If you like it then you should put a RIBBON on it

In a previous post, I talked about how being a public relations professional helps me think on my feet to work around threats.

In conducting and updating my SWOT analysis for this wedding, one of the opportunities for the bridal party turned into a serious threat:

The bridesmaid dresses didn’t fit 40% of the bridal party!

 

Now with less than 30 days to the wedding, I had to think fast to avoid raising the bride’s stress levels. Well it turns out my solution worked!

Here is how I turned an original opportunity that changed to a threat back to another opportunity…and technically into a strength.

 

My wonderful Etsy solution!

The bridesmaid dresses are one of the most expensive items to acquire for the wedding.  Normally this would entail the bridal party to go dress shopping and place the dress on order.  In this particular instance, we decided to go the least expensive route and find a dress on a website.  Pretty dress but to our disbelief, the FIT didn’t work out for our curvaceous features.  We took the risk and lost.

It’s now less than 30 days to the wedding.  There was no way we could order dress to have them arrive in time and even if they did, the fit out would not be favorable.  With two bridesmaids not being able to fasten the hooks, I decided to throw a ribbon on it and have all the bridesmaids wear a ribbon around their waist to cover the hooks.

It was my job to break the news to the bride but I had to make sure I present it in a way that would ease her worries.  The sandwich method helped (start good, drop the bad, top it off with good):

  1. Complimented the beauty of the dress
  2. State that the dress could not be secured for a couple of bridesmaids due to the tight fit
  3. Offered a solution that would solve any issues AND compliment the colors of the wedding

After having the bride check with her wedding planner, the ribbon worked and would not clash with any other decor. Whew, crisis averted.  I Pope’ed it!  This ribbon not only solves a problem but includes the bride’s favor color more in her wedding vision.

Anyone can complain and pout but the resilient figure out a way to make it happen.  Most entrepreneurs push and strive to see their vision come to life so get out there and MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Personal Crisis Communication

Many use social media for different purposes: to share information, to find out the latest news, to upload pictures of their cats.  A while back I decided to use my Twitter account for both business and personal use.  I knew what to post and how to word it so that I can still be viewed as professional while sharing stories and ideas that are more personal.

For a while it has gone fine.  For the past year however, since the death of Mike Brown, I’ve been sharing more stories and more personal points of views on my Twitter account.  Last night I realized that using a particular hashtag can catch the eye of unwanted attention from people with opposing views.  After going back and forth briefly with these people, I come to the conclusion that one should be prepared for the power of social media.  My unwanted attention led to people liking my opponent’s tweets and retweeting our conversation, calling me names that do not fit the type of person I am.

The more I responded, the more traction it received.  If you put more fuel into a fire, it will take a while to go down.  I see that now as it is the following morning and I’ve still received more feedback.  Many of you have heard the old saying for bullies, ignore them.  While this approach can be debatable, I think it’s the best option on social media.  If you ignore people’s responses to your statements, then eventually they will go away only to nick pick with other people they disagree with on their views.

Celebrities can best benefit from this advice as I’m sure they receive the most criticism because they are in the public eye.  Unfortunately for them the criticism can come non-stop to the boiling point where they feel as if they NEED to respond…but they don’t.  These people will not stop them from making their millions, just like these internet “trolls” cannot judge me by the little bit of personal information I DO decide to share to the world.  While I cannot be silenced, this event has led me to realize that my focus SHOULD be more towards professional content more so for me as a professional transitioning her career.

Final Tip:  Just be aware you can have your own opinions, not your own facts.  This is why I support the people I do on social media and share their stories and struggle as they are called liars and their families are threatened every single day.

What IS Public Relations?

When it comes to public relations, many people don’t know exactly what it entails.  Some people think it’s building social media followers…but PR existed before social media.  Others think it’s event planning however that may possibly be only one part of a publicists duties.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) defines public relations as “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

Strategic is key in this definition from PRSA.  It is the job of a publicist to use their variety of  professional communication skills to communicate the RIGHT message to the intended targeted audience through the appropriate media outlet.  A media outlet is anything that provides information to the masses such as newspapers, magazines, blogs, TV, radio shows, etc.  It is IMPORTANT to have something newsworthy before contacting a publicist.

Do you need public relations?  If so, contact me today to discuss how PR can help generate sales/downloads/views for your brand, product, or service.

Cassandra
cassandrajohnsonpr@gmail.com

Differentiate

There is a ton of talent in the world. Many want their share of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry. The problem is most aspiring artists are blending in with what is current and trending instead of trying to set a new standard that many will never get discovered. Even if the artist gets discovered, it may take longer than it would have if the artist would have had their own image. Once they finally have some shine based on the current trend, the next “trend” has already begun to work it’s way through the industry and the artist will again have to adjust to stay relevant.

This can be avoided by differentiation. The artist with their branding team will need to understand what sets them a part from all of the other talent in their category. What works for Justin Bieber may not work for August Alsina, even though both artists are truly talented in the R&B music industry. Lets take a quick look into how August Alsina’s image differs from Justin Bieber’s:

August Alsina

August Alsina
Photo Credit: Allhiphop.com
  • Starting posting on YouTube and following grew
  • Got into drug dealing before being discovered
  • Released other mix tapes previous before his official first release
  • One released studio featured album
  • Newer to the entertainment industry compared to Justin Bieber
  • Preparing for this first official tour

Justin Bieber

justin bieber
Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter
  • Started posting on YouTube and following grew
  • No released mix tapes prior to first official album release
  • Four released studio albums to date
  • Has had a longevity in the music industry compared to August having finished a worldwide tour that lasted over a year
  • Got into legal trouble after speculation of drug and alcohol abuse

As you can see these two artists are very different in their careers.  August Alsina has opportunities coming his way so he can focus on to further his career.  Justin Bieber has to deal with the legal troubles from his DUI arrest in Florida and his infamous egg throwing incident to one of his California neighbors.

The media loves to report chaos and negativity for sales and website hits.  Until Bieber resolves all of his legal issues, he will continue to be followed by the paparazzi in hopes that they can catch the next chaotic thing Justin will do.  It’s unfortunate that rising talent will have to fight to get media attention for the good things that they’re trying to do but that is the way the media world works.

Outer appearance is a part of the image, along with the artist’s story.  For Justin Bieber he was a cute 15 year old with adorable hair and everyone wanted to interview him. All talk shows wanted to have Bieber perform on their shows.  An artist’s image should invite journalists and reporters to want to get to know you better.  For August Alsina you will usually see him in sunglasses.  This could prompt journalists and reporters to ask more questions as this can be seen to some people as “hiding” from the public.  Either way, it welcomes people to ask questions to get a better understanding.  Now August Alsina is more open either wearing fake glasses or not wearing any at all.

How can an artist get more media coverage about the GOOD things they are doing?  Consider hiring a publicist to help figure out how to not only set the artist a part but how to STAND OUT from the competition.  It is important to understand what image the artist will  want to portray with the media so the media can tell the artist’s story for them.

Side note: I’m doing freelance work for Elvie G PR out of Los Angeles, CA.  Are you a musician that needs public relations work? Please contact me at elviegprcassandra@aol.com to see what we can do for your brand/image!

 

Tap into your Network!

When pursuing your dreams, you cannot do it alone.  Sometimes it’s who you know and not what you know.

Social media is a great place to connect and network with people that share your same career interests.  I told some of my network that I was relocating to the NYC area.  After 24 hours of living in NYC, one of my associates invited me to Cassie’s listening party for her new mix tape “Rock A Bye Baby.”  It was the first time I actually met my associate in person.  At first I wasn’t going to go because I commute to the city and I didn’t feel like commuting back.  After second thought, I decided to attend because it’s a chance to grow my network.  I’m so glad I did that!

I met a lot of people in the entertainment industry.  People from Global Grind, Blogxilla, Def Jam, XXL Magazine, Concreteloop.com, DDotomen.com and so much more.  My associate’s friend then took me and my associate to the 40/40 club to watch the NCAA championship.  The club’s owner even came by to watch the game, Jay-Z!  It was the best Monday night I’ve ever had and to think I was going to stay in and watch television!

Have you tapped into your network?

Shoutout to Blogxilla!

Cassiecassie rock a bye baby

I can't believe I met THE Ty Hunter.  If you don't know him, he's Beyonce's stylist.
I can’t believe I met THE Ty Hunter. If you don’t know him, he’s Beyonce’s stylist.

 

4040 club
Briefly saw Jay-Z as the 40/40 Club.

A New ChaPteR

For a while I’ve been miserable….miserable doing something I felt like I HAD to do instead of doing something I truly LOVED.  I’ve always been unsure of myself when making a huge decision (and sometimes even small ones such as choosing a place to eat for dinner) but I’ve come to MY realization in regards to my career.

Until recently, I was the Marketing Manager of a small company, handling the company’s entire marketing efforts from social media, to public relations, to trade shows and everything in-between.  I’ve gone through so many changes in the company’s management/executives without any real training or guidance that I was burnt out.  I loved my job in the beginning.  No longer did my job duties entail public relations anymore and that really made me sad because that company introduced me to public relations.  I had to decide to continue to be miserable, or make a change…and boy did I make a change!

For the past twenty something years, I’ve been a resident of North Carolina.  NC is my home and I’ve known nothing else.  But now I will get the chance to follow my dreams.  I’m so thankful for the opportunities my previous employment gave me but when your heart is no longer into something, everyday it gets harder and harder to be enthusiastic about your work, even when you put your all into your work.  That is why I decided to resign from my position to pursue my dreams as a full-time public relations professional.

This is the scariest moment of my life thus far: to quit my job and up-and-move without securing a job.  The worst part is being over a thousand miles away from all of my family and friends.  This move will be nothing like my college move, in which I’m only a couple hours drive from my closest relative.

If college taught me anything, it’s to make sure that you can survive on your own.  I grew up  with limited means in the poorest county in North Carolina.  That’s why I made sure I could finance my college tuition by working all four years, just in case for some reason my grant or scholarship money didn’t come through for me.  I always have a backup plan just in case a plan fails. I will always have a Plan A, B, C, and D and if I really want to go after something I will make it to Plan Z.

So yes, I’m randomly moving to New York without any current job offers and limited funds. No, I do not have a friend’s couch I can crash on and yes, I would be lying to you if I said I would not think twice about moving back home if I was offered another position in NC.  I’ve only known NC and that’s my barrier right there.  It was after seeing @Iamnecole tweet on March 22, 2013 that really made me decide to take a risk and move to NYC.  Her tweet was right on time for my situation.  She tweeted: “It’s okay to be scared. Just know the greatest things that will ever happen to you in life are on the other side of the wall of fear.”  I am fearless.

Like I said earlier in this post, I have a backup plan.  Well, one of my plans include actually winning my dream entry-level job in the public relations industry.  Affect is actually giving people the chance to win their dream job, after a thorough interview of course!  The top three finalists will get Skype interviews and also get the chance to fly to New York for in-person interviews and one lucky winner will win a full-time job with Affect!  I need your help by getting votes for my entry.  You can only vote once but by sharing my profile with your friends after you have voted, they may just vote and also share and so on.  I started a Twitter hashtag to go along with #teamaffect: #cassandraforaffect.  Please vote and help get my hashtag to go viral so that the judges will notice and hopefully each give me all of their 200 votes (wishful thinking because there are also some other amazing candidates.)  To vote for me and to read my story click on my picture below. Make sure you are logged onto your Facebook account so that you can vote that way or you will have to create an account.  Then click on the “Vote for this entry” button below my picture.  I thank you in advance and please help me get my big break into public relations!

#cassandraforaffect

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 11.24.51 PM

ApPReciation

Washington Square Park

Be grateful for how far you have come & have faith in how far you can go!  I saw @FashionWeekNYC tweet this and it made me reflect on my journey throughout my career thus far. I recent just got back from New York.  I didn’t plan on staying in New York long, just for the day.  I was determined to meet my family that lived there.

I contacted my family member via telephone a week prior to my visit to let him know who I was and that I was visiting for a short period.  I invited him to lunch, just excited to meet  this person that came from my humble beginnings living in the big city, the same place I aspire to work.  After my appointment, we walked through the Lower East Side to Chinatown for some Thai food. I enjoyed walking the Big Apple while getting to know about my relative, occasionally getting lost for 5 seconds before my relative realizes where we are at again. (By the way, I love how all New Yorkers talk out loud trying while using hand signals trying to figure out all the stops or the best train to use when asking for directions.)

I found out that he has been through some close encounters.  My relative works in construction in downtown New York, working specifically underground building new subway systems.  He was underground working or “in the hole” as he calls it while the entire east coast experienced an earthquake two years ago.  Luckily, him and his crew walked away unharmed.

But there was one particular story of my relative that I had a hard time fighting back tears to.  My relative has been in New York for over 30 years at this time.  On the day of September 11, 2011 my relative was on the 99th floor of the South Tower when the planes hit.  He ran down all 99 floors before it collapsed and then walked 12 miles to the Bronx.  After speaking with my dad, we learned that it took hours for my relative to call his wife to let her know he was fine.  It’s crazy how fast the love forms after just meeting your relative.  After getting to know more about each other, and after returning to North Carolina, I got a voicemail from him checking to see if I had got back safe.  At the end of his call, he said “Love you, talk to you later.”  It was so unexpected but it didn’t feel weird at all.

I’m so blessed with the people in my life, old and new.  I thank God for that day of getting to know my relative while walking around New York City.  It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I’m now more determined to meet other family members as well as research my family history.