Monday, December 3, 2012

Stay Tuned!

Working on the blog today. Tune in next week for some exciting changes!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Small Business Saturday: One for the Underdogs

It’s in our nature to root for the underdog. The Davids and Rudys among us will always capture the hearts and imagination of the public. By taking on their (much larger) counterparts and defying odds that said they never had a chance, they provide an inspiration to the little guys of the world. American Express joined forces with the underdogs of the business sector on Saturday in a show of solidarity known as ‘Small Business Saturday,’ an alternative to ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’ designed to generate revenue and awareness for local businesses.

Small, locally-owned businesses have been historically edged out of the community once the conglomerates come to town. As the backbone of the American economy, small business owners have been scrambling to maintain their footing in a market that is dominated by large corporations that can afford to out-price their lesser competition.  

An unexpected ally in the support of small businesses, the credit card giant American Express, actually proposed the idea two years ago. By providing monetary benefits to consumers who frequent small businesses, AMEX created an incentive to shopping local. The company created online awareness about the new ‘holiday,’ employing the Twitter hash-tag ‘#smallbusinesssaturday’ to generate a buzz and following that has only grown since its inception.

The importance of a shopping day dedicated to supporting local businesses cannot be overstated. The dollars generated at independently owned boutiques and shops remains in the community’s economy, and serves to support your immediate surroundings. At a time when the risks potentially outweigh the rewards for operating a small business, Small Business Saturday provides a tangible boost in revenue that can prove invaluable.

Seen as an advocate for the little guy, AMEX reaped benefits as well. American Express users received $25 off purchases from local businesses, and the increased usage of their cards on Saturday will reflect in their fourth-quarter financials. It’s fair to say that everyone was a winner on Small Business Saturday, but one day a year is not enough. Do your part and support your local businesses!

-Carter Breazeale
PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks, Round Two!

Hope everyone's week is starting out right! As we're all shifting gears to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's important to remind ourselves of the things that we have to be thankful for. So here's our annual list from the PR/PR staff!

Russell Trahan
1. A creative, energetic and supporting staff.
2. Interesting clients who are wanting to expand their reach.
3. Colleagues with sound advice who are never too busy to mentor.
4. Professional organizations dedicated to the advancement of their members.
5. Family and friends who make everything worth working for.

Amanda Tucker
1. Family. I've been blessed with a large, supportive and silly family. I couldn't imagine better people to be surrounded by.
2. My puppy, Blake. He brings a tremendous amount of joy into my life.
3. Pinterest. Where else would I find all the best cupcake recipes and inspirational quotes in one place?
4. Good friends I can always count on.
5. The quote, "Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms." This phrase has helped me see the positive side of many difficult situations.

Lindsay Durfee
1. The unintentionally hilarious things Russell says, i.e. Denton, FL instead of Destin, FL (I couldn't tell you why this was so funny at the time.) And his sense of humor for letting us laugh at him!
2. Notre Dame being the #1 ranked college football team in the country (knock on wood for this weekend.) Go Irish!
3. The level of health and personal happiness I was able to achieve and retain this year.
4. Wonder in-laws, with whom I can't wait to spend Thanksgiving, and time to visit my own parents at New Years.
5. An amazing husband who gets me, loves me just the way I am, and finds ways to make me laugh everyday (and now I am tearing up as I type.)

Carter Breazeale
1. Having a job that doesn't feel like work, with people who feel like friends as opposed to simply coworkers.
2. My friends and family who put up with my sarcastic and cynical sense of humor.
3. Alkaline Trio's record, "From Here to Infirmary." Everyone should own it.
4. The Atlanta Falcons football team for being 9-1, even if their wins are ugly and frustrating.
5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, specifically the novel, "One Hundred Years of Solitude." My world was shaken for about a week after reading that book. 

We hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Saluting our Veterans

This weekend I had the pleasure of reconnecting with one of my lifelong friends. We had gone over a year without being able to spend time together, and our conversations had been few and far between. The reason? He was finishing up his military contract and returning from his second tour of duty.

My Saturday was spent listening to his stories of Afghanistan; the daily drudgery that accompanies a long deployment, difficult situations that he found himself in, and I could hardly wrap my head around the reality of it all. The mental and physical dexterity that are required of our servicemen and women is more than I was able to comprehend. He spoke of his experiences during wartime with a self-assuredness that I couldn’t ever imagine myself possessing if I had seen what he had seen.  

So today, the day after Veteran’s Day, I want to extend a ‘thank you’ to all our armed forces on behalf of PR/PR for the commitment they have and the sacrifices they’ve made for the safety of all Americans. Your service will never be forgotten or taken for granted, and one annual holiday will never be enough to acknowledge what you’ve risked day in and day out.

-Carter Breazeale
PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guy Fawkes Day and Cultural Identity Shifts

“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Along with the crackling of massive bonfires, the bursting of fireworks and consumption of assorted ales and ciders on Guy Fawkes Day in Britain comes an interesting study in cultural shifts in perception and significance. Guy Fawkes, a domestic terrorist associated with the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 that was intended to blow-up the House of Lords, is traditionally viewed with vitriol across the pond; but globally, Guy Fawkes’ image has morphed into one of a romanticized anti-hero. These perceptual changes often accompany individuals who are lightning rods for criticism, and it’s a testament of how your legacy can transform over time.

The image of the Guy Fawkes mask reached meteoric popularity after 2006’s V for Vendetta was released. A symbol for protest against perceived tyranny, the mask was utilized in the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring revolutions across the Middle East, and has essentially become a brand for popular revolution. While in Great Britain his likeness is customarily burned in effigy on Guy Fawkes Day, his visage is prominent in protests across the world.

These types of historical revisions have taken place since the advent of intelligent thought. Elapsed time often dictates legacies, and one’s own place in the cultural context isn’t often determined until further down the road. For many years, Columbus Day was a source of pride in the hearts of Americans, and as the actual facts and events became clearer, many in the United States have soured on a holiday that seemed to celebrate colonialism and the eradication of the Native American population.

In the ever-evolving publicity spectrum, the lasting impact you have on your audience may not be determined until further down the road. A steady stream of attention aids in crafting your permanent niche, but one misstep or poorly-executed performance can sully even the most air-tight of publicity campaigns. Remaining mindful of the public’s shifting perception of you, as it may also indicate a shift on your legacy.

As the mortars illuminate the London skies this evening and the crowds gather to celebrate the foiled plot of 1605, many will be aware of the evolution of Guy Fawkes in the international view. A traitor, brigand, conspirator, inspiration and political symbol; all these labels all apply for many. The mark you leave on your audience will likely undergo many changes; do your best to ensure they are favorable. 

-Carter Breazeale
PR/PR Public Relations

Monday, October 22, 2012

Keep Your Customers Close and Your Competition Closer

You know that old axiom about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? Well it’s cliché, but like most platitudes, it’s because it traditionally rings true. One avenue and strikingly underexplored method of social media marketing is the practice of keeping tabs on the competition; what they’re offering, where they’re excelling and – most importantly – where they’re failing. An example of online-publicity brilliance was executed by the travel agency, and it involved a shared-name, a competitor’s reluctance to honor a lofty request and a free trip to Paris.

Thomas Cook posted this comment on Thomas Cook Travel’s Facebook last year:

“Seeing as I share the exact same name as your huge company, and because of this I have been ridiculed for as long as I can remember. I think it’s only fair that you help compensate for this by giving me one of your lovely holidays.”

Thomas Cook Travel declined, initially chalking up the request as just e-snark. That’s where the PR people at lowcostholidays jumped in with the following reply to Thomas Cook (the person; this is understandably confusing):

Here at we completely sympathize with your suffering and if your name was “” we would certainly have accepted your request to be sent away on a weekend in Paris. So in Thomas Cook’s time of crisis we thought it was about time we stepped in to offer a helping hand to customers like yourself who have found themselves, as we like to say, ‘Thomas Crooked.’ So how about we send you on that weekend in Paris, in fact – why not make it a week for you and a friend?”

And with one message to one stranger sharing a name with a competitor, mastered the art of social media marketing. The story went viral throughout the online world, was a hit on Reddit and brought scores of positive remarks from all angles. The company earned themselves a customer for life and potentially countless others who appreciated the offer they extended to Mr. Cook.

Keeping up with your competitors in the social media world is just as important as maintaining your own online presence. Monitoring those you battle for business allows you to keep your finger to the wind of trends and ensure you’re doing everything you can to sustain your client base. shelled out the expense for a weeklong trip for two to Paris, but earned themselves loads more in free publicity. By watching their competitor’s actions online they have become a household name; keep your customers close and the competition closer.