to start focusing on different KPIs to successfully sell themselves, such as Instagram story views and link clicks to a brand’s website. For B2C brands focused on selling product, the ROI from influencers will evolve to actual sales made, whether in-store or online.

High-quality content is the only option

With the public unable to view the amount of likes a post is earning, and users feeling less judged, Instagram is bound to see an increase in the amount of posts being shared by users. This is great news for the platform, but for influencers it means more competition to get in front of their audiences. Influencers will have no choice but to spend time creating high-quality content that earns the attention it receives. Many will rely on their preestablished fanbase, but for those looking to grow (what influencer isn’t looking to grow?) content is key.

Heavy focus on loyal communities

Unlike other social platforms, YouTube for example, Instagram influencers haven’t been forced to reciprocate the engagement their followers give to them. In the past influencers could address their following as a group, or simply give their followers’ comments a “thumbs up”, but as competition for views increases, and the way engagement is demonstrated and recorded shifts, influencers will need to put more effort into building their followings, and ultimately turn it into a community. By responding to comments and messages, and including their followers in their content creation, influencers will be able to maintain and grow their fanbase.

Instagram Stories

It’s no secret that short form videos are becoming king in the world of content creation today, and with Instagram likes no longer being an applicable measure of success, Instagram Stories will be more significant than ever before. For those influencers who aren’t already using Instagram videos regularly, they will need to learn to not only pose for static photos, but now talk to their audiences through video and share compelling content in 15-second increments. Brands will focus on how many story views an influencer receives as a KPI and will start integrating Instagram story content as part of their partnership agreement with influencers.

What do you think about Instagram hiding likes from the public? Share your thoughts with us!

This post was originally posted on Inspire PR Group, and reposted with the author's permission.

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A Lesson in Ethics Courtesy of “The Great Hack”

By: Michael Vannest, APR

If you have not watched Netflix’s new documentary “The Great Hack” immediately schedule a date with your couch and tv and watch.

Over the course of two hours the documentary exposes how Cambridge Analytica, a data research group, obtained private information on citizens in the United States and Great Britain with the purposes of creating marketing and public relations content during the 2015 Brexit Vote and 2016 US Presidential Election.

“The Great Hack” raises many ethical red flags public relations professionals must address. Here are five of the most important.

  1. How much data and profiling is too much when creating social media ads?
    In “The Great Hack”, big data company Cambridge Analytica (CA) built profiles of citizens and voters in Great Britain and The United States to create personalized content to persuade their feelings on issues and candidates.

    The company was able to access data on 87 million people.  The information helped Cambridge Analytica identify “persuadable voters.” From there, the firm targeted blogs, websites, articles, videos and ads specifically at those voters until they saw the world the way Cambridge Analytica wanted them to.

    As PR pros we have an obligation of honest communication. Mining data that violates personal privacy to benefit business is very unethical. As PR pros we need to be aware of how much data we collect on stakeholders and understand how much is too much. In addition, we need to be mindful of the ways we use the data and understand creating content that exploits the data we have is also unethical.

  2. As PR pros are we being ethical when we create fear mongering content to convey our message?
    The main message of the documentary is that the Cambridge Analytica gave information to various political campaigns and helped to create voter profiles to disseminate fearful messages and persuade voters to vote for a candidate.

    Much of the content created was misinformation in the form of news stories and video news not true. The misinformation disbursed to the potential voters was what we now deem “fake news.”

    As PR pros and according to PRSA’s Code of Ethics we have an obligation to be honest and accurate in all communications and avoid deceptive practices. We simply cannot take information on an individual’s most private nuances to create fearful and deceptive content.

  3. Can we be ethical when dealing with a crisis?
    According to the documentary, Cambridge Analytica approached multiple public relations firms and as former COO Julian Whitehead said:

    "We spoke to tens of crisis PR companies that listened intently, went away to think about it, and came back and said, 'sorry, we can't associate ourselves with your brand'. I thought that's what they were there for.

    “It became impossible to get a voice.”

    From an ethical PR perspective, representing a company involved in a “scandal”’ can be difficult. And while it my seem impossible to represent a company during a scandal crisis without violating an ethical code it can be done.

    If a company can take responsibility for detrimental action, avoid making excuses and keep from spinning a situation then maintaining brand positivity can happen. It just takes some time to recover.

  4. Do we as PR pros have an obligation to call out employers when something seems unethical?
    Brittany Kaiser, was one of the main the whistleblowers on Cambridge Analytica. Knowing the repercussions of what would happen if she blew the cover on Cambridge Analytica, she felt she had a moral obligation to let people know the truth.

    It can be difficult to stand up for what is right. Especially when your career and livelihood may be on the line. But as professionals in an era of misinformation and “fake news” it is even more crucial that we keep our companies on the right side of ethics and morals. We owe ourselves, our clients and the public relations profession honesty and integrity.

  5. As PR pros do we owe stakeholders a more transparent communication with the fine print?
    In the documentary every time someone allowed a third-party app to log in to your social media account the user would have to agree to allow the app access to their profile. This allowed the company who ran the third-party app (in the case of the documentary, Cambridge Analytica) to gain access to all of your personal data. The user barely paid attention to what they were allowing. And even though there was a small link to a terms and conditions page paid no attention to what those terms were.

    According to PRSA’s Code of Ethics safeguarding confidences is one of the vital components of professional practice. Society has a right to privacy and as PR professionals we have an obligation to protected those rights of clients, businesses and stakeholders. Proper communication of terms and conditions needs to be at the forefront of websites, landing pages, and other areas where personal data is being obtained.

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Spotlight on Ethics: Social Media and Ethics

In today’s digital world, social media is an integral part of every communication strategy. We use it throughout the day in our personal and professional lives and find ourselves responding as fast as possible to take advantage of opportunities or mitigate crises. Unfortunately, sometimes those reactions can unintentionally get us into some sticky situations.

Building ethical practices into social media processes ahead of time can help avoid inadvertent problems. Questions to develop ethical social media processes include:

  1. What triggers the deletion of content? Social media is designed to generate conversation. Sometimes, that conversation may not go the way you want. While it may be tempting to delete negative posts, that limits the free flow of information. A documented policy clarifies when to delete a post – and when to not delete. Your policy should include narrow and specific reasons for deleting posts, such as the use of profanity, disclosure of confidential information and attacks directed at individuals or groups of individuals. Posting the policy on your social media channels creates transparency and can help avoid backlash if a poster is upset you deleted a post.

  2. Where will we source images and graphics? We all want to find that perfect photo or gif to include in a post, and there are many options at our fingertips. Know ahead of time where you will source image and graphics. In-house talent and stock photo services are easy, safe sources. If you search the internet for graphics, be sure they have a Creative Commons license. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of the license to see what it allows. Check with your legal counsel for specific guidance.

  3. Are you including necessary context? Some industries, such as the banking industry, require specific disclosures when talking about products and services. The Federal Trade Commission also has rules around sponsored content and advertising. Knowing those is an important first step, however, you can get into some grey areas outside of those requirements. Be sure to include any necessary context in posts so your followers have the information they need to make informed decisions. Are claims backed up by research? Are the people who are endorsing your product being compensated? Are you being compensated in some way to promote a product or service from another organization?

  4. What are our privacy triggers? Posting photos of customer and employee events is a great way to generate buzz for your organization. Since these posts occur in real-time, it’s important the team understands your process. Some areas to consider include posting photos of minors, obtaining signed waivers and notifying participants ahead of
    time the event will be photographed. Every organization will have different triggers based on the industry and culture. For example, posting photos of an invitation-only event for
    patients who are being treated for a specific condition could raise privacy and HIPAA concerns. Again, check with your legal counsel for specific guidance.

Thinking through these ethical considerations can help ensure social media channels are a positive tool to promote your organization. If you have questions about social media ethics, feel free to reach out to me.

Kerry Francis, APR is the Ethics Officer for PRSA Central Ohio. You can reach Kerry at [email protected].

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Spotlight on Ethics: The Ethical Use of Interns

Ah, summer! Many people will be taking time off to go on vacation, enjoy the weather and spend time with family and friends. While we all need and deserve time off, it can be difficult to cover things at the office. With all of our PRSSA chapter schools, hiring interns can be an easy and inexpensive – perhaps free? – way to keep things moving at the office.

As you prepare to hire interns, there are a few questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re using interns in an ethical way.

What should I pay my interns?

Compensation can be in the form of an hourly wage, class credit or a combination or both. While an unpaid internship sounds like a great solution when budgets are tight, getting something of value for free – the intern’s work – raises ethical questions. A few points to help determine compensation:

  • Are the interns replacing a regular employee? If an intern is doing work that you would pay another employee to do, they should be compensated.
  • Are you billing clients for the interns’ work? PRSA’s Board of Ethical and Practical Standards (BEPS) advises that interns should be paid if they are performing real, billable work.
  • Does your company have a policy? Some organizations have policies around if and how much interns are paid.

In addition to the ethical issues, there also are legal considerations when determining the compensation for interns. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires for-profit employers to pay employees for their work. In some cases, interns are considered employees. The FLSA uses the primary beneficiary test to determine if an intern is an employee – if an intern is the primary beneficiary of the internship, they aren’t considered an employee under the FLSA and you aren’t required to pay them. This U.S. Department Labor Fact Sheet offers more information, but check with your Human Resources Department or legal counsel for guidance.

What kind of work should I assign to my interns?

The first thing to remember is that the student is the primary beneficiary of the internship experience. While you benefit from the work your intern completes, the benefit to the student should guide your decision-making. You should be assigning your interns real-world, portfolio-building work that allows them to develop skills that will prepare them for that first job – not grunt work that no one else wants to do.

While you should be assigning your interns “real work,” it’s important to remember that they are students first. The deadlines you give them should be flexible enough to still allow the student time to complete an important school assignment or study for an exam.

How should I supervise my interns?

Supervising interns isn’t that different than supervising regular employees. The same processes apply, including setting goals, holding regular meetings to touch base on progress and offering ongoing coaching and feedback. You may need to spend more time offering an explanation about the work and your expectations, as well as helping your interns connect their work with the company’s objectives. This extra time spent is critical to helping interns gain real-world experience that they can learn from and apply.

If your interns are completing the internship for class credit, be sure you understand what documentation is needed for them to earn that credit.

Do employee policies apply to my interns?

A good rule of thumb is that, if you are paying your intern, all the same policies that apply to regular employees apply to interns. If you aren’t paying your intern, only broad policies that encompass non-employees such as contractors, vendors and visitors apply. This includes workplace violence and sexual harassment policies. Regardless of whether or not you pay them, it’s recommended that you have your intern complete the same orientation process as a regular employee – this ensures they receive the same information about policies and procedures, and it gives them a glimpse into what to expect when they start their first full-time PR job. Just be sure to point out any policies that don’t apply to them as interns so there’s no confusion.

An important note: Interns are young and may have little to no experience in the workplace. It may be difficult for them to identify and report inappropriate behavior due to their inexperience, or fears that they will be labeled as a complainer early in their career. It’s critical your interns know they have the same protections as regular employees. Be sure they are aware of your company’s policies, and who they can raise an issue to without fear of reprisal.

Quick Quiz

  1. You are a sole practitioner and have five clients. You contact the local university’s public relations department and agree to hire two interns over the summer. While the internships are unpaid, the students will get credit. Is this practice unethical?
  2. The answer is no, the practice is not unethical as long as the interns are working under close supervision, doing more than menial clerical work and aren’t displacing a regular employee. If you are charging a client for the work they are doing, then they should be paid.

Thinking through these ethical considerations can help ensure the internship experience is beneficial to everyone. If you have questions about the ethical use of interns, feel free to reach out to me.

Kerry Francis, APR is the Ethics Officer for PRSA Central Ohio. You can reach Kerry at [email protected].

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2019 Prism Award Winners

More than 120 communication professionals joined us to celebrate and honor the best work in our profession from the past year. Thanks for everyone who submitted and congratulations to our winners!

  • Approach Marketing
  • Baker Creative
  • Belle Communication
  • The Catholic Foundation
  • City of Dublin
  • Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Fahlgren Mortine
  • FrazierHeiby
  • Geben Communication
  • Great Lakes Publishing
  • Homeport
  • Inspire PR Group
  • Jaron Terry Communications
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma
  • Marketing Works
  • MediaSource
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Ohio Northern University
  • RMD Advertising
  • The Saunders Company
  • The Shelly Company
  • Smart Columbus
  • Team Fleisher Communications
  • TrueNorth PR
  • Visit Grove City
  • The Wendy’s Company

Best of Show:

  • Non-Profit: Geben Communication and The Women's Fund of Central Ohio, The Women's Fund 2018 Keyholder Video: The Moment is Now
  • Profit: Fahlgren Mortine and Columbia Gas of Ohio, Digger Dog Storybook

Individual winners:

  • Tom Poling: Christa Dickey, The City of Westerville
  • Walt Seifert: Lois Foreman-Wernet, PhD, APR, Capital University
  • Rising Star: Heather Clark, Cardinal Health
  • PRSSA Outstanding Graduate: Myrissa Stalter, Ohio Dominican University
  • Volunteer of the Year: Mike Vannest, E.V. Bishoff Company

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My APR Journey

Michael Vannest, APR

If you want to change how you conduct public relations strategy, if you want to learn how to gain a seat at the management table and if you want to grow professionally, then make earning your APR in 2019 your next personal goal. Those three little letters not only change how you work in the PR field but will transform you personally and professionally.

My journey was spread out across 19 months culminating on January 12, 2019 with the word “pass” plastered on my computer screen in a stuffy testing center. After raising my arms in celebration of the achievement, I got into my car and before I started the engine, I reflected for a moment on this journey and smiled because I knew how much my professional life had changed.

For me, the constant thirst for learning and gaining knowledge in my career field has always been fueled by my desire to succeed. Seeing the APR as a chance to broaden my PR skills, I went to a luncheon event hosted by my local PRSA chapter in the spring of 2017. At the luncheon I heard from a local member who just obtained her APR. In her presentation she outlined the benefits of accreditation and why one should pursue. From that moment I was hooked on the challenge of gaining my APR. After the luncheon I “ripped off the band-aid” and dove into the studying process. The first thing I did was plan my approach. I set my target exam date and worked backwards from there to create my studying schedule. I downloaded and placed in a binder the APR Study Guide from the Universal Accreditation Board and bought Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics from Amazon. I thought six months would be enough. Boy, was I wrong.

Upon beginning my studies, I quickly realized I basically had no clue how to properly conduct PR from a strategic standpoint. The terms, theories and communication models as well as learning the RPIE process (research, planning, implementation and evaluation) proved to be cumbersome and overwhelmingly difficult to digest. It was at this moment I realized six months to be ready for my exam was ambitious and not realistic. I needed to regroup and take more time to study.

In January 2018, as I continued to study, I began to talk to some local APR’s about the process and they all told me the same thing – “Take the online APR class.” The online class is $195. Without hesitation I registered. Little did I know this would be the game changer on my journey.

The online class is a self-paced, 10 module APR preparation course that included a weekly meeting where we reviewed potential exam questions, listened to current APR’s give their exam advice, discussed the online course modules and gave practice presentations on case studies. We also had the opportunity to deliver our panel presentations as practice for the real thing.

The online class proved to be invaluable for me. Not only did it help work out confusion on terms and models, it also gave me confidence in my studies. In addition, I learned early on from fellow classmates about the “Bible of PR” book, Effective Public Relations by Carter and Cutlip. This book gave me the context to understand all the terms we learned in the online class. To all of those starting the APR process, I recommend purchasing this book. Though the online class is self-paced, I did the best I could to keep pace with the weekly meetings and the weekly studies suggested. Three months after using the class and Effective Public Relations I volunteered to give a practice panel presentation. In my opinion, I quickly bombed on the presentation. I used output objectives instead of outcome objectives. My strategies were tactics, and my goals seemed like a marketing plan goal instead of a strategic PR plan goal. After this I quickly, once again, adjust my target exam date.

With my confidence quickly falling, I reached out to the online class leader who gave me some sound advice on managing some of the terms. Primarily, the class leader helped me with understanding the difference between outcome and output objectives. He also pointed out that PR is all about RELATIONSHIPS and to apply everything you read and study in the APR journey to your daily work. With this knowledge in mind, things began to dramatically change.

Understanding how to use outcome objectives and focusing on research, planning, implementation and evaluation (the RPIE process) while applying it to my current job helped make things begin to click. I began to see how to formulate goals. I understood how research helped find holes in my company’s business plan and how we communicate to our clients and prospects.

With my new confidence and knowledge gained in the online studies and daily readings, I mapped out a new internal communications plan targeted at our current clients. I conducted an online survey with our clients asking them their thoughts and ratings on customer service and their overall satisfaction with our company. This research led me to develop the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to create my plan. The research also gave me a baseline to evaluate my program against during and at the end of the campaign.

By July of 2018, grasping the concepts in the online class were coming together, but I still did not think I was quite there yet to begin the application process. So I decided to participate in one more session of weekly meetings and another review of the ten modules. Along the way I bought a house and got married!

With my marriage and house purchase I quickly found that having $400 around to submit my application didn’t exist - once again another change to the mythical test date. Only this time it would be the last.

While sitting at lunch with a coworker I was asked how the exam process was coming. I said, “Good but I keep pushing back my test date. Whether lack of confidence, timing or life events I always come up with a reason to move my goal date and push it out further.” A few hours later my coworker, who is also my direct report, came to me with an envelope and said, “Here is an early wedding present from the company.”

Inside was a check for $400 from the owner. Tears of joy began to stream down my face. Excitement ruled and I quickly filled out my application, stuffed an envelope with it and the check, and reached out to my local APR Chair. It was on! My application was approved on Sept. 21, 2018. My panel was set for Oct. 4. I was pumped but apprehensive. Was I truly ready? I didn’t know. All I knew was I needed to just do it and stop making excuses.

In the days leading up to my panel presentation, I put together a nice binder with my latest company internal communications campaign - the one I had created with my new RPIE knowledge. At the panel I was greeted by the APR Chair, who was relaxed and welcoming. I had two other panelists as well. We met at the APR Chair’s office. I was super nervous but once we started, I quickly calmed. It was a conversation plain and simple. Not a grilling. It was a conversation about how the exam is conducted and what to expect. A discussion of my presentation. What I learned. What I would change. After two hours of conversation, I said my goodbyes and was walked to the door by the APR Chair. She told me great job and that I would know within two hours of my results. Needless to say, I was on the edge of my seat! When I got home, I stared at my email and waited. It finally came. In the subject line: “APR Advancement. You passed with flying colors!” The journey continued.

One more read of Effective Public Relations cover to cover and it was time to take the exam. The exam was 177 questions. All questions were scenario-based and had no more than five answers to choose from. Some questions required two-to-three correct choices and all of them must be correct to receive credit for the question. You have three hours and 45 minutes to complete the test. Upon entering the exam room all you are allowed to be equipped with is a small whiteboard and dry erase marker.

I used all of my time given and when I got to the “submit your exam” screen, I paused, took a deep breath and clicked “Submit.” On the next screen all I saw was the word “pass.” I did it! I raised my arms in celebration and with a huge smile, left knowing I am an APR!

It’s an amazing process. If you are thinking of getting your APR in 2019, do it! I assure that you will not regret the decision. It will change you personally and professionally. If you are in the process of getting your APR, don’t give up. There will be struggles and you may get discouraged, but keep driving, keep studying, and I promise you will pass the exam.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Podcasting in 2019

By Rachel Gies, Ohio University Class of 2019

During the Central Ohio PRSA Future of PR Conference, I had the pleasure of hearing Erik Jacobson speak about why he is so heavily invested in podcasting. In fact, Jacobson is the founder and CEO of Be My Guest, a podcast and PR production agency that helps brands grow through podcasting. According to Jacobson, podcasts will eventually overtake radio. Whether or not you want to believe it, here are 5 reasons why you should consider podcasting for your business in 2019.

  1. Half of U.S. homes are podcast fans
    That means that over 60 million U.S. homes enjoy podcasts, and 51% of the population has actually listened to a podcast. Listeners enjoy the personal connection they feel with the host through podcasting. There’s a type of vulnerability that they can’t find anywhere else.

  2. Podcast listeners are devoted
    On average, podcast listeners subscribe to an average of 6 shows and listen to an average of 7 shows per week which is equivalent to about 7 hours of listening.

  3. Podcasts reach people in ways no other media can
    The audio nature of podcasts allows people to listen in the car, while they’re exercising, at work, cleaning their house, etc. Other media such as video and print do not allow for the same listening flexibility. These listeners are typically hard to reach. These listeners are more likely to be “cord cutters” who subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime instead of cable, so they are less likely to be exposed to TV advertising. Sixty-nine percent of listeners agreed that podcasts ads were effective in product awareness.

  4. Podcast listeners are likely to purchase things that are talked about during a podcast
    Overall, research has found that podcast listeners are loyal, affluent and educated. These listeners trust the host and are willing to purchase products recommended by someone they trust.

  5. Spotify is moving toward podcasting
    Originally, Spotify was created as a music app, but recently Spotify announced that they plan to spend up to $500 million on podcast related acquisitions. This year, Spotify purchased two of the industries largest podcast production houses, Anchor and Gimlet Media. According to Jacobson, when Apple decides to join in, it will double and maybe even triple the industry.

The future looks very bright for the podcast industry. Since 2013, podcast listenership has steadily increased by approximately 20 percent with the biggest increase between 2018 and 2019 (Edison Research Infinite Dial 2019). If you’re looking for a new way to grow your brand, podcasting is quickly gaining the attention of the nation and could be the perfect solution for you.


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Ethics Month: Be Prepared

Every September, we celebrate Ethics Month to remind ourselves about the importance of ethics and the resources available to PRSA members. PRSA has a Code of Ethics we all agree to follow when we become members (if you need a refresher, check out the Code of Ethics online). And we have a group - PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) – charged with developing resources and offering guidance to help us navigate ethical dilemmas.

One only needs to pick up a newspaper or turn on the news to know that this year’s theme, Be Prepared, is timely. It’s never been more important to have a plan in place to deal with questionable situations – whether they’re true or false. We can all cite examples of when a situation wasn’t handled well and even more damage was done.

As PR professionals, our role is to advise our clients when they want to do something that crosses the line. Sometimes, we also are called on when that line is crossed – or someone is accused of crossing the line. We can take steps to prepare for those situations to help our clients – and ourselves – come out on the other side.

BEPS has built a schedule full of great advice and opportunities to help you Be Prepared, including:

  • Ethics Counsel Today: No Boundaries – The line between right and wrong sometimes can be blurry – new technology and practices allow us to push the envelope. Join PRSA at 8 p.m. Sept. 4 for a Twitter chat that will examine and discuss the ways in which – and the reasons why – communicators today must be ever mindful of varying perceptions of what constitutes ethical practice. #EthicsMonth

  • How to Prepare a Personal Crisis Plan – How do you call out unethical or even unlawful behavior on the part of employer or client – without damaging your own career at the same time? This webinar, scheduled for 3 p.m. Sept. 13, guides PR practitioners through ethical dilemmas. The webinar will help you create a crisis preparedness plan, recognize situations that require advance preparation to preserve reputation, evaluate career opportunities based on the PRSA Code of Ethics and handle the aftermath of an ethics-based career crisis you didn't create. Register online.

  • PR Ethics Curriculum – Teaching students about ethics is critical to protecting the reputation of our profession. Join PRSA at 8 p.m. Sept. 18 for a Twitter chat hosted by the PRSA Educators Academy/Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) PR Division & AEJMC Media Ethics Division. #EthicsMonth

The Central Ohio Chapter celebrates ethics month, and I’m excited to connect our members with these resources and more. There’s more to come, so watch our communication channels – the blog, newsletter, website and social media – for additional resources, activities and information.

And as always, if you’re facing an ethical dilemma, your Ethics Officer is here to help! Feel free to reach out to ask questions about an ethical dilemma or share insight into how you’ve handled an ethical question.

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Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Members of Central Oho Diversity & Inclusion committee (left to right: Gayle Saunders, APR; Shanikka Flinn, committee chair; and Jaron Terry, MS, APR, Fellow, PRSA) celebrated National PRSA D&I Honorable Mention, which the chapter received in 2017 for efforts last year. Board liaison, Kerry Francis, APR, its an integral team member.

Members of Central Oho Diversity & Inclusion committee (left to right: Gayle Saunders, APR; Shanikka Flinn, committee chair; and Jaron Terry, MS, APR, Fellow, PRSA) celebrated National PRSA D&I Honorable Mention, which the chapter received in 2017 for efforts last year. Board liaison, Kerry Francis, APR, its an integral team member. 

Talking about diversity and implicit bias can make some people uncomfortable and reluctant to dive deep for fear of saying the wrong thing. Others want to have an open and honest discussion about how implicit (or unconscious) bias can negatively affect not only our workplace lives, but our personal lives, too, but are concerned about being “politically correct” and so say nothing.

On August 30, from 6 to 8 pm, all are invited to attend "Diversity Exercises & Engagement: Uncovering & Confronting Implicit Biases," a judgment-free zone where we come together to talk about how the chapter and our work places can achieve diversity and inclusion goals, build diverse teams and recognize the value and strengths in cultures different from our own. The Central Ohio PRSA Diversity & Inclusion committee, led by chair, Shanikka Flinn, invites us to step outside our comfort zones to uncover our own unconscious biases, confront mistaken assumptions and work together to create an environment of acceptance and inclusion for all.

Jaron Terry Communications is delighted to sponsor this chapter professional development event in recognition of Diversity & Inclusion month.

To register for the August 30 event - which includes a pizza dinner and will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at NiSource, 240 W. Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, Ohio - please visit the chapter website.

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2018 PRism Award Winners

More than 150 communication professionals joined us to celebrate and honor the best work in our profession from the past year. Thanks for everyone who submitted and congratulations to our winners!  

Individual Award Winners:

  • Gayle Saunders, APR - Tom Poling Practitioner of the Year
  • Katie Thomas, APR - Walt Seifert Award
  • Logan Trautman - Rising Star Award
  • Lily Ng, The Ohio State University - PRSSA Outstanding Graduate

Best of Show:

  • Falghren Mortine with Niagara Falls USA: Media Relations Business to Business
  • AEP with FrazierHeiby: Media Relations Consumer Products and Services


Award Type Category Status Company Entry Title
PRism Annual Reports Non-Profit City of Dublin Communications & Public Information City of Dublin 2016 Annual Report
Award of Excellence Annual Reports Non-Profit The Catholic Foundation 2017 Annual Report
PRism Creative Tactics Non-Profit OhioHealth FSED Pop-up Experiences
Award of Excellence Creative Tactics Non-Profit MediaSource with The Ohio Development Services Agency Creative Video Content Drives Fight Against The Opioid Crisis
PRism Creative Tactics Profit AEP Economic Development with FrazierHeiby SelectUSA Trade Show Find Your Sweet Spot!
Award of Excellence Creative Tactics Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Capital University Capital University Brand Video
PRism Feature Stories Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with A Kid Again Columbus Dispatch Feature Story: Oyauma Garrison, Expanding A Kid Again
PRism Feature Stories Profit Inspire PR Group with Cameron Mitchell Restaurants Dinner at the James Beard House
Award of Excellence Feature Stories Profit Fahlgren Mortine with DHL DHL to Test Tesla Semi
PRism Interactive/Digital PR: Audio or Video Programs Non-Profit Friendship Village of Dublin with FrazierHeiby Showcasing Life in Perfect Balance Through Online Videos
PRism Interactive/Digital PR: Email Blast Non-Profit City of Dublin Dublin Irish Festival Black Friday Ticket Promotion
Award of Excellence Interactive/Digital PR: Email Blast Non-Profit Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau Destination Dublin E-Travel Club
PRism Interactive/Digital PR: Video News Release Non-Profit MediaSource with The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Video Drives Thousands of Patient Inquiries to Hospital
Award of Excellence Interactive/Digital PR: Video News Release Non-Profit City of Dublin Communications & Public Information Cruiser Conversations
PRism Interactive/Digital PR: Websites Non-Profit Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Award of Excellence Interactive/Digital PR: Websites Non-Profit Team Fleisher Communications with Eastway Behavioral Healthcare Eastway's New Website
PRism Interactive/Digital PR: Websites Profit RMD Advertising with Southern Recipe Pork Rind Appreciation Day
PRism Media Relations Business to Business Non-Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Niagara Falls USA Where Adventure Comes Naturally- Niagara Falls USA Media Relations Program
Award of Excellence Media Relations Business to Business Non-Profit Site Selectors Guild and FrazierHeiby Site Selectors Guild Placement in The Wall Street Journal
PRism Media Relations Business to Business Profit Belle Communications with Enevo Benefits Beyond the Dumpster: Enevo Helps Change the Conversation About Waste Management
Award of Excellence Media Relations Business to Business Profit Fahlgren Mortine with DHL DHL Transport Brokerage Name Change Announcement
PRism Media Relations Consumer Products and Services Non-Profit Fahlgren Mortine with COSI COSI Sees Dinosaur-Sized Results with Targeted PR
Award of Excellence Media Relations Consumer Products and Services Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with Butler County Visitors Bureau National Donut Day
PRism Media Relations Consumer Products and Services Profit AEP Ohio with FrazierHeiby Helping Our Neighbors in Florida
Award of Excellence Media Relations Consumer Products and Services Profit RMD Advertising with Graeter's Ice Cream Chunky Chunky Hippo Launch
PRism Online Communications: Blogs Non-Profit Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau Dublin CVB Blog
PRism Online Communications: Other Profit Fahlgren Mortine with CIRCOR Reliability Systems  Off-Roading the Product Roadshow: Increasing Awareness of RS Products
PRism Op-Ed Columns and Byline Articles Non-Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Coalition for American Electronics Recycling Refocusing Debate Through a Capitol Hill Op-Ed
Award of Excellence Op-Ed Columns and Byline Articles Non-Profit Jaron Terry Communications with PRSA Tactics A Singular They: Breaking Down AP Stylebook's New Rules on Gender
PRism Op-Ed Columns and Byline Articles Profit Belle Communications with Enevo Enevo Challenges Restaurants to Rethink the Role of Waste in Targeted Byline Article
PRism Presentations Non-Profit City of Dublin From Typewriter to Twitter 30th Anniversary Dublin Irish Festival Presentation
Award of Excellence Presentations Non-Profit Belle Communications with CDDC CDDC Elevates the Profile of Downtown Columbus through Presentation at NLC City Summit
PRism Presentations Profit Belle Communications with Lextant Lextant's Expertise in Human Trust Leads the Autonomous Vehicles Discussion at Wards Auto UX
PRism Publications: Brochures Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau Athens County Convention and Visitors Bureau Brewed on the Bikeway Brochure
Award of Excellence Publications: Brochures Non-Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Ohio Business Roundtable Business Leadership for a Better Ohio: A 25-Year Retrospective
PRism Publications: Guides/Books Non-Profit Great Lakes Publishing with TourismOhio 2017 Ohio Travel Guide
Award of Excellence Publications: Guides/Books Non-Profit Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau 2018 Dublin Destination Guide
PRism Publications: Magazines Non-Profit Great Lakes Publishing with Ohio Humanities Pathways Magazine
Award of Excellence Publications: Magazines Non-Profit Mount Carmel College of Nursing The Lamp: Alumni/ Donor/Community Magazine
PRism Publications: Newsletters Non-Profit Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau Bureau Biz
Award of Excellence Publications: Newsletters Non-Profit Homeport @home
PRism Speeches Profit FrazierHeiby with Illuminology and Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio Generating Trust for Your Organization
PRism Social Media: Best Use of Facebook Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with Iowa Egg Council Easter 2017 Facebook Campaign
Award of Excellence Social Media: Best Use of Facebook Non-Profit State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio STRS Ohio Facebook
PRism Social Media: Best Use of Facebook Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Cardinal Health RNspire Honor: Igniting Nurses
PRism Social Media: Best Use of Twitter Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with Ohio Poultry Association #OhioTalksTurkey 2017 Twitter Party
PRism Blogger and Influencer Outreach Non-Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Wyoming Office of Tourism Wyoming Influencer Campaign Brings Tourism to Center Stage
Award of Excellence Blogger and Influencer Outreach Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with Ohio Beef Council Ohio Beef Council 2017 Blogger Event
PRism Blogger and Influencer Outreach Profit Belle Communications with Nestleí Nestleí Takes Outsiders Pizza Nationwide After Successful Influencer & Sampling Campaign
Award of Excellence Blogger and Influencer Outreach Profit MediaSource with Kilwins Dublin Kilwins Dublin Drives Brand Awareness & Sales
PRism Social Media Campaign Non-Profit Ohio Corn & Wheat with FrazierHeiby We Farm Ohio: Consumer Social Media Outreach
Award of Excellence Social Media Campaign Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with American Dairy Association Mideast June Dairy Month 2017
PRism Social Media Campaign Profit Geben Communication with Wolf's Ridge Brewing 614 Day Instagram Loop
Award of Excellence Social Media Campaign Profit The Wendy's Company Wendy's Nuggs Breaks Twitter History
PRism Special Events Non-Profit City of Dublin 30th Anniversary of the Dublin Irish Festival
Award of Excellence Special Events Non-Profit Ohio Association of County Boards with FrazierHeiby Always There 50th Anniversary Campaign
PRism Special Events Profit RMD Advertising with Graeter's Ice Cream National Ice Cream Month
Award of Excellence Special Events Profit Belle Communications with Piada Italian Street Food Piada Italian Street Food Launches Innovative Fall and Winter Menu with First-Ever Taste Tour
PRism Public Affairs Profit The Kroger Co. The Toledo Project: Turning Dissent Into Development
PRism Internal Communications Non-Profit City of Dublin Communications & Public Information “Employee Health Fair” campaign
PRism Internal Communications Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Vertiv Engaging Employees Through Change in Ownership and Identity
PRism Marketing Communications Business to Business Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Swisslog Swisslog Content Marketing
Award of Excellence Marketing Communications Business to Business Profit Fahlgren Mortine with IMI Hydronic Engineering Free Time Flow Campaign Launch and Trade Show
PRism Marketing Communications Consumer Products and Services Non-Profit Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau Celtic Cocktail Trail
PRism Marketing Communications Consumer Products and Services Profit MurphyEpson, Inc. with ODM/Buckeye, CareSource, Molina, Paramount, UHC Our Babies Count
Award of Excellence Marketing Communications Consumer Products and Services Profit Geben Communication with Royal Rhino Club Royal Rhino Club Launch
PRism Integrated Communications Non-Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Nevada Division of Tourism TravelNevada Bets on PR, Wins Big with Millennial Marketing
Award of Excellence Integrated Communications Non-Profit Friendship Village of Dublin with FrazierHeiby Showcasing “Your Life in Perfect Balance” in Year Two
PRism Integrated Communications Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Columbia Gas of Ohio Saving Matters: Data Drives Customer Connections During Moments That Matter
Award of Excellence Integrated Communications Profit RMD Advertising with Southern Recipe Pork Rind Appreciation Day
PRism Crisis Communications and Issues Management Non-Profit Inspire PR Group with Delaware Area Career Center Going Back to the Ballot for a Renewal Levy
PRism Crisis Communications and Issues Management Profit Geben Communication with The Parking Spot A Travel Brand's Communication during Hurricane Harvey
Award of Excellence Crisis Communications and Issues Management Profit Team Fleisher Communications with Kitrick, Lewis & Harris Fair Fatality
PRism Branding/Rebranding Non-Profit Site Selectors Guild with FrazierHeiby Elevating the Site Selectors Guild Brand
PRism Branding/Rebranding Profit Fahlgren Mortine with Midmark Corporation Point of Care Ecosystem Campaign
Award of Excellence Branding/Rebranding Profit Fahlgren Mortine with SWACO From Waste to Resources
PRism Community Relations Profit AEP Ohio with FrazierHeiby Save Energy and Score Big!
Award of Excellence Community Relations Profit Team Fleisher Communications with IGS Energy Bundle Up Campaign
PRism Corporate Social Responsibility Profit RMD Advertising with Graeter's Ice Cream Cones For The Cure
Award of Excellence Corporate Social Responsibility Profit The Wendy's Company Wendy's Partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption


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