How Do I know if PR is for Me?

Will it blend? That is the question. In this exciting episode of Will it Blend?, Tom meets his biggest challenge as he turns the iPhone 5s and 5c into pure dust. Known as “the last blender you’ll ever own,” Blendtec is so tough that it can blend anything including mobile devices. It’s such a brilliant marketing campaign because it’s quirky, memorable, fun and has a relevant message. Every episode is consistent…Tom wears the same lab coat; he has the same cheeky grin on his face and the segment always begins with the same 70s gameshow music. I introduce this to my class every semester.

When I meet students who are considering a career in PR (or marketing for that matter), my best recommendation is to look up some of the most current campaigns. They are easy to find; if you Google “best PR campaigns 2014,” a plethora of examples will turn up keeping you amused and informed for days. Here are three of my favourite examples:

The marketing communications firm Cundari did a campaign called Nutrition Naturally. In response to the negative reputation of bread over the last decade, the firm balanced the conversation by raising awareness about its health benefits. They created an online social hub by aggregating public opinion from across Dempster’s social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Users took a nutrition quiz, shared their results with friends and explored healthy recipes. Cundari created a hidden-camera video starring comedian Gerry Dee to remind consumers about the nutritional value of whole grain bread.

Few people know about the town of Obermutten hidden away in the Swiss Alps…well, until a Facebook campaign made “a little village go global.” The idyllic settlement of a mere eighty residents was completely unknown and now sixty million people from around the world have heard of Obermutten as a result of the campaign. The local mayor promised, “Just click on like, and your profile picture will be posted on the community’s official notice board.” News reports about the village have been picked up in over twenty countries.

This discussion would be incomplete without Dollar Shave Club. I warn you that the language might be borderline colourful in this YouTube video, but then again it’s nothing that 17,463,177 viewers haven’t already seen. Dollar Shave Club delivers amazing razors and the “World’s Finest Grooming Products” right to your doorstep for just a few bucks. According to Luke Shiras, an online user who commented on the humorous video, “I just ordered some new blades but when those run out, I’ll probably give Dollar Shave Club a try. While the $1 dual blade plan is a great deal, I’ll likely spring for the $6 quad blade plan.”

Imagine being paid to be a creator of content. It’s work, but fun work; it’s rewarding and most of all, necessary. Companies need communications teams to help manage the reputation of the brand and bring products to consumers. Furthermore, we need to do it in an entertaining and educational way so that customers don’t feel like it’s being pushed on them. They can appreciate it on their own terms and their own time. And then they can share it, like it, favourite it or comment on it; the customer becomes the brand’s best ambassador.

There is never a day in PR when you will be looking at your watch waiting for 5 p.m. to come. So my question to you is how would you like to do this for a living?

Daniel Schneider teaches social digital media in the bachelor and diploma programs at Humber College’s School of Media Studies.

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