By Alexandre Torres, PRSSA-LB Ambassador
Photos by Myra Pimentel
PRSSA-LB members were treated to a tour of Taco Bell Headquarters in Irvine, CA on Friday, March 15. The tour included a look into Taco Bell’s daily operations that included a taste kitchen, an on-site multimedia room, and the glorious “fish bowl.”
Jacob Duarte, public relations and brand engagement coordinator and Jacqueline Cisneros, public relations coordinator at Taco Bell were our host and hostess for the morning. Students split up into two groups and ventured off into the everyday lives of Taco Bell employees. Themed elevators with sauce packets on the wall took us up to where the company comes up with their look from the exterior of the restaurants to their menu boards. The building hosts their own multi-media room where staff films interviews for a variety of social media projects.
Did I mention the test kitchen? Before releasing new menu items, Taco Bell gets the opinions of their employees by offering an assortment of products for tasting. Depending on the feedback, this will help decide whether the product stays or gets the ax.
PRSSA-LB members reconvened into the “fish bowl.” The fish bowl is Taco Bell’s situation room that tells them how they’re being perceived by the public. The fish bowl monitors positive and negative interaction by tracking Taco Bell key phrases such as “baja blast” or “locos taco,” for example. We tested this ourselves and long behold our tweets appeared on the massive monitors. The wall also included a heat map of the country. A state would turn dark blue when Taco Bell was heavily in the conversation.
Jacqueline was the president of her PRSSA chapter at Pepperdine University. Her insight and view on her profession was inspiring nonetheless. “PR is 24/7, it’s not a 9-to-5 deal. If you thrive on wanting to be on your toes a lot and love to be ‘on’ this is probably the right industry for you.” Of course to excel in any line of business you have to be the best version of yourself.
“Make sure you are doing whatever you need to do to go 100% for yourself so you can go 100% at work,” she emphasized.
By Breeahna Dobson, PRSSA-LB Ambassador
Photos by Cristal Gomez
Diversity may be an issue in the professional world of public relations, but that wasn’t the case
at the Dirtbag baseball game this past Friday. Students, faculty and alumni of all different
backgrounds gathered together to support the Bateman team and their campaign.
The networking event, called “Dirtbags for Diversity” was hosted by the Bateman team to
promote their campaign and provide networking opportunities to students. When I arrived, there
was an area to the left side of the stadium sectioned off specifically for the event with a great
view of the field from third base. Everyone was gathered around a table of appetizers, munching
on pulled pork sliders and chatting amongst themselves.
I was welcomed to the conversation and catered food with open arms. The weather was on the
colder side, but that didn’t deter us from warming up to one another. We talked about the
baseball team, our hopes for our future careers and took pictures in front of their banner shining
across the scoreboard. The members of the Bateman team shared their campaign details with
me and thanked me for coming to support them.
This year’s campaign is focused on spreading awareness about the lack of diversity in the
public relations workforce. The Bateman team has partnered with the PRSA foundation to raise
funds for their cause by selling a book called Diverse Voices.
A few members of last year’s Bateman team stopped by to show support. I had the chance to
talk to them about last year’s campaign, as well as their hope for this year’s team. Their
campaign, which partnered with a nonprofit for childhood cancer, placed them in third place
“We want to see them excel and make it to the top three like we did,” said Bianco Granado, the former Bateman
Every person I talked to that evening had a different upbringing and ethnic background, but we
were all able to come together and bond over baseball and Bateman. We all shared a common
interest: to support one other, and in this case, the Bateman team.
How to Capture and Maintain Your Reader’s Attention
By Jamie Valiente
By the end of these two sentences, you would have already decided if you wanted to keep reading or if you would rather scroll onto the next article. I say this because it takes 10-20 seconds for someone to decide if they want to stay or leave a website. As a result, it is becoming more and more important to be able to capture audience’s attention and make them want to know more.
As Chief Marketing Officer of Long Beach State University, Andy Hoang knows how to do just this by shaping stories in a way that captivates our attention and evokes some sort of emotion. Hoang emphasizes how stories need to be strategically shaped into ways that stimulate people’s senses. When our stories are able to make us hear things, see things, and feel things, it becomes more than just words on a page. Stimulating senses trigger emotions and therefore, create feelings toward something — more specifically, toward change. Hoang applies this ideology in Beach magazine’s stories such as The Sweet Life and Changing the Harvest. As soon as you start reading these stories that have vivid imagery and sound clips, you are able to identify with the subject and feel like you are walking through their stories with them. Creating stories as enticing as these is a skill that we must learn if we want to keep people interested in what we have to say.
To seize attention and achieve change, we also have to know what kind of stories to write about. Hoang notes that our topics should be relevant, captivating, dynamic, and humanizing. Anything less than this will fail to make an everlasting impact on people because they wouldn’t care enough to read past your headline or introduction. Similarly, writing a story that elicits no emotional reaction will lead to indifference. However, we want people to feel something; whether it be good or bad, anything is better than apathy.
In sum, as our communication channels expand in the years to come, it’s important to think differently and become more strategic in how we tell our stories. Moreover, if you’ve reached this point of my article, I’ve succeeded in capturing your attention for more than 20 seconds! Thanks Andy!
By Tatiana Tarrio
This past Friday I had the privilege of meeting with members of California State University of Long Beach marketing team. This allowed me to see behind the scenes and an insight on the rebranding that has been sweeping through the campus over the past couple years. Over the course of the day I was able to meet with the associate vice president, Andy Hoang, digital media producer, Michael Sullivan, photographer, Sean Dufrene, and lead art director Jorge L. Hurtado. Each with different backgrounds, experiences, yet all with similar goals for their work and mindsets.
Jorge L. Hurtado described it as “ equivalent to a marketing agency.” Each of them represent the student body and all have the goal of sharing their stories, each in their own unique way and evaluating the school. Hurtado as the Lead Art Director helps to steer the direction of visuals. “ As a team of designers we can come up with an idea of what we want to do, but at the end of the day we all disperse,” said Hurtado. “In the end everything looks different, everybody takes their own direction.” One idea can be represented in many different variations. Hurtado’s goal for the university visuals are to be confident, elegant and consistent. As an alumni from the university he has especially seen the vast changes that have shaped the campus we see today.
Once the new idea has been decided the photographer and digital media producer shape their visions. As the digital media producer Michael Sullivan creates the videos. “ My favorite part is being able to play with cameras and computers all day,” said Sullivan. He spends an average of 6 - 8 hours a day on the computer editing videos, animating pictures, such as the one posted on CSULB’s Instagram with the paddle boarder and the water moving. He hopes to tell interesting stories that inspire people, which is much simpler due to the variety on campus. He hopes to do this by capturing people's eye through email or social media. Similarly Sean Dufrene, photographer, evokes stories through pictures. “ This entire university is like a blank canvas and their just always stories to be told,” said Dufrene. Like Sullivan, Dufrene enjoys the diversity on campus,“ you have different shapes, genders, colors of skin, and hairstyles.” Similar to Sullivan Dufrene wants to capture the eye of the audience through his work. Get them to grab a magazine, analyze the picture and become intrigued to read the article. Hook the reader to want to the look at the picture over and over again. See things they didn’t see at first. “ I want to create imagery that makes people not want to throw away a magazine. I want it to sit on their coffee table, said Dufrene.”
Along with Hurtado, Andy Hoang works closely to create the idea. Finally, after the vision had been chosen and the imagery is created it will be inspected by Hoang. Some of his goals are to build the brand and build relationships through digital media. He’s ultimate goal for CSULB is for it to be elevated to the level of a UCLA or USC. When people think about CSULB they will hold it to a high regard as those universities. Through the rebranding of the school Hoang has played a giant role into what the school will look like. One of the criterias stories has to pass is the emotion they evoke in people. He wants people to love it or hate it. If someone feels indifferent then they have failed. Hoang helps keep the image consistent and reinforces the brand.
At any given time the team can be working on multiple projects from the magazine, to an event, to sports. There is always an opportunity for a story. With the project, Imagine Beach 2030 and all the rebranding, CSULB will not be the same campus we see today. “ All the visual changes that you see are going to have a huge impact in the next few years. It’s not only going to change the way the university looks, but how we see ourselves, how Long Beach sees itself,” said Hurtado.
How to ask the right questions to help your future
By Samantha Storrey
College is an amazing time to find who you are as well as what you plan on doing with your life, and I have found that informational interviews are an integral part to this process. Informational interviews are very important for a multitude of reasons, some of the major ones are: you get your name and face out there, you are ballsy enough to ask for this, you create relationships with potential employers, and many more. These interviews are a fantastic way to get a foot in the door, but you have to know how to approach this type of interview, and what I believe to be the most important part is the questions that you ask. We, so often as college students, are the interviewee ready to answer the questions asked of us but having to be the interviewer and think of your own questions is a whole other experience. So, to make life easier for you, built through my experience of informational interviews, a list of the top 10 best questions to ask at an informational interview.
Informational interviews can determine your future, which although terrifying, is also very exciting. For these kinds of interviews, you can’t expect to just show up with no preparation. Dress nice, as if you were at an actual job interview, sit up straight, ask the questions that I have provided you and follow up afterwards with a thank you and I am sure you will get that follow-up internship or job.
By Sarosh Zuberi
Gary Vaynerchuk is a Belarusian-American entrepreneur who is best known for being a wine critic who grew his families $3 million wine business to $60 million by opening of an online store, which featured his daily wine webcast. Vaynerchuk then left his family’s business in 2009 to start VaynerMedia, a digital advertising agency. By 2016, the company boasted $100 million in gross revenue and employed 600 people.
He was an early pioneer of daily vlogging, even though he might not have thought so at the time. Vaynerchuk brought those ideas to his YouTube channel where he posts vlog-style content daily with more curated videos being released a few times a month. His channel GaryVee currently boasts 1.6 million subscribers.
In 2014 he started The #AskGaryVee Show as a near-weekly segment where he takes questions from his viewers via his social media accounts and also invites people to call and speak with him live. Being that most of his following is aspiring entrepreneurs, this is the perfect form of engagement that builds a mentor-like relationship with his audience.
He understands his buyer persona well and can be seen on shows such as Hot Ones, whereinterviewees eat progressively spicier chicken wings which, very obviously has a younger demographic that overlaps with Vaynerchuk’s.
Vaynerchuk is a professional of engagement. Vaynerchuk built upon this idea of mentorship and can be seen meeting fans at restaurants for live Q&A sessions that can almost seem like a entrepreneurial rallying cry. This positions Vaynerchuk as the leader of business-minded youth. He is also known to occasionally invite people to his office who write to him asking for advice which, invites more people to reach out to him.
The rest of his social media accounts follow suit in engagement with his Instagram having 4.6 million followers, Twitter with 1.78 million and Facebook with 2.9 million likes. He uses his social accounts to post snippets of his full length videos, motivational quotes and holds live sessions to speak with followers.
Vaynerchuk’s brand clearly focuses itself as a professional entrepreneurial hub for business-minded people and does it successfully. He hones in on the exact ways to best build a personal relationship with his publics who want Vaynerchuk to be a business coach. He talks about building his brand around what his audience wants and has exemplary talent in doing exactly that.
By Raquel Puerto
On April 14, Twitter user Melissa DePino live-tweetedand filmed two African American men, who were waiting for a colleague, being escorted out of a Philadelphia Starbucks after the manager called the police claiming they were loitering in the lobby without having ordered anything. A flood of angry social media posts, statements from community groups and bad reviews started to trend utilizing the hashtag, #BoycottStarbucks. A couple of hours later, Starbucks issued a short apology via a generic tweet. Throughout the next couple of days CEO Kevin Johnson went full-on crisis management mode, issuing an apology and going live on Good Morning America for an interview to announce plans of racial bias training at Starbucks stores. Crisis (for the most part) averted. While it did take a couple of days for the company to respond - way too long in my opinion - Starbucks was able to monitor and engage in the conversation because of one powerful tool: social listening.
What is social listening?
Now what exactly is social listening and why is it so powerful? Social listening is an organic way of monitoring what is being said about you across all social media in real-time. When social media first started, it was a place where people shared their family Thanksgiving photos; but now it has become a powerful tool for businesses and brands to use in their marketing and public relations strategy. With the number of users on social media- 335 million on Twitter alone- it is easy to miss something and get overwhelmed with the amount of time it takes to monitor these conversations. Fortunately, social listening tools like TalkWalker, MeltWater, Mention and Sprout Social help you centralize monitoring of all channels in one place. These tools allow you to easily track and analyze any mentions, attitudes, and sentiments of your brand.
Why it should be a part of your PR strategy
In the Starbucks case, the company was able to prevent a severe crisis because they were monitoring those negative sentiments. Their PR team was able to track the conversation from start to finish and strategize their crisis management plan to soften the blow. Other companies, especially airlines, have used social listening tools to track brand awareness and build their reputation online. If their customers have any questions, feedback or complaints, brands can proactively respond without having the need for them to tag you directly. With the tools available today, it’s as easy as typing a couple of strategic keywords into a social listening tool, and you’re on your way to a successful PR strategy.
In a digital era, your social media reputation is as important as your personal one.
By Samantha Baldovines
How would someone describe you based on the content that you post on social media? Is that an accurate representation of yourself? The reputation you have will follow you everywhere. It’s important now more than ever to monitor your online reputation just as you would in person.
There is a social channel for every interest, the key is to balance them. You wouldn’t post an essay on Twitter, but you would post it on LinkedIn. For every social channel you have a different audience, therefore it’s important to understand the purpose of the content and make conscious decisions when you are about to post.
I don’t recommend having two different social media accounts, instead, you should focus on a brand identity. Creating an online persona is important to your brand identity, for example, Facebook has more family and friends so you would share more that triggers emotion or comments. Twitter is more of a platform to share ideas, such as posting your views on certain subjects but it’s also important not to go overboard and be unethical.
When you post something online it lives forever, so being digitally conscious is crucial to your online reputation. It’s possible to be both personal and professional on social media, you just have to make sure they’re balanced. Before you post ask yourself: Would I be able to tell this to someone in person? If the answer is no, don’t post it. If the answer is yes, feel free but be prepared for feedback whether that be good or bad.
I leave you with these three tips:
1. Create one digital persona and choose the right channels to express yourself.
2. If you wouldn’t say it in person, you shouldn’t post it.
3. Remember, once it’s posted online it’s there forever.
By Vanessa Pacheco
Festival enthusiasts waited patiently to lock in their Ultra Miami tickets with many of the attendees returning as “Ultra Passport” holders who qualified for priority registration tickets. The last of the priority tickets available were a limited amount of tickets offered to new attendees that were eager to get the lowest price. After Ultra fans had purchased their tickets it was a surprise for them to find out that the Miami City Commission Meeting had ruled out the renewal of the five year contract at Bayfront Park in Miami, Florida that would force the festival to find a new venue.
Within the same day that news was reported on the decision Ultra Music Festival issued a statement on Twitter stating Ultra would remain in Miami but leaving attendees with a feeling of uncertainty. To locals it might not make a difference where the festival will be located but many attendees travel from all over the world to attend this festival and it raises the question to whether Ultra Worldwide behaved unethically in choosing to not inform the public until after a majority of festival-goers had purchased their tickets?
For some of these festival attendees booking a hotel or room is one of the rigorous tasks along with booking transportation such as flights or other forms of transportation. Many of the people purchasing tickets are immediately looking for places to stay prior to the sale of tickets. Not informing the public of important information such as a venue re-location is upsetting for many. While this sort of behavior may not be illegal it is unethical to sell the tickets knowing that an important decision will be made regarding the location of the venue a few days after tickets go on sale.
By Tashfina Rahman
With the vast amount of resources available to us right at our fingertips in this day and age, it seems like finding success should be as easy as ever. We hear the stories our parents tell us; how they immediately found jobs right after college that led to their perfect careers and the rest was history. Unfortunately, becoming a financially independent, fully functioning adult isn’t so black and white anymore.
The vast amount of resources we have, while helpful, have only made the job and internship market more competitive. Millenials are unique in that many of us are educated, extremely motivated and have multifaceted skill sets. So, how exactly do we set ourselves apart from the competition?
I don’t have the perfect answer for this question. However, I did have an incredible internship this past summer at ENTITY Magazinein Los Angeles where I gained a breadth of knowledge from a group of mentors about finding success as a millenial. Here are my tips.
1. Find a mentor
This is something that was stressed from day one at my internship. It was something I had never given much thought to previously. As millenials, we pride ourselves on being fiercely independent.
But, the truth is there is so much knowledge we can gain from people who have been in our shoes. So, find a mentor or mentors in your life. It doesn’t have to be one magical person who has all the answers. A mentor should be someone you could turn to for advice and someone who has experience in your respective field. There will be so many times you feel lost in the search for success and nothing is more helpful than having someone you can turn to who will talk to you in a straightforward, professional way.
2. Network, network, network!
I know we’ve heard this a million times. But, it really does make a difference to know the right people when you’re swimming in an applicant pool of a million other qualified college graduates.
Something I was always confused about was how exactly to network. I learned from my internship that the only way to networkis to simply put yourself out there. If there’s someone you want to talk to, just do it. It may seem scary, but most people will be willing to talk to you. Seek out events in your area in the field you want to work in because they are plentiful. The key that I learned from my mentors is to make the effort to stay in touch.
Make sure you connect with them on some sort of social media platform. Now, don’t start asking them for favors right away. Try to make a genuine connection with them. A great example would be just commenting “Congratulations!” on a LinkedIn post announcing a job promotion. Make your presence known, but don’t overwhelm them. When the time comes and you may need their help, they’ll be much more willing to assist you, knowing that you’re not just using them.
3. Learn some skills that will set you apart
It’s no longer enough to be a proficient writer if you want to work at a newspaper, magazine or PR agency. Even though I was at a writing internship, my mentors taught us PR skills, graphic design tricks and even how to film and edit short videos.
In this digital age, being able to do something such as photography, videography or graphic design will really differentiate you from your peers. Get the necessary software, such as, which is discounted for students and simply watch Youtube tutorials. You don’t need to be a master, but even being proficient in these other areas will be highly beneficial to you. Also, many of these skills end up being enjoyable and adds a layer of creativity to your portfolio that will set you apart from the crowd.
4. Manage your time wisely
It’s amazing how much you can actually get done in one day. At my internship, we started at 9 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m. everyday. Each day would be planned out. It always blew my mind how many projects we managed to get done over the course of those nine hours just because we used our time productively.
One great way to manage your timeis to plan. Write your day out in a planner. This will keep you focused and on track to ensure you don’t waste time sitting around, wondering what to do next. Don’t procrastinate, always be punctual and get a good night’s sleep every night. Doing all of these things will ensure that your time is always used in a productive, meaningful way.
5. Consume as much meaningful material as you can
We are the things we read. We are the things we watch. We are the things we listen to. This was one of the most valuable conversations I had with one of our mentors this past summer. She advised us to wake up everyday and read something, whether it be from a book or news articles.
Read as much as you can. Nothing helps make a better writer or communicator than simply reading.
Apart from reading, you can also listen to podcasts, Ted Talks or audiobooks. Anyone can make themselves look great on a resume, but you’ll still need to prove you’re as brilliant as you say you are in person. Consuming intellectual, creative material will in turn make you a more intellectual, quick and creative person. Besides, consuming quality material can inspire you and lead you to do great work yourself!
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