PR Visit: Porter Novelli

So this past week, I had the amazing opportunity to tour local PR agencies through a Maymester course I was selected to participate in at Kennesaw State University.

I intend on blogging about every single agency I visited, but I’m definitely going to start with one of my favorites, Porter Novelli.

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What a wonderful opening sign.

As we were greeted by this sign and an almost breathtaking conference room view, Porter Novelli’s VP of HR, Tia Jackson, sat us down to tell us the beginnings and values of Porter Novelli.

A Little Bit of History

Porter Novelli was founded by Jack Porter and Bill Novelli, both of which were in advertising and worked for the Peace Corps. Porter Novelli’s primary goals are to change behaviors and raise awareness, and that is shown through their client list, which consists of mostly healthcare companies and public policy industries.

Among many famous campaigns, Porter Novelli is best known for creating the very first Food Pyramid campaign and the anti-smoking Truth campaign that began in the 90s. Jackson says that Porter Novelli’s offices still maintain the passion to bring awareness and change behaviors, and felt that the Food Pyramid and Truth campaigns did a fantastic job with that, and I am inclined to agree.

You want an internship? (Said like TrimSpa)

So Porter Novelli has a very unorthodox but very effective and professional approach to internships. Jackson says she won’t even look at the resume of a candidate unless they have had three prior internships, just so she can be sure that this is the industry they truly want to be a part of, which I totally understand. There’s no point in investing time and energy into an employee who might not even want to be within the PR industry, so making sure that this is truly what they want to do is saving your company and the candidate a ton of potential wasted time. Not a popular opinion with my peers, but I totally get it.

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Awards! Awards! Awards!

If you are fortunate enough to score an internship with PN, you are matched with a mentor to help guide you along the way, and the wonderful thing about this mentor is that they are usually a person who also went through the PN internship program, so they know from personal experience what it’s like to be in the intern’s shoes. I personally love that. Nothing in life feels better than having someone guide you through something they directly experienced and can tell you how to deal with certain situations and feelings and why specific events take place. As far as I know, it’s very unheard of for an internship program, so PN shows how ahead of the pack they are, even in their office culture.

Circles! (Not the Mariah Carey song)

So, as you may have discerned from what I have written so far, Porter Novelli seems to pride themselves on community and togetherness, and their “Circles” program is very telling of this.

So what are the Circles?

PN’s Circles are in-office groups that share a common interest or have a common goal that could either help the office or enrich their own personal lives. There are Wellness circles that focus on healthier practices and habits, and intern circles that focus on bringing the best interns possible into the office, along with a social media circle (!!!!!) that stays on top of the latest SM trends and websites, and even a prank circle that recently pulled an office prank and unplugged the in-office Starbucks machine. I imagine the reaction was a little something like this:

harsh language, but it illustrates the point.

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All. Those. Monitors. WOW.

Radar Room…not Panic Room. Not always.

So this wonderful control room on the right is known as the PN Radar Room, something exclusive to Porter Novelli.

What makes this room so interesting and cool (seriously, I couldn’t stop staring), is that there are 6 huge screens that showcase all the news outlets and people in the radar room watch these news outlets and track concurrent social media to give the results and reports to their respective clients on a case-by-case basis. Although PN doesn’t have a specific social media DEPARTMENT, the majority of their social media tracking is done in this room, especially during times of crisis or strife.

I don’t remember the name of the girl pictured, but she was on FIRE at the keyboard. Just in and out of all these programs, tracking information and in the zone. I was seriously in awe.

 

 

So the visit to Porter Novelli was amazing. From my previous interaction with PN representatives at multiple events and conventions, I had always wanted to work with this agency, and finally having the opportunity to tour the facility just ignites that passion even more.

While maintaining professionalism, PN doesn’t sacrifice quality of work or quality of workplace in their pursuit to be one of the best firms in Atlanta. The supportive office culture and circles environment certainly promotes a working relationship unlike any other workplace I have seen before.

Curious about Porter Novelli? Visit their website here and tell me what you like most about Porter Novelli in my comments!

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Hometown Representation at Nationally Acclaimed Music Festival

During Magnetic Music Festival, host campus Kennesaw State University saw one of their own performing his music for his peers, fellow students and spectators alike. 

Blattner, left, performing as one-half of Absolute Zero.

Blattner, left, performing as one-half of Absolute Zero.

Brian Blattner performed for thousands on the Enchanted Village stage as one-half of the duo Absolute Zero at Magnetic Music Festival. It was the duo’s first huge performance since forming less than a year ago.

“I’m just in shock,” Blattner said following his performance, which packed the stage for almost an hour. Absolute Zero also debuted one of their new, unnamed tracks for the set, which was met with praise and admiration from new and old fans alike. Also taking a risk, he and his partner, Ian Soto, opened for major artist Tritonal at Opera nightclub, where they played an unorthodox set for an opening act, at the behest of the club. They were soon contacted after that set by Liquifiedrepresentatives. “I just can’t believe we were asked to do this by Liquified. We were going to buy our tickets anyway, but they called and told us not to worry about buying them.”

Magnetic Music Festival Attracts EDM Fans to Kennesaw State

On the heels of the wildly popular and successful DayGlow paint party held last year, the Magnetic Music Festival was held at Kennesaw State University‘s Soccer Stadium on April 20, a popular holiday in the dance and party community.

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The 88-acre facility housed thousands of young and old EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fans, anxious for the sights and sounds during this first year of Magnetic Music Festival, known throughout social media as #MagneticFestATL. Three stages were constructed in and around the stadium that catered to many genres of EDM, such as trance, dubstep and house music.

“I’m looking most forward to all of the acts here, especially Flux Pavilion,” said Becca Johnson, “This is awesome, and KSU should host more events like this in the future.”

See what KSU student Brian Blattner said about performing at his school for his peers here.

Festival Markets

Cameron Dix, manager at local consignment shop Ecologie Vintage, was on hand at the festival to sell vintage clothing and accessories to attendees. “We’ve had really good sales today, and hope to do more festivals at KSU in the future.”

Also embedded within the vendor area were hexagonal shaped artist installations, where local artists spent the day painting, spray painting or sketching personal works for concertgoers to see and take pictures.

“I love the exposure it gives me and the other artists. A lot of friends have done it, and have gone on to work on bigger projects because of the exposure at events like this,” said Leslie Murphy of Lilburn, one of the four artists working on the field during the festival. “I took a risk and sent my work to the Magnetic people on a whim, and they invited me out.”

Partying Into The Darkness

As the day turned into night, and the temperature sank to cooler levels, the most anticipated acts of the day began their sets on respective stages. Packing the Digital Distortion stage for over three hours were the groups Adventure Club, Zed’s Dead, and the hotly discussed Flux Pavilion, while on the main stage known as the Magnetic Force Field, international superstars Cazzette, Markus Schulz and Dash Berlin provided the soundtrack for the packed stadium’s endless dancing.

Controversial Ending

Closing out the night was Grammy award winning megastar rapper Kid Cudi, who performed hits new and old for the adoring crowd, closing out the day long festival of dancing, singing and partying, despite his set being drastically cut short due to the city noise ordinance. Never one to shy away from expressing his opinions, Kid Cudi tweeted his displeasure with the event and organizers:

KidCudiTweet

A promoter known as MJ, who mainly works with dubstep group Zed’s Dead, one of the festival’s headliners, says that Atlanta is growing as a hub for EDM events and festival, rivaling Los Angeles and New York City. With events like DayGlow and Magnetic happening in Atlanta, it’s hard to notice the rise in popularity of EDM festivals in Atlanta. This has been cemented with the announcement of juggernaut music festival Tomorrowland coming to the United States for the first time, taking place in Atlanta in late September.

Although it was never confirmed by Liquified representative, MJ, Blattner and others speculated that Liquified was so pleased with the ticket sales that they plan on making this event a 2-day festival next year.

Face Tattoos = Reasonable Judgment

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The Cobb County grand jury has indicted Joseph Rucker McFall on charges of beating an 8-week-old baby.

The indictment alleges that McFall, 30, of Austell shook, threw and hit the infant between Aug. 30, 2012, and Oct. 29, 2012. He is charged with two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree and two counts of aggravated battery.

Assistant District Attorney Susan Treadaway is prosecuting the case, which is assigned to Cobb Superior Court Judge James Bodiford.

No arraignment date has been set. McFall was arrested Oct. 30, 2012, and remains in the Cobb County Jail on $25,000 bond.

The indictment was handed down on March 28.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Austell man charged in the beating of an infant

“All My Baby’s Mamas” canceled by Oxygen.

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Oxygen backed down on airing a special featuring Atlanta rapper Shawty Lo called “All my Babies’ Mamas” after a torrent of protests about the content and title of the show.

The network just released this statement:

“As part of our development process, we have reviewed casting and decided not to move forward with the special.  We will continue to develop compelling content that resonates with our young female viewers and drives the cultural conversation.”

Shawty Lo was placed in a house with 10 women he had babies with, along with 11 of the kids. Many bloggers began petitions, protesting the entire premise and how poorly it reflected on blacks in general. Tens of thousands of people signed the petitions. The Parents Television Council, which usually focuses on violence and overt sexual content, also threw in their two cents, telling Oxygen to shut it down.

Oxygen originally sent out a release last month saying the special would air later this year. Sometimes networks will air specials as a test to see if it’s worthy of becoming a series. (TLC’s ‘Extreme Couponing” is an example.)

This was a rare case where the show’s description was so offensive, the network was forced to pull it.

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Give a glory to God. Seriously. I’m all about trashy, foolish reality TV, but this went a little too far for my personal taste. I mean, why contribute to the problem? Whatever. Good on Oxygen, though.

Celebrity Ghost Tweeting. Ethical? Moral? Necessary?

As many people reading this blog may or may not be aware of, I am a Communications major with a concentration on Public Relations at the wonderful Kennesaw State University right outside of Atlanta. This summer, I made the ridiculously smart decision of not only taking five classes in a summer semester(this is sarcasm), but one of the classes having its focus being social media in today’s public relations field.

Within this course, thought by the wonderful Dr. Amber Hutchins(no shame in my brownie point game), we were told to do an InFocus topic on something concerning social media in today’s public relations field. So what did I do? Combine my shaming love for celebrity gossip(the good stuff, not the Kim Kardashian dating a new guy foolishness, I like seedy drug dens and Octomom stripping pictures. They exist. Google them.) and Twitter, which I have become recently addicted to, despite my lack of personal tweets.

I took a slightly different approach to celebrity tweeting than my classmate Laura Booker, who also tackled the subject. In my paper, and also briefly in this blog entry, I am going to be discussing the “ethics” of celebrity ghost tweeting, which is when publicists or similar tweet on behalf of a celebrity without revealing their true identity, and how that impacts celebrity culture in the age of the internet and specifically social media, where the authenticity of the individual you are interacting with is cherished much more than normal.

Why Ghost Tweeting?

As any public relations professional will tell you, no matter what their field of expertise is, that image maintenance is one of, if not, the most important job element in the PR game. Celebrities are definitely no different in this, as their image shapes the direction of their career. With the identity and image of a celebrity closely associated with, and even referred to as their brand, time spent online with computers and the internet is minimal at best.

So where does the ghostwriter come into play? The ghostwriter basically ensures that the identity and image of the celebrity, be it good or bad, is maintained at all times without direct supervision of the celebrity, but while “deceiving” the masses into thinking that said celebrity is actually tweeting, usually quelling whatever rumors or speculation may have surfaced about the celebrity “directly from the celebrity’s mouth”.

Rapper 50 Cent is one of many celebrities who have been discovered to have been using ghost tweeters.

In a New York Times article published in March 2009, writer Noam Cohen exposes well-known celebrities Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Britney Spears for not writing most or any of the tweets stemming from their accounts on Twitter. In the article, Cohen quotes a man named Chris Romero, who is better known as “Broadway”, the head of 50 Cent’s online presence, which includes his social media accounts and websites.

Frequently, Romero and others like him will tweet random lines from the singer’s songs, or lines from an interview set to be published, under the guise that it is the actual rapper tweeting them. “He doesn’t actually use his Twitter, but the energy of it is all him”, Romero says about Jackson’s involvement, or lack thereof, on his Twitter account. Most activities on these ghost tweeted streams are usually links to interviews, pictures of the celebrities working on specific projects, or in most cases, sponsored tweets that other companies pay the celebrity to make, according to a MediaBistro article written by Lauren Dugan from January 2012. In the MediaBistro article, Dugan reveals that during the height of the Charlie Sheen media craze, his search for a social media intern, essentially a ghostwriter, generated revenue for a website called Internship.com, where the applicant would apply, and Sheen was paid $50,000 to make that one tweet. You read that right.

Okay, not that much, but say it like that. It better emphasizes the point.

Rihanna. Crushing weed. On a man’s head. That she tweeted.

So it sounds like a wonderful idea, right? A publicist handles the job of tweeting for the celebrity, while that celebrity’s image is maintained in a positive light. But what happens when the celebrity tweets for themselves? Popular “singer”(okay sure.) Rihanna has amassed a Twitter following of over 22 million people, and while her account has been verified as real by Twitter, she mostly composes and sends her own tweets and pictures on her timeline. Most of these tweets and images definitely play into the bad girl persona she is most known for, but how far is too far? Frequently, she is seen battling it out online with various users who may send disparaging messages to her, something most notables would ignore and not respond to. Even worse, during this year’s Coachella Festival, she tweeted an Instagram image of her crushing what appears to be marijuana buds on top of another man’s head during one of the many live shows.

Obviously, someone in the public relations field would do the utmost in damage control to ensure that this image would never see the light of day for an extended period of time, but as I pointed out earlier, the authenticity in a superstar like Rihanna opening herself up to the internet for dozens of people to see without the assistance of a publicist or ghostwriter definitely benefits her career in a sense, with her fans having the knowledge that they are truly interacting with the singer that they adore, despite the disparaging images she places on her page. Many lesser celebrities do this, also, with the trend of celebrities tweeting on their own beginning to grow as the ghostwriters are now “exposed” more often than ever.

So tell me what you think. Do you think ghost tweeting is wrong? Think about the PRSA Code of Ethics.

Thanks for reading my post!