Northeastern’s Virtual PR Firm — redefining the term ‘experiential’

We’ve just finished the first year of our Virtual Public Relations Firm (VPRF). Based on both achievements and feedback from everyone involved, it was a good one that has us planning for bigger and better things as the new school year approaches.

Nearly three dozen students participated in some phase of VPRF work on behalf of two clients: Neuron, a San Franciso-based UX design firm founded by Northeastern alumni and the university’s own Biopharmaceutical Analysis Training Laboratory (BATL).

For our clients, the experience was similar to working with a small PR agency helping them to increase brand awareness and reach new audiences. Under the guidance of instructors, who also are industry professionals, the students first developed a research report, then created a strategic PR plan, and ultimately designed and delivered a wide range of promotional content.

“I think the students were superb,” said Jared Auclair, Director of BATL. “They produced really high quality work.”

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7 crisis communication tips every organization should master

Mere weeks after Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Note 7, reports surfaced of the smartphone catching fire. Within a month of the device’s launch, the company recalled 2.5 million Note 7s, citing faulty batteries as the cause of the crisis.

What started as a manufacturing mishap quickly escalated into a public relations (PR) nightmare. With customers’ safety at stake, all eyes were on Samsung, which didn’t take full responsibility of the flaw for more than three months after the phone’s recall. The company’s mobile division experienced a 96 percent drop in operating profit as negative headlines continued to emerge, including airlines prohibiting passengers from bringing the phone on flights.

What happened to Samsung could happen to any company; several other brands have faced recalls. For example, Johnson & Johnson pulled its Tylenol products from shelves in 1982 after seven people died in the Chicago area, and Hasbro halted sales in 2007 of its Easy Bake Oven after reports of the toy badly burning children.

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You’ve heard of ROI — what’s ROE?

What motivates adult learners to pursue a graduate degree? There are, of course, a multitude of reasons. In an era of digital disruption, many communicators seek new knowledge or skills. Others are interested in experiential opportunities to strengthen their resumes. Still others view a graduate degree as a pathway to career advancement — credentials do matter! We all expect a return on investment in our time and money. But we’re talking about something more consequential — a return on education. That common motivational thread for students in our Corporate and Organizational Communication program is a passion for communication, a passion for learning.

This is what Professor of Practice Ed Powers learned in an interview with Josh Gelinas, a PR professional from North Carolina who will soon be completing his master’s program.

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Mapping an intentional career strategy

Ed Powers and Carl Zangerl had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Wong, who is graduating from our program in May. Emily, who is originally from Hong Kong, describes why she selected Northeastern’s master’s program – “amazing experiential learning opportunities” – as well as her capstone consulting project, during which she was able to translate what she learned in the program to a Boston nonprofit’s public relations challenges.

She also shares some terrific job search tactics that have resulted in a job at a strategic business and communications advisory firm serving the life sciences industry.

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