Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Collective

It’s funny how things work.

I am not certain how a came upon the organization but through my PR research I learned about The African-American Public Relations Collective (AAPRC), an organization for professional African American Publicists. After further research it seemed as though all info about the organization came to an end and I had to find out more. Of course I immediately emailed every contact I could find because I had to find out if the group still existed and how I could join. After a little while I was contacted and was added to the group.

Pretty much you receive emails filtered through by Gwendolyn Quinn the founder, (and my PR Icon of the month), from other collective members and industry professionals about work, events, etc. It is refreshing because what you receive really is relevant, informative and professional.

Well, out the blue I received a job posting from a recruiter I never even heard of and to my WORK EMAIL. Good lawd! Needless to say I was shocked (yet grateful) but I really wasn’t interested in the position. I told the recruiter I would forward it on to some folks I knew and I sent the information to the Collective.

After a couple of days the recruiter emailed me and said that she wanted to schedule a time to talk. When we finally were able to connect, her first words to me were, “Where did you send that job alert?” I told her that I was a member of a group of Publicists and I knew they would be interested. She then continued that she received such an awesome response from individuals from all over and was extremely impressed. She then asked me questions to see how she could assist me. As for me I am Happy and Blessed to be working right now so I am not trying to stir the pot, but I was very honest about my next employment steps and understandably there aren’t too many companies with the type of position I want at this time. We both agreed, but she said that because of what I was able to bring to the table for the other position she would keep me in find for future employment.

Surprisingly, this week I received another email from the recruiter thanking me again because in fact one of the individuals who responded from the Collective was offered the position. I am not certain who it was that was offered the job but CONGRATS to you! This is a rough employment time and clearly you went up against numerous candidates. Do the darn thang!

Most importantly though I need to give recognition to the Collective! If you are an established African American Publicist I suggest you join. It is beneficial.

This whole situation has given me inspiration because the Collective is proof of what we can accomplish when positive like-minded individuals work together.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Madness

Good morning all and Happy Monday!

Last week was a little crazy for me clearly, but I wanted to get it on and poppin this week.

I am clearly behind on all "Miracle on the Hudson" follow-up but there was one thing I still wanted to mention.

First of all I happened to be working from my client’s office in NJ by the George Washington Bridge the Thursday the plane made the emergency landing on the Hudson River.

Ironically, my co-worker moments before the crash said to us, "Why is that plane flying so low?", but just like many other desensitized New Yorkers we kept on working, only to be shocked when I got the text from my SO telling me what happened.

I am certain we have all heard the “Bird” scenario for this crash. I do believe the pilot did an awesome job and very smart maneuver in his landing. No argument there, but do you believe that BIRDS are to blame for the plane being in trouble in the first place????

Most of the people I spoke to didn’t believe the story, but the media made it their business to bombard us with experts, statistics, etc. to prove that YES! birds could have only been the reason for this and I feel a lot of people took it in hook, line and sinker.

Many of us doing PR realize how we present stories to be covered so that we can get our clients positioned in a certain way. Now if we can get people to essentially believe a certain story, isn’t possible we are being “worked” in the same way everyday?

Now, I pose a question to you all today. How much of what you hear and read in the media do you believe?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tragedy in the wake of history.

My family has been devastated by the loss of our young cousin Nyasia over the weekend.
In a time when we are suppose to be excited about our accomplishments and unified in the wake of change, yet another senseless killing has taken one of our bright stars. An aspiring Journalist about to start college, Nyasia was taken by other individuals who have no respect for LIFE.
It has been hard for me to swallow because it seems all too often we hear stories like this and I just can't take it anymore. My best friend and I were going back and forth because she said that the younger generation is not much different then us and things like this happened when we were in HS. I beg to differ. I feel that the generations coming up are unfortunately getting increasingly disrespectful and desensitized. There is a complete lack of appreciation for life and each other.
I refuse to hear the sayings, "It was her time..., everything happens for a reason..." No! If people weren't so reckless in their actions and people actually cared about not trying to pull out a gun at a party and start shooting into a crowd she would be here.
Now I often tell people I love my job. But never did I think I would have to lend my services to help write a statement to the press/media in the wake of a family member's death!
Today is a day when we are welcoming a new President and new policies. I hope we can educate the youth that this is not a small change matter. With a new African American President we can see anything is possible and today is the day to begin a change to stop the violence and focus that energy on attaining positive goals in our life.
Peace and LOVE!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Skee Wee- Happy Founder's Day

Happy Founder's Day to my Sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

WWD Wednesday

Stay in tune with your Trade Pubs.

Beside Consumer literature it is important to stay abreast of your Trade Publications as well.

To name a few these are:
- PR Week
- Brandweek
- Reuters
- Forbes…

Because I do Fashion PR one of my main Trades is WWD (Now WWD and WWD Men since DNR folded into them. Sad)

Anyway today’s top articles are:

- The page 2 staple column which might as well be called “Bankrupt Company of the Day”.
- L.A. Specialty Boutiques Rocked by Shutdowns (Stores like Sergio Rossi, Rock & Republic, Lisa Kline, Ron Herman, etc are trying to sublease their retail locations because today’s economy has caused an epidemic of closings and downsizing with these high-profile specialty boutiques)
- At FAME Show, Price Helps Junior Brands-The troubled economy may create an opening for the trend-heavy, price-light junior market.
- Of course we can’t forget about the ads reminding you about MAGIC next month as if one could forget.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Who's Getting Major Press? Taraji P. Henson

Missy has come a long way and I am not upset.

She and her Publicist has been working overtime!

With smart character roles and the ability to not be type casted by Hollywood Taraji has blossomed into a force to be reckoned with.

Here is a wonderful example of good press around someone who deserves it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What do you do? (Part Two)

Now with all that being said, some people still aren’t able to grasp the importance of PR. I explain my work is as relevant as having magazines in existence. When you open a magazine now, a lot of emphasis is put into, What Celebrities Are Wearing. Depending on who the celeb is, you could boost your client from a non recognized label to a household name.

We have all heard the stories of Heidi Klum carrying some hot bag and then when you try to buy it, you find out it is completely sold out or on back order for the next two years. Brand recognition and exposure is huge! It keeps companies in the black. Of course everyone is holding on to the dollar a little harder but when you have great PR you can get a story done or get a media placement that will have a someone not pay their rent in order to get your product. Now I by no means am condoning that kind of behavior, but I think you all get the point.

I’m curious to here other successful PR stories from fellow Publicists. Do right in and tell your story. You never know it may have been your work that got me to purchase something.

What do you do? (Part One)

My SO (Significant Other) has a running joke that I don’t really work. While I know that his comments are in jest, believe it or not many people have no clue what a Publicist does. For example, I told someone I was a Publicist and their eyes lit up and they said, “OMG I was thinking about writing a book”.

I slowly explained that I in fact was not a Publisher but a Publicist, and a Publicist will come in handy when they want their book to be promoted.

Then there are others who think PR is just fun and games (chatting on the phone, emailing non crucial material), but actually there is nothing unadulterated about laying out a strategic PR plan and pitch to take your client to the next level. Of course with experience and technique it gets a lot easier, but if it was so simple everyone would be a Publicist.

When I first met my SO he really wasn’t knowledgeable about PR (although he would not have admitted it), but I gave him a quick overview. Now I have to straight point things out to him so he can see it DOES require hard work.

For instance I LOVE THE GAME on the CW11. After a couple of episodes I vowed that I wanted to see my fashion client’s product worn by one of the actors. I mentioned that to my SO and of course he gave me the chuckle and yeah alright. The next day I went to work. Very few people realize when starting a PR project from scratch it requires tons of research and cold calling. Some people have difficulties in general communicating, imagine what it is to call a TV executive, finagle that person into giving you the direct contact to the person who will personally see that your clothes is placed on a specific person. Not easy! But as any good Publicist knows you have like 5 seconds in a conversation to get that person’s attention and intrigue them enough to get them to do just that. Well bottom line… Job Accomplished. After a couple of weeks I knew what show the product was going to be worn, and by who. While watching the show with my SO the person came on with the product and I kindly stated, “Oh My! What is that person wearing”? My SO stopped looked over at me and I nodded yup. “Don’t Say I Don’t Really Work”.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Publicist Must Haves

Much like any professional, there are tools of the trade that you must carry.
Doctors have their medical satchels filled with essentials, Fashion Stylists have their kits and Publicists should always have a:

- Blackberry or PDA of choice

- A Charger for your phone- Not being able to communicate is a huge no no

- Pen

- Business cards- A good amount on you and a substantial amount in your large handbag as back up. I personally use a holder that opens completely. both sides have a band and can hold up to 10 cards each. I use one side for my cards and the other for the cards I receive.

- Planner

- Belt bag (In other words… fanny pack). When at events it will be difficult for you to carry a purse or a shoulder bug but a chic, very fashionable fanny pack will do the trick. You will hate to rest your phone or something down because you have no where to store it and then it’s gone.

- Lip gloss and small perfume and body cream(quick touch ups when meeting and greeting are essential)

- Gum

- A bottle of water

- Fashionable flats (You aren’t cute running around before the event in heels and then can’t walk by the time people start arriving)

- A large handbag that can be left on the side (You will need something to carry all your regular purse items and of course those killer stilettos that you will change into once the event begins)

- At LEAST 2 copies of the guestlist, run of show and any other crucial info relating to the event ON YOU at all times.

- A sharpie

Of course this is the short list if you are just helping out at an event. If you are actually the HPIC- (Head Publicist In Charge) you will need way more essentials.

Here is a list of some of the HPIC essentials:

- Walkie Talkies
- Place cards, etc. depending on the type of event you are having
- Seating charts
- Office supplies- Everything you would need if you were at your desk (tape, stapler, etc.)
- Contact lists of vendors, models, etc.
- Anything you might or will need to keep your client(s) happy
- A volunteer or two depending on your staffing situation
- Index Cards- For talking points and other notes

Again this is just some of the essentials. Depending on the project you will need more specific items but this a start.

Have fun working!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Time to work!

I receive a substantial amount of emails from prospective Publicists who want to know how to break into the industry. Well this post is for you.

As you may or may not know Fashion week is now only a couple of weeks away. With that being said, tis the season to find work. Companies are preparing for their shows and events for fashion week and will be looking for all types of help. I would suggest you start with Craigslist. There are tons of postings for work especially in the Gigs section. Unfortunately due to today’s economic state a lot of them are unpaid. But, if you are looking for the experience these are excellent starting points to get a crash course in the hustle and bustle of PR.

This is also great because if you end up working for a really huge show that is definitely good to put on the resume.

Good luck!

To PR or not to PR

Top of the morning to you all!

I wanted to begin by speaking on something that has been kind of bothering me.

I know I have spoken in the past about getting good media and publicity, but when does it go too far?

Once again Britney Spears was titled the most over exposed celeb for 2008 but is that good? I know my fellow Publicists are probably reading this in disbelief but I think there should definitely be a balance to press. I do believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder and for the Britney’s and Kim Kardashian’s it’s hard for me to really care about what you are doing when I see them more than I see my best friend in MD. I think you should come out consistent and intense but not over saturate the media with malarkey. It’s good to see you at important red carpets but I am not certain if you going to check your mail is groundbreaking.

With that being said I feel they are spreading the disease to our President elect. I would love to see the Obamas doing it up in DC but I feel pictures of Mr. President on the beach w/o any shirt and other private photos of the family should be private. People may disagree with me but when I open the “weeklies” and see Mr. Obama’s 4 pack, it takes away from the bigger picture that he is the FIRST African American President and turns him into Will Smith. Although Mr. Smith and family epitomize a positive family image and need to be out there I don’t feel that is a part that should be played by the first family.

Now I said this to my sister and she came to me with a different approach. She thinks it’s the media’s attempt to make him look like an around the way dude… I am assuming (relatable) but she said it only makes him look more G’d up because he pulls everything off well. Including the pictures they released of him smoking when he was in college.

Now there is nothing wrong with relatable, but I believe the public already knows that he is down to earth. So by turning the President of the United States into an overexposed Pop star is it hurting or helping? Please share your feedback!

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's my birthday!

I share my birthday with the likes of Kerry Washington, Diane Keaton, Marilyn Manson (yikes) and the ever so wonderful Alvin Ailey Jr (American choreographer and dancer; founded Ailey American Dance Theater)

Today I decided to embark on a search for historic media events that occurred on this day.

Being a Panamanian decedent it was interesting to find out that in 1909 - Colombia recognized the independence of Panama.

In 1914 - The Ford Motor Company announced an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 for a day's labor. Today they are unfortunately offering their employees the door.(sucks)

In 1933 - Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay.

In 1972: NASA announced its plans for a new space vehicle, the shuttle.

This last point highlighting plans that would take human kind to heights and reaches that some have only imagined about, were actually birthed on my day stuck with me.

That is huge for me and got me to thinking that with one decision made on January 5th, 36 years ago, man has come to learn a tremendous amount about our space and the worlds around us.

With the start of the New Year everyone makes their resolution on what their focus or change will be for 2009. This year I have opted not to make a resolution (a formal expression of opinion or intention made), but to make a decision not on New Years but on January 5th to make some serious changes in my work, etc. I will share as relevant pieces come up.

What will you DECIDE to do today?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy 2009

Happy New Year!
I am so excited to start this new year.
Although this has been a tempestuous time for some, I truly believe your aren't given anything that you can't handle.
I wish you all health, love and prosperity.
As stated before today marks the relaunch of the blog and I hope you all continue to check daily for updates from the PR world.
Also for easy reference the blog can be reached by
I look forward to an awesome exchange of the PR minds this year.