Dear Burson-Marsteller, This is Why I Make the Perfect #HBSI2013 Candidate

For my readers that don’t know, Burson-Marsteller is hosting a Twitter competition where young, eager public relations professionals have their chance to win an interview for the Harold Burson Summer Internship Program of 2013 (hence, the #HBSI2013 hashtag). This competition is a great opportunity for these professionals to explain to Burson-Marsteller why they are the best candidates for this opportunity. Although I’m sure my 140 character tweets suffice in explaining why I believe I’m an ideal candidate, I want to take this opportunity to go into further detail; something Twitter doesn’t allow me to do. To the recruiters and employees of Burson-Marsteller responsible for conducting the #HBSI2013 competition, thank you for taking the time to read this post, and thank you for this incredible opportunity.

Just like the recruiters of Burson-Marsteller, I’ve been keeping up with the #HBSI2013 tweets, and all the candidates seem to be using the same descriptors: ambitious, driven, hard-working, dedicated, creative. Obviously these are extremely important traits for any potential intern, and I believe I possess these qualities as well, but many of these tweets fail to mention one important differentiator: passion. In a field where you’re constantly challenged and the workload is heavy, you need to remember why you wanted to join public relations in the first place: because you love it. I have a strong passion for public relations and strategic communications that I believe will take me far in the field. Every day, I am excited about new opportunities and the chance to make a difference. In addition to my passion, I believe I possess other qualities that make me an ideal #HBSI2013 candidate:

  •  I’m an optimistic, glass-is-half-full kind of person.  This infectious positivity not only helps get the job done, but gets it done efficiently.
  • I’m ethical. I don’t take the easy way out, I take the right way.
  • I am a perfectionist. If I believe any work is sub-par, I will work my butt off until I get the job done well, no questions asked.
  • I’m not afraid to admit when I make a mistake, to ask for help, or start things over if I know I can do better – I’m human, not bionic.

Obviously, skills and experience are two major indicators of whether a candidate is qualified for this position – I have both. My coursework at the University of Wisconsin – Madison has given me adequate knowledge about public relations, including classes in public relations, strategic communications, news writing, journalism and advertising. Plus, my internships with The Mx Group (a B2B marketing agency), as well as running a one-person marketing/public relations/social media team through the Morgridge Center for Public Service has helped me gain extensive experience. What’s more, I have successfully drafted and published a personal website, I run a personal blog, named ‘A Brunette on Branding’, completely focused on branding, public relations and marketing and I stay up-to-date on and discuss industry-related news on my professional Twitter. These skills and the experience I have gained through classes and internships solidify why I should be selected as a #HBSI2013 intern.

Burson-Marsteller, I promise that, given the opportunity to interview for this amazing opportunity, I will not let you down. I will give you my all and be authentic in doing so. I have the skills and experience necessary to complete this internship, and I possess many qualities that will help me excel. I also have a deep passion for public relations that keeps me driven, focused and hard-working. If I am chosen as a candidate for an interview for #HBSI2013, I am positive you will not be disappointed. Thank you.

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Expanding Awareness of Your Brand’s Position through PSAs: A Look at AT&T’s “It Can Wait” Campaign

If you haven’t seen any of the AT&T “It Can Wait” commercials, I strongly recommend you view them here. It’s obvious that texting and driving has become a national problem, especially with the younger population, and it’s great to see a company speaking up and urging people to take action. I think the “It Can Wait” PSA is great because it shows AT&T wants a public change on the views of texting and driving, and it is building awareness that the AT&T brand truly cares about the well-being of their customers. Here are some reasons I think this campaign stands out and accomplishes its mission:

  • It Uses Stories From Real People: Using videos of real people in real situations instills a fear of texting and driving. Specifically, seeing how a sister died or a man had to go through physical therapy because of one text shows how easy it is to get hurt. Viewing the last texts before the accident, like “yeah” and “where r” are also helpful because they are simple text messages and viewing these would make more of an impact than a text that reads like a novel.
  • Famous Teen Stars Are Featured Taking The Pledge: There’s no doubt the campaign is really aimed towards the younger populations. So, the use of famous teens enhances the campaign because the younger generation idolizes and imitates teen stars. Teens think they’re invisible and their “it-won’t-happen-to-me” mentality includes accidents via texting and driving. AT&T does a great job of incorporating teen stars like Victoria Justice, Gabby Douglas and Ryan Beatty into the PSA to urge the younger generation to take pledge.
  • It Allows Everyone To Get Involved: The “It Can Wait” website has enabled users to post their own stories and encourage others to take the pledge. It also allows people to get involved through social media by posting statuses through Facebook and Twitter, telling others to take it. I think involvement in this campaign is crucial because people aren’t going to take the pledge unless others do. Once they see other teens like them taking the pledge and getting involved, they’re more likely to get involved themselves. It creates a sense of community.

It’s hard to get teens to listen. They think they can do anything and there are no implications. The reason I think this campaign is successful is because it’s really aimed towards teens and shows them that texting and driving is serious and that it does happen to people. Overall, AT&T did a great job showing consumers they care about the lives of their customers and, therefore, builds a great recognition and association for the brand.

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I’m Not Gonna Teach You How To Clap, Sing and Bounce Simultaneously, But I Will Teach You What Sorority Recruitment Taught Me About Personal Branding

It’s that time of the year again – sorority recruitment. With the chaos of finding matching outfits, getting girls to clap, sing and bounce simultaneously and constantly talking to girls for what seems like eternity, I only now have stopped to think that we, too, are branding ourselves. This post won’t be on how a sorority can brand itself (believe me, I wouldn’t even want to read something like that) I have learned a couple things through this recruitment process that I feel can improve a personal brand.

  • Be Memorable: As I mentioned above, during recruitment girls are in constant conversation for almost 8 hours a day. I’m obviously not going to remember every single girl that I talk to. The ones I do remember? The memorable ones. We had out-of-the-box conversations that really catered to what I wanted to talk about, not to what I wanted to hear. Too many times I feel like professionals are trying to please everyone and their personal brand is generic and not trying to be out-of-the-box. I think a way to build a great personal brand and have it remembered is by being different and memorable.

    Sorority Recruitment

    Sorority Recruitment Picture

  • Remember That You Represent Your Personal Brand Everywhere You Go – You Never Know Who You’re Going To Run Into: Some days I don’t feel like getting out of bed, let alone getting actually dressed and doing my hair. Those days that I wish sweats and a messy bun are an acceptable outfit to wear to class, I have to stop and remember that wherever I am, I’m representing myself. If a professor sees me constantly in sweats and seeming like I don’t care about my appearance, he’s going to think I’m lazy and don’t care about being in the class. This goes the same for the way I act and the way I speak. If you brand yourself as a professional, act like it. At this period in my young adult life, I am constantly meeting new people that could be my potential employers. If they’re walking behind me one day and I’m acting like a moron, I just blew a potential opportunity.
  • Brag: This last point might seem cocky, but in reality, maybe being a little cocky isn’t such a bad thing. If you helped a company land their huge new client, work that accomplishment into your personal brand. If you raised a large amount of money to donate to charity, use your personal brand to tell others that you’re philanthropic. Instead of saying “I’m successful” start saying “I’m successful because…” You’re giving people examples of why you’re so great instead of just using a generic statement.

I know I’ve been on a hiatus for a while due to moving back to school and starting recruitment, but have no fear! I’ll soon be back to posting regular bi-weekly posts on my thoughts about branding. Thanks all for your support and have a happy Wednesday!

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Hats Off To Moms At The 2012 London Olympic Games

I’m sure like most of you, when I’m not stuck at work or sleeping, my life is consumed by watching the 2012 London Olympics. Although the 15-year-old athletes make me feel like I have accomplished nothing in my lifetime, the strength of American pride both on and off the screen make the Olympics that much more exciting to watch. Naturally, in a situation where the entire world is watching the same program, commercial spots are a crucial way in promoting a brand. The lucky brands, like McDonalds, Visa, and Coca-Cola get great brand recognition because they get to sponsor the events, and have been doing so for years. The not-so-lucky brands, like Nike, have to use guerilla marketing to get their brand noticed. All these brands are doing great jobs not only promoting themselves, but the athletes, the Olympics and country pride. Yet, I think Procter and Gamble are going above-and-beyond their sponsorship and have really created a really amazing Olympics branding campaign for themselves.

Why?: Procter and Gamble has used its “Thank You Mom” to promote its brand on a whole new level. Procter and Gamble knows it’s not a sports company, and it hasn’t ever really been associated with sports. But Procter and Gamble knows that behind every athlete, whether a Little League pitcher or an Olympian, there is a proud mom cheering them on. For once, an Olympic sponsor is not focusing on the athletes themselves, but what really got the athletes there in the first place: their mothers. I believe this is smart because the Proctor and Gamble brand produces everyday products, used by everyday people, like Olympian mothers. What’s great about this branding campaign is that it can be used longer than the duration of the Olympics because mothers will be there every single day. So hats off to you Procter and Gamble, your branding campaign is inspiring and is one that has made a big impression on me.

View one of Procter and Gamble’s newest commercials:

To learn more about the Procter and Gamble “Thank You Mom” campaign, you can visit the “Thank You Mom” website here or you can follow the “Thank You Mom” campaign on Twitter at @ThankYouMom

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I Went To Europe And All I Thought About Was Branding

I recently got back from a European vacation with my family, as some of my followers may have noticed by my month blogging hiatus. Although, unfortunately, sick for the majority of the vacation, I still took the time to venture out and learn what I could about European branding.

I learned what I thought I would – branding is the same everywhere except for one important factor: tourists rule the world. Every trip I went to I felt like there were more tourists than locals. Brands need to keep this in mind if planning on going international because they don’t only have to adhere to the locals’ wants and needs, but also to the tourists.

I would imagine this is extremely hard. These brands have to go above and beyond and meet the needs of everyone if they’re going to be successful. So, here are some things I think are crucial if a brand is going to meet the needs of locals and tourists:

  • Trademarks are crucial in international brand recognition:Pringles were a god-send. As I mentioned before, I was sick the majority of the vacation. Unfortunately for me, the only food I could think about eating was the food I was familiar with (no extravagant dishes on this girl’s menu). My diet mainly consisted of Pringles (cleverly named Pringoooals in Rome to celebrate the Euro cup). Whether in line for the Colosseum or St. Peters Basilica, Pringles were always on hand. Why Pringles? It was the only brand I recognized at any food cart or grocery store, even though it was name Pringoooals the majority of the trip. This was because the logo and mustached character were the same and easily recognizable. Without the trademarks, I would have been doomed. Moral of the story: have a trademark.
  • Consistency is key: Just like from store-to-store, or from restaurant-to-restaurant in the US, brands need to make sure they’re consistent internationally. Take Hard Rock Café for example. My family has made it a tradition to visit the Hard Rock Café on every vacation we go on, and so far, we’ve succeeded!! What we love about Hard Rock is that regardless of where we are in the world, the menu, the service, and the overall atmosphere are the same. This is not like the McDonald’s we visited (yes, sadly we visited a McDonald’s in Europe). When we walked through its doors we weren’t welcomed by the symbolic yellow arches, and instead of being able to order my beloved Rolo McFlurry, I was stuck with the sole option of Smarties! The experience we had in this McDonald’s was not consistent with the experiences we have had at them at home, and therefore, made for an unpleasant meal (All of my examples are of food, so sad).

What to gain from this? International branding is hard. Obviously brands want to succeed and make their consumers happy, but it’s difficult to do so when the consumer-base widens immensely due to tourism. I give kudos to the brands that were able to succeed so well – I was a picky tourist and, yet, some brands didn’t fail me.

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Helpful Tips on What To Do in This Crazy World We Call “Personal Branding”

Everyone has some type of a personal brand – whether it be an aspiring actress, a corporate businessman or a couch potato, these individuals strive to embody the brands that best represents themselves. Over the past couple of weeks, while finishing final projects and starting my current internship, I’ve learned to hone in on my personal brand to correctly tell people who am I and what I intend to do with my brand. Here are some things that I have learned and hope will help other individuals struggling to perfect their brand:

  • A brand is more than a your major/expertise: yes, it’s important to brand yourself as an expert in your field of interest, but your brand is so much more than that. Your brand should tell people what you believe – your morals, values and beliefs. For example, I brand myself as a “brander” (yeah, a brand in branding, how original). Aside from a brander, I am passionate about the industry, I believe hard work and perseverance are crucial to getting a job done, and I value trust, honesty and teamwork. Let your peers see there’s more to you than what is down on paper, and own those qualities of your brand.
    Image

    My Personal Logo

  • Match the brand you say you are: Basically, don’t lie. You can’t tell people you’re an up-and-coming fashionista if you are really still stuck in the 80’s style. Don’t brand yourself as a hard worker if you do the bare minimum work to finish a project and turn in sub-par work. If you say you’re something, you better be able to back it up.
  • Make sure you share your brand: For once it’s good to talk about yourself. There’s no use in having a brand if you’re not going to share it with people. Utilize all different platforms, from social media (like Twitter, Facebook, a blog, etc.) to something as simple as a logo (this is GREAT to put on a business card, your resume or your personal website!). Brag about your accomplishments and show your peers you mean business.
  • Have a purpose: Share what makes your brand unique and what the purpose of your brand is. Yes, you can brand yourself as a role play gaming-junkie, but why is it important and what does it mean to others?

I hope these tips give you more insight in what goes into creating your personal brand. If you stay true to who you are, creating your personal brand will be easy. Once you decide what you truly want to be recognized as, honing in on what makes you unique and what you can bring to the table will help you create a stronger brand. Thank you for reading!

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New Website!!

To those who follow, you may have noticed I have been a little MIA these past couple of weeks. That is because I was in the processing of publishing my new website, amandamargaretburke.com. I will be sure to give my latest thoughts in the branding world sometime soon, as I am now in the process of moving back to Chicago for the summer!

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