Alumna Uses PR Skills to Start Detroit Bridal Shop

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Lori Conerly

Written by APR student Gabrielle Guglielmetti

A recent Grand Valley alumna has helped spread the “Laker Effect” all the way to Michigan’s east side with the opening of her very own bridal boutique. Lori Conerly is a 22-year-old who graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree from Grand Valley State University having majored in both Communications Srudies and Advertising and Public Relations.. She is originally from Detroit and decided to make her home city the home to her new business, LeeAnn’s Luxury Bridal Boutique.

Conerly got her experience in the bridal industry from working as an assistant manager at a bridal shop in Grand Rapids during college. She combined her experience within the industry and her knowledge of Ad and PR in order to support her vision for LeeAnn’s Luxury Bridal Boutique.

Growing up in Detroit, Conerly noticed that there were no bridal shops actually in the city, forcing brides to have to travel far distances in order to find their perfect dress. This makes the wedding process for Detroit brides inconvenient and hectic, when it should be a fun and happy time for them.

Conerly also wanted to help contribute to the rebuilding of a better Detroit, since she

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The store front of Lee Anne’s bridal boutique.

knows so many people have a negative perception of the city and don’t see it for all the culture and innovation it provides. While she was growing up, Conerly got to experience all the great things the city has to offer and is now helping increase those things with the opening of her boutique.

All of these things helped spark Conerly’s idea to create a bridal shop in the heart of Michigan’s east side, so that Detroit brides can have the convenience of finding their dream dress in their hometown.

Conerly said she uses just about everything she learned from her classes to help run her business. She explained that the campaigns she created in her classes as an undergrad were especially helpful in every step of creating her business plan.

Conerly also said that she saved a lot of money because she didn’t have to hire a PR or advertising firm to help promote her business. She was able to create her own press releases, media kits and promotional material due to the skills she learned from her classes.

“I think a lot of times people undermine having an APR (Advertising and Public Relations) degree because they don’t know exactly what it is or what all it entails,” Conerly explained. “But having this degree has absolutely, without a doubt prepared me and laid the framework for me to be able to start this business. APR is all about planning, preparing, timeliness, and consciousness… everything that you really need to start and operate a business.”

Conerly said that one thing she wished she would have done if she could go back would be to start planning and preparing her business while she was still in college. She would have started saving money, stocking her inventory and started creating her business plan even before she graduated, to give herself a head start.

Conerly has helped bring the “Laker Effect” back home to Detroit with her after graduation. Her personal mission and vision, combined with the knowledge she gained from Grand Valley, helped drive her to establish her very own business and start impacting lives, one bride at a time.

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Alumna Mabin Does PR for Media Organization

ALUMNI PROFILE: Madison Mabin

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Madison Mabin in her office at Gemini Publications.

Madison Mabin, a 2013 graduate, knew when she was an Advertising and Public Relations student that she would one day be working with the media. She just did not anticipate she would be working for the media.

Mabin works for Gemini Publications, the publisher of  Grand Rapids Magazine and the Grand Rapids Business Journal, among other publications. She handles social media for Gemini and its various publications. She also manages the local publisher’s special events, including “40 Under 40” and “Newsmakers of the Year” annual receptions. Another aspect of her job is to manage trade agreements between the publisher and various businesses and organizations.

Three years past graduation, and in her second career job, Mabin still values the education at GVSU that set her up for success.

“Classes were hard but prepared me,” she said. “I took it seriously and worked hard. I showed work I had done in various class assignments in job interviews, and that got me hired.”

The hard work in school paid off. After making the move to Gemini for more responsibility, she was told  more than 400 applied for the job she now has.

She has already noted with excitement success in her current job. Recent events she managed and promoted sold out and had record record attendance. To do this, she creatively integrated social media with event planning and promotion. For example, she had award nominees share photos and a haiku and posted those in a series to promote the event and generate interest. Of course, attendees shared the posts about themselves in a true social fashion.

Mabin encourages current students to work hard and take advantage of opportunities both in and out of class. The tough standards in class assignments help her handle the demands of her job now.

“Social media sounds fun and it is for two weeks but then you have to be creative and come up with new ideas constantly,” she said.

A hint to current students reading this: Mabin takes interns and is interested in upper class students who have had necessary course work to help her handle the demands of social media and event management.

If it doesn’t spread, it’s dead.

If it Doesn't Spread

Today the grand slam in advertising, PR, and digital com (let’s just call it all strategic communications – communication with a purpose) is content that spreads, goes viral and generates a lot of earned, free media.

So how does it happen? Can you create content that spreads

Let’s start with the core question, “Why do we share, post, tweet, retweet, pin, vlog, Instagram and every other manner of digitally sharing with friends, colleagues and peers?”

Social currency.

It’s not what the content says as much as it’s what the content says about us.

It says we’re in the know. Smart. Have the inside track. Ahead of the curve. Cool, Hip, Funny, Fashionable. We knew what color the dress was. Our sharable content shapes how others see us.

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That’s the core idea driving why some ideas stay, stick, tip and others wither and fade away.

Malcolm Gladwell ignited the concept in The Tipping Point – that singular, simple moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFbkVL1X9M8

Chip and Dan Heath followed up with Made to Stick – why some ideas survive and others die. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bs9NbxJHV-w

And now Jonah Berger pulls it together with Contagious – why things catch on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfSs_hOAkzY

When you look at all three books you see a pattern, a few common characteristics which can help transform your communication – boost your idea’s chance of virality and put it on the fast track. Content worth sharing because it gives you, the sender, resender or writer social currency.

In other words, “How cool am I because I sent you this?”

Let’s take a look at how you can craft your content.

Is the content simple and concrete? Can the idea be expressed in a single sentence? Is it visually memorable? Can it be explained in human actions so that are easily understood and can be shared with consistent meaning?

 “You’re not you when you’re hungry. Snickers satisfies.”

Is the content a story? Stories stick. We have an innate need for narrative. We share stories, not pie charts.

Is the content remarkable and unexpected? Let’s combine story and unexpected.  Did you hear the story about the blender that turned an iPad into dust? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAl28d6tbko Is the story message relevant to the product, candidate or cause? Is Blend Tec a powerful blender?

 


Post by: Frank Blossom, affiliate professor

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Professor Blossom teaches advertising, PR, creativity and story making classes at GVSU. He developed his brand building skills as a copywriter and Creative Director at Leo Burnett, DArcy, Noble & Associates and Felder Communications Group. In 2001 he founded The Polishing Center and serves as Head Coach helping young creatives build their portfolios and interviewing skills. Additionally, Frank manages Frank Communications and serves as head referee for the Creative Smackdown – a creative competition showcase bringing together students from all over Michigan with advertising and design professionals. For the past 20 years, The American Advertising Federation, the National Student Advertising Competition, and other ad associations have tapped Franks experience to judge local, regional, national and international advertising competitions. Frank serves on the Board of Directors of the Womens Resource Center and facilitates visual and verbal communications for VSA. In 2010 Frank was awarded The Silver Medalthe American Advertising Federations highest honor to professionals who have made outstanding contributions to the advertising and marketing industry and who have been active in furthering creative excellence and responsibility in areas of social concern.

The Importance of Networking in APR

Networking

“Oh, I am a terrible networker.”

“Those types of things give me so much anxiety.”

“Those things don’t really matter any ways.”

What do these three sentences have in common? They’re all wrong. Networking is very important in any line of work and it isn’t as scary as you make it out to be. Basically since the beginning of time (or since the time you spent on the playground), you have been networking. How do you think you made friends? You told them a little bit about yourself, what you like, what you don’t like, etc. Then like magic, you became friends. See that wasn’t so scary. So, why can’t you muster up the courage to go to a networking event where there is probably food and wine? What is the million-dollar answer? You’re being a chicken. Or lazy. A lazy chicken.

Networking is important because it can lead to many different opportunities. You never know whom you are going to meet or who knows whom in a room full of people. Obviously some networking events are better than others, but you never know who can make an introduction for you. Every relationship you make matters, which is key to successful networking.

If you think you’re a horrible networker, don’t. It is important to have confidence, so fake it until you make it. Chances are there is someone else in the room that is just as nervous as you but you would never know. If you exude confidence, it will rub off on other people, create conversations and a make great first impression. If you’re still nervous, come prepared with a few easy talking points that will lead the conversation. But remember not everyone is going to be nice and responsive, that’s okay. Develop thick skin and understand that if someone doesn’t respond to your follow up or show interest in the conversation, it’s not personal.

The best thing about networking is that it pushes the boundaries of your comfort zone. Like stated above, you never know who you’re going to meet or where an opportunity is going to present itself. Networking allows you to meet all different types of people and learn more about what they do in the field. There may be a side of your profession you never thought to explore and a simple conversation can open your eyes to it. Nothing exciting ever comes from sitting in those four walls of your comfort zone, so knock them down.

To prove the above sentences wrong, it is pretty easy:

  1. “Oh, I am a terrible networker.” No one is a terrible networker; all you need to do is be yourself.
  2. “Those types of things give me so much anxiety.” Fake it till you make it!
  3. “Those things don’t really matter anyway.” Wrong, you never know who you’ll meet to give you advice, conversation or even a job.

So have fun and be confident! If you absolutely feel terrible at the event then leave. 9 out of 10 times, you will meet someone and the conversation will start flowing. But you’ll never know if you don’t put yourself out there!


ElleOHara
Eleanor O’Hara is a senior at GVSU majoring in advertising and public relations and minoring in business. She looks forward to growing her PR leadership and project management skills this year as CEO of GrandPR and a board member of GVSU’s PRSSA chapter. Eleanor’s professional experiences include interning with the American Diabetes Association in Chicago and 834 Design & Marketing in Grand Rapids. After graduation, she hopes to enter a Chicago PR agency and become an Account Executive. In her spare time, Eleanor loves to bake yummy treats, hangout with her friends and family, and watch reruns of One Tree Hill and Grey’s Anatomy.

Let’s Talk Internships

Internships

Let’s talk about APR internships…

Most of you know me as affiliate professor Peggy Howard, an instructor of public relations classes. You may not know, however, that I am also the coordinator for the internship program for the APR major. It’s the internship program that I would like to talk about. For some of you, the internship requirement may be a source of frustration or just a vast unknown.  Yet, scheduled at the right time in your education pathway, it will prove to be one of the most important classes of your academic career. Since understanding brings clarity, and usually acceptance, I have answered the Top Five most often asked questions about internships below.

How do I find an internship?

Laker Jobs is a good source for finding internship opportunities. Now is a good time to check for internships being offered this summer. Check back frequently. New opportunities are added regularly. Other sources are friends. Do you have a friend/acquaintance that has recently completed an internship? How did he or she find the internship? Is it an internship that might be of interest to you? Family is another good source of ideas. Family members may work for a company that is looking for an intern, or may have friends who know about an internship opportunity. Ask professors or your academic advisor. Do a Google search, and check out http://www.interninmichigan.com. Lastly, call a company where you would like to intern, and ask if they have an internship opportunity, or would like to. Many students have secured an internship opportunity by just asking for one.

How do I prepare for an internship?

Applying for an internship is the same as applying for a job. You need to have a resume and portfolio prepared for your job (internship) interview. Prior to the interview, develop goals you would like to achieve during your internship. What skills do you want to practice/hone? What work experiences are available with the internship? Discuss your goals/questions as a part of the interview process. There has been an increase in recent years of employers seeking interns to develop and/or manage their social media platforms. That’s good experience for students. However, there are other important skills to build in preparation for a career in public relations or advertising. Those include writing news releases and other communications tools, copywriting, design, planning, etc. The internship should provide you with a wide variety of experiences, allow you to develop portfolio items, and build the confidence you need for seeking a job in the career you choose following graduation.

Why did I have to complete two 300-level classes before applying for an internship for credit?

The primary purpose of an APR internship is for students to gain real-life work experience. If you haven’t completed skill-building classes offered at the 300 level, the internship experience will be diminished for you, as well as your employer. How will you be able to write a news release with skill and confidence if you haven’t completed the media relations writing class? Or write ad copy without first completing advertising copywriting?  There are two public relations classes (for those of you whose emphasis is public relations), and two advertising classes (for those of you whose emphasis is advertising) that are highly recommended for completion BEFORE registering for an internship for credit: CAP 321 – Media Relations Writing, and CAP 320 – PR Management and Cases. For advertising students, CAP 315 – Advertising Copywriting, and CAP 310 – Advertising Management and Cases.

What do I do to get approved for an internship for credit?

The first step is to secure the internship. Secondly, go to the School of Communications website – http://www.gvsu.edu/soc – and click on internships for students and review the information. Complete the Internship Agreement and submit it. You will be notified via email when your agreement has been approved. Keep in mind that there is no class to attend, just completing the internship is the class; however, you do need to register for the internship like you would any other class you are completing. Once your Internship Agreement has been approved, I will issue you a permit to register for the “class.” You must be approved, and register for the internship BEFORE completing the internship. Other questions? You can email me at howardp@gvsu.edu, or stop by my office during office hours.

Why does the APR major require an internship before graduation?

Once an internship has been completed, you and your employer complete on online evaluation regarding the internship. Students are also required to write a 1,000 word essay about their experience. There is a consistent theme in the hundreds of evaluations and essays I have read in recent years. Like, “this internship has prepared me for seeking a job after graduation. I am grateful that Grand Valley requires an internship,” and, “I wasn’t sure that I had chosen the right major until I completed the internship. Now I am anxious to graduate and start my career.” GVSU requires an internship because it is essential to your education and prepares you for a successful, fulfilling career.

Yes. Securing an internship can be a challenge, but consider it practice for searching for a job. Use it to stop procrastinating on developing a job-winning resume and portfolio. Look at it as an opportunity to practice your interview skills. Completing an internship is an important component of your APR major. Embrace it. Be enthusiastic. Make the most of it. It will be a decision that you won’t regret.


 

Post by: Peggy Howard, affiliate professor

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Peggy Howard is an affiliate professor in the School of Communications. She teaches public relations classes for the APR major, and serves as the APR internship coordinator. This is Professor Howard’s tenth academic year at GVSU. Prior to joining the GVSU faculty, she spent 20 plus years in health public relations and public relations firm work.

10 Reasons to Submit Work to the 2016 Superior Awards

Superior Awards 2016

The 2016 Superior Awards for Grand Valley Advertising and Public Relations majors, will be held on April 13, 2016 starting at 6:30pm. The event will be in the Eberhard Center on the GVSU Pew Campus.

 

Wondering why you would want to enter work to the Superior Awards? Well, here are ten great reasons why you should submit your 2015-16 projects:

1) Resume building:

The work you submit to this event is a great resumé builder because it displays the work you have completed in school. As a student who plan to enter the  Advertising and Public Relations industry, we have a lot of competition.  Most of the time employers look at your work as a judgement of your credibility as opposed to your grades. It will help to have a certificate of quality to accompany your project; it adds value to what you have done. Also it brings up a great talking point for interviews.

2) Networking with professionals:

At the 2016 Superior Awards event, there will be real world professionals from the Advertising and Public Relations industry. These individuals will be able to give you feedback on your work. The feedback and conversations you engage in at this event can help you get a foot in the door for future jobs and internships.

3) Portfolio building:

Your portfolio represents all your work and assignments you have done. Really, it is a professional representation of your professional abilities. When you have a certificate with a certain project, it helps add value and credibility that you are capable of handling the task in your career.

4) End of the year recognition/celebreation:

One of the main goals of the Superior Awards is to celebrate a job well done after a challenging school year. You have worked hard all year. This is your opportunity to get recognition from the people that count. Professionals and your fellow students will be there to congratulate you on all the hard work you have put in on your projects.

5) Your work is already done:

The beauty of the Superior Awards is that you don’t have to put in the time to put together a whole new project. You already did the hard part since you are simply entering work you have already completed throughout the 2015-16 school year. All you have to do is make a few tweaks if you want, write a mini summary, and submit the project to gvsuapr@gmail.com in s .zip file. Easy as that!

6) Showcasing your work:

This event helps showcase the work you have done and are proud of from your whole academic career. It is way better than just hanging it on the fridge!

7) Networking with students:

It allows you the opportunity to speak with other students about one another’s achievements and discuss professional opportunities and goals. These are going to be your co-workers in the future; you might as well get to know them now.

8) The sense of accomplishment:

This award will help you feel like all the schooling you have done has paid off, by giving you something tangible to display for your success. Good grades are great, but good grades plus professional recognition AND a certificate of achievement is way better. Right?

9) Attending a great event:

At the Superior Awards event there will be formal attire, hors d’oeuvres, professionals, and a keynote address. All those sharing the Advertising and Public Relations major will be culminated together for this fun occasion.

10) Standing out from the crowd:

This award will help you stand out among the competition in job interviews and help you stand out among other schools with similar highly accredited programs. I know you are all rockstars…let’s make sure everyone else knows too.

 

I could go on, but hopefully that is enough to convince you. This truly will be a great event and it designed specifically to benefit YOU! Don’t forget that submissions for this year’s Superior Awards are due April 1. There will also be a work-in meeting to answer all your questions and help you get prepared on March 30 in KC RM 2266 from 9-10.

For more information  and to get a 2016 guidebook click here. Now, get out there and get submitting that superior work!


Post by: Sophie Klimkiewicz

Sophie
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.

Pearls from Pros

Pearls From Pros

  • Hear the story of how one student’s question led to an amazing internship with a high fashion NYC firm.
  • Hear the story of how attending a Super Bowl party led to a job with a top PR company.
  • Hear 8 more success stories from GV grads working in GR communications/marketing companies.

Wed, March 30 6:30-7:30 University Club, Pop Up Pedagogy – Pearls from Pros

 Atikh Bana – Open Systems Technologies; Lindsey VanDenBoom – Perrin Brewery; Natalie Topalian – The Image Shoppe; Dave Nitkiewicz – Experience GR; Dianne Teal, Cody Christoffersen, Patrick Vanderkolk – AUX Inc; Rick Iseppi – Extra Credit Projects; Joe Buckemeyer – Town Square Media, and Michelle Lund – Wolverine World Wide want to share their stories and help you with your career search and strategy.

Your Advertising and Public Relations Major brings this presentation to you as part of the Pop Up Pedagogy Speaker Series Winter 2016. Show up early to get a comfortable seat.