The Essentials of Business in APR

The Essentials of Business in APR

Working in PR, we aim to form favorable connections between organizations and their publics.  The formation of this relationships often results in expenditure from both parties, which is typically of great importance to organizations.  A basic understanding of the influencing factors and reporting practices of this economic process can allow us to analyze our organizations more deeply and interpret the motivation of those in management positions.  Two basic business concepts that can advance the work of those in communications are economic indicators and financial statements.

Economic indicators are figures off which organizations make financial decisions.  They reflect the health of the economy and can have a significant effect on companies.  Two common economic indicators are Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Consumer Price Index (CPI).  The Gross Domestic Product is the sum of the value of all the goods and services produced in a country within a specific time period.  It is used to determine and rank the economic performance of a region and used as a point of comparison.  Consumer Price Index takes samples of commonly purchased consumer goods and determines their average price.  It is used to measure the change in price of these goods and also represents the condition of the country’s economy (Ragas and Culp, 2014). Business leaders use these indicators, among many others, to ensure they are making informed decisions, and practicing that habit can enhance our work too.

Financial statements, a product of accounting, record and organize the financial activities of a company or organization.  Two fundamental financial statements are income statements and balance sheets.  Simply put, income statements track the profits and losses of an organization over a period of time.  When this document is compared to past income statements, one can determine if the economic performance of an organization is improving or declining.  Balance sheets show what the company owns that is valuable (assets) and their liabilities, which is the amount they owe to others.  There is also a section for stockholder’s equity, which represents the amount that would be left over for shareholders if the organization sold its assets and paid its liabilities.  If a company is financially healthy, these factors should balance as such: Assets = Liabilities + Stockholder’s Equity (Ragas and Culp, 2014).

Karen Bloom says, “There’s been an evolution in the way communication pros are viewed.  They’re expected to be thought leaders and contribute to the process.”  Taking part in the economically-oriented discussions of an organization is certainly a way to achieve this.  The coverage of business essentials in this blog are extremely brief, but there are many resources one can use to further their knowledge.  I recommend Business Essentials for Strategic Communicators as an comprehendible and informative source.


Ragas, Matthew W., & Culp, Ron (2014).  Business Essentials for Strategic Communicators.  New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Post By: Alex Goodreau

Alex Goodreau is currently a senior at Grand Valley State University double majoring in Dance and Advertising/Public Relations. He works as an account associate at Grand PR and is a member of the Grand Valley chapter of PRSSA. He also manages public relations and social media for the student-run dance organization Momentum. Alex enjoys interacting with clients and assisting them in establishing realistic strategies to enhance their organization’s public perception.




Degree enhancer – Salary booster

Degree enhancer – Salary booster

How would you like a salary of $50,000-$75,000 when you graduate? That’s the average starting salary of Grand Valley grads who complete The ERP Program. If you’re a junior or super soph in the School of Communications, enhance your communications degree and really kick-start your career and salary.

“I was surprised by the number of companies that said some of the most valuable skills for careers in technology are the ability to communicate with people inside and outside of the company, work in teams and solve problems,”  Kajal M., GVSU 2015 Grad.

The ERP Program is a School of Communications and Seidman College of Business fast track curriculum bundling communication skills and business/technology skills into one powerful program.

There will be a Career seminar/Info session on Monday, Feb. 22, in LSH 174 starting at 5PM. Learn the list of businesses looking to hire GVSU grads from this program. Please RSVP to



Diversity in APR: Celebrating Black History Month

Diversity in APR

As many of us know February is Black History month. There are multiple ways to celebrate now that it is not just Black History; it is everyone’s history. It is a time in our countries past where people within a community came together and became equals. It goes beyond the culture, color and gender; diversity is everything that makes people different from each other.

To understand diversity within the Public Relations field, it can be helpful to experience and work within a varied area. To fully understand others is a powerful knowledge because this helps when working with clients, co-workers and other people within the community; there is a lot of diversity in those arenas alone. Diversity is important because it plays in our everyday lives and is not always an easy topic to talk about.

The JA PR Group firm believes in diversity. It is all around us in the Greater Grand Rapids area and the firm believes that the Legacy Ball showcases the community coming together to celebrate history with everyone.

The Grand Rapids Legacy Ball is recognition of National Black History Month, and all are invited to join for a unique experience that promises to leave you enlightened, enriched, and joyfully connected. The event takes place at the JW Marriott on Friday February 26, 2016. The highlights include community awards celebrating the City of Grand Rapids Diversity and Inclusion Office, along with a fundraiser for student scholarships.

This event is not only a great way to celebrate Black History Month but also to network and give back to the community. Events like this allow people from all walks of life to come together as one and unite as a city to celebrate something important to everyone. The mayor will be in attendance to take part in the festivities and enjoy the great cultural melting pot that is Grand Rapids. The Legacy Ball doesn’t stop with Grand Rapids, it also visits Kalamazoo and for the first year ever, Detroit. The Kalamazoo Ball will take place on February 20th at the Radisson Palaza Hotel and the Detroit Ball will take place on February 12th at the Roostertail. These three truly diverse cities with numerous ethnic groups are cultivating as one through one awesome event.

Please feel free to visit the pages for more information:

Post By: Sophie Klimkiewicz

Sophie Klimkiewicz is going on her second year as an Account Associate at GrandPR. She is currently a senior with an Advertising and Public Relation major and an emphasis on Advertising. Sophie has background knowledge in Public Relations from working on campus at the Career Center and Sports Marketing Department. She enjoys seeking opportunities within her major and conquers the challenges that life throws at her. Sophie values learning and challenging herself to be successful.

Social Media War Room: What is it, why is it used, and what weapon do I bring?

Social Media War Room (1)

If you’re in the advertising/public relations world, you’ve probably come across the term “war room” more than a few times. Often used as a tactic to launch a new product or campaign, the war room serves as the secret weapon of tactics.

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity of working inside the war room for an apparel company based in west Michigan as they premiered on ABC’s Shark Tank. Here I’ll share the knowledge I gained from that experience to enlighten you all!

First off, what is it:

In the most basic terms, it’s a group of people, in a room together on multiple devices prepared to communicate with the various publics via digital media. In this regard the team is able to manage responses to campaign/product/etc on multiple platforms in order to monitor messaging, share content, and provide service to the various publics.

Why is it used:

War rooms can be used for a multitude of reasons, but most often are used when the company or brand is anticipating or expecting a vast increase in traffic. So examples would be the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or in my case, a Shark Tank debut.

How it all went down:

            The whole process was a blur. Prior to the process I received information regarding the client so as to be able to work with the team. I arrived, along with the rest of the war room team, about two hours before the EST zone episode of Shark Tank was expected to air. The group was briefed more in-depth on the client, received our positions we were to monitor for the evening, and began the countdown to 9pm EST. It felt a little bit like watching the space shuttle launch, and just about as stressful.

I was unsure what to expect. Would they receive traffic? No orders? Or 10,000 orders? Would anyone tweet about it or would we get hashtags trending nationally? No one in the war room had seen the finalized episode (Shark Tank doesn’t allow for that), so we were going in blind as to the final cut. We had no idea how it was going to turn out, but we were prepared for whatever came our way! We had memes and hashtags prepared, outlined responses ready to be sent out for frequently asked questions, and a system in place for handling angry or spam users.

The moment finally arrived and 9:00pm EST hit. We knew that our client was the first pitch to appear, so we were ready to go as soon as the episode started. It was nerve-racking at first, not knowing what was going to happen. I’m pretty sure I didn’t breathe the entire 9 minutes the company was on-air.

It was all a crazy blur. But an incredible crazy blur that I was humbled to be a part of. We didn’t have any major snafus, website shutdowns, or horrible backlashes. The client got a deal from one of the sharks and had a killer night in terms of publicity, brand awareness, and sales.

And to answer the final question that I posed in the title: No, you don’t need a weapons just a laptop charger.


Post By: Rachel Berzins

Rachel Berzins small
Rachel Berzins is a senior at Grand Valley State University studying Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in General Business. She is currently an intern at Gemini Publications in Grand Rapids, working Events & Marketing, is the founder of a startup company, Rachel Rosalie Design, and an active member of PRSSA and Phi Mu Fraternity. She is a social media connoisseur, lover of paper goods, and is always in search of a good donut.

GV Alum Puts APR Degree to Work in Automotive Industry


Katelyn Davis, a 2010 graduate of Grand Valley’s Advertising and Public Relations program, has been immersed in Michigan’s native automotive industry working in public relations as well as corporate communications for the last six years. Katelyn also acts as a proponent for new grads to consider the industry as a viable career path.

“Automotive is one of the largest consumer industries in the world and we are so lucky live in Michigan at its epicenter,” said Davis. “The automotive industry isn’t just for engineers. And it’s definitely not just for men. To keep succeeding, this industry needs all types of talented people including artists, finance gurus, health care experts, scientists, and, of course, communications people who can help spread the message around the world.”

After obtaining her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley, Davis moved to Metro-Detroit to begin working with Yazaki, an automotive supplier. At Yazaki, she took on the role as a Communications Specialist on the Corporate Affairs and Communications team and during her time there she focused on employee communications, public relations, corporate storytelling/reporting, and social media outreach including marketing and recruiting. Currently, Katelyn works at Team Detroit as a Public Relations Writer for Ford Motor Company’s Global Team Ford Communications Team. In this role she researches, writes, and interviews for press releases and announcements regarding Ford’s vehicle design, safety innovations, and green initiatives.

Outside of work, Davis promotes the automotive industry on her own accord through social media (blog and Twitter) as well as works with local organizations on occasion, such as MICHauto to spread their message of promoting, retaining, and growing the automotive industry in Michigan.

In addition to her undergraduate degree from Grand Valley State University, Davis went on to study New Media Communications at Wayne State University. Together she was able to merge her traditional public relations skillset with new forms of digital and social communication to meet the needs of the automotive industry.

“Press releases aren’t just written statements and quotes sent off on a wire service anymore,” she explains. “There’s usually always an accompanying video or fact sheet or infographic to go along with the announcement. So much of PR is about being a strong writer, it is also about understanding your audience and finding ways to really reach them, which is why I think my well-rounded background in PR and social media has been so beneficial to my career.”

Davis was a board member of the Social Media Association of Michigan, serving as the Communications and Media Chair where she oversaw the social media marketing efforts of the organization. Additionally, she was named Top Social Media Reporter by Ragan Communications and One Person Wonder by MichBusiness in 2014. Currently, she is also freelancing for small companies and start-ups offering communications, PR, and social media services. Davis continues to look fondly back on her time at GV and attributes her strong professional character and skill-set to the foundations she was taught at Grand Valley.

Katelyn Davis

Katelyn Davis