Spark PR on Stewardship and Client Relationships

Stewardship is defined as “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.” As a PR agency, Spark PR is responsible for creating a public relations campaign for the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter. Our agency has a duty to protect the organization’s image, however, without first establishing a relationship with the client, ALS is not likely to trust us with its image.

In the short amount of time Spark PR has worked with ALS, our agency has already developed a strong relationship with the organization. We make sure to maintain this relationship through weekly meetings, phone calls and text messages. Even if our agency does not have any specific questions or materials to walk through with our client, Spark PR always makes a point to check in via email or phone call. The course syllabus explains that after completion of this course, students will be able to “establish and maintain positive client relationships and work as a part of a public relations team.” Though the course is not yet complete, Spark PR is already more confident in our relationship building abilities.

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

In an article from PRDaily, Nicole Messier describes five tips for enhancing client relationships.

  1. Weekly meetings, whether in person or over the phone, should be more than just a rattling off of the to-do list. Spark PR meets with ALS either in person or over the phone at least once a week. Our agency makes sure to maintain a two-way conversation, in which we ask for feedback and suggestions rather than simply “rattling off of the to-do list.”
  2. Schedule proactive brainstorming sessions with the client. Even if Spark PR doesn’t have a specific topic to discuss with ALS, we still meet weekly to share thoughts and discuss ideas.
  3. Strike a balance of getting to know the client personally and professionally. Rather than jumping right into business, Spark PR always takes the time to engage in small talk with our client for the few first few minutes of each meeting. Whether it’s “how was your conference?” or “are you having a good week?,” we do our best to get to know our client on a personal level.
  4. Don’t let weekly meetings become your only touch point with the client. Though we do meet with ALS in person or over the phone weekly, Spark PR is in constant contact with our client. We email or text our contacts at ALS daily.
  5. Remember to do “PR” for yourself. Spark PR wants to make sure our client trusts the work we are doing. Therefore, we keep ALS informed of the progress we have made and the success we have achieved. Whether it’s a good grade on an assignment or an engaging social media post, Spark PR always maintains two-way communication on chief milestones.

As future public relations professionals, the ability to establish and maintain client relationships is one of the most important skills we will learn. Our work with ALS thus far has given us valuable experience, and we hope to establish a lasting relationship.

Follow ALS Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter:

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Anne Claire Aaron, account executive

Sources:

Messier, N. (n.d.). 5 tips for enhancing client relations. Retrieved March 02, 2016, from http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/5_tips_for_enhancing_client_relations__12299.aspx
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Spark PR on civic engagement and social responsibility

Written By: Maria Connolly, event director

Public relations classes teach prospective college graduates how to do many things. These classes focus on writing, the media, crisis management and community relations. Working with the nonprofit ALS, Spark PR constantly engages with the community and actively learns what social responsibility in public relations means in real world contexts.

Civic engagement is defined by the actions used to identify and address issues that concern the public. This definition, taken straight from The American Psychological Association, speaks for each PR firm that represents a nonprofit.

Spark PR’s client, The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter, engages in civic responsibility through their role in health care in our community. The ALS Association is the primary resource in Baton Rouge for patients immediately diagnosed with ALS until their battle with the disease concludes. The nonprofit also offers support groups for patients and caregivers of the disease.

The Business Dictionary defines social responsibility as the obligation of an organization’s management toward the welfare and interests of the society in which it operates. The ALS Association’s mission reflects this definition through its use of community outreach and programs and ALS advocacy. ALS does this through posting patient and caregiver testimonials, which can be read on its website.

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Image taken from Stories of Courage.

The importance of civic engagement and social responsibility stretch far beyond the definition and study in the classroom. Each PR professional manages the line between their clients’ needs and the communities’ well being.

To find out more about the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter:

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Maria Connolly, event director

 

Spark PR on Values and Competencies in Public Relations

Written By: Maria Connolly, event director

Spark PR holds itself and its clients to the highest standard of ethics. Professionalism values and competencies stretch beyond the agency and into the individual lifestyles of employees and clients. The PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values defines the core values of PRSA members and of their profession. Below are the six values that Spark PR adheres to and how we apply our agency to these values.

Advocacy
Spark PR serves our current client, ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter, by acting to positively brand their nonprofit. We advocate to the community to share facts about ALS and to inspire those within reach.

Honesty
Our agency holds itself to the standards set by PRSA to promote the truth and deliver accuracy about our clients to the public.

Expertise
Spark PR moves toward knowledge and experience in all industries. We believe that this benefits our publics and enhances our brand.

Independence
Spark PR understands the consequences of our actions and the actions of our clients and promises to provide counsel to the nonprofit when needed.

Loyalty
Our agency understands that loyalty to our clients should be priority. The health of each of our agency-client relationship stems from each agency representative’s ethics education.

Fairness
Spark PR recognizes the freedom of speech and all forms of public expression. We also adhere to equality with clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, media, and the public.

In addition to these core professional values Spark PR prides itself on diversity of clients and audience. We believe that this is important to understand the needs of those producing and receiving this message as well as providing it in a clear and appropriate channel. Transparency is necessary to ensure past, present and future clients and agency wellbeing. Entrepreneur.com produced a great article about the valued benefits a PR agency can offer a business most importantly stating that most business owners see their potential market as black and white.  PR agencies see the shaded grey.

By applying theories in presenting images and information, Spark PR is able to conduct and apply related research to the clients’ campaign. By engaging in this research, the audience gives our agency the tools we need to provide our clients with everything they need to succeed. This research is seen in different forms dependent of the information the client is seeking about its key publics. After our agency conducts extensive IRB approved surveys, we evaluate the responses to give strategic feedback to the client.

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Image courtesy of PRSA.

As a new public relations firm, Spark PR realizes that we may not have all the answers to our client’s problems, but we do have the tools and resources to work as a team and solve these problems to the best of our ability.

To find out more about the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter:

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Maria Connolly, event director

Sources:

Measuring the Value of PR: Want to know what effect media coverage is having on your business. (2006). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244219

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Statement of Professional Values. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2016, from https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VrvQcjaodFI

Spark PR Demonstrates Expertise in Our Field Through its Work With ALS

Written By: Anne Claire Aaron, account executive

As Manship students and soon-to-be public relations professionals, it is safe to say that we have become pretty familiar with PRSA members’ core values. According to the PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values, expertise is one of the six core values that should guide our behaviors as public relations professionals. Expertise refers to acquiring and responsibly using specialized knowledge and experience. Through continued professional development, research and education, we advance the profession. As public relations experts, we also build mutual understanding, credibility and relationships among a wide array of institutions and audiences.

After completing the course learning outcomes listed in the MC 4005 syllabus, we should be able to establish and maintain positive client relationships and outcomes as part of a public relations team. This is just part of what it means to exhibit expertise in the public relations field. Though it is only the fifth week of the semester, we have already worked as a team to establish a relationship with our client, The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter, and we will continue to work to maintain this relationship.

The syllabus discusses four ways PR professionals demonstrate expertise: writing, thinking, research and deadline orientation/organization. Over the past five weeks, our team has demonstrated each of these, but recently we have specifically focused on research. Through our research, we want to find answers to the problems ALS is facing in order to serve our clients needs.

An article from Entrepreneur.com provides tips on demonstrating expertise in the public relations field. The first tip is, “understand the potential of public relations to manage perceptions.” In order to effectively serve the ALS Association’s needs, it is essential that we understand the public’s perception of the organization and work to ensure this is how the organization wants to be perceived.

The next piece of advice we are taking from Entrepreneur.com is, “be prepared for a crisis.” After meeting with our client, we realized that they do not have a crisis communication plan for their Annual Gala. Because ALS patients will be attending the event, it is crucial that our client knows how to properly handle any situations involving these patients illnesses.

crisis curve

Image courtesy of MSLGROUP Global

As a new public relations firm, Spark PR realizes that we may not have all the answers to our client’s problems, but we do have the tools and resources to work as a team and solve these problems to the best of our ability.

To find out more about the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter:

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Anne Claire Aaron, account executive

Sources:

Crafting Your Story: Public Relations Expertise For Your Business. (2015). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244219

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VrvQcjaodFI

Spark PR Adheres to Professional Values While Partaking in Service Learning with the ALS Association Louisiana Mississippi Chapter

Blog by: Alyssa Henke, Writing Director

Spark PR’s goal is to ignite a spark in our clients. This semester our firm hopes to bring forth innovation and creativity to the ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter. By working with ALS, our agency is participating in service learning, which means that we are involved in an educational experience that integrates community service. 

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While partaking in this experience, Spark PR hopes to advance our firm’s knowledge and meet the ALS association’s needs. This agency-client relationship involves hands-on experience that addresses our client’s concerns. This hands-on experience will include our efforts to improve and collaborate on the ALS association’s event, Red, White, & Sneaux, as well as in person meetings with our ALS contact person, Jamie Craig. Each member of our firm hopes to contribute his or her knowledge and skills to improve ALS. We consequently hope that each member of our agency can further develop his or her skills and knowledge by learning through this real world experience, and we endeavor to better understand social issues in our community and civic responsibility.

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As Spark PR strives to implement superior services in public relations for ALS, our firm will abide by the PRSA professional values to guide our actions. These professional values set the industry standard for public relations practitioners and are vital to the integrity of this profession as a whole. The six professional values are advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty and fairness. Spark PR first will act as a responsible advocate for ALS at all times. Spark PR will adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth while promoting the interests of ALS. Our firm hopes to advance the profession of public relations through the research, knowledge and experience we will gain and responsibly use. We will remain objective in our affairs with ALS and provide unbiased guidance. While serving the public interest, Spark PR will remain faithful to ALS. Lastly, our agency will deal fairly with the ALS association, competing nonprofit organizations, competing public relations firms, the media and the general public by respecting all opinions and supporting the right of free expression.

As Spark PR partners with ALS, each member of our firm aims to overcome obstacles and create opportunities in order to further his or her skills and ultimately be able to obtain the top 10 competencies employers look for according to the Korn Ferry/Lominger Model. Although each member of our group brings his or her own spark to our group as a whole, we hope that we can individually acquire all ten competencies by the end of this semester. The competencies employers want are for employers to be action oriented, know how to deal with ambiguity, be creative, have good decision quality, solve problems efficiently, motivate others, plan, prioritize, think strategically, and manage time. By providing ALS with creative and individualized solutions, we hope this nonprofit can give us insight to ourselves and teach us how to be the most efficient public relations practitioners.


Follow ALS Association Louisiana-Mississppi Chapter:
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Sources:
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from https://www.prsa.org/aboutprsa/ethics/codeenglish/#.VrN_3Dbh-8p

Center for Community Engagement, Learning & Leadership. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from http://www.lsu.edu/academicaffairs/ccell/

Center for Community Engagement, Learning & Leadership. (n.d.). Retrieved February 04, 2016, from http://www.lsu.edu/academicaffairs/ccell/