Basic tips for emerging designers

By: Dylan Lawson

At the end of the day your client has hired you to make their design for them so don’t be afraid to incorporate your own vision.

Design is something that can often be seen everywhere you look; be it phone, billboard, or even a scrap of paper stuck to your car. It’s something that we sometimes hardly think about, yet has been crucial to the success of some of the most powerful organizations on the planet. It’s kinda a big deal, and I’d like to share some simple tips for anyone looking to try their hand at creating a design.

Planning and The Process

So this may seem obvious, but it’s important to know what you want to accomplish in the first place. When starting a project you won’t immediately know every little detail you want to incorporate, so it’s a good idea to start brainstorming what you want to include. Furthermore, it’s imperative that you record every idea you can come up with no matter how small or insignificant, even if it’s just three words on a sticky note. You never know when those three words will be the answer to a huge problem you can no longer solve since you threw away that note and can’t remember what they are anymore! It’s just a bad idea to try and keep everything in your head, Because you can never guarantee you’ll remember it later. 

It’s also important to understand that not everything will, or even should, go to plan. When actually in the moment of putting your plan into action, you may come up with an Idea on the spot or find a limitation you’ll need to work around. It’s very important to be flexible.

Color

In regards to actual design elements, it’s also important to understand the impact color has over people’s perception. Each and every shade will elicit different emotional responses depending on a whole host of circumstances. For example, according to incredibleart.org the color green can evoke a feeling of nature and the environment, or envy and sickness depending where the color is (such as a tree vs. a person “looking a little green”). Similarly the color red can be associated with bravery and passion, yet it can also be negatively linked to fire, blood, and overall danger. 

Hierarchy

Another big aspect of design is hierarchy, the way our eyes are drawn to the piece. As with all art, a design, no matter how complex or simplistic, is composed of different parts. Pieces will always have different levels of importance according to placement, size difference, and even color choice. But regardless it’s always important to control the way information is given to the viewer. Even in cases where you don’t think hierarchy will be a contributing factor, it’s important to look at the hierarchy beyond your design. For example: how does a logo look on packaging as opposed to in a magazine, what about on social media? In almost every case, a design is never solitary and will need to coexist with other elements, so steps should be taken to make sure it is complimented rather than hindered.

Client input

Finally it’s important to consider the circumstances behind the design, specifically whether or not it’s being created for a client. For one, frequent and detailed communication is incredibly important. You are attempting to process something another person is visualizing. Not to mention that different clients will have different levels of understanding over what they want, which can be incredibly precise or imprecise. Consistently staying in contact and receiving feedback is necessary to make sure everyone is on the same page. At the end of the day your client has hired you to make their design for them so don’t be afraid to incorporate your own vision (otherwise they would have done it themselves).

Pitching Media in Unsettling Times

By Marlyn Angeles

With a large majority of students and employees working remotely, people have much more time on their hands to read subscription magazines and catch up on their favorite blogs. However, many businesses are struggling to keep their brand and product in the eyes of potential clients. Pitching brands is a very necessary but risky tactic during the pandemic. An example of how one can come off tone deaf during sensitive times is David Geffen’s salutation Instagram post from his escape to the Grenadines on his reported $590 million yacht to avoid the coronavirus. He received backlash from users through both Instagram and Twitter that found the post insensitive to the fact that many are facing unemployment and businesses are suffering while he was able to escape the virus. 

Lauren Reed, the founder of Reed Public Relations, a firm in Nashville with dining, tourism and fitness clients, asserts that “How brands appear to the world during this pandemic could impact how people see them for years to come, good and bad.”

Media pitching is crucial for companies to keep business afloat and in turn helps the economy when it is being hit hard. Before diving into how to pitch media during the pandemic, I want to define what pitching is. Simply put, a media pitch is a short, personalized message that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. It is an attempt to get a journalist, editor or media outlet interested in your news so they decide to cover it. It is usually 150 words long but can reach up to 400 words. There is a thin line between being relevant and insensitive, so it is important that you keep the following tips in mind to create a good pitch during this time. Spin Sucks highlights these tips in a blog by Michael Smart: Five Ways to Successfully (and Sensitively) Pitch Media Right Now.

Who are you pitching to?

In a struggle to keep brand relevance, it is important that you focus on who or which media outlet will publish a story that promotes your brand while addressing the public’s needs. Aim to target the right journalist that will help maintain your brand or company in the public’s eye in a setting that is relevant to your brand. Pitching a new line of makeup cosmetics may be more relevant to the editor of a fashion publication than a New York Times reporter. . It is important to note that your pitch and topic don’t have to be specifically COVID-19 focused, such as Dove’s Courage is Beautiful campaign. Staying within a relevant media organization helps your brand blend in.

Location of where you’re pitching

Many cities around the country are following guidelines regarding COVID-19 activities. Confirmed cases are the biggest indicator of whether restaurants or other establishments can open their doors. Targeting publications in states that have loosened restrictions could help reach your target audience whereas promoting in a more restricted area may limit opportunities. Pitching your travel company’s list of best places to visit in a city where people are barely leaving their homes may not be the smartest. Where the media outlet you are trying to reach is located is just as important as which  type of media organization you choose. 

Strengthening core pitching skills 

While it is important to strategize, empathize and plan out how your company will come off as relevant and sensitive during a pandemic, sharpening your pitching skills will help you navigate this challenge. Muckrack states the importance of how you contact journalists and at what time during the day. In a survey conducted by Muckrack, 93% of journalists just want to receive a 1:1 email pitch from a PR agency or company. About 65% of journalists prefer to be pitched before 11 am. Results also demonstrated the top three reasons journalists reject otherwise relevant pitches; lack of personalization, bad timing and being too lengthy. PR professionals should keep it short at about 2-3 paragraphs but also personalize why your story fits that specific writer and the publication itself.  Use these tips when you organize your next media pitch and dissolve the chances of an insensitive post backfiring on you and your company.

A Starting Point for Company Culture

By Clare Brady

One of the keys to a healthy company is its culture. If employees feel valued, included and engaged, it’s likely it will be reflected in the quality of their work. Looking at today’s workforce, employment and company relationships are changing. Taking the time to create a solid, consistent workplace culture not only makes your employees feel valued, but can also save the company money.

According to a recent study done by The Engagement Institute, disengaged employees can cost companies up to $550 billion a year and 95% of the study’s 1,500 respondents reported feeling disengaged with their company. 

What can a company do to create a healthy company culture? 

Create a Clear Mission Statement 

This will be the foundation for all employees. It defines the purpose and intended path the company is taking to reach their goals. Being united behind a strong mission statement is the first step in assuring everyone is connected and motivated.

Define Core Values 

Similar to a mission statement, the core values of a company will be the building blocks of a strong company culture. Values such as honesty, innovation, respect and many more are all great examples. These have a unique function in defining the company’s brand. With the right set of core values, companies can attract and keep talented employees. Indeed.com lists thirty-six core values here.

Write a Company Culture Statement

If the mission statement and the core values are the foundation, then the company culture statement is the framework of the house. This is a simple statement that encompaces how employees live out the mission statement and core values of the company. Examples of this include, “people first” or “learn more.”

Hold everyone accountable

Creating and maintaining a set of expectations for employees takes some time. There will be a learning curve for new employees, but once they understand what is expected of them, they will eventually lead by example as the company grows. It’s inevitable that people will make mistakes and an appropriate, constructive response to those mistakes is something else employees will learn. 

Be Consistent

It’s important for leadership and management to stand by the company’s mission statement, core values and culture statement, so that employees can continue to have an example to follow. This will ensure employees feel valued and encouraged to do their best work. 

When done well, the work to create a good company culture has great benefits. Maryville University shares that a strong culture improves the reputation of a company, promotes employee retention and increases productivity. We all work together, why not make it a positive experience?

Four PR Lessons I Learned Studying Abroad

By Chase McDaniel

When I embarked on my journey overseas, I did not know that my experience would not only make me a more well-rounded person, but also a better public relations student! 

Studying overseas has many fantastic benefits. From experiencing new cultures, trying new things, and making friends from around the world, it’s no wonder why students are so eager to set foot abroad. When I embarked on my journey to The Hague, the Netherlands, I did not know that my experience would not only make me a more well-rounded person, but also a better public relations student. 

Teamwork makes the dream work

Teamwork is a significant part of university culture in the Netherlands. Professors have their students complete a ton of group projects throughout the semester, so team involvement is crucial. At the university I attended, they require all 120 plus exchange students to take a Dutch Culture and Society course. In this class, the university pairs you with seven other exchange students, all from different countries. The course forces you to leave the comfort of your home country friends and work with new faces from across the globe. I worked with students from Russia, the Netherlands, France, Portugal, and Malaysia and can now call many of them friends. As a team, we worked on multiple group projects throughout the semester, experienced field trips, and presented our work for a final project. This trip showed me what excellent teamwork looks like. When a group works together as a team and plays to each member’s strengths, it allows for a more manageable and enjoyable time. It also set the standard for my future groups in PR classes and has ultimately made me a better leader across campus and in those groups.

Plan, Plan, Plan!

Planning is one of the most vital steps in the public relations process and is just as important to your travels abroad. Planning a trip abroad requires a lot of time and patience, where you have to spend hours on research, ticket buying and itinerary building. For my Dutch Culture and Society course, I had to plan a group field trip. For this field trip, I had to research relevant places to go, the best modes of transport, the cost of tickets and any other key factors necessary for a successful trip. I had to ensure that we stayed within budget and allotted a time where everyone could attend. Overall, the field trip was a success, and my group members commended me for the great time we had! Planning this field trip and other trips gave me real-world experience in planning, and I think it deserves credit for my success later on in the workplace.

Adapt, or else!

Nothing screams getting out of your comfort zone more than being in a foreign place with strangers, a new language and a totally different way of life. So all of a sudden, simply getting through the day becomes the ultimate boot camp of accommodation. From lost luggage on my first day, a pickpocket encounter, to the language barrier, missed trains, exam troubles, and multiple banking setbacks, I had to do more than just hope that everything would turn out okay. I had to adapt. There is always an underlying sense of uncertainty present when studying in a place foreign to you. Learning to adapt is almost a requirement and shaped me as a student, traveler and global citizen. Not only that but learning this adaptability factor has allowed me to grow in my personal and professional endeavors.

Confidence is key

Agility PR argues that confidence is the top soft skill needed to succeed in PR regardless of title or how many years you have under your belt. After studying abroad, I found myself much more confident in my abilities. I was able to not only communicate better in meeting situations, but I was also more confident in myself. Being abroad makes you uncomfortable; you don’t know the language, the people, or your way around. You are forced to make connections with people you normally wouldn’t and realize that you have all these abilities you never even knew you had. Not only this but studying abroad in college is a huge selling point to distinguish you from other candidates in the hunt for a career. Having this experience is not only a confidence booster, but it’s a resume booster too! 

Ways to increase engagement with social media

By Briana Payan

Checking analytics regularly can help businesses see how many people you are reaching and what posts your audience are more likely to engage with.

One of the most powerful tools a business can use to be successful is social media. It is one the best ways to communicate with your customer on a one-on-one basis. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have features that can help business owners. These platforms help to learn more about their audience and interests in order to increase customer relationships, increase sales and build customer loyalty. 

  1.  Create social media audits

Creating a social media audit helps business owners see the big picture of what’s working and what they might want to change on their accounts. According to Hootsuite, the first step into creating an audit is finding out how many accounts your business has. Take a look at all the accounts and see what type of posts are being created. This allows you to keep track of analytics and figure out the strengths and weaknesses of all your business accounts on each specific platform. 

  1. Pay attention to analytics

Follower count is not the only thing you should be paying attention to. It helps to see how many people are interested in your business, however, if you have 1000 followers but your posts are getting less than 50 likes, it is obvious that you are not making much of an impact. Checking analytics regularly can help businesses see how many people you are reaching and what posts your audience are more likely to engage with. This also allows you to see the demographics of your audience which can help tailor your posts. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have features where creators can take a look at account analytics on the app itself.  

  1. Engage with your audience

Having that one-on-one relationship with your customer is the ultimate goal for creating these platforms. Therefore, asking questions and using specific hashtags allows your audience to keep coming back because they have a reassurance that you value their opinion as a customer. Responding to their comments also increases trust and lets them know you are not just a robot generator. This is especially important in our current time when it’s challenging not being able to have that face-to-face interaction like everyone is normally used to. 

  1. Study the algorthriums

Social media platforms all have their own set of algorithms and differentiate how they are generated. This becomes highly important when looking at the engagement of accounts. For instance, Facebook is more likely to favor friends and family posts, whereas Instagram has no preference. Knowing the way these platforms work, will help with boosts of engagement.   

  1. Follow what’s trending

Keeping an eye out for trends that you can participate in and relate to your business is important. Trends are constantly changing and social media users love to participate and engage with what is currently hot. Participating in what’s trending is a great opportunity to connect with your audience in a timely manner and keep conversations constant. Creating relatable content can increase shares which leads to a wider reach to targeted audiences.

Stress Management for online school

By: Hector Betancourt

Online school is not the end of the world and managing stress will keep you on the right track.

It’s been almost a year since the pandemic began to affect everyone globally. What we used to consider normal has been changed. School became virtual and remembering to grab a mask when we leave the house has been added in our routine. I have to say it hasn’t been easy adapting to life virtually; school is different for a lot of people. We all had what worked best for us, but now every student is experiencing the same thing: online learning. Adapting a new routine into your life is a challenge such as trying to find the best study spot, the right time to do homework or even the best lighting for Zoom calls. All these factors could lead to stress which might affect one’s ability to stay on track. Here are some tips to manage stress for online school.

Exercise

Exercising is a great way to keep your body moving after sitting for long periods of time in front of the computer. Many gyms have been impacted due to the pandemic, but even just a walk or run around the block helps to lower stress levels. Improving your mood is a great benefit when it comes to working out. Yoga, for example, is a nice way to relax your body and your mind. Home workouts are now popular, and there are tons of online resources to discover helpful videos to start incorporating fitness into your schedule. Fitting in time to exercise into your schedule is a great stress reliever for the body and a great way to stay active during these times.

Organize 

Getting and staying organized is a great skill to have when you want to declutter your life. I make sure my room is clean before I start class. Having a clean space helps me focus on the task I’m doing. Getting organized doesn’t just have to be what’s around you. For many, it can be therapeutic to organize their schedules. Creating a to-do list, updating your planner and re-organizing files on your computer can help make a difference. Stress can come from the mess that’s surrounding you. Let’s clean up that mess, throw away those empty water bottles and organize our lives. 

Ask for help

Online learning isn’t for everyone. Some learn better in person, some thrive online. Getting help isn’t the same as it was. Before, I could just walk into my professor’s office hours to talk. Now I have to share my Zoom screen so they can understand what I’m doing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It might be nerve-wracking to hop on a teacher’s link for office hours, but know that they’re there to help. Take advantage; you don’t want to stress yourself out by not asking for help. Stressing over an assignment is not fun, so let the teacher know when you have questions. Press the “raise hand” button on Zoom (or Google Meet), talk in front of the class and get that question answered. The best stress reliever is when you get that light bulb click in your brain when you figure something out.

Take breaks

I do this a lot. I need breaks. I need to clear my mind. I call them “mental breaks.” I remember my teacher in high school had no decorations in his classroom, just blank walls. Everytime we felt overwhelmed, he told us to look at the wall. “The classroom is a blank canvas for creativity,” he said. I have to admit he was right. I would look at the walls to clear my mind and it helped me re-focus. Taking breaks is an easy way for stress management. Especially after looking at a screen for hours, just sitting outside for a few minutes could help. Classrooms would give us a different learning environment, but now we might be stuck in the same environment (at home). It’s time to create new zones. Online school is not the end of the world and managing stress will keep you on the right track.

Virtual workspace time management tips

By: Emma Bumgarner

Your time as a PR pro or pro in training is valuable, so knowing how to spend it wisely is pivotal to success in the field.

As we approach nearly a year since shifting to virtual learning and remote workspaces, I feel it’s important to revisit some time-management tips. Organizing calendars and deadlines with healthy ways to balance the work-home lifestyle is already overwhelming without everything being strictly online. Your time as a PR pro or pro in training is valuable, so knowing how to spend it wisely is pivotal to success in the field. 

Use different calendars for different things

Personally, I find peace of mind in using three different types of calendars for planning; each with a slightly different purpose. Writing in a planner is a good way to keep track of daily tasks and small deadlines. Something I’ve made a habit of doing is prioritizing and listing my to-do’s and crossing them out once I’ve completed them to help make the list less daunting to look at. When it comes to weekly meetings, I turn to virtual calendars. Having a weekly layout of all my different meetings on the screen in front of me helps me to visualize my free time slots where I know I can step away from the screen. With virtual calendars, you can label the meeting type, sync the calendar between your phone and laptop, and set up notifications to remind you of your meeting starting. The final calendar I use is a wall calendar that holds birthdays, fun events and big deadlines. With this calendar hanging right by my desk, I’m able to visually see upcoming events. Giving different types of calendars different purposes ensures that I’m keeping up-to-date and prioritizing my time better. 

Start early to boost daily productivity

One way to optimize day-to-day productivity is by preparing the night before to get ahead the next day. Waking up early isn’t always easy, especially not when going from home to work or class now involves getting up out of bed and walking a few steps to your desk. Getting to bed at a reasonable time and setting a nighttime routine to help wind-down mentally and physically prepares the body for sleep, which can result in a more restful sleep and ease with awakening in the morning. An article by Meredith L. Eaton on MuckRack brings attention to limiting or turning off notifications and shutting down some social or communication platforms to help you step away. While the article itself focuses on general organizational tips for the PR pro, I like to incorporate these tips at the end of my day so I don’t feel mentally overloaded the next morning. Another thing I make a point of doing is closing all of my tabs at the end of the night and silencing my phone. When you’re able to sleep well, you can wake up easier and give yourself the needed time to get situated and feel fully prepared for the day. 

Communicate to keep yourself on track

It’s no secret that those in the PR field are often multitasking or have various tasks to attend to. Checking in with peers or colleagues about projects, simple tasks and big, hard deadlines is essential to keeping others and yourself on track. Even just sending yourself or your team a few deadline reminders can help keep the tasks at hand fresh in your mind so that you’re more likely to remember to do them. Setting deadline reminders that pop-up as notifications on your phone is also a great way to communicate to-do’s to yourself. Communicating to yourself and to others what you’ll be working on is a way to hold yourself accountable to the work you need to complete. 

How to spruce up your LinkedIn profile during your job search

By: Claire Bang

As a soon to be college graduate, the job hunt becomes a huge part of your final semester. While some of your classmates may find jobs quickly, you might find yourself struggling to figure out what you can do to improve your appearance as a qualified candidate. 

LinkedIn is one of the many free resources you have access to as a soon-to-be professional in the workplace. A profile is something that is easily customizable and can help you stand out from other candidates. In an article from LinkedIn themselves, they give you some of their main pointers on how to give your profile the makeover it deserves.

Make your headline more than just a job title

This stands out for many of us soon-to-be graduates simply because not all of us currently have jobs. Instead of writing that you’re a student at Chico State, you can alter it to display what works for you or a desired position. An example of this is “Aspiring Marketing and PR Specialist.” This allows you to be found easier when recruiters are searching for certain positions. That’s because even if you don’t currently hold the position they’re looking to hire someone for, they’ll be able to find your profile because it has the desired position listed.

If you’ve got the skills, show them off

LinkedIn currently offers more than 80 different assessments for technical, business and design skills. They offer anything from Google Analytics to Microsoft Word and so much more. These allow employers to quickly identify who has the skills they’re looking for before even needing to click on your profile.

Customize your profile with a great banner photo

We all know the first impression comes with having a professional profile image to show who you are, but another really easy way is to create your own banner showing your personality. If you need some help figuring out where to start, look to Canva where you can get creative by messing around with their templates. For me personally, my banner connects back to my professional website and matches the messaging and colors that someone would see in my online portfolio.

If you’ve got the skills, show them off

LinkedIn currently offers more than 80 different assessments for technical, business and design skills. They offer anything from Google Analytics to Microsoft Word and so much more. These allow employers to quickly identify who has the skills they’re looking for before even needing to click on your profile.

Let your personality shine through

Besides letting your personality shine through in your banner, you can also use the about section on your profile to talk about your aspirations. As a soon to be college graduate, I’ve made sure that mine includes a place where I talk about what I’m doing until I graduate. You can include items such as what you’re learning and how you’ve applied it. Mine also includes the kind of team I want to work with and how I want to help a company grow. Be creative with it, because if you’ve already followed the above steps, then this is one of the next places an employer or recruiter would look.

Ensure your experience highlights your accomplishments

This is a spot where an employer has the opportunity to see what you brought to the table in your past experiences. Instead of saying things like, “Responsible for increasing sales within the company,” use specific examples such as, “Increased company sales by 8% throughout 2020.” If you’ve worked a management position you can talk about things like how many team members you onboarded. Treat your profile as a place where you can list your highest accomplishments instead of a place to list mundane job duties.

Show your passion for learning outside of school

LinkedIn offers learning courses where you can further your education on topics you may not learn inside the classroom. They also release up-to-date courses with all the new industry knowledge. Most of the courses give you the opportunity to add a course certificate to your profile after you’ve completed a course. Some of my favorite courses are Crisis Communication, Resume Makeover, Google Ads Essential Training and Learning to Be Promotable.

Now more than ever, it’s important to make sure you are creating an impression on LinkedIn that shows you’re passionate about what you do and what you can bring to a team that is unique to you. The job hunt may seem long and daunting but I promise, you have every tool you could need to set you up for success in your career.

Why social media campaigns are even more important while we’re at home

By: Grace Gilani

The days when we regarded social media indulgence as a bad habit, or a generational flaw, are essentially gone. Instead, it has become one of the most integral aspects of modern society, particularly amid the pandemic when many of our real-world forums have disappeared.

Now more than ever our digital social media marketing skills need to be at the forefront of our strategies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, brands and companies have had to reinvent their marketing strategies to tailor them towards an almost all-digital world. Recently I realized just how important these campaigns were as I was brainstorming potential ideas for campaigns with my friends for Instagram. Even before the pandemic, our world was primarily online throughout the wide variety of social media platforms we have out there. Now, it’s hard to reach your audience when most of them are staying home. In an article by Forbes, they lay out some best practices when it comes to forming your social media strategy.

1 .Know who your audience is. 

While conducting your research you want to take into account who your target audience is and what platforms they might be using. For example, Instagram is the biggest social media platform with over one billion active monthly users. Breaking that down even further, 49 percent of their users are male while 51 percent are female. With Instagrams having such similarities there are other apps that reach more of a diverse audience, such as Twitter. Knowing who your audience is and how you want to reach it should be at the forefront of your mind. 

2. Stay up to date 

As we all change and grow throughout our day-to-day lives, it is important to keep an eye on the current trends circulating throughout the industry. As many of us are aware, all PR pros alike wake up every morning and do a news sweep and look at current trends. These trends have become increasingly popular on the fastly growing social media platform TikTok. If your company were to jump on one of these trends it would have the potential to reach millions of users and catapult your brands’ social media to a new level. 

3. Considered sponsored content 

In our world now everyone is considered an influencer if you successfully run your own Instagram account. However, knowing the difference between macro and micro-influencers is important. Many times brands will collaborate with these influencers in hopes of reaching their audience, however, macro-influencers can oftentimes come with a large price tag. If your brand is small and this is your first time experimenting with influencers, a good way to test the waters would be to use micro-influencers and assess your strategy from there by the data you collected. 

Another idea to reach your audience at home is purchasing sponsored content. By using sponsored content you are able to tailor your demographics and reach the right audience, or the one that you think could be the best for your audience. For smaller companies just $10 would suffice, it’s all about getting your brand out there. 

Even during these terrifying and uncertain times, an important thing to remember is that social media is forever, it will always be there, but remember that it can be what your brand makes of it and how you tailor it to your needs. Social media will be your best friend, especially when you look at exactly how many people use it on a daily basis. 

How to Maintain a Relationship with Your Brand and Audience

By Colby Rutledge

During these current times, building and maintaining a relationship between the brand you represent and the audience that supports is becoming tough. Especially if you want to support something people part of your brand are really invested in. Issues, such as social justice, or other serious issues, are something that some may be hesitant supporting. The best PR examples I have found are the PR teams that represent the Seattle Storm and the Los Angeles Sparks, and the PR team that represents the WNBA as a whole. 

To deal with making sure their players’ voices were heard while also making sure not to drive away fan interest, the WNBA PR teams, which includes 12 teams in the WNBA, showed support for players while educating fans who are interested in the issues that players are discussing on and off the court. The way they did this was by allowing a platform for the players’ voices with teams like the Seattle Storm and the Los Angeles Sparks advocating for change with posts to bring light to the issues. 

Photo and post by Seattle Storm from Instagram 

One of the biggest PR campaigns this year that got WNBA fans and basketball fans very interested was the Social Justice Auction by the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, which promoted auctioning off items such as signed jerseys and memorabilia by the Seattle Storm, with the proceeds going towards the fight for social justice. This was a motion brought forward by the Storm’s Force4Change campaign that started in July, and the Instagram post that went with this gained over 1,200 likes on the Seattle Storm’s Instagram, with all positive comments. 

Another thing that your brand and audience will support is to be behind a message that is easy to follow and that has a clear message. The Los Angeles Sparks helped emphasize the WNBA’s vote campaign that provided a clear message with their Twitter page highlighting the caption.

“Voting makes us stronger and we’re with you…..every vote matters. Democracy is a team sport! #TheAllianceLA’’ 

Video and post by LASparks from Twitter 

This social media post by the Los Angeles Sparks team garnered 49 likes and over 1,000 views for their video in just a six-hour span. It was one of the many ways that the WNBA and their teams got their point across, and still kept their high volume of fans interested and liking their product.

Photo by Yahoo Sports and post by Chicago Sky from Twitter 

Another key thing to remember when it comes to maintaining the relationship with your brand and your audience is to make sure to respond the right way if someone criticizes what your brand is, or its message that it is presenting. A case in point with the WNBA is during their peaceful protest of racial injustice in which they were criticized harshly by Atlanta Dream co-owner and Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler for their peaceful protests prior to the WNBA game’s start time. Instead of getting upset, all of the WNBA teams created social media posts about it, like the Chicago Sky’s Twitter page using the Twitter caption of “ Don’t boo…Vote” with the hashtag “#Vote2020,’’. 

With those posts, all of the WNBA teams also showed support to one of Loeffler’s political opponents this election season, Atlanta pastor and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock. This post resulted in over 8,000 likes’, and over 1,000 people tweeting about it, creating a positive conversation on the issue. 

Photo and post by the WNBA  from Facebook

The final point in how to maintain a relationship between your brand and your audience is to show that the head of your brand supports people that are most important to their brand, and address someone who is trying to bring harm to your brand in a calm way, using something like a statement. This example, a statement by WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert on Kelly Loeffler’s comments regarding the player’s platform, highlights that it’s best to fight criticism with support of the people that best represent your brand, because that makes them want to stick up for you when you need support. 

Just to show how the WNBA’s practices worked, according to SB Nation “…the 2020 WNBA Finals between Seattle Storm Las Vegas Aces had 15% more viewers than the 2019 Finals between the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun,” (Albert Lee, SB Nation). I think this is proof of how to use these great practices to your advantage, because this rating hike for the WNBA Finals was higher than the NFL regular season, MLB regular season and the Stanley Cup Finals.