Wednesday, December 3, 2008

PR vs. Marketing

Anytime I mention that I am studying public relations, the response I usually get is, "oh yeah - marketing." Yeah, I find it annoying. I want my public relations major to get the credit it deserves, not to be pushed into something else.

It's easy to become confused about these terms: advertising, marketing, promotion, public relations and publicity, and sales. The terms are often used interchangeably. However, they refer to different -- but similar activities.

Earlier today I was exploring Ad of the World, which is an online archive of the best and most interesting advertisements from across the world. I came across an advertisement on their site that uses four simple pictures to explain to you the difference between marketing, pr, advertising, and branding.

These simple images help to understand the distinction between the commonly misused terms, well and they are pretty funny.

Also check out Ads of the World's Web site. It's extremely interesting and you could waste an afternoon on it. Click here for the original images and related discussion.

Related Articles:
Public Relations vs. Marketing: PR Marvels and Miscues
Basic Definitions: Advertising, Marketing, Promotion, Public Relations, and Publicity

Monday, December 1, 2008

Vanity Fair's Oscar Party 2009

For the past ten years, I have been obsessed with Vanity Fair's annual Oscar party. I have never fantasized about attending the event, but planning it. I have always envisioned writing the guest list, organizing appearances, and picking flower arrangements. Well my dreams were placed on hold last year, but: The hottest Oscar after-party ever is back — only smaller.

Vanity Fair says its annual Academy Awards party is returning for next year's Oscar night on Feb. 22. The magazine's 2008 bash was canceled in support of the Hollywood writers' strike.

The magazine's editor Graydon Carter says on that the bash "will be a much more intimate affair than in years past," with a scaled back guest list.

The A-list soiree will take place at West Hollywood's Sunset Tower Hotel instead of its traditional home, the restaurant Morten's.

Given the state of the economy, Carter says the party will also recycle decor from past years.

Now my fantasy life of planning the Vanity Fair Oscar Party next year just went up in flames.

Downsize guest list?


Re-use fake flowers?

Are you serious?

Yes, I am aware of our nation's current economic state, but really? Smaller?

I can only hope Vanity Fair's event planners will be ready to spend the big bucks in 2010.

Oh and hire me as an assistant.

Public Relations on the Small Screen

After years of watching Sex and the City, idolizing the lives of the four women, one of the characters drastically stood out to me; Samantha Jones. She owns her own Public Relations company, rubs elbows with the best of the best in New York City, throws first class parties and attends her fair share of them. She knows all the best hot spots in the city and has a Rolodex overflowing with names and numbers of the biggest, best and most elite of New York.

When I enrolled in my first public relations class, I walked in thinking that PR was more like a lifestyle than a career. Take Samantha Jones for example, she is her own boss, she is fierce and she makes a lot of money.

I thought that this was an accurate portrayal of the average Public Relations professional.

With each paper I write or with every grammar test I take, my vision of public relations professionals has changed drastically.

Making a few calls, show up in a killer outfit, grab a cocktail and greet your famous guests with a kiss on the cheek.

Countless of hours of work, endless to-do lists, 4 a.m. wake-up calls and 12-hour days. Coordinating the location (plan b location), theme, guest list, invitations, speakers (back up speakers), media lists, social media releases, itinerary, press releases, agenda, talking points, and promotion. Just to name a few.

PR just is not about throwing and attending parties, rubbing elbows or even raking in the money. I am now able to take what I have learned and feel confident to go out into the workplace. I will be able to rub elbows through networking, put on fabulous events that everyone will want to attend, all while making a name for myself as I begin my ascent to the top of the ladder of success.

Monday, November 17, 2008

December = Party!

Event planning is a large and exciting part of public relations, especially around the holidays. From family "get togethers" to office parties, anyone and everyone has some reason to celebrate during this month.

As I spend most of my days in the back office of Oba, I have witness our event coordinator's stress level increase by 20 percent. Everyone is calling to book their holiday events and of course everyone waits till the last minute to do so. And of course most days were booked in 2007. With most calls, I have to tell the potential client: "I am sorry. Our private dining room is booked that evening." There is some confusion, usually on their end and we try to accomadate them as much as we can.

But it always leaves me wondering:
Don't people plan ahead?

I have worked the past four holiday seasons at Oba and with my personnal expierence I have created simple guidelines for throwing a succesful event.

  • When hosting or planning any holiday event, the main thing is to be organized.
  • Before you start calling around town for venues and/or catering, have a strong idea of what you want for your event. Not being sure of the date or number of guests will get you no where.
  • Whether having a large or small budget, be aware of your cash flow when planning each aspect of the event. If your boss is forcing you to make the office party at Pizza Hut seem like The Ritz, use your thinking cap and think of creative and cheap ways to entertain your guests.
  • Have menu options that work for all of your guests. Not everyone loves what you do!
  • Have your invitations/emails/phones/text messages/whichever form of communication you choose make your guests RSVP. Having an incorrect guestlist costs time and money on all sides.
  • Always. ALWAYS have a plan b. The world is not perfect my friend!

Some other helpful tips/sources/ideas:'s Tips for Hosting a Holiday Party
Delish's Five Ideas for Christmas Parties's How to Organize a Holiday Office Party

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordpress vs. Blogger


I have been thinking about Wordpress vs. Blogger as blogging platforms for the last few weeks.

Which one is better?
Which one works for me?

I am now in a position where I am blogging with Blogger for my personal and public relations blog. Having run my personal blog for over a year now, I'm pretty much up to date with the capabilities and tools of Blogger. Wordpress is another story (and challenge) for me. When I started my public relations blog, I intended to use Wordpress. But after 10 minutes of playing around, I got frustrated and came back home to my beloved Blogger.

Personally, because I'm not much of a techie, I prefer Blogger, as it's easy to use, the templates are a lot easier to change and personalize. But I re-iterate that I have not had any experience with Wordpress, so perhaps my view on this could be differently!

After researching both blog platforms, I decided to make a list of the sites different features:

  1. Blog Import: In Blogger - limited availability to import and export only in the same blogging platform; in WordPress - you can import from several other platforms, including from Blogger.
  2. Image Storage: In Blogger - 300 MB; in WordPress - 3 GB.
  3. Static Pages: In Blogger - not available; in WordPress - static pages can be listed in separate menus.
  4. Post by Email: In Blogger - accepted; in WordPress - not.
  5. Categories: In Blogger - not available; in WordPress - arranged with no problem.
  6. File Uploading: In Blogger - not available; in WordPress - files can be uploaded.
  7. Indexing Time: Here Blogger produces far better results, as due to the tight connections with Google, it can appear in the Search Engines very fast.
  8. Blog Revune: WordPress has serious restrictions on the publishing ads, so if you plan to use AdSense, your preferences will probably lean more to the Blogger.

Let me know your thoughts on what platform you prefer and why?
I'm interested to know what works for others out there.

My Podcast Adventure

This week I created my first podcast! At first I thought that it would be an easy assignment, but once I finally got down to recording my material I got a little nervous.

I knew what I was going to say. I had my notes ready. I practiced more than I needed to. But when it came time to press record: I froze. Suddenly
I couldn't talk for more than 15 seconds without getting my words mixed up or just forgetting what I was trying to say altogether. Luckily, after 75 takes I was able to dismiss my bashfulness and record into the mic like a pro.

Outside of the classroom, the only experience I have had with podcasts was listening to NPR's "Car Talk" while doing homework. (So to say I am an expert in clearly an understatement.)

I decided to record my podcast on social media measurement. My goal for it was to allow fellow bloggers to learn and explore how to find out who is reading your blog and why it is important.


The World of PR According to Miss Horley
Who’s reading your blog?
(Social Media Measurement)

Introduction :0-:45

Why monitor? :45-1:18

Overview of metrics 1:18-4:56

Conclusion 4:56-5:46

Next week 5:47-6:14


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Agency Profile: Henry V Events

My career goal after college is to work in event planning. As the my graduation date becomes more in sight, I have been spending some time researching event planning firms on the west coast. Last week I ran into an old college friend who was raving about her new job at Henry V Events, so I thought I would look into the company and figure out why she loved her job so much.

Company: Henry V

Location: 6360 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97211

Year Founded: 1978

Event Types:
Private Party
Corporate Event
PR / Marketing Event
Lecture / Speaker

Henry V is the largest and oldest event planning company in the Pacific Northwest. As one of the Top 50 event agencies worldwide, their clients include Intel, Adidas, RYKA, The North Face, Jansport, Dr. Martens, Disney, KEEN and many more.

The company considers themselves as "a one - stop shop," provide staging, logistics (full service), strategic planning, creative concepting, shipping, trade fixture development and maintenance and much more.

Henry V does public, employee and sales events for small and large audiences. Their task is to 'Make Things Happen' and with an approach that with every event is to plan for what the audience needs to believe, feel or know as they leave your successful event.

As I spent last night looking through Henry V's Web site,
several questions popped into my head regarding my future career:
Do I want to work for a company this large?
Do I want to work with an event planning firm?
Or be the event coordinator at a venue?
Or be the event planner at company, such as Adidas or Nike?

With the more I investigate, I am learning there are many ways I could go about this profession of event planning. I am excited to continue my research and find the answers for my questions.