MorphPR furthers professional relationship with Connections for Life, learns valuable lessons

By: Cate Brooks

The PR world is closely focused on relationships – with the public, with the media and with the client. For an agency to represent their client as best as they can, it is essential to build a strong relationship with them. OverIt, a marketing firm in New York, offers five suggestions to successfully managing the agency/client relationship: tell great stories, be able to say no, pick up the phone, find out their goals/expectations and deliver them, and deliver not great news in a great way.

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Throughout our experience thus far, we have found each of these five suggestions to ring true. To tell a great story about Connections for Life that gets people interested, we must discover what we ourselves find compelling about the organization. Each member of our team comes from a different background, so what touches me may be different from what intrigues someone else. By combining our different reasons why Connections for Life interests us, we will be able to effectively touch a large portion of our key public.

Furthermore, we have learned the importance of learning what the client expects and wants. The MorphPR team has a great deal of drive and truly wants to help Connections for Life, so we tend to make lofty goals. By meeting with the client and discussing her needs, we have narrowed down what is most important to the organization at this point in time. Based on Connections for Life’s needs, we will be creating collateral materials including a new brochure and an e-newsletter template.

As in any relationship, it is a two-way street. While it is the job of a public relations practitioner to serve their client as the client sees fit, one must not forget that there are certain obligations the client should abide by as well.

Another important aspect pertaining to relationships in public relations is stewardship. According to author Kathleen Kelly, there are four elements that make up stewardship: reciprocity, responsibility, reporting and relationship building. MorphPR strives to practice stewardship by fulfilling our promises to the client and the public, continuously communicating with the client and keeping them updated on any changes, and expressing our deep appreciation for what our key public does for us and Connections for Life.

Cate Brooks is a senior mass communication major from Roswell, Ga. Connect with her on LinkedIn or view her digital portfolio to learn more about her.

Practicing Professional Values and Competencies: Exhibiting Honor and Integrity while Working with Connections for Life

By: Erin Caruso

Over the course of our college careers as LSU Manship students, we have been taught countless times the importance of ethics in the workforce. As public relations professionals, it is our duty to uphold the honor and integrity of the profession. The values that set the public relations industry standard had been engraved in our brain for years, and now it is finally time to put them to use. I am Erin Caruso, a senior majoring in mass communication, and alongside my group members, we form the public relations agency, MorphPR.

At MorphPR our mission is change. We seek to transform public perceptions through strategic planning and intentional messaging for nonprofit organizations. We strive to assist organizations in building positive relationships within the community and in achieving their overall goals. At MorphPR, we are determined to create a one-year public relations campaign for the nonprofit organization Connections for Life. In doing so, we will follow the PRSA professional values and competencies. Since it’s only the beginning of our campaign, we have not yet encountered all six professional values. However, a few that we have experienced are advocacy, expertise and independence.

We are responsible advocates and represent Connections for Life in all facades. Our goal is to inform the Baton Rouge community of the association between the thrift store and the Connections for Life program, doing so will require us to be strong advocates for the organization. We need to be the positive voice for Connections for Life, and following the PRSA professional values helps us to do so.

We finally get to put everything we learned over the course of three years in mass communication classes to use and show off our expertise. We have the advantage of learning while simultaneously working with the client, which I believe to be a great learning experience. We are able to put our knowledge to use and work in real life experiences, which will prepare us for the public relations profession.

A large part of working with a client in our campaigns class is independence. We are held accountable for our actions, which adds to our hands-on experience. Utilizing the PRSA values is real life experience that will only improve our work ethic and prepare us for the future. I cannot wait to utilize all the PRSA professional values and competencies during this campaign and in the future. I believe that this campaign we will provide us with much knowledge and experience for our future professions.

Image via: http://bit.ly/1AmxMkP
Image via: http://bit.ly/1AmxMkP

We encourage you to visit the Connections for Life thrift store located in Baton Rouge in efforts to support the program. You can visit the website for more information. Also, keep up with MorphPR and what we plan to do with Connections for Life by following my Twitter.

How to show expertise in your field: the MorphPR experts gain new insights from Connections for Life

By: Shaunda Johnson

Keep Calm I'm An Expert
Image via: http://bit.ly/1EUisQw

As graduating seniors, the MorphPR staff are well versed in the subject of public relations. We have spent numerous years cultivating our writing, thinking, research and deadline orientation/ organization skills both in and out of the classroom. We express our thoughts about goal setting and information evaluation through our writing. We conduct research to find answers to problems, while holding ourselves accountable for deadlines and remaining organized. MorphPR has the public relations expertise that Connections for Life needs. However, does MorphPR have the nonprofit expertise needed to create a one–year campaign for Connections for Life

Public relations professionals need to know more than just public relations; they need to know anything and everything about their client’s industry. According to the article “Business Plan: Analyzing Your Industry,” we had to start with an industry overview. We needed information about the organization’s industry, about the community the organization is a part of and about the organization itself. As we began to access our knowledge of Connections for Life’s industry, we began to evaluate the meaning of being an expert in that industry.

In 2010 ipwatchdog.com released an article titled “How to Show People You Are an Expert in Your Industry.” The article includes six steps on how to increase your credibility in your industry, with number one being specialize your brand. MorphPR commits to this rule through its mission of providing public relations service to non-profits; we never claim, “We can do it all.” However, we also make it a point to be experts in the non-profit sector that Connections for Life’s is in. In order to create effective messaging, we need to know what and whom we are talking to.

Once MorphPR establishes itself as Connections for Life experts, we can skip down to steps five and six on the article list. We have to get writing and get published. No one can tell you about Connections for Life better than the MorphPR team, because we are the experts. Writing and getting published are the best ways MorphPR can show our client’s industry that we know what we are talking about.

Image via: http://bit.ly/1CPtdS5

Being an expert according to “3 Ways to Become the Go-To Expert in Your Field,” means establishing yourself as an author. MorphPR plans to capitalize on that advice by telling the story of the women Connections for Life has helped and also explain the purpose of the organization’s thrift store.

At MorphPR we take our dedication to our client and becoming experts in their industry very seriously, which is why we dug deep to understand everything about Connections for Life. We look forward to combining our public relations expertise with our client’s industry expertise to create an effective one-year campaign that will take Connections for Life to the next level.

Shaunda Johnson is a senior mass communication major from Atlanta, Ga. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more about her.

Service-Learning Experience: Connecting our Experiences, Skills and Passions with Local Nonprofit, Connections for Life

By Cate Brooks

Three and a half years of countless classes, internships and long hours in the lab have brought us to the final stretch – the Public Relations Campaigns course at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. Some of us have been looking forward to this course, some of us have been dreading it and some of us had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we walked into the first class. So here we are, six mass communication seniors: myself, Courtney Costello, Amber Mason, Kelli Griffin, Erin Caruso and Shaunda Johnson. Together we form MorphPR, a public relations agency with a focus in integrated communications. At MorphPR, our mission is change. We strive to influence public perception through strategic planning and intentional messaging.

Our Public Relations Campaigns course, taught by Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple, is both a service-learning and communication-intensive course. LSU offers an amazing opportunity for professors to take learning outside the classroom and help students gain a sense of civic responsibility through these service-learning classes, and the results of service learning are proven for students of all ages.  I am excited for the service-learning component of this course because I know that the work that I produce with my agency will benefit someone else. Furthermore, working with a real-life client will give each of us an opportunity to work on our client relationship skills.

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This semester we are partnering with Connections for Life to create a full communications campaign aimed at meeting the organization’s specific needs. This local nonprofit helps rehabilitate women who have recently been released from incarceration, providing support and encouragement to help these women transition from dependence to independence. Studies have shown that rehabilitation programs significantly reduce the number of repeat offenders. This statistic shows that a program to help women in this situation is desperately needed, especially in Louisiana where the incarceration rate is the highest in the nation.

We are determined to tell a story, to connect people in the Baton Rouge community with Connections for Life and to help them understand that the women in the program are no different from themselves. Public relations practitioners can pour information out to their audience and media, but this information only truly takes hold when there is a compelling story behind it. With Courtney C. as our strategy director, Amber M. as our research director, Kelli G. as our writing director, Erin C. as our event director, Shaunda J. as our design director and myself as account executive, we are confident that we can work with Connections for Life to create a captivating story that encourages the local community to support this life-changing program.

We look forward to the rest of this semester and to this campaign with excitement and passion. Follow us on this journey, and stay updated on Connections for Life through their Facebook page. Now is our time to make a difference in our community through the skills that our Manship education has given us, and we’re ready.

Cate Brooks is a senior mass communication major from Roswell, Ga. Connect with her on LinkedIn or view her digital portfolio to learn more about her.