Last Thursday, DePaul PRSSA held an informative meeting on specialized sectors of PR. There were representatives that worked with food, sports and tourism in Chicago.
Steve and Brett from Food Group advertising talked about their experience in the food industry. Since Steve worked in account services and Brett worked on the creative side, I felt that I got a better understanding of the different positions in an advertising firm. Steve noted that it was important to understand what area you wanted to work in because the creative side is definitely different from the account side. To figure out which area would be a better fit for you, Steve said to ask yourself: “What’s the end product that matters the most to you?” Is it the social media results? The actual print ad? The relationship formed between the client and the agency? Whatever you are most intrigued with at the end is a good indicator of where you would fit in the best.
Elly Deutch provided insight to sports PR. As the Marketing and New Media director of the Redstars women’s soccer team in Chicago, Elly works hard to promote the fairly new team through social media. I had never heard of the Redstars before the meeting and thought it was really interesting how they got their name. The team put out a survey for fans to vote on a name and “Redstars” won. The really cool part is that the name represents the four red stars on the Chicago flag! Elly promotes the women’s team with online marketing and PR through the Redstars website, Twitter, Facebook and more. The team is in touch with the community as well and lets its fans have a say in almost all of their decisions.
She found her job through Facebook! Follow her on Twitter @deutche
Last but certainly not least and my personal favorite, Karen Vaughan, manager of communications at the Chicago Office of Tourism. Karen spoke passionately of public relations and her personal journey to her current position. She started out as an intern with the Grant Park Orchestra which she said was more like entertainment PR. Karen was lucky enough to be in the right place and the right time as the Grant Park Orchestra was scheduled to play at the opening of Millennium Park. Karen was assigned to create the PR campaign for the Millennium Park opening and learned to deal with high profile PR and crisis management. After the success of Millennium Park, Karen found a natural transition to PR with the Chicago Office of Tourism.
The Chicago Office of Tourism works to promote Chicago on a local, national and global level. Through outlets like @explorechicago, the office uses all of the free things to do in Chicago as their main promotional stand point. They are additionally pressing the exploration of Chicago neighborhoods this summer! Karen talked about her job and all of the exciting things that are going on in Chicago tourism. The Office of Tourism became the first city to partner with Foursquare to offer three badges throughout the city. Karen also gets to work with visiting journalists, act of the spokesperson of Chicago, write speeches for the Mayor and help organize and promote trade shows. She stated that “90% of what we do is positive”. It was obvious that Karen loves her position in Chicago tourism and is a major advocate for the city.