Friday, December 26, 2008

Resolve to Invest in Yourself in 2009

It's fast approaching - that tick of the clock that signals a new year has begun. Don't be satisfied with the same old same-old. Make 2009 the year you invest in yourself by earning your APR or CPRC designation. Learn more at

Already credentialed? Keep up with your required CEU's by attending PRUniversity 2009. Read all about it at

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Power of PR – Handle With Care

Communicating - it’s the business of the public relations practitioner. And to a large extent communication involves symbols and stereotypes. Cutlip, Center and Brown remind us in Effective Public Relations that “The symbol offers a dramatic and direct means of persuasive communication with large numbers of people…Symbols have been used since the dawn of history to compress and convey complex messages to the multitudes”. We are effectively reminded of their power to communicate during the holiday season. We’re surrounded by symbols this time of year – icons like Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Rudolph was the brainchild of Robert L. May, a 35-year-old advertising copywriter for the Chicago-based Montgomery Ward department store. In 1939, May was commissioned by his supervisor to create an original Christmas story that the store could give away to shoppers at holiday time. Drawing on his own childhood experiences (he had experienced ridicule because of his slight frame), May dreamed up a title character who was ostracized by his fellow reindeer because of his glowing red nose. For 69 years Rudolph has encouraged children (and adults!) to esteem character qualities over appearances. This morning I treated my 6-year old granddaughter to her first visit to a Cracker Barrel Restaurant. Her attention was drawn to the huge fireplace, where someone had “decorated” the deer head hanging there with a glowing red nose. She turned to me with a horrified expression and asked “Nina, is Rudolph dead?” It was a vivid reminder to me that as PR professionals we often handle powerful images and concepts and that we need to carefully consider all the audiences that may be impacted, even the smallest.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A December to Remember

Today's meeting got a jump start with a great networking session.

Kathleen Taylor, president-elect, took the reigns at today's meeting as Ginny was unable to attend. Kathleen introduced our board members, guests and led us through chapter business.

A friendly reminder to get your checkbooks ready and to clear your calendars for PRU on Friday, January 9 at Hodges University from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. As an added bonus, the first 75 participants to register will receive a special treat! The event will feature several wonderful guest presenters, crisis communications exercises and a can't-miss presentation from Joe Hice, APR, Associate VP of Public Relations for the University of Florida.

Kathleen took a moment this month to recognize several members who were celebrating their FPRA anniversaries and awarded them with a FPRA coffee mug and coffee to jump start the day.

This month's Rocking Chair award went to ....(drum roll)...Heidi Davis Taulman for her outstanding dedication to the newsletter. Congrats!

Next on the lunch plate was an introduction to December's gracious sponsor, Jaguar Data Systems Inc. The Jaguar Data Systems team gave away several poinsettia plants to several lucky guests and members.

The meeting ended with an informative presentation by Alison Drake of Alison Drake Marketing, Advertising and PR.

Alison examined the strong relationship between marketing, advertising and public relations by discussing what "spices" to add to the media mix to create a prize winning campaign.

Which campaigns made the list?

The notable "King" campaign for Burger King highlighted some very innovative thinking.

Also in the mix was a fairly new campaign by Haagen-Dazs which is directed at assisting the dwindling population of honey bees by introducing of new line of honey ice cream. Haagen-Dazs has pledged $225,000 from the ice cream's profits to aid honey bee research.

Want to see what all the buzz is about? You can view the Haagen-Dazs campaign at:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful for Our Sponsors

The economic times are challenging and if you work for a nonprofit or have anything to do with fundraising or sponsorships you may be hearing "no, thanks" more often than "sure, I'd love to!". So the Chapter is especially thankful for companies that have stepped up to sponsor our regular business meetings. Our October "Green PR" meeting was sponsored by a truly green company: Bio Drain of Florida. In November, Boston Market sponsored our traditional "Turkeys and Triumphs" meeting. December's sponsor is Jaguar Data Systems. Their sponsorship dollars help our Chapter to return value to you with membership scholarships, conference scholarships and the like.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Need another reason to renew?

Look no further! With the chance to win great prizes, the decision to renew has never been so easy. Invest in yourself today!!!

From Miscellaneous

Our Statewide Network

While at the state board meeting in Palm Coast, Ginny and I had the chance to talk to several FPRA leaders from around the state. Among them were Association President Lanette Hart, APR, CPRC (left) and VP of Finance Jennifer Moss, APR (right).

Jennifer Moss, APR is the Southwest Florida Chapter's Executive Committee Liaison. She is excited about upcoming plans this year, and she's planning to attend PRU in January and the Image Awards Gala in April.

Chapter leaders are certainly delivering on the state Association's theme of "The Birth of New Ideas"! Through their out-of-the-box thinking and strategic planning sessions, FPRA members now have more resources and benefits than ever - each one exponentially increasing the value of their involvment with the organization. Lanette closely read all of the quarterly chapter reports submitted by chapter presidents, then made an extra point to recognize every individual chapter for their best practices and forward thinking accomplishments (see Ginny's prior post for details about how Southwest Florida stood out).

And speaking of of the speakers in the line up will be VP of Planning and Research Chris Gent.

As the man-behind-the-keyboard for many FPRA blogs, Chris' presentation at PRU will show the Power of PR in today's social media-scape. Through his work as Vice President of Corporate Communications at Kissimmee Utility Authority, Chris knows the value of social media and has many great tips for how organizations can implement new tools in their communications plans. Save the date for Friday, January 9, 2009 and watch for registration details coming soon for PRU.

VP of Accreditation and Certification Jeff Nall, APR, CPRC, effectively de-mystifed the CPRC process in a special presentation to the board. He is excited about his role this year, and he encourages FPRA members to invest in themselves by obtaining valuable credentials. Learn more about becoming an APR or CPRC, and let FPRA help you take that next step. Locally, contact SW Florida FPRA Credentialing Chair Mary Briggs, APR, CPRC for more details.

View more photos from the State Board Meeting -

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Piece of the Pie


Congratulations Southwest Florida Chapter! The hard work and careful thought your Leadership Team has put into the first quarter of the year was rewarded at the state Association quarterly meeting...
  • With a mention in the "Best Practices" section for the creation of the "Credentialing" Chair name to encompass both Accreditation and Certification programs
  • With a mention in the "Best Practices" section for the creation of the pie chart image to visually represent where your Chapter dollars were coming from and where they were going
  • Our plan to offer six $100 membership scholarships/rebates is the most generous in the state
  • There are fewer than 75 CPRC's in the state - and seven of them belong to the SWFL Chapter - that's 10% of all the pr practitioners in the Association who hold this top level credential!

Did You Renew??

The membership renewal period officially ended October 31. As of that date, our Chapter was the 4th largest in the state Association with 54 members; 59.34% of our members had renewed; and we had reached 52.94% of the goal set for us by the state Association of 102 members. If you have not renewed your membership by the end of November, you will not receive member services. On December 31, 2008 your name will officially be dropped from the rolls and you will incur a late fee to reinstate your membership. With so much in store for FPRA this year, you don't want that to happen!

Image Awards to See Big Changes

As Kathleen mentioned in her post last night, we will assume the responsibilities for chairing our local Image Awards program "Super-Powered PR" - along with assistance from various board members and, hopefully, a lot of YOU who would like to get involved in your Chapter this year! There are a LOT of changes to Image this year, bringing the program into the 21st century with new categories that offer a place for podcasts, blogs, webinars and more (no more 1/2" video tapes!).

SWFL Chapter to Sponsor Golden Image Awards

Each year the Chapters are asked to sponsor a portion of the annual conference, such as the Dillon Dessert, Chocolate Break, Hospitality Suite, etc. Your Board of Directors built Conference sponsorship into the Chapter budget and for 2009, the SWFL Chapter will be the proud sponsors of the Golden Image Awards! This opportunity affords our Chapter great ROI, and provides a way for our Chapter to support the program in which our members are consistently winners.

And the Survey Says... You're It!

Do you know what the #1 reason is that people join FPRA? YOU! That's right - according to the annual benchmark survey, existing members are the #1 reason people join FPRA. Who have you invited to FPRA lately?

There's much more from this meeting to share and we will be compiling notes and making them available to you. For now, we're glad to be back home and ready for the next challenge! Oh - a bit of trip trivia - Kathleen knows EVERY word to ALL the songs from "Mamma Mia"! And boy, can that girl SING!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Soon and Very Soon

We are going to attend the first quarterly state board meeting of the year tomorrow at 8:30. It's a full five-hour driveto get here from Southwest Florida, particularly when rush hour in Orlando strikes just as we're driving through the area. We arrived safe and sound at the Hampton Inn right around 6 p.m. on Friday night in Palm Coast in Flagler County. The Volusia/Flagler Chapter graciously hosted a welcome reception at the nearby Emergency Operations Center for members who arrived a little earlier. Ginny and I stopped by hoping to catch up with crowd, but we missed it by minutes. Famished from our journey and eager to check out a new city (neither of us has visited this area before), we decided to grab a bite to eat at a local dig. Where better to get local than at a restaurant that proclaims "Locals Welcome," we thought. Right next to a nearby airport tarmac sits a great sports bar named..."High-Jackers." You can even eat outside on the patio and watch the planes take off. So, in the spirit of the November luncheon meeting: turkey or triumph? Either way, the food was great and atmosphere was very laid back and friendly.

On another note, Ginny and I brainstormed some ideas about the coming year. Because there are Image Awards benchmark deadlines are already creeping up, we decided to make it official. Ginny and I will be chairing the Southwest Florida Chapter Image Awards and Gala with the help of several Leadership team members who have enthusiastically volunteered to pitch in. Plenty of committee members added to the mix will really make this a team-earned success! With that determined, she and I were up to our knees in the brainstorm that followed. Image ideas we floated included ways to carry out the theme "SuperPoweRed PR" and new ways to generate buzz to increase the number of entries for this year's awards. How does City Pier turned Gotham City with a PR symbol projected into the sky sound? Also, we tossed around the idea of offering a discount to the event based on prior event attendance and participation. Not to mention, this blog will be a great place to post ongoing progress by the soon-to-be-formed committee.

Although no specifics have been decided yet on Image, two things are for certain: 1. Ginny and I are amped up about the events to come this year, and 2. Long drives go by in a heartbeat when you have so many exciting things to talk about on the way!

Kathleen Taylor

PRUniversity 2009 - Weathering the Storm

Weathering the storm is not a seasonal occurrence for public relations professionals. PR practitioners from throughout Florida will share their insights and innovations about crisis management, surviving tough economic times and foolproofing your career in a series of dynamic, fast-paced presentations. Couple this with a dynamic keynote speaker and a unique tabletop exercise and you've got a PRUniversity you can't afford to miss!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

First Quarterly State Board Meeting

President Ginny Cooper and President-Elect Kathleen Taylor will be on the road Friday, November 7, to the first quarterly state board meeting hosted by the Volusia-Flagler Chapter. We're excited to be sharing the progress the Chapter is making toward the goals set for this year! We will soon have a new, user-friendly Web site; the PRUniversity committee under the leadership of Co-Chairs Tina Haisman, APR, CPRC and Ken Gooderham along with Topics Selection Chair Karen Ryan, APR has put together a phenomenal professional development seminar for January - "Weathering the Storm"; the new Media Guide is in production thanks to VP of Media Relations Kara Minoui and Media Relations Chair Carla Ulakovic. We are just 3 members away from the goal set for us by the Association - renew today to avoid late fees and to make sure you get into the 2009 Directory. The Chapter has received kudos for its Credentialing Program which will be presented as a "Best Practice", and for the comprehensive budget format adopted at the last Board meeting. And a special thanks to Carla Ulakovic, whom I have dubbed our Social Media Diva, for establishing this blog and a Twitter account for the Chapter! To join our blogging community, establish your account using the following format:


Meetings are generally held the first Tuesday of every month at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater in Fort Myers. Networking starts at 11:15 a.m. and reservations are required. Members and guests can reserve seats at The cost is $18 for FPRA members, $21 for non-members and $10 for students.

Established in 1938, FPRA is the oldest public relations organization in the country. FPRA is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners, who, through ethical and standardized practices, enhance the public relations profession in Florida.