Practicing professionalism and ethics with working with Connections for Life: MorphPR learns what it takes to be successful practitioners

By: Erin Caruso

As my last semester of being an LSU Manship student comes to a close, my group and I reflect on everything we have learned about public relations professionalism and ethics. The PRSA Code of Ethics and professional values have been engraved in our brains for the duration of our time in the Manship school, and we finally get to put them to use during this campaigns class.

Image via: http://bit.ly/1ICOHT7
Image via: http://bit.ly/1ICOHT7

At MorphPR, we have been diligently working toward creating a one-year public relations campaign for the local nonprofit organization Connections for Life. We have set goals and objectives we are determined to meet and have followed through with all strategies and tactics to make our campaign successful. A large part of having a successful campaign relies on public relations professionalism and the code of ethics.

I speak for all the members of MorphPR when I say that we have definitely grown and learned a lot about professionalism during this campaign. Professional values are vital to any profession, especially public relations. The professional values provide the foundation for the code of ethics, and having a set of core values help guide us in the decision making process and our behaviors. A few professional values I believe we exhibit at MorphPR are advocacy and independence.

As public relations practitioners, we have to believe in what we are advocating. Before we could be strong advocates for the Connections for Life program, we had to research and learn about it first. Research not only allowed us to gain knowledge about the program, but it also gave us an emotional connection. Once we strongly believed in the program, we became strong advocates and made it our responsibility to reach out to the Baton Rouge community to share information about the wonderful nonprofit.

Independence is something MorphPR experiences everyday. This class has allowed us to work closely with a client and forces us to be held accountable for our actions. This service-learning course has tremendously helped us prepare for the real world because it forces us to become independent. For example, last week we were running behind on printing business cards for our Earth Day event. Since this issue was our fault, and not the clients, MorphPR had to pay for the rush shipping costs. Although it was a mistake on our part, it was a great learning experience for all of us because it was a real life experience and it reminded us we needed to be more independent and responsible.

Erin Caruso is the MorphPR event director. Get connected with her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter. Connections for Life invites you to celebrate 15 years of empowering women to improve our community. Join us for a night at Mount Hope Plantation on Tuesday, April 28th from 7-9pm. Click here to purchase tickets.

Public Relations Strategies and Connections for Life: Getting the Message Across

By: Courtney Costello

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Image via: http://bit.ly/1Bp5YtF

As public relations practitioners, our job is to further our clients goals and objectives while positively promoting their business overall. In a way, we act as a guide on their journey to success. In order to do this, we carry out a series strategies and tactics for the client. For example, at MorphPR we have created a strategic message plan and media timeline to ensure our client, Connections for Life, is promoted to the public in a positive and effective way.

However, this is easier said than done.

The plan created by the public relations firm, in this case MorphPR, must be constructed strategically to not only be effective, but be setup in a way that their client, Connections for Life, breaks from the clutter and stands out. To guarantee this, here are a few strategies PR practitioners can use:

  1. Do your homework.

 Before you can begin formulating a message plan for your client, you must first understand your client. This means knowing your clients mission, history and goals, so you can make informed decisions in regards to your client. For example, Connections for Life’s mission is to aid in the rehabilitation of women who have recently been released from prison and are reentering society. MorphPR after learning of their client’s mission could then begin to draft a strategic message that encompassed the organization’s mission. Along with being fully knowledgeable of your client’s mission, it’s important to know your clients history and your client’s competition. This way, you can create a strategic message that is original and does not conflict with past campaigns, or overlaps with your competitions messaging.

  1. Know your campaign goals.

Who does your client want to target? Who is your customer? What are you trying to achieve? These are all important questions you should answer in regards to your campaign, in order to carry out an effective message strategy. At MorphPR, we met with Connections for Life on several occasion to find out their areas of concern and overall goals. One was to strengthen the association between their thrift store and the program it directly supports. Therefore, we decided as a firm we must create a strategy that would not only urge people to shop at the thrift store, but to give them incentive to shop at the thrift store. In other words, we think an effective strategy would be tapping into the customer’s emotion and showing them their dollars can directly change someone’s life. Therefore, having a grasp on what your client wants to achieve can shape your message and give you direction when creating it.

  1. It takes more than just a news release.

In the modern day public relations landscape, it takes more than just a news release to disseminate your message to the media. Along with sending out a well-written news release, public relation firms should target media that directly relate to their target. This includes, but is not limited to, television, social media, blogs, etc. In these cases, news releases are not always appropriate. Be prepared to create media advisories, pitches and pre-planned social media posts to get your message across in the best way. In efforts to promote the Connections for Life thrift sore, MorphPR is not only sending press releases to the appropriate recieptants, but is sending pitches to local fashion bloggers to promote thrifting and where their readers can go to thrift. This is a non-traditional way to get our message across, but can prove to be an effective one. All in all, not all clients are the same, so why should the way you promote them be?

These are just a few strategies on how to effectively craft and promote a message. Being creative when creating a message for your client is key, but what is most important is to be strategic and make sure your client’s goals and objectives are being met.

Courtney Costello is the MorphPR strategy director and a senior mass communication major from New York. View her digital portfolio or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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.