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Spring Session of APR Online Course begins January 28

The next session of the APR online course begins with an Orientation on Jan. 28 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. This course is invaluable to help you prepare for the APR exam.

Participants in this course are PR and communications professionals from all over the country. Facilitators are senior PR professionals who hold the APR designation as well as senior level positions at private and public organizations across the U.S. They often speak from experience to the various topics at hand.

The course is supported by a Study Guide as well as several textbooks. Over the course of 13 weeks, you will delve into the 10 modules, or chapters, covered in this course. Chapters include: Public Relations: A Management Function, Applying Ethics and Law, Communication Models and Theories, Managing Issues and Crisis Communications, Leading the PR Function, Managing Relationships, and, of course, Research, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (RPIE), the 4-step process that is at the heart of all successful public relations campaigns

During the final week of the course, you’ll have a chance to discuss your ideas for a Communications Plan utilizing RPIE. This information will be especially helpful in preparing your individual Panel Presentation, which must be presented and approved before you can take the APR exam.

The course is very convenient; it will be held completely online for one hour each week during the evening from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. The PRSA member price is $195 (group discounts are available), and participants may take this course up to three times a year – in the spring, summer, and fall.

For more information on the APR online course, click here,

For the Spring 2020 course schedule or to enroll, click here.

 

PRSA Maryland Announces Four New APRs

Photo caption: PRSA Maryland Chapter Accreditation Manager Dianna Fornaro, M.A., APR (center) with Janice Smith, Ph. D., APR (left), and David Marshall, Ph.D., APR, at BIM19 in Dec. 2019. (Not pictured: Christine Frey, APR and Kelly Stoll, APR.)

PRSA Maryland is proud to announce our chapter’s four newest APRs! The four were first announced at our Best in Maryland (BIM) Awards Gala on December 4.

The APR is our profession’s only national post-graduate certificate program. It demonstrates a PR practitioner’s or educator’s commitment to the highest standards of the profession, to ethical conduct, and to professional excellence.

Unlike the credentials required for competence in many other professions, the accreditation process for PR professionals is voluntary, Consequently, the APR credential is held by very few today. Currently, only 19% of PRSA members are accredited, according to PRSA National.

PRSA Maryland Chapter’s four newest APRs are:

Christine Frey, APR
Senior Corporate Communications & Patient Education Manager
American Urological Association

David Marshall, Ph.D., APR
Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Strategic Communication
Morgan State University

Janice Smith, Ph.D., APR
Asst. Professor & Director of The Strategy Shop, Morgan’s in-house PR agency
Morgan State University

Kelly Stoll, APR
Senior Strategic Communications Specialist
AECOM

Congratulations to all of them!

Exploring the emotional side of brands

Who hasn’t heard the stat 70% of emotionally connected consumers spend twice as much on brands they have an emotional attachment to than those who do not?

Research stats also confirm that connections based on feelings last longer any made based a need.

These findings have driven Shana Harris, COO, Warschawski, to explore how to create emotional connections between brands and their target audience will ultimately impact the bottom-line. She will share her learnings and experience in the PRSA Maryland webinar “The Emotional Side of Brand” on Thursday, October 24 at 12pm.

She will cover how to assess your audience perceives your current business practices along with practical tools to create a unique, powerful emotional connection with your target audience. The webinar is free to members and $15 for guests. Register here! 

Congratulations to our Chapter’s newest APRs!

Congratulations to the Maryland Chapter’s newest APRs – Christine Frey, APR, Senior Corporate Communications & Patient Education Manager at American Urological Association, and Janice Smith, Ph.D., APR, Assistant Professor in Morgan University’s Dept. of Strategic Communications.

Christine received her accreditation in June, and Janice received accreditation in August. Their accomplishments represent a year’s worth of hard work and commitment to the public relations profession!

Janice Smith, Ph.D., APR

Connect with Janice on LinkedIn

If you’d like information on obtaining your APR, contact Dianna Fornaro at dfornaro@ceiwc.com or on LinkedIn.

Working to Continue with a Bold PR Future – Conference Recap

by Lisa Brusio Coster, Chapter President

It was a dog day of summer and the conference did not wilt under the heat. While NDMU did its best to keep us cool, 72 attendees at this year’s PRSA Maryland conference networked and learned new ideas and skills from our panelists and presenters. (To see details on the presenters, see the conference agenda here.)

In the opening panel on Changing Baltimore’s Narrative, we heard about the “Charm City Three-Step” – how Baltimore takes one step forward only to take two steps back. We were reminded Baltimore has a brand perception problem and we need to come together on a common theme. It was a deep, intelligent discussion with a few opposing views and in the end, a 15-minute Idea Lab was implemented for problem-solving, which allowed each table of attendees to work within specific parameters.

Afterwards, there were so many strong ideas expressed, PRSA Maryland decided to create a task force of sorts to take the lead on re-branding Baltimore. More to come on that concept, but initially, the goal will be to invite other PR, communications, marketing, and advertising organizations into the fold to accomplish the task.

Six sessions were held throughout the day, which covered diversity in internal communications, podcasting, public affairs, storytelling, niche audiences, and crisis. 

In the podcasting session, we learned the podcast audience is highly educated with high income and that most listeners fall between the ages of 25 – 34. During the storytelling session, we were told stories are the currency of human life. We were encouraged to find a way to blend informal and formal stories.

In crisis communications, we heard we must maintain trust with our stakeholders and whether you are viewed as caring is the single biggest predictor of how you are perceived after a crisis. In internal communications, we were counseled to expand our communications styles and platforms for various audiences and add our preferred pronouns to our email signatures. We were also reminded how important it is to have conversations with people with viewpoints different from our own.

In developing content for millennial black mothers, we heard how influential this audience is in terms of brand perception and buying power. And, in public affairs (PA) bootcamp we learned that while both PR and PA professionals represent organizations, PA is strictly related to the political, legislative, and government function, and closely related to lobbying. Some of the pressing challenges for PA practitioners revolves around crisis communications and risk management strategies.

Our day wrapped up with a panel presenting Towson University’s (TU) re-branding campaign. The TU staff took us down the path of research through implementation, covering an 18-month process. While they couldn’t share their budget with us, one of the best takeaways was that brand ambassadors include faculty and staff; hence, that internal audience required a communications strategy that culminated with a roll-out presentation long before the external audience was informed. We were also reminded logos are not brands and key messages are not tag lines.

Events like these are not possible without financial and in-kind support, over and above our attendees’ fees. Once again, we thank our sponsors: Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company, The Bozzuto Group, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Researchscape, Coster Communications, Maryland Women’s Heritage Center, Megan Evans Photography, and Quandra Gray for design.

Is all trust lost? How to recover from a brand damaging crisis

Submitted by Jennifer Donahoe, PR & Social Media Account Director, Planit

On June 4, 2019, shocking and gruesome undercover video broke showing animal abuse at a dairy farm in Indiana where the popular milk brand Fairlife produces its milk.

Originally posted on social media, the video quickly went viral and national media and local media across every major market in the country covered the story. The words “horrifying,” “torture,” and “disturbing” became synonymous with the Fairlife brand.

The result? The brand’s perception was immediately damaged and public trust tanked, with customers banning the product, and chains such as Jewel-Osco, Casey’s Foods, Family Express and more pulled Fairlife milk from shelves. In response, not surprisingly, the “where to buy” section of Fairlife’s website was taken down.

As communicators, there’s a lot we can learn from this crisis. When Fairlife responded, how Fairlife responded, and most importantly, what Fairlife did in reaction to the crisis, will all be discussed on July 18 at PRSA Maryland’s conference session on How a Crisis Can Become an Opportunity.

You will learn:

  • How to prepare for a crisis
  • Rules of effective crisis response
  • What works – and what doesn’t work – in a crisis
  • Key messages to communicate, regardless of the crisis
  • The most important question to ask in a crisis
  • When to respond in a crisis

We’ll discuss all this and more, analyzing major recent crises to help you prepare for the foreseen – and unforeseen – so that your business or clients are ready no matter when or how a crisis strikes.

The reality is a crisis can happen at anytime to any company. If you’re ready to prepare and protect your client or brand, this session is for you.

Click here for more information on this session and more!

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors