Category Archives: Public Relations

Employees a Potential PR Risk?

In a world dominated by real-time social media, it’s almost impossible to monitor everything being said about your brand. Businesses must be laser-focused in their efforts to prevent potential public relations crises before they catch fire. Inevitably when something does happen, responding quickly is crucial in keeping things from going up in flames. But what happens if your own employees are the ones setting the fires?

Barneys New York, an upscale clothing retailer based in New York City, had to deal with exactly that. Last week, one of the brand’s interns committed a major fashion flub by accidentally posting this to Barney’s some 200,000 Facebook fans:

“Beyond livid. Studied my ass off for my exam, and when I got to the test did the first 5, and ran out of time having to frantically guess all of the rest. Who gives 21 accounting word problems to be done in an hour??! Fml:(”

BarneysNY Facebook Page


As social media becomes further integrated into the lives of employees, the risks can begin to negatively affect the workplace. Employees are brand ambassadors, and those in communications especially must be apt in using the tools of social media. A small mistake like this can be damaging to a major brand’s image. Maybe it’s time we start thinking twice about giving the job of communicating with hundreds of thousands of consumers to an intern. Yes we all make mistakes, and as a college student I have made plenty of them. That’s not the point here. Businesses need to understand the power of social media and why it is so important to entrust the brand’s reputation with those who understand the complexities of the medium and its impact.


Here are a few points to consider when staffing communications positions:

  • Hire someone with a public relations degree. More, hire someone with extensive social media experience who is qualified to handle such an important and integral part of the company brand.
  • Provide training classes or a mentoring system for interns and those professionals to whom you plan on asking to engage the public through social media.
  • Know what you are looking for. What are the job responsibilities? What is expected of the employee and who will they report to? It can be argued that those in social media are accountable to the entire company, but developing an accountability structure will help prevent communication mistakes.


The potential for mini public relations crises are greater now than ever before. In the unforgiving world of social media, word travels fast, and your brand’s reputation can be impacted even faster. What advice can you give to brands who staff social media positions with interns? Have you ever accidentally posted something on your workplace’s Facebook wall?

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Breaking through the noise: Graphic Design vs. Public Relations

Every day we are blasted by a blizzard of messages, advertisements and information. So how does one working in public relations or graphic design identify, analyze and break through the noise with creative ideas and strategies? The convergence of these professions creates a necessary collaboration and sharing of skills between the two.


Why work together?

Dick Pirozzolo, principal of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations, believes that adapting a skill set with critical thinking is imperative to beat the competition.

“Too often, PR professionals focus on media relations, speaking engagements, white papers, bylined articles and other reputation-building efforts, without fully incorporating the Website into the public relations program.”

Graphic designers possess knowledge in website coding and design, video and page editing programs, photography and animation. Public relations specialists must embrace and integrate these skills into their own ideas if they are to remain competitive.

Graphic designers often ignore the art of writing; something public relations specialists recognize is essential to the success of clear communication.

“You can write something,” Pirozzolo says. “This does not take a journalism degree.” Graphic designers “ought to be able to write a breaking news story in less than 30 minutes–not perfectly, but getting most of the basics such as determining what facts are important, spelling names correctly and grammar.”

Graphic designers must learn to follow current events, be aware of their surroundings, and adapt quickly.


We must be advocates for one another.

Design in the round vs. Design dictated down

A public relations specialist may not be an expert in color theory, or a graphic designer may not be an expert in relationship building, but understanding each other’s process is crucial. Working together to learn about a target audience, asking questions, and sharing perspectives will help both graphic designers and public relations specialists become better communicators and succeed in their message goals. After all, isn’t that what both want?


Don’t Mess with the Brand

The impact of poor communication betGap logo changeween graphic design and public relations professionals is apparent by the not-so-long-ago Gap clothing store gaffe. On Oct. 5, 2010, Gap swapped their decades-old white-on-navy blue logo without saying a word. The new logo provoked a firestorm of criticism from the advertising and design industry, angering fans, and inciting thousands of negative comments online. One week later, Gap withdrew its redesigned logo. One has to wonder if the communications departments took any time at all to collaborate. Not only did Gap fail to reach out to its primary publics before the initial rollout, but Gap also failed to recognize the consequences of changing something as prominent as a logo. If Gap’s public relations and graphic design team had been working together, the fiasco could have been avoided.

If words lack dynamic visuals, or imagery lacks a clear voice, then the impact of a message becomes cloudy and is tuned out by a media-saturated society. The professions of graphic design and public relations must partner together to achieve clear and concise communication of a client’s goals and objectives.

We live in a world where appearances can make or break the future of a business, where trends change constantly, and fresh ideas are in high demand. Communication professionals must be aware of these changes, and possess the adaptability and imagination to stay ahead. The only way to do so is to do it together.

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