Q&A with Karen Kacir, the Newest Addition to Our Team

April 30, 2018

by Karen Kacir

Following 11 months in Colombia as an English teacher for the Peace Corps, former intern Karen Kacir is back with the Curley & Pynn team as our newest communications specialist.

Read on to learn more about this quick-witted member of our office family.

What motivated you to pursue a career in public relations?

I’ve always been fascinated by creative storytelling.  Having come of age in the era of social media, I was drawn to businesses and nonprofits that used compelling narratives to cut through the clutter and make themselves heard.  I liked the idea of learning to communicate smarter, not louder.

What is your favorite memory of being in Colombia with the Peace Corps?

I had the chance to live with three host families during my time in Colombia.  Without a doubt, the members of my families were some of my closest friends.  One of my host moms, Gloria, has a special place in my heart – she could sense when I was having a bad day (or, could understand my broken Spanish when I tried to communicate that I was feeling down) and would brighten it up without fail.  Once, to cheer me up, she took me on a hike through the pueblo in a downpour.  When her concerned neighbors asked what she was doing, she replied that it was the perfect weather for a walk.  Her humor, kindness and indefatigable optimism stand out very clearly in my mind as a highlight of my time at site.

If you had to present on any topic without preparation, what would it be?

I could probably lead a presentation on all things related to bullet journaling, including how to make the journal itself out of printer paper, embroidery floss and a record sleeve.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Swing dancing!

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

I would want to be able to teleport and take other people with me.  Not only would it eliminate my commute, but I’d also have the ability to spend more time with my loved ones scattered around the globe.


Our Takeaways from Cision’s 2018 Global State of the Media Report

April 27, 2018

by Karen Kacir

Cision just published its 2018 Global State of the Media Report, a survey of more than 1,300 journalists’ perceptions of the media and communications industries.  Participants shared their thoughts on how communications professionals can craft pitches and press releases that won’t get ignored, the perceived trustworthiness of PR content and much more.

You can download the full report on Cision’s website.  Here are some highlights:


Five Tips for Landing Your Dream Internship

April 25, 2018

by Stefania Markowicz

My time with Curley & Pynn as an intern has come to an end, so I’d like to offer some tips for students or recent graduates looking to land a fabulous internship (hopefully this one!).

  1. Personalize your online profiles – and keep them clean.

I guarantee employers will “Google” your name during the application process, so make sure that your online profiles are clean and informative.  And, after you land the internship or job, keep updating your online presence.  Your profiles should be an authentic display of your character both in and out of the office.

  1. Try something outside your comfort zone.

Prior to joining the C&P team, I was sure I never wanted to work at an agency.  Silly me.  This was, in part, because I was nervous that I would be overwhelmed with work and deadlines.  But nerves are good – a sign that what you are doing is important.  Turns out, I really enjoyed the agency environment.  In just four months, I was exposed to a broad range of essential PR skills, from writing and research to media outreach, and those skills were applied in several different PR sectors, from high tech to tourism.  So, challenge yourself.  Walk the edge.  Diversify.  Only then, will you succeed.

  1. Pay attention to the details.

C&P juggles many client projects, which is why efficiency is important.  Before submitting them to your supervisor, make sure first drafts are as close to final as possible.  That means fact-checking your information and triple-checking your grammar and punctuation.  The same applies to internship or job application materials – it’s not a great reflection of your skills if your resume and cover letter are full of typos.

  1. Go above and beyond.

Whether you’re assigned a project at work or an assignment at school, always give 101 percent. That extra 1 percent is a testament to your effort, dedication and passion, and will set you apart when applying to top internships and jobs.

  1. Network.  Network.  Network.

Those co-workers and colleagues who were impressed with your work?  Yeah, they’re going to be the people recommending you for the next opportunity.  While you might have the qualifications, nothing beats the recommendation of a former supervisor to help you land the job.  Leverage your network of school and internship contacts to learn more about possible opportunities.  The PR industry in Orlando is a small world.

These tips have served me well in securing five internships along the way to pursuing my bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Central Florida.  As my journey continues with just two more semesters to complete, the next step is to determine which career path I’ll pursue.

After experiencing this internship program, C&P might just be part of my path.

The last four months I’ve spent at C&P have exceeded all my expectations.  I’m leaving this internship as a better communicator, all because of the incredible (and quirky) team here.


Death

April 17, 2018

by Roger Pynn

One thing you can look forward to when you die is that you won’t have to read the news.  After all, it is pretty depressing.

However, one thing you won’t read about is something many find depressing while they are still alive … death.

After monkeying with their publication of the news of death back in 2013 when it did away with the tradition of printing “Deaths in Central Florida,” the Orlando Sentinel brought back a limited version … but instead of treating it like news, they charged for even the simple three-line notices that include the deceased’s name, age, city and the name of their funeral home so friends could at least call to inquire about funeral services.

Last week they simply buried the whole thought that the dearly departed might matter to the paper’s readers, trading the space for large display ads.  The classified ad department told me that the average obituary takes up 36 lines at a cost of $505.  They do have a handy tool that allows you to write your loved one’s story, paste the text into a template and find out what it will cost … if you don’t die from the sticker shock yourself.

I’m an old news hound.  I made my living as a journalist for a long time.  I wrote a lot of obits in my day.  And I’ve read them every day of my life ever since … not out of morbid curiosity, but because if a friend has passed, I want to know it.  My bet is that I’m not unlike a lot of people … especially when they reach their 60s and 70s and going to funerals becomes a more routine part of life.

A quick check at OrlandoSentinel.com/opinion/letters doesn’t seem to show it, but the print edition has had at least a couple of passionate letters to the editor on this subject, including this:

I understand it costs a lot to run a newspaper.  It also costs to lose subscribers … whether it is due to their death or the disgust of families who dump their subscriptions … offended by decisions like this that choke every last dime out of the readers that real advertisers are trying to reach.


Five Questions with Ellie Hodgkins

March 6, 2018

by Ellie Hodgkins

Ellie Hodgkins joined us just three weeks ago as a communications specialist and has already become an integral member of the team.  An experienced producer and supervisor for the Home Shopping Network and marketing consultant for Art & History Museums – Maitland, Ellie offers expertise in marketing communications, event planning, merchandising and business development.

Read on to learn more about Ellie, a passionate philanthropist and proud UCF Knight:

What motivated you to pursue a career in public relations?

As a born communicator, I’ve found that public relations is a perfect fit. Very often, I am an unwitting influencer to friends and family when products, actions and innovations excite me.  Why not do that professionally?  What interests me most about this industry is uncovering the underlying motivations behind communication and endorsing worthwhile community efforts.

Is this what you wanted to do when you were little?  If not, what did you want to do when you were little?

My first ambition was to be a mountain-climbing ballerina, but as fate would have it, I’m not very coordinated.  After that, I wanted to be a greeting card writer or product demonstrator.  The latter was realized when I worked for the Home Shopping Network and got to produce demonstration segments.  My foray into television led to an interest in documentary film-making, a passion I continue to pursue in my free time. Now, my career path has come full-circle; understanding what makes someone tick is at the heart of both documentaries and public relations.

What’s one fun fact about you that most people don’t know?

I am allergic to cold.  Yes, the temperature.  I guess that means I’m a Florida girl through and through!

If we looked in your office drawer, what would we find?

Notebooks, folders and snacks.  I’m extremely organized.  And hungry.

If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?

There are so many feminist icons who would fit the bill, but at the end of the day, I’d have to say John Waters.  He is not only a director, comedian, author and artist whom I admire, but his work has pushed boundaries and opened the door to a more inclusive world.


Tide: A Swift and Clean Response to the #TidePodChallenge

February 9, 2018

by Bailey Morris

You know you have a PR crisis on your hands when the CEO of your organization has to talk about teenagers eating laundry pods on the weekly earnings call.

Nowadays when a brand faces a PR crisis, it’s regular procedure to take to their social media channels and address the issue head-on.  And before Tide tackled all of their competition in their quirky, bait-and-switch Super Bowl ads, they were keeping plenty busy tackling conversations about the “Tide Pod Challenge” on social media.

Like other daft internet challenges before its time, (“The Cinnamon Challenge,” “The Bath Salt Challenge,” etc.) the “Tide Pod Challenge” took the internet by storm, as teens began filming themselves biting into the brand’s laundry detergent pods and spewing soap everywhere – or worse, ingesting it.

We’re all about innovative solutions here at Curley & Pynn, and when we saw Tide’s creative response to the situation at hand, we had to write a blog post about it.

Instead of just posting a tweet that read, “Tide Pods are not meant for consumption.  If consumed please call poison control immediately,” Tide created a brief, funny PSA with New England Patriots’ tight-end Rob Gronkowski and posted it on their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Right now, the tweet has about 98,000 re-tweets and boasts about 10 million views – and that doesn’t even take into account the 286,000 views on YouTube and 164,000 views on Facebook!  They found a way to get their message across that it’s absurd to eat Tide Pods, but doing it in a comical way.

But why the larger amount of views on Twitter?  My theory is that it could be due to the Tide Pod Challenge originating on Twitter, and that’s where Tide knew most of their teen audience was posting about the challenge … but that’s another blog post for another time.

At the end of the day, it’s about remembering that public relations is “people relations.”  Tide can’t control what able-minded individuals do with their product – all they can do is tell them that it’s ludicrous, and that they shouldn’t do it.

So why not have a little fun with it?  After all, 10 million video views is nothing to sneeze at.  Unless you have laundry soap in your nose – then you might need to sneeze.


A Lesson from College Football: the Camera is Always On

January 4, 2018

by Katie Gomes

For many Americans, the holiday season is synonymous with college football.  From bowl games to playoffs, there are numerous opportunities to kick back and relax, and watch America’s favorite sport.  Last week, college football also provided an opportunity for America to learn a valuable lesson in public relations when University of Texas’ head football coach, Tom Herman, was caught mocking University of Missouri’s quarterback, Drew Lock … on national television.

As a Missouri native and fan of Mizzou, our 33-16 loss to the Longhorns was a shame to see, but even worse was Herman’s disrespectful gesture, waltzing along the sideline while imitating Lock’s touchdown celebration move.

Not only did he exhibit poor sportsmanship, but he also encouraged the team to join.  Before the display ended, fans were already reacting on social media, either in disgust or in defense of Herman’s actions.

Whether he meant to openly taunt Mizzou or was genuinely caught red-handed, what Coach Herman quickly learned was a lesson we often teach in Curley & Pynn’s Message Matrix® program: “assume the cameras are always rolling.”

But wait … there’s more:  role models should model the best behavior.

Here’s to hoping other teams take note as they prepare to compete in the championship game next week.


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