Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back on my year as Minnesota PRSA president

Now that the end of 2012 is upon us, I'm taking a moment to reflect on my year as the president of the Minnesota chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Probably the best way to sum up the year is with the speech that I gave at the chapter's annual meeting/holiday party on Dec. 6 at Pinstripes:

Welcome! I’m Brant Skogrand, president of Minnesota PRSA. I’d like to call the 2012 Minnesota PRSA annual meeting to order. Thank you all for being here tonight.

          I would like to hit on some quick highlights of the year.

          First, we updated our website. now is a lot more interactive and engaging. Be sure to check out the Perspectives Blog for public relations insight, event recaps and more.

          We have visited in person all of the PRSSA chapters. This has strengthened our bond with future public relations professionals. I have enjoyed getting to know the students and seeing them become involved in PRSA upon graduation.

          We hosted some very compelling Programming, including a visit by the editor-in-chief of PRWeek, a creativity workshop that was featured in PRSA Issues & Trends, and events that connected our members with the media and with each other.

          At the Classics, we announced the winner of our first Young Professional Award. Congratulations again to Marnie Kopischke.

          In April, Minnesota hosted its first PRSA National APR Boot Camp. This brought professionals from San Diego, South Carolina and places in between to achieve their APR and APR+M.

          Our National membership numbers were up this year, putting us at more than 400 and giving us five Assembly delegates to represent our chapter nationally.

          After going through a review process, Minnesota PRSA has switched to a new association management company. Our new firm is called Creating Order, and representatives from Creating Order are here tonight. As such, Minnesota PRSA’s mailing address and phone number have changed. The new contact information is on our website.

          Thanks to our board members this year. Please raise your hand when I mention your name:
·       Theresa Skillrud, APR – Director of Business Community Outreach
·       Susan Buckles, APR – Director of Classics
·       Susan Beatty, APR – Director of Accreditation and Career Center
·       Heather Cmiel, APR – Director of Professional Development and Networking
·       Jason Sprenger, APR – Director of Internal and External Communication
·       Linda Kohl, APR – Director of Student Relations
·       Michael Porter, APR – Ethics Officer
·       Brooke Worden, APR – Immediate Past President
·       Joel Swanson, APR, MACT – Secretary and Director of Membership
·       Anna Long, APR – Treasurer
·       Tracy Carlson, APR – Vice President

Thanks to all of our volunteers for helping us accomplish these achievements. Now, on to some official business with the Secretary’s report, Treasurer’s report and election of the 2013 officers.

Here's to an excellent 2013 for Minnesota PRSA with Tracy Carlson as the chapter president!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Update on my LivingSocial complaint

livingsocial class action
In October, I wrote a post about LivingSocial, "How $700 got lifted from my wallet. . .my LivingSocial complaint."

I am pleased to report that my wife and I ended up getting a refund. It required working with the Better Business Bureau and some persistence, but we did end up getting our money back.

Interestingly enough, the provider now has changed its name from Maple Grove Wellness to Non-Surgical Clinic of the Twin Cities.

On a related note, I received information that LivingSocial recently settled a class action lawsuit. According to the filing, "The Action claims the Vouchers used to redeem LivingSocial Deals are 'gift certificates' and that expiration dates and other conditions applied to the Vouchers violate state and federal gift card and gift certificate regulations. The Action also asserts related claims for breach of contract, false advertising and unjust enrichment."

If you have a LivingSocial deal that has expired, has not been redeemed and has not been refunded, you might be able to be a member of the class action lawsuit.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Winning the Minnesota PRSA Classics

The Minnesota Public Relations Society of America Classics Awards recognize the best campaigns and tactics in our state's public relations community. The winners are feted at a gala event each spring featuring celebrity emcees and a delicious dinner.

Behind the celebration, though, lies a lot of hard work. A tremendous amount of effort goes into implementing award-winning campaigns and tactics, and assembling an award-winning Classics entry is no small task.

Minnesota PRSA Classics
Cassie D'Kae, Christine Michaelis and Johnna Vogelbacher of Exponent PR
To help public relations practitioners prepare successful award entries, Minnesota PRSA recently held a workshop featuring this year's "Best of Show" team members (see photo on the right).

Exponent PR's Christine Michaelis, Johnna Vogelbacher and Cassie D'Kae won "Best of Show" for their firm's work with Caribou Coffee.

For their campaign promoting Caribou Coffee's Amy's Blend and Amy's Garden, the Exponent PR team focused on goals of increasing donations and improving customer engagement. While making the entries fun and telling a story is key, Michaelis also pointed out that all aspects of the four-step process (research, planning, execution and evaluation) need to be covered in a Classics entry.

"Writing an award entry reminds us of the fundamentals of the PR craft," said Kelly Puspoki, vice president of Consumer Marketing at Weber Shandwick. Puspoki's team won multiple PR awards for its integrated campaign on behalf of client American Girl.

Puspoki, in reflecting on her entries, also said to avoid buzzwords.

Tracy Carlson, APR, of Padilla Speer Beardsley, recommended keeping material in a folder throughout the year to make it easier to gather data for award entries. She also said that demonstrating the campaign's four-step process is important, particularly the research and evaluation steps.

Best of luck as you prepare your Classics entries! The due date is noon on Dec. 14.
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