How St. Jude Up ’til Dawn Stays Ethically Sound

Ethics is an internal code that guides people to decide what is right and wrong. Every person has his or her own ethical code. As such, brands should have their own strict ethical codes. It is essential that a brand’s employees not only accept such code, but they should also fully understand it. You can understand your organization’s code of ethics by simply remembering three aspects of the brand.

1. Remember your purpose.

What does your brand do? For example, Trader Joe’s sells groceries. Louisiana State University educates students. St. Jude Up ’til Dawn raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It is essential to always remember what your organization does in order to have your priorities straight. Remember who you are and what you do in order to have a strong, authentic vision.

2. Remember your values.

What does your brand value? Don’t confuse this with what your brand does (what we talked about above). Instead, ask yourself why your brand does what it does. What is the driving force behind the organization? For example, a brand might value honesty, justice, peace or a number of other positive motivating factors. Write out these values, and narrow them down to the top five. Trader Joe’s values affordability and service. LSU values integrity and excellence. St. Jude Up ’til Dawn values passion and fun.

3. Remember your audience.

Finally, you must remember who you do these things for. Because every person has his or her own ethical code, it’s necessary that your brand’s ethics match your audience’s ethics. Trader Joe’s audience (grocery shoppers) may have a different code of ethics than St. Jude Up ’til Dawn’s audiences (college students and patients’ families). Know your audience, know how they think and know what they believe is ethically sound.

So you’ve lined out what you do, why you do it and who you do it for. Now what? Create a mission statement that reflects the brand’s ethical code. Trader Joe’s does it quite well:

“The mission of Trader Joe’s is to give our customers the best food and beverage values that they can find anywhere and to provide them with the information required to make informed buying decisions. We provide these with a dedication to the highest quality of customer satisfaction delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, fun, individual pride, and company spirit.”

To learn more about LSU St. Jude Up ’til Dawn, visit its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To learn more about the ethics of public relations, check out PRSA’s Code of Ethics.

St. Jude Up ’til Dawn: Evaluation Stage

Posted by: Taylor LeBlanc 

One of the most important, and most over-looked, components of the public relations process is the evaluation stage. This is the final stage of the PR process and brings your entire campaign to full circle. Creating a successful PR campaign can be difficult, which is why the evaluation stage is so critical to see what worked and what didn’t. Evaluation is defined as “the systematic measurement of the outcomes of a project, program or campaign based on the extent to which stated objectives are achieved.”

Red Stick Relations is currently realizing the value of the evaluation stage as we begin to evaluate the success of our event. The primary goal of our event is to increase awareness of and participation in St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn. During our research stage, we created a survey that would measure the current awareness level LSU students had of St. Jude Up ’til Dawn. According to Evaluation Techniques used in PR by Karen S. Johnson, it’s important that surveys be done prior to your PR program so you have a baseline measurement — that is, what awareness, perceptions and attitudes existed prior to your program, and then conduct a post-program survey. Prior to our event, we distributed a survey through Qualtrics that received over 100 responses from LSU students. Questions on the survey included:

  1. How familiar are you with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?
  2. How familiar are you with St. Jude Up ’til Dawn?
  3. Do you associate St. Jude Up ’til Dawn with a letter writing party?
  4.  Do you associate St. Jude Up ’til Dawn with fundraising?
  5. Do you associate St. Jude Up ’til Dawn with an all-night team challenge?
  6. Are you aware of the fundraiser Up ’til Dawn on LSU’s campus?
  7. Are you aware Up ’til Dawn is a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?
  8. St. Jude Up til’ Dawn is a nationwide student-led philanthropic program in which college students raise funds for and awareness of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. How likely are you to participate in St. Jude Up til’ Dawn?
  9. How important do you think St. Jude Up ’til Dawn is?

We also distributed the same survey after our event. After tabulating the results for each survey, we will be able to evaluate whether our event raised awareness for St. Jude Up ’til Dawn on LSU’s campus.

The other part of our goal was to raise participation for Up ’til Dawn. We wanted to have at least five people who attended our event to sign up, and we exceeded that number. At our event, members from the executive board set up a table to answer questions and sign people up for Up ’til Dawn. We will evaluate the success of this goal by measuring the number of people who signed up for Up ’til Dawn at our event.

Members from Up ’til Dawn at LSU executive board

Changes in pr tactics – St. Jude Up ’til Dawn turns to social media to raise awareness

Photo credit- missoulaevents.net

Photo credit- missoulaevents.net

In the fall of 1906, Ivy Lee created the very first press release. For much of its proceeding history, the press release was unchanged from its original form. However, during the past few years we’ve witnessed a shift that’s brought that original press release into the new millennium with embedded multimedia and easy distribution through various channels including social media and email (Swallow, 2010.)

The rise of digital and social media have had huge impacts on the public relations profession and radically changed how practitioners approach their audiences. According to public relations professional Karen Addis, there currently is the need to keep up with new technology and embrace it as well as understand the role the various technology platforms play in furthering an organization’s business objectives (Addis, 2014.)

In particular, the widespread use of social media has fundamentally changed how people communicate and share information, and public relations practitioners are taking advantage of this medium to share information with key audiences (Folkens, 2011.)

PR practitioner Dave Folkens wrote in his blog post, “Three Ways Social Media is Changing PR”, PR professionals, particularly those who work for nonprofit organizations, can benefit from social media in three distinctive ways: The opportunity to have a conversation with their publics, the opportunity to gather information more easily and the opportunity to practice more meaningful customer service.

Two-way communication is a tremendous opportunity for businesses to gain real-time feedback on messaging coming from the company. The live interaction allows for ongoing refinement and improvement to make a deeper connection with target audiences. Additionally, PR professionals have access to a wealth of content that can be shared with consumers, or used to learn more about them. By engaging proactively, PR teams can create new opportunities to create a favorable brand impression that can lead to potential business relationships. Finally, there is now an expectation from consumers that any concerns will be addressed quickly and personally. Social media has given PR practitioners the ability to meet these demands.

St. Jude Childrens’ Research Hospital is one example of a nonprofit organization that is using new PR tactics to raise awareness for their Up ’til Dawn campaign. St. Jude is currently using FacebookTwitter and YouTube to effectively engage in two-way communication with their audience members in addition to promoting events and sharing information about St. Jude’s mission and the Up ’til Dawn campaign.

St. Jude – Up ’til Dawn’s LSU chapter will be hosting its annual all-night team challenge on Friday, February 20th in Baton Rouge. Thanks to the use of social media, Up ’til Dawn has already raised over $44,000 on LSU’s campus to help fight childhood cancer.

References

Addis, K. (2014, February 1). The Future of PR: Are Traditional Tactics Dead? Retrieved November 10, 2014.

Folkens, D. (2011, February 1). Social Media PR – 3 Ways Public Relations Has Been Changed by Social Media. Retrieved November 10, 2014.

Swallow, E. (2010, August 16). The Future of Public Relations and Social Media. Retrieved November 10, 2014.

St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn takes public relations action strategy

Posted by: Darby Isham

One of the major steps in developing a public relations campaign is formulating action and response strategies. Ronald Smith states, “Effective public relations involves deeds as well as words, and strong programs can be built only on solid and consistent action” (Smith, 2013). These actions can either be proactive or reactive.

Thus far, LSU’s St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn has stayed on proactive action strategy side. Of the proactive side, there are two categories. One is action and the other is communication. Action includes organizational performance, audience engagement, special events, alliances and coalitions, sponsorships, strategic philanthropy and activism. Communication includes publicity, generating new newsworthy information and transparent communication.

There are many different reactive strategies including: pre-emptive action, offensive responses, defensive responses, diversionary response, vocal commiseration, rectifying behavior and deliberate inaction.

As a student organization, I think it is most important for LSU’s St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn to be more proactive than reactive. The organization should host events and engage with their audience to build trust and knowledge in LSU’s student community. St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn should also have a plan in place in case a reactive strategy is necessary.

Many people are well aware of what St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is and does. It is important for LSU’s St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn student organization to be known for what they are: a student organization raising awareness and funds for St. Jude by hosting an all night game challenge. As we are developing this campaign, we are recognizing that a combination of strategies will be the most effective, not just one. St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn is a non profit organization; therefore, having sponsorships host the special event would be the most ideal. It would be difficult to have an event without the proper publicity. These strategies work together toward the organization’s overall goal.

LSU’s St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn hosts a series of smaller events leading up to the annual big event. Students sign up as a team and have a fundraising goal. Once the goal is reached, the team can participate in the all-night challenge in February. Before this all-night challenge event, St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn was known for their letter-writing party. Students would bring addresses in order to participate in the activities St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn provided. This recent change has provided an obstacle for the organization. St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn has put the proper strategies in place in order to make the all-night challenge a continued success on LSU’s campus.

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For more information visit LSU’s St. Jude Up ’til Dawn.

St. Jude Up ’til Dawn

Twitter: @SJUTD_LSU

Facebook: Facebook.com/uptildawnlsu

Instagram: @SJUTD_LSU

Smith, R.D. (2013). Strategic Planning for Public Relations (4th ed.). New York: Routledge

What will research do for St. Jude Up ’til Dawn?

Posted by: Darby Isham

Before beginning any communications campaign, there is one very important step one must never forget: research. Research about an organization is key to determining the proper audience and messages to convey to the public. Because St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn is a non-profit organization, their money and resources are limited. In order to utilize them fully, St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn must pinpoint their target audience for their communication plan.

The first step in the research process is to analyze the situation. Everyone in the organization or working on the campaign should be in agreement of whether the situation is opportunity or an obstacle. According to Ronald Smith, “The public relations situation may be identified as an opening, something to be embraced. An opportunity offers a potential advantage to the organization or its publics.” On the other hand, the public relations situation may be a roadblock, something to be overcome. Obstacles limit the organization in realizing it mission (Smith, 2013).

The second step in the research process is to analyze the organization. In order to create a communications campaign, one must first have a clear focus on what the organization stands for, what the organization does and where the organization is headed. A tool most often used to analyze an organization is the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are based on the internal aspects of the organization, such as performance, niche, structure, ethical base and internal impediments. The public perception of an organization including visibility and reputation are also included in the strengths and weaknesses categories. Opportunities and threats are based on the organization’s external environment including: supporters, competitors, opponents and external impediments. Factors such as social, political or economic are included in the external impediments.

The third step in the research process is to analyze the publics. According to John Dewey in The Public and Its Problems, a public is a group of people that shares a common interest vis-à-vis an organization, recognizes its significance and sets out to do something about it. When an organization is looking to distinguish its publics there are five characteristics to consider: distinguishable, homogenous, important, large enough and accessible. After determining who your publics are, an organization should them identify the various publics. The types of publics are customers, producers, enablers and limiters. Not all of these publics will be the publics you want to target your campaign to. An organization should pinpoint the people they want to engage in a communication process with (Smith, 2013).

Smith, R.D. (2013). Strategic Planning for Public Relations (4th ed.). New York: Routledge

St. Jude Up ’til Dawn

Twitter: @SJUTD_LSU

Facebook: Facebook.com/uptildawnlsu

Instagram: @SJUTD_LSU

PR Writing: Five Ways St. Jude Up ’til Dawn Communicates Its Message

Writing is arguably the most important skill a public relations practitioner can possess. Here are some tips to improve your writing in press releases, blogs and social media.

1. Tell a story.
Anyone can spit out facts and figures about his or her organization, but what really grips readers is a good story. To tell a great story, you need a main character, supporting roles and interesting dialogue. In the case of St. Jude Up ’til Dawn, the main character might be a child suffering from cancer and is getting treatment from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The supporting roles could be the child’s parents, doctors and nurses. Finally, dialogue is simply quotes about the child’s battle against cancer and how St. Jude is fighting alongside him.

2. Use AP style.
Nothing frustrates journalists more than press releases filled with AP style mistakes. Do you know what journalists think about the Oxford comma? Do you know whether you should write “10” or “ten”? Do you know when to capitalize a person’s title? If not, buy the latest AP Stylebook and start studying.

3. Know your platform.
A press release is different from a tweet, so your writing style should follow accordingly. Press releases should be written like news and should contain interesting and important information. Tweets must be concise or they will be misunderstood. Blogs are informal and can be written in the first-person, however you must still exude professionalism. Even though the platform may change, your voice shouldn’t, which leads us to No. 4.

4. Have a clear, strong, consistent voice.
Always remember that everything you write represents your organization. The organization’s personality and character should shine in every social media post, every blog post and every press release you write. For example, St. Jude Up ’til Dawn is a fun, all-night fundraising event for college students. St. Jude Up ’til Dawn must balance the professionalism of the larger St. Jude Children’s Research Center while still exuding the passionate and fun personality of a college student organization.

5. Edit, edit, edit.
Double-check your writing for spelling and grammar errors. Triple-check your writing for AP style errors. For good measure, quadruple-check your writing to insure all details are factual. You never want to accidentally send out incorrect information. After you’ve edited your own work, send it off to a coworker to look over it as well. Your coworker may notice those simple typos, AP style errors or even incorrect information that you glanced over.