A Moment Of Self Reflection

Sketch by Marc Mercado

By Marc Mercado

I remember when I switched my studies from concrete industry management (CIM) to interior architecture my freshman year. Even the architecture advisor questioned why I wanted to switch programs considering how successful CIM is.

That was the reason why I chose CIM for my academic career at Chico State. At that point in my life, I was driven by the expectations others set for me, with hopes of leaping over the poverty line. It only took the introductory course to push myself to look into other avenues– if this was going to be my full-time career I needed something more;

I was on a line: “to be a concrete man, or to know that I can [succeed without sacrificing]”.

With a minor in theatre arts, I looked forward to pursuing a program that included media arts. I came across the Media, Art, Design and Technology department, researched the major advisors, and I got in touch with Jennifer Meadows.

I hoped that she would be able to tell that I was lost and this was where I belonged, but my path continued to change and after that meeting, I kept looking. I was honestly intimidated by something new.

I thought, “if I’m worried about learning new skills/software in this academic path, then why not look for something that already encompasses my own skills and knowledge?”

Then I found interior architecture, so I figured, I know how to draw, I love design, and this will also satisfy two important areas of my life: family expectations and financial goals. There was much to love about this major, and to this day, I look back and wonder what life would have been like.

  Int. Architecture sketches by Marc

Fall was turning into winter. I was burning up and freezing at the same time; during this time my mental health was declining so during break, I flew to Mexico. Being outside of the country where I studied and worked felt incredibly liberating, I was surrounded by the beautiful Michoacán coast, the most blue skies and the greenest plants. This place is a sanctuary to me, it’s where I spent most of my childhood.

Playa Chuquiapan by Marc Mercado

A month turned into one more night and then I was in the sky, flying back “home”. There was still a lot of healing to be done, I hadn’t spent time thinking about the things I was still dealing with, but at least had a new academic plan.

It’s Junior Year, the first semester is a breeze, I joined AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) and felt comfort knowing I was part of a design community. I forgot to mention that every time I went to academic advising for my major changes, I had to do all the “figuring it out” and show up with a plan. The absolute best advice I got was from a friend, Luciana, who encouraged me to pursue this graphic design path.

The second semester was unexpected. My confidence level in this new program was low, but I knew I was still learning. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough “graphic design” and was still figuring out how I could find passion in this form of art and design. During this semester there were many new professors in the department and talks about how some would say “ you should’ve learned X in Jane Doe’s class”. The unveiling of Chico State’s rebrand happened during the same time students in our program were being told they wouldn’t be able to graduate on time due to class shortages and the entirety of at least two classes emailed the department with concerns about a discourteous professor.

With all this going on, I wasn’t sure of my place here at Chico State. The more I fell in love with graphic design, and learned about how to use it to communicate, to express and to create art, the more I saw how unimportant I was to my university. I turned my cheek and saw the Academy of Arts in San Francisco. Immediately, I began planning; I reached out and began the application process.

I was on the phone with Chico State but they kept me on hold. The Academy was ringing but the minutes were too expensive. I felt like I needed better guidance, I needed professors that cared, a campus that recognized my passion. I was going to end up paying more out of pocket than I ever did at Chico and could tell that my ambition was too much for my family, for our bank accounts. It was only going to be an online program anyway.

A letter was sent to my address, from the Academy. I got in, it all came down to the story I wanted to tell:

Work with what I’m given and persevere? Or succumb to a for-profit school and find myself in a worse financial situation?

Clearly, I chose the former option. It’s like this mantra I heard some years back about how a good artist can work under any circumstance.

Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado
Projects done by Marc Mercado

Preparing For Your Job Interview: Tips And Tricks

By Trenton Taylor

It’s about that time. The school year is wrapping up and college seniors are receiving their tickets to go find real-world jobs. Those tickets are also known as their college diplomas. As we begin to see the slow decline in COVID-19 cases and the increased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is becoming time to bring employees back to the office or to their field, and get things back to normal again. Below I have listed some tips and tricks that will help you ace those intense job interviews, and give you the competitive edge to get that job you have always dreamed of.

Do Your Homework

While finding the right job title is important, finding the right company to have that title under is even more important. Researching the company that you are interviewing will not only get you to understand what you are walking into, but it will also set you apart from anyone else who might be wanting that job. Taking the time to gather information and figure out what ways specifically you can help them sets a wonderful impression on employers or hiring managers.

Interviews are a two-way street

During a job interview, you are trying to learn about the company just as much as they are trying to learn about you. Employers want to see that you are taking the interview seriously and that you are thinking about what the aspects of working there look like. This article on The Balance Careers offers some thoughtful questions that one might ask during an interview:

  • What are some of the challenges facing the company?
  • Where do you see the company in 5 to 10 years?
  • What does success mean to you and this company?
  • What have previous employees in this position gone on to do?
  • I believe I’m a great fit for this company. Is there anything else I can do to dispel any doubts?

These are just a few of the questions that can set you apart from other candidates.

Practice for the cliche questions

At almost any interview that you go to, employers will ask you some of the basic interview questions that help just about anybody get a basic understanding of yourself. These questions include (but are not limited to) asking about your strengths/weaknesses, describing your work style or work ethic, if you work well with others, what sets you apart from the competition, or even the famous “tell me a little about yourself.” Preparing yourself to respond to these questions with talking points that you might have is a good way to boost your confidence before and even during the interview. The key is to not sound rehearsed but to sound confident.

The end of an interview is just as important as during the interview

Following up after the interview is very important to leave things on a good note. When the interview is over, asking your interviewer or hiring manager about the next steps or what to expect will allow you to be prepared for anything you might have to do on your end, such as setting up for a future interview. Another good thing to do is to send follow-up emails to those who interviewed you thanking them for their time while reviewing specific points from the interview. This sets a good work ethic example and shows that you were taking it seriously. Asking for business cards at the end is a good way to get that contact information.

Learning to stay authentic with your consumers during a pandemic

By Grace Gilani

As the world and everyone in it begins to adjust to this “new normal,” brands need to remember exactly who their audience is, and how they can stay true to not only themselves as a company,  but to their loyal customers. A brand that they have without a doubt worked tirelessly on to build from the beginning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, audiences alike have seen brands stray from their key messages, oftentimes to stay up on current issues, and continue to be relevant. An example of this would be a clothing brand posting an article or a blog post about new technological advances concerning the pandemic. Not only does this brand have no business discussing this topic, but their audience also is not there to hear their opinion on technology; they’re there to hear about the latest fashions. 

“When people are presented with a reduced choice of service, previous experience comes into play and we tend to stay loyal to brands that gave us value in the past,” Alun Davies said.

During these unprecedented times, it is understandable that some companies may be struggling with how they can help or get involved. Here are some tips as to how your brand can use the right voice and messaging to keep their audiences engaged and safe through the pandemic.

1.     Create a relationship with your consumers 

I bet we can all relate to coming in contact with a robot when your intention was to talk to a live human being, and this hasn’t changed during COVID 19. Consumers want to feel like they can have a relationship with customer service, a human voice, that they relate to and be friendly with.  

By doing this, this cuts out the anxiety a customer might be feeling regarding the pandemic. More often than not, your consumers will notice that your brand values their business more than another company who simply dealt with them at their convenience.

2. Stay true to yourself and your brand 

It’s no shock that this pandemic has lasted much longer than anyone had originally anticipated, and therefore, brands will need to stick to what they know, because it’s worked so far! 

Obviously moving marketing and everything else online was stressful, however, you shouldn’t have to change what your brand represents or who it is tailored towards just to stay relevant. You want your customers to really feel like they know what your brand is about, and that through thick and thin, you will be the one thing in their life that stays consistent. 

A perfect example of straying from your core message and confusing your audience is the commercial for Progressive Insurance that was released during the beginning of the pandemic. The ad featured all the well-known Progressive characters, but the brand had strayed from their core message. If you were unaware who Flo and Jamie were, you would have no idea that they were trying to sell you car insurance. This is a perfect example because Progressive simply wanted to catch the trend before everyone else. 

My advice is, don’t change who you are just because of this “new normal.” Eventually, this time we have spent cooped up in our homes will have ended, and at the end of the day, do you want to change your marketing strategy AGAIN to fit back into the normal (post-COVID) world? 

3. Learn together with your customers

Finally, and most importantly, come together with your audience to hear what they have to say. You could think a campaign you put together was the best you’ve ever made, when some of your consumers could feel as if you missed the mark. I believe that in this predominantly digital age it is normal to get feedback, and adjust your strategy like that. You can let your audience have a say while still upholding your beliefs and values. 

Center for Entrepreneurship Case Study

Brand Guide for Center of Entrepreneurship

Services Provided:

  • Facebook Campaign for Giving Day
  • Photography
  • Brand Manual
  • Taglines and Core Messaging
  • Web Content – Feature Stories
  • Alumni Highlight Stories for Web and Facebook
  • Content Calendar for posting guide
  • Brand Intro Guide
  • SWOT Analysis

Client:

  • Chico State Center for Entrepreneurship

Date:

  • Fall 2018

Web:

Description of services:

  • What we did: The Center for Entrepreneurship was recently taken over by Dr. Colleen Robb. Essentially, the full scope of work for the center fell into her hands alone. In that regard, Dr. Robb’s needs were extremely open ended. These needs included, event planning, brand analysis, outreach and web content. The center’s social media needed to find it’s core voice so we created core messaging and tone guides in an effort to aid future social efforts by the center.
  • Our main goal this semester was to provide a comprehensive brand guide, content to use in a fundraising campaign, content for their online presence and a calendar to effectively roll out the content created. These efforts were all focused on one sole purpose, helping the center find it’s unique voice, while effectively campaigning for funding through Giving Day. Though Giving Day was delayed due to an extremely unexpected fire which numbed the community, we were able to provide the center with all the assets they would need to execute the event at a later date. Working through an iterative process, our team kept direct communication with the client at all times. This ensured cooperative communication and accurate project completion. We learned a great deal, helped more and walked away proud of the work completed.

Brand Manual – Kimberly Volkov (Art Director 2019)

Brand Manual - Kimberly Volkov (Art Director 2019)

Photography – Jasmine Garcia (Creative 2018)

Photography - Jasmine Garcia (Creative 2018)

Facebook Post Example – Dr. Robb via Team Recommendations

Facebook Post Example - Dr. Robb via Team Recommendations

NAMI Case Study

Flyer for Nami Event.

Services Provided:

  • Web
  • Social Media
  • Videography
  • Photography
  • Collateral
  • Strategic Planning for Spring Fundraising Event
  • Media Relations

Client:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Butte County

Date:

  • Fall 2018

Website:

Description of services:

  • What we did: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Butte County educates and advocates for the mentally ill and their families. NAMI provides regular classes, support groups and presentations to the general public in the Butte County community. TGC has worked with NAMI during the Fall 2018 semester to build visibility for mental health support in Butte County and to effectively communicate the services that NAMI provides to the community.
  • We’ve implemented a variety of projects throughout the semester to reach NAMI’s goals of communication and visibility within the Butte County community. Through photography and videography, we’ve created content for NAMI’s website and social channels to increase brand visibility. Our collateral projects have focused on providing NAMI with flyers, a brochure and a newsletter that highlight the mental health services which NAMI offers. Our media relations project provided NAMI with a media list, a contact plan and a mock-up press release to increase membership efforts. Lastly, our strategic planning for NAMI’s spring fundraising event gave NAMI the content to implement a fundraiser to raise money for their organization. Together, our talented creatives and PR staff worked to successfully build visibility and communication between NAMI and the Butte County community.

Screenshots of creative content:

Not Filling Her Shoes

Coby stands by her sister’s side, Kayla, as she gets married in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.

Starting my journey at Chico State, I knew it would be difficult. Not only because of the curriculum or being away from home, but because I had to fill the shoes of my sister who graduated 10 years before me in the same department. Following in her footsteps, I decided to join the journalism and public relations field where she once made her mark. Taking all the same classes and internships, I became recognized by many different professors as “Kayla’s Little Sister”. This is troubling and can be discouraging at times because of how hard she worked at everything.

Having this always in the back of my head, I tried to set myself apart and make a name for myself within the field of journalism. By taking alternative courses and declaring a minor in communication design, I tried to differentiate myself from her. I am constantly compared to her, but in the end, I believe this is what made me stronger as a public relations student.

PR is so unique and different, changing every year with new technology and lessons. My sister and I are at different points in our lives and I am still learning techniques as a student. We could never be the same or be expected to produce identical work. In the long run, I am truly thankful for having her as a guide and someone to look up to throughout this experience in my life. We may all have that person who will do better in any aspect of life, but it’s important to prove to yourself that you are capable of whatever gets thrown your way and to not get discouraged.

My sister has given me tips and has shown me examples of what it takes to become a successful PR professional. I find these lessons and tid-bits extremely helpful to avoid being completely blindsided by what is to come.

By: Coby Kooyman

Picture provided by Ana & Jerome Photography

The Stages of Morning

Gold clock with black numbers and white background

Have you ever been in the middle of that amazing dream where your celebrity crush is so in love with you, and as they’re about to kiss you the toll bell rings… and rings… and rings and you slowly drift awake and you realize it’s your alarm? The celebrity crush is gone, you’re back in reality and another day of busy public relations lifestyle is ahead. Suddenly the five stages of grief and loss set in: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance.

Denial: “Ugh! It can’t be 7 a.m. already… can it? There’s no way it’s time to get up,” I say to myself as I hit the snooze button for the first time. Okay, okay, maybe for the third time.

Anger: After the alarm goes off for the fifth time in 20 minutes, it’s hard not to get violent with the snooze button. I envy morning people. They’ll never understand the pain and torture of waking up at 7 a.m.

Bargaining: Every morning begins with the hopes that my 9 a.m. client meeting is canceled. “Please, oh please be canceled,” I pray as I roll over and check my work email. I promise to go to bed early tonight if I could just have one more hour of sleep. Nope! Meeting’s still on.

Depression: “WHY?” I say as I mentally breakdown under my covers. Ahh, it’s so warm under here. I never want to leave.

Acceptance: After the seventh time, the alarm goes off and reality sets in that the media pitches won’t write themselves and the events won’t get planned unless I get up. I finally accept my fate. I must get up and face my responsibilities. I hit the off button instead of snooze and brace myself for the cold air and bright lights. You win. I’m up.

Mornings come fast and most of the time it’s hard to get up, but a wise person once said, “Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.” Remember that tomorrow morning when 7 a.m. comes and you start the stages of grief and loss all over again.

By: Licia Dering

Picture provided by Pixabay.com

A Quick Guide to Shooting Travel Photography

 

Nevada Night Sky
Long Exposure of the Nevada night sky

People go on vacation and take pictures. It’s what you do. It’s simply what vacationers do when they travel to exotic, never before seen places. Photography is an amazing phenomenon that we take for granted in the 21st century. The way we are able to harness a memory by simply capturing a blend of light and color with a machine is truly amazing.

However, there are instances when this miracle of capturing light, falls short of our desires and expectations. Follow me on a short magic carpet ride through some tips that I have gathered in my travels around the world.

Budapest Bath House
Sunset over Budapest Bath House on Christmas Eve.

Traveling and shooting photos go hand in hand. Not only does it compliment your Hawaiian shirt and fanny pack, but it immediately pegs you as a tourist.

No. 1, accept the fact that you’re a tourist and embrace it with grace and intelligence. If someone throws you a skeptical eye, keep snapping on, but be smart and hold yourself with a certain level of discretion. You’re not going to buy the traditional garments of every nation to blend in, so you might as well avoid the headache trying enjoy documenting your experience. However there are some exceptions, which leads me to tip No. 2.

Israel Soldier
Tay Dayborg from Israel, at Mount Herzl, Jerusalem

This point segues to my next tip. It’s a simple one. Several years ago, I was on the beautiful island of Sicily, Italy taking photos around a rustic, dust filled neighborhood. On the corner were two men drinking coffee. Not thinking anything bad of the calm situation. I snapped a quick photo of one of the men who happened to be looking my way just as I took the photo. Instantly he got up and walked toward me. A bit startled, I quickly erased the photo before he arrived. When he approached me I saw he was holding out his hand, he wanted money for the photo. I explained that it was gone and that he had nothing to fear. Nonetheless, he watched me intently as I scrolled through every single photo I had on the camera. Tip No. 3, if you get caught taking a photo of someone you shouldn’t be, erase it or give the subject of the photograph what they want in order for them to be happy.

Tip No. 4, pay attention to your surroundings. Look everywhere from every angle, you never know what could be waiting for you in the distance just a few feet away you. Timing is crucial. A moment in time is lost forever if you are not actively looking for it. This goes for foreground and background as well. Understand the dynamics of your depth of field and move to the best spot within your environment. By positioning yourself at just the right place, you can truly have your picture follow speak a thousand words.

Abhi Sarkar
Abhi Sarkar from Santa Barbara, at Moab National Park.

Tip No. 5, call a friend’s name at the right moment for a dynamic candid. People look their best when they are doing something that they love or truly inspires someone. See your friend staring out over a beautiful landscape? Get your camera ready, call their name and snap the photo before they realize what just happened. I find that catching people with their guard down produces some of the most engaging photos. Often, people lost in thought seem to stare right into the camera with such intensity that I feel as though they can see my very soul. The feeling is contagious, yet hard to pull off consistently. Keep practicing, who knows what you will find within the eyes of someone you thought you knew.

Marian Amira
Marian Amira Jonjo hailing from London, England, “caught” at the Marin Headlands.

When traveling, be respectful and mindful of where you are to the best of your ability. Enjoy your privilege as a photographer; heft that clunky camera around with pride. Use this machine wisely, knowing that not everyone can have the same opportunity as you to document the beauty of life. Keep on snappin’.

*All photos taken by Trevor Raven Foster, All rights reserved*

Written by Trevor Foster, Videographer/Photographer

The Harmony of Music and Social Media

In the current day and age, social media is a frequently used method of self advertising and personal branding. In the music industry this is especially significant. Whether you want to be a performer, manager or music journalist, increasing your popularity through social media is a vital strategy.

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are successful and common social media platforms. However, when it comes to the music industry, audio streaming applications should also be used to the musician and their team’s advantage.

Giving listeners the opportunity to stream music on multiple platforms allows for an increase in audience. Both of these platforms have their unique attributes.

Here’s how to keep your social media game rocking on the ones and twos.

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  1. Spotify currently has more than 100 million monthly active users, 30 million of those are paying subscribers. Spotify allows streaming for free, however there are a few minor setbacks. Every few songs the music will be interrupted by an advertisement, and when used on a mobile device, you can only shuffle playlists or albums and cannot choose specific songs.

For the more avid users, Spotify premium is available for $9.99, $4.99 for college students, in the US. By joining premium, customers are guaranteed higher audio quality, uninterrupted playback and the option to download tracks for offline listening.

Spotify’s most appealing characteristic is the plethora of listeners. When artists put their music on Spotify they are immensely increasing chances of reaching new listeners.

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  1. Even though most SoundCloud users do not register, there are still 40 million registered users on the site. The website reaches 200 million unique listeners around the globe through the Web, mobile devices and social-media sites.

Similar to Spotify, SoundCloud’s most appealing characteristic is their massive audience. However, SoundCloud is more beneficial for electronic dance music. When searching on SoundCloud for music that isn’t electronic, you are likely to come across remixes rather than the original song.

So get your music out there, and maybe we can stop listening to “Closer” by The Chainsmokers every 10 minutes.

Written by Julie Cogert, Lead Editor

#SafteyFirst

“Chico PD has alerted campus to be on the lookout for a male who may be approaching campus with a gun. Please call 911 if you see this person we will send further information as available. Thank you.”

Thousands of Chico State students received that exact message on Sept. 7, 2016. These types of emergency situations happen all the time, but until it occurs in your personal life, you will never be sure how to deal with it. At Chico State, many students did what they normally do, they picked up their phones and hopped on social media.

Social media is one of the biggest pieces of our daily lives, we reach for our phones and computers in any and all situations. As a global society we face crisis on a daily basis.

Our ability to connect with a greater network of people has changed the way we handle these situations, we are not only able to quickly alert a mass amount of people, we can get live updates as the situation unfolds, and even check in to let our loved ones know we are safe. Take a look at how social media has changed the way that we handle a large scale crisis.

Facebook:

On Oct. 15, 2014 Facebook released its Safety Check tool, it was inspired by people turning to Facebook in times of global and domestic crisis to check on their friends and loved ones.

The tool well asses if you are in an area of risk when something like an earthquake, tsunami or a shooting occurs.  Safety Check was activated for the first time in the USA, soon after the Orlando Night Club shooting occurred June, 2016. Residents of the area, or even those who had indicated that they were in the Orlando area could check in to let their friends and family know that they were safe.

Safety Check can also pick up local crisis, for example a shooting occurred in Chicago on July 28th of this year, because so many people posted about the incident Facebook created a local Safety Check so that residents of the smaller area could check in with each other.

fsfd phone

PC: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/10/introducing-safety-check/

Twitter:

Twitter has become one of the fastest news sources in the world. In the 2011 earthquake in Virginia, Tweets that an earthquake occurred reached New York City before the aftershocks did.  Twitter literally moved and reported faster than an earthquake.

Keeping in line with the quickness of reporting is the Moments feature where users are able to stay up to date with the continuous stream of news. Moments compiles news and content relating to the event into one place.

In addition to Moments, Twitter has become a tool that allows people like scientists, insurance companies, etc., to track the severity of the damage that a natural disaster has caused. Twitter has been able to help with this in a cheaper and more effective way than even some FEMA models. 

Emergency Preparedness:

Emergency Personnel have taken notice of the effect and convenience of social media during a crisis and have began to include it in their emergency preparedness plans.

Using Facebook to update which roads are closed during snow storms, warning people to stay away from certain areas in the event of an active shooter situation or getting any type of information out quickly and effectively to a large number of people. Social media has become a crucial tool on the belt of those we look to in times of emergency.

fema's twitter page

Though we joke about social media taking over our lives slowly, there is the argument that in a lot of ways it can make our lives better. These tools and features are just a few of the many ways social media has become an integral part of our lives, and simply serve as a helpful aid to a future of emergency and disaster management.

Written by Cheyenne Cameron-Pruitt, General Manager