Effectively reach key messages to audiences of all ages in a multimedia generation

By Alyssa Badalamenti, PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Chair

By now, everyone has replaced ‘millennials’ with ‘Gen X’ in their editorials, and millennials are looped in with the previous generations who grew into having negative stereotypes of the newest generation. Why is it that with every generation we get into this cycle of comparing habits and perceiving them to be negative? Why does it have to be this way? Often, I hear it’s because “they don’t understand.” As communicators, it’s our job to understand our audience, but how can we communicate properly if we don’t shape our messages for a diverse audience? Rather than writing the same way we always have because it makes sense to us, we could instead seek input from generations outside our own. How we work, communicate, and consume is different among generations. By understanding why we have differences and what they are, we can communicate more effectively to our audiences.

Take a look at this chart taken from Dr. Susan MacManus’ editorial column, “Shining the Spotlight on Florida’s Youngest Registered Voters: A Generational Approach.” In her column, Dr. MacManus writes, “Each generation is different demographically and in its exposure to various major economic, social, technological, and political events that can impact vote decisions.” Each generation has had its own shaped opinions based on major life events and the presidential office held. Each life event also holds different weight in terms of importance. Add on differences in race, gender, religion, etc…it’s no wonder why we often hear that “they just don’t understand.”

Jennifer J. Deal, a research scientist with the Center for Creative Leadership, argues that the generations now of working age value essentially the same things as older generations.  “The so-called generation gap is, in large part, the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding, fueled by common insecurities and the desire for clout,” she says.  It’s easy to understand that each generation has had different experiences and thus probably has a unique perspective to communications and how they represent their work and their organizations. And naturally through the growth of resources, technology and transparency, public relations is going through its own generational growth. However, public relations has essentially stayed the same in its core values and foundation of key messages. Public relations practitioners in any generation could benefit by understanding generational differences and seeing the value in working as part of a multigenerational team. We just need to ask the right questions.

By working with multigenerational teams, we can more effectively communicate by seeking input on how key messages come across to different generations.  According to the Pew Research Center, there was a drop in media viewership from the last calendar year across most modes (newspaper, cable/network/local television, and digital-native news), with the exception of radio and social media. Communicators have always needed to be aware of how their audiences consume media and adapt to the changing trends; this is true for any generation.  Communicators can be successful by understanding how each generation consumes media, and by using a variety of communication types to reach their target audience. Example: “Check it out” versus “You may find the video below;” It’s especially important for internal communicators when talking to employees of diverse age groups. Communicators would benefit from studying and/or talking to generations different than their own to ensure key messages reflect the audiences being communicated to. Just remember, one way of communication is not better than the other; they’re just different approaches to relaying the same key message to an audience that understands it better.

Did you know? Maintain Your Accreditation By Writing a PRSA Orlando Blog Post

Every three years, accredited professionals must maintain their credential and commitment to the sound and ethical practice of public relations. One of the ways you can reach your maintenance goals is by publishing on the topic of public relations, including a blog post on our PRSA Orlando website.

APRs will receive 2 points for each well-thought article, op-ed, book review, blog post, podcast, or video published in a public relations journal, magazine, newspaper, newsletter, in print or electronic format.

Learn more here on how to maintain your accreditation. http://www.praccreditation.org/maintain/

We Should Bungee Jump out of a Helicopter like Will Smith

by Wendy J. Roundtree

As if jumping off a cliff attached to a large elastic rope wasn’t risky enough, Will Smith decided to celebrate his 50th birthday by bungee jumping out of a helicopter. Yes, you read that right.

His jump was an answer to a challenge made by founders of the YouTube channel Yes Theory, who believe life can be authentic and fulfilling if you seek discomfort. Let me be the first to say that even though I was nowhere near the Grand Canyon when Smith jumped, I was 100 percent uncomfortable.

By now, you’ve probably guessed that the title of this blog is clearly a hyperbole. I will not, nor do I recommend that you heli-bungee jump (unless your heart desires). But in all seriousness, I do believe there’s something that public relations professionals can learn from Smith’s daring birthday celebration.

First: step outside of your comfort zone.

As PR practitioners, while we maintain many principles that serve as the foundation for our industry (i.e., advocacy, honesty, ethics, etc.), we can’t deny the role technology plays in how our audiences disseminate and receive information.

Take for instance, Will Smith and his jump. He not only accepted the challenge of YouTubers, he chose the non-traditional route, which racked up more than 16 millions views by streaming it live on said platform.

What does this have to do with PR?

Many of us are comfortable with traditional media. We may have even mastered the art of working with bloggers and influencers. But with Will Smith bringing vlogging to Hollywood, we continue to see more people taking hold of their content and sharing it on their own terms. It’s not always easy to adapt to changes in technology, particularly for larger organizations, but since when has innovation been related to the status quo?

The next lesson I believe we can all learn is to lead with authenticity.

Yes Theory’s mission and Will Smith’s recent entry into the vlogging sphere was a match made in heaven. And the eventual hour or so long production of “Will Smith: The Jump” was produced like any other of Smith’s video … with higher stakes involved, of course. We watched his excitement, his fear and finally his elation. In his own words, the experience was like going “from pure terror to absolute bliss.”

Our audiences can tell when we’re trying to do something that doesn’t fit our organization’s personality. Everyone can’t be as straightforward as Gary Vee, or as socially conscious as Google, or as witty as Wendy’s (the restaurant, not me).

At the end of the day, it’s up to us as communicators to help our organizations/clients navigate the ever-changing technological landscape ― while also helping them maintain a true representation of their corporate identity.

Does that mean you need to bungee jump out of a helicopter and stream it live? No.

But it is worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet.

Are you ready to fall for PRSA?

Football. Cool breezes. Pumpkin spice lattes. PRSA membership discounts. All great reasons to love this season!

Now through November 30, 2018 you have three big benefits to joining PRSA. In addition to our national PRSA membership (with no initiation fee, a $65 value), you will also receive a free section membership (a $60 value) and a free chapter membership (up to $100)!

Use the code FALL18 when applying for membership to receive:

  • PRSA National Membership: Access to more than 21,000 public relations and communications professionals 24/7 via the members-only online community MyPRSA. Plus, you have access to dozens of other member benefits!
  • PRSA Chapter Membership: PRSA has more than 100 local groups across the United States, known as Chapters. These Chapters are run by local PRSA members who host networking and educational events to connect you to industry professionals and ensure you are staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends and skills. Check out the Orlando chapter’s upcoming events!
  • PRSA Section Membership: PRSA has 14 professional interest groups, known as Sections. Each Section focuses on a specific industry that public relations and communication professionals serve, and a few of the Sections are geared towards career level and business owners. Members of these Sections are able to connect with industry peers who have similar needs and share the same challenges. These groups share important and relevant information about their area of interest through a variety of channels throughout the year. Click here to view all 14 Sections.

Questions? Please feel free to reach out to Co-VP of Membership, Carter Flynn – cflynn@bdo.com

*RESTRICTIONS: The Counselors Academy and New Professionals Sections are not included in this offer.  Chapter dues are covered up to $100. N/A for Associate member types ($200 or less annual dues) and current or renewing members. Refer to https://www.prsa.org/membership/membership-categories for details.

PRSA August Newsletter

August is PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Month

By Alyssa Badalamenti, PRSA Diversity and Inclusion Chair

PRSA recognizes August as its Diversity and Inclusion month, a time to focus the spotlight on advancing the profession through representation of the hardworking communications professionals of diverse backgrounds and thought.

Throughout the last couple of months, we’ve asked our members to share with us what diversity and inclusion means to them. Through these messages, we’ve been able to gain a better understanding of how our chapter defines diversity and inclusion. Check out our Twitter and Facebook as we share more quotes this month and in the long-term so that we can continue to shape what diversity and inclusion means to the PR profession.

PRSA’s National Diversity and Inclusion Committee has also been working diligently to advance the diversity discussion through industry events, mixers, awards and more. The PRSA Orlando chapter has followed suit. We will continue to work toward making diversity and inclusion a yearlong recognition by increasing the visibility of our members and providing best practices and resources to advance diversity in all levels of the profession.

Do you have a quote to share? Send an email to Alyssa Badalamenti on what diversity and inclusion means to you.

PRSA July Newsletter

Easy, breezy value for new members

by Beth Swanson, Co-VP Membership Recruitment

We’ve got a hot offer for new members – use promo code SUMMER18* on your membership application before August 31 and receive a $25 Amazon gift card and waived initiation fee ($65).

For less than $300/year you can connect with colleagues in PR, marketing and communications for advice and fun.  Here are some of PRSA’s career-advancing benefits:

  • 24/7 access to the members-only MyPRSA online community. Share insights and ask questions of your fellow PR and communications professionals while elevating your thought leadership profile.
  • Member discount program for a wide variety of goods and services.
  • Discounted registration to a wealth of training programs and webinars.
  • The PRSA Membership App gives members access to the latest PRSA publications, including Issues & Trends, top-rated webinars, PRSA’s online community and membership directory.
  • PRSA Jobcenter
  • Opportunities to network with more than 21,000 communication and public relations professionals.
  • Subscription to the NEW industry-specific publication, PRSA Strategies & Tactics.

Summer is a perfect time to relax and reconnect with Central Florida colleagues. So take advantage and join today!

Have questions? Check out these links or email Beth Swanson, Co-VP Membership Recruitment

Membership Application

Why Join PRSA?

Member Benefits

*Offer is valid for persons joining at the Member and Associate Member 3 levels. Not valid for current members, renewing members, PRSSA Graduates, Graduate Students, Associate Members at levels 1 or 2. Refer to https://www.prsa.org/membership/membership-categories  for details.

Diversity Should Be Celebrated All Year Long

By Alyssa Badalamenti, Diversity & Inclusion Chair

June 12 marked two years since the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando. 49 beautiful lives were taken senselessly. Through the heartbreak, our city has since become more unified in its strong voice for diversity and inclusion because of who we are and who we represent. But when remembering this tragic incident and many others along the way, it’s hard not to be reminded of how much hate still exists in the world.

“Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity.” – Robert Kennedy

That being said, while we can’t raise a magic wand this minute, we can do our part to build a greater immunity to hate and be more representative of diversity by deliberately being inclusive within our companies, our associations, and our own daily lives.

Just check out this list of 26 companies who celebrate diversity all year long. These companies are LIVING their differences, not just preaching it. Embracing all types of people, ridding the norms, and seeing a good person as a good person are what help shape D&I for all members of society.

“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and test of our civilization.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Recently our PRSA Orlando chapter board of directors decided we wanted to make a statement to our members that reflects our chapter on diversity and inclusion in addition to PRSA’s national defined role. After some brainstorming, we quickly realized….ONE STATEMENT? That’s like trying to sum up 200+ resumes on one Post-it note. Rather than providing one local statement that represents our chapter, we decided to reach out to our members to gather their own thoughts directly about D&I and use it to enforce our policies more authentically. Because like true practice, we should always incorporate our members into the discussion.

We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.” – Max de Pree

Here’s a little glimpse of what’s to come: