The road with BRAC has ended, but my PR journey has just begun

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Image from: CartoonMotivators.com

I have explained time and time again about how my previous service-learning experiences have helped me to get where I am today. In this blog I want to talk more about my future and how working with BRAC and being in Jensen Moore-Copple’s service-learning course has been a tough yet beneficial experience. I am graduating this December and after getting through this class with the possibility of making an A, I now feel like I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.

Professional proficiency is all about having up-to-date knowledge and abilities related to your particular field of study. This is achieved and improved through regular and service-learning courses, experience through internships, volunteer groups and organizations and much more. To achieve this proficiency, you must demonstrate this knowledge and these learned skills through your job performance.

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Image from: www.dailyutahchronicle.com

In high school I used to think I was so cool when I was nominated for the homecoming court and they introduced me in front of hundreds of people and listed every single organization I was involved in. The thing is, it’s not about the recognition, it’s not about filling up a resume, its about what you contribute and what you get out of the experience. Yeah, back then I helped out a lot, but I never realized the significance of what I was doing. Now I know that what I have to offer is extremely valuable to many people around the world.

Not only have I learned an extensive amount of skills in Jensen’s class, I have attained even more knowledge from amazing professors like Lisa Lundy, Danny Shipka, Roxanne Dill and so many more. I have gotten experience by writing for TigerSportsDigest.com with Randy Rosetta and interning with the marketing director, Kristen Hogan, at the YMCA. Even though there is still so much more I need to learn and experience for me to fully demonstrate professional proficiency in PR, I think I have learned enough to switch lanes and move on to big and better things.

Next semester I am taking Jensen’s campaigns class and although I am terrified, I think I am about as prepared as I possibly could be. A lot of this newfound confidence is mostly from working with Julie Laperouse and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Working with BRAC has really been a huge factor in why I’m not as frightened about working with a real client. I have learned about professionalism and ethics, stewardship, civic engagement and social responsibility. If you’re familiar with my blogs, then you should know what all of these terms mean. Laperouse was very helpful, informative and supportive with the ideas my group, SpotlightBR, came up with.

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Image from: CartoonMotivators.com

SpotlightBR has worked so hard this semester to make this campaign a success. Working with Alex, Karen and Ramon has made me appreciate being able to work with a group. In previous classes, I despised working with others. I have had a lot of experiences when I was put in a group with members who were not willing to contribute, but this semester that was not the case. I think with all we have done we will represent what professional proficiency is all about. I have really enjoyed this class, my professor, our partnership and all of the hard work that has made me a much better person, personally and professionally.

I’m pretty sure Jensen has created a blogging maniac, so this will not be the last you hear from me. Thanks for reading throughout this semester and I hope some of my newfound knowledge has been exciting to hear about.

Also, I thought I’d take another step into the blogging world and make a video to explain to you in person what I have learned over this semester. Enjoy.

Follow me @BaileyBigler_
Follow SpotlightBR @SpotlightBR2013

Professionalism, ethics and BRAC helping students prepare for their futures in PR

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Image from: sodahead.com

Today kids begin to learn the basics of ethics in schools and at home. So what is it and why is it so important? The term “ethics” comes from the Greek word ethos, which means “character.” In philosophy, ethics is the moral behavior in humans and how they should act (even behind closed doors). This term has many different definitions but in my opinion to be ethical is to know the difference between right and wrong and show this “ethical” behavior and knowledge on a daily basis. The rules of ethics don’t always have to be posted on a wall or taught verbatim, they are norms in which our society has implemented that show how individuals should act in certain situations. For example, when you get pulled over by a cop for speeding, you do not talk to the officer like you would if you we’re talking to your best friend.

So yes, we have the opposing views as well. Some think ethics are just what the society accepts or what the law requires and that may be true in some circumstances, but not always. We have seen in our history that society can be viewed as “ethically corrupt,” take for instance Nazi Germany. This shows that a society does not always determine what is ethical and what is not.

Today, ethics, in some ways have started to diminish in younger generations. Here is an example of how a teen talks to a judge in a court room (He definitely puts her in her place.):


Video from: youtube.com

Now on the other hand we have professionalism. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines professionalism as “the qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” So what does that mean exactly? Many people think that wearing a nice suit and getting your hair done makes you professional. Wrong. The way you look may play a small part in being professional, but there is a way bigger picture to take into consideration. Professionalism entails some duties like:

  • Specialized knowledge
  • Competency
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Accountability
  • Image
  • Self-regulation

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Image from: ymcaswv.com

I am currently a marketing/PR intern at the YMCA in Baton Rouge and I have learned that ethics and professionalism are crucial for maintaining a global organzation. The YMCA is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and donations from others to continue their mission to nurture the potential of kids by promoting healthy lifestyles and fostering  a sense of social responsibility. Across the U.S., more than 500,000 business leaders, community advocates, parents, teens and individuals give back and volunteer at the Y. They build partnerships that “not just promise, but deliver positive personal and social change.” To remain loyal to these individuals, the Y must be honest, responsible, accountable, competent, fair and so much more. All of these traits combined make up the ground work for these two vital terms.

Working with BRAC has taught me so much and has shown me what it is like to work with an actual organization that depends on my hard work and dedication. If I just blow off an assignment in this service-learning course, I don’t just get to make it up or get a 0. If I miss an assignment, I let down an organization that is counting on me for my ideas and help. My work ethic, my professional demeanor and most of all, my loyalty and honesty to BRAC and to the Baton Rouge community is what is important for this course. Being professional and ethical might not be the reason a person gets a job, but it definitely is the deciding factor in which that person keeps the job. If your client trusts you and depends on you then a bond is formed. When this bond is formed, clients will not want to get rid of you.

Another key is communication. In my last blog (click here to read) I stressed the importance of communication in the PR field. What you say is essential for how successful you are. One wrong term could initially create a crisis, which is bad for any organization. You have to learn to be professional in what you tweet or put on Facebook. What you release to the public must be thought out and delivered in the right way, or else things could be twisted and falsified. People in corporations must also always be on the same page. There is nothing worse than one person saying one thing about an issue and another saying something completely different. BP shows a perfect example of this type of crisis: BP: A Textbook Example of how not to Handle PR.

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Image from: winetravelmedia.com

With BRAC, my group SpotlightBR, is learning how to form mutual relationships with clients. We will be promoting the nightlife of the Baton Rouge area and meeting with the managers and employees of certain venues in hopes of making this campaign a success. We will be using Instagram and Twitter to communicate with our audiences and give them a visual description of the best places to go at night in Baton Rouge and promote their nightly drink specials. We also will be promoting these places in a honest and sincere way to ultimately accomplish our overall goal and that is to bring light to the night in the beautiful city of Baton Rouge.

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Image from: taxadmin.org

Downtown Baton Rouge

Thanks for reading,

Bailey Bigler

Follow me @BaileyBigler_
and SpotlightBR @SpotlightBR2013

Partnering with BRAC gives new insight to the PR world

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(Image from: http://www.messiah.edu)

My public relations writing class this semester has taught me more than I could have ever imagined. Although the work has contributed to my all nighters, stress and maybe even a few tears, it has been full of memorable lessons and experiences.This service-learning course has started to give me confidence; the confidence that I need for graduating LSU this December. For the first time since I’ve been here at LSU, I have actually started to feel like I’m ready for the real world. Throughout this semester, I have gotten a sneak peak of what it is like to be in the PR field.

Now, lets go back to the beginning of my time here at LSU. I’ll tell you the truth, when I used to schedule my classes every semester, I was one of the many students who immediately logged on to Rate My Professor or University Tools to find out what classes were the simplest and which teachers were the easiest. I’ll admit, starting out at college, I was terrified of any challenge. But look at me now, challenging professors, like Dr. Jensen Moore-Copple, are the ones I hope for. What is the point of even paying money to go to college, especially students like me who are out of state, if you don’t have a professor who challenges you and brings out your full potential.

How the times have changed… I guess this is what growing up feels like.

I could go on and on about this particular subject, but I want to get down to the main reason why I am sharing this blog with you all. Although this PR writing class contains an overwhelming workload that could make a person want to pull all of their hair out, it teaches students how to use time management and to stay organized, which are vital for anyone.

Service-learning can be seen as a method where students learn and develop skills through actively participating in the community. I became involved with service-learning in high school. When I lived in Texas, I attended Ross S. Sterling in Baytown, Texas and was chosen to be in an unforgettable organization known as PALS, which stands for peer assistance leadership service. The select students in PALS  got the opportunity to travel every day of the week to different elementary and junior high schools in town to mentor younger students and become role models for them.

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(Image from: iarslceproceedings.wikispaces.com)

My service-learning course now is much different, but still brings me the same joy that PALS did. Like I have explained before in previous blogs, my group, SpotlightBR, consists of myself, Alexandria Mouton, Karen Nelson and Ramon Hardy. We are assisting BRAC in promoting and bringing attention to the fun and unique activities to do  at night in the Baton Rouge area. This partnership has not only taught me how service-learning works and the tactful ways to help out my community, it has given me a new insight on how I see the public relations field all together.

Public relations is all about stewardship, civic engagement and social responsibility. In my recent blog I explained these terms in more depth, so if you are unsure of what these duties are all about, just click here.

Working with BRAC has started to show me that PR is kind of a necessity for all organizations. Like we have seen in the media so many times in the past, one screw up can truly ruin a brand. Look at BP. I am not saying that PR is a way to cover up mistakes, but PR professionals offer companies and organizations a way to communicate to publics. Who doesn’t make mistakes? No one. But when you represent a brand, one slip alters many opinions. People in our society have become very hard to persuade and once a brand is seen in negative light, bringing back that positive image is extremely difficult.

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Image from: (www.ramsaymichellegroup.com)

BRAC doesn’t have a negative reputation or anything, but their brand is not very recognizable. That’s how PR could lend assistance to this specific nonprofit organization.Visibility is key in our society today. We have so many different sources to communicate with audiences and having someone very media savvy is important.

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(www.kansas.com)
Roux House in Downtown Baton Rouge

My group SpotlightBR intends to bring this visibility to the Baton Rouge nightlife using SCVNGR. We will also demonstrate stewardship, civic engagement and social responsibility throughout our work.

Thanks for reading.

Follow @BaileyBigler_
@SpotlightBR2013