Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Look-Look: Entrepreneurial Mentalities

According to Business Week online, a generation ago entrepreneurship was thought of as a last resort or for those who had nothing else to contribute. Over the last twenty years, with much help from the internet, that has completely changed. For example, Michael Dell started his multi-billion dollar computer company out of his dorm room at the University of Texas. Additionally, the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, dropped out of Harvard University to start his software company Microsoft. Richard Branson started the Virgin Group, an eight billion dollar company, when he was only fifteen years old. While these three men ventured through the untraditional path of business, they also paved the way for younger generations to pursue this once risky career route. Given the economy, problems with social security and the loss of pensions from most companies, entrepreneurship is now looked at as a “positive calling.” Colleges have also begun to teach classes in running a business or classes that teach undergraduate students how to use their entrepreneurial mentality.

The business school at SMU has a class called the Executive Speaker Series where undergraduate business students are able to listen to entrepreneurs once a week. These entrepreneurs are usually based in Dallas and the Cox School of Business allows its students to hear how to start their own company. By listening to those who have done it, the students are able to get an inside track into starting and operating a successful company. This is a trend that is being seen around the country in very successful business schools such as Cornell University, MIT, Stanford and Columbia Business School. According to Business Week, in 1990 less than 300 universities offered a program in entrepreneurship growing to over 2,000 colleges nation wide. While the explosion may or may not have halted our economy when it died, it offered young people the chance to make a difference in everyone’s world and it gave them an opportunity to influence universities and colleges around the country.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wal-Mart and an Odd Campaign

While most traditional Public Relations campaigns have completely stated objectives and goals that they are trying to reach, Wal-Mart decided on a different route when campaigning against having to give their employees more spending on health insurance. They way in which they conducted their campaign was completely different than any of the other business in its sector. While the Wal-Mart one of the largest companies in the United States making up roughly 7 percent of our total Gross Domestic Product, campaign on legislation issues is vital.

Wal-Mart is moving to the bloggers to help with their campaign instead of using traditional media sources. In fact, Edelman, Wal-Mart’s Public Relations firm, is part of this campaign and says that information is disseminated from the top and then distributed by email to bloggers around the country. These bloggers then post on their walls denouncing legislation for better health insurance for all employees. While this may be an ethical, the promotional campaign used to reach Americans who can influence their legislators is ingenious. Wal-Mart and Edelman say that they do not compensate their bloggers for the messages they post on their boards, however the information that comes out in the blogs looks very similar to the traditional press releases that arrive days later.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest employer, is trying to regain some respect with the American public after its fallout in 2004 and 2005. The company believes that more and more Americans are going to the internet to find “varied, credible and trusted” sources. Wal-Mart wants to be one of the first to join this on-line conversation, and they want something in return as well. In their blogs, readers will find very pro-Wal-Mart conversation where they will be talking about a new store opening in Illinois or a high number of applications received that month. Using the bloggers, Wal-Mart also has the ability to rely on them to bash some of their competitors. For example, last Christmas when Target, Wal-Mart’s strongest competitor, would not allow red-kettle collectors in front of their stores, the bloggers jumped all over it accusing Target of raising “zero” dollars for the Salvation Army. Wal-Mart believes this is the best way for them to tell their side of the story in a completely new light and Public Relations arena. When asked by the New York Times about this new marketing campaign, the bloggers said that they were never paid for their work nor were they ever told to keep the messages secret.

I believe that this is a great, and new, way to reach to American public on a completely new level. When people read blogs they generally tend to agree with bloggers because they feel it is personal opinion and anyone can say anything they want. This is the case with Wal-Mart and they feel that they can take full advantage of the new situation by expanding their publics, and promoting a positive company image. The fact that they do not wan to give their employees more health insurance is a whole other issue, but the fact that no legislation has been passed yet shows the success of their marketing campaign.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Cancer Blogs for Heal!

For the new Heal Magazine, a new publication about cancer survivorship opening in April of 2007, my Advanced Communication class has been asked to help with starting a blog in order to get the word out. Blogging is a good way of getting people to talk about a new magazine or idea or just creating PR buzz in general. The idea for this blog is that it will be linked to other blogs and websites in order to begin networking as well as creating the advertising. Linking this site to other blogs is a great idea and I will throw my two cents in, however, I will also look to link this site up with some good informational websites as well.

General Living (Best Cancer Blog/Website)

WebMD is one of the leading online medical information websites on the internet. Their mission is to bring objective, trustworthy and timely health information. It is a website with an abundance of information not only on cancer, but everything someone would need to know about healthy living. Additionally, this site will lead you to other medical websites, discussion boards and blogs. The nice thing about WebMD is that they are completely willing to link with other sites that are related to health (granted you must accept their terms and conditions). It would be a great place to start to get ones name out because of the mass following that is already in place.

Visit for more information

The Body

To learn more about the body and cancer the best blog on the internet for cancer survivors was suggested to me by one of my classmates. After much searching I realized that she had found the best website for cancer survivorship and keeping the body healthy. The blog is named the CardioBlog and it gives tips on everything from healthy eating to keeping the body healthy in general. It is very similar in format to the CancerBlog and is a great way to network and find other areas where bloggers are discussing similar body issues. Again, I believe that linking the Heal Blog with others will help disseminate important information and link readers to other areas.

Visit for more information

Just For Kids

When talking about children with cancer there are an abundance of websites and blogs that can effectively produce insightful information. One of these websites/blogs that I have found is called the Rare Cancer Alliance. This is a website that can link you to many of the blogs on cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship. The thing that I really enjoyed about this blog is the fact that it has many links for children with cancer or children surviving cancer. It will take you to many new places for kids that would a regular blog.

Visit for more information

I also wanted to suggest another blog which is very timely and relative to the location of the magazine. Recently Governor Rick Perry passed a law making it mandatory for six grade girls to receive the HPV vaccination in the state of Texas. One such blog is named The Blog That Ate Manhattan it discusses much about the idea of a mandatory vaccination for all girls for the HPV vaccination from Merck. This blog site is also focused on health and good living in general. I thought there would be blogs specifically related to the HPV vaccination but so far must of what is on the internet is from other blogs related to health in general.

Visit for more information

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Al Gore is on Fire!

Al Gore is hot, hot, hot. The new “Ozone Man” has been making headline news all over the world in some of the most popular magazines and newspapers. He is one of Time Magazine’s top 100 people that have helped shape our world. Gore was named Policy Leader of the Year by Scientific American in 2006. He is the leading spokesman on the issue of Global Warming and has produced the documentary film “An Inconvenient Truth” which has won two Oscars. The movie became the most successful per-screen documentary film opening in history and the book reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list last summer. In addition, Gore has been nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts on fighting Global Warming worldwide. He even won the majority vote in the 2000 Presidential elections. So what hasn’t Al Gore done you ask? Al Gore has never been President of the United States.

Gore, 58, insists that he has no intention for running in the Presidential elections of 2008 but he finds himself in his most opportune time to run again. There is a large Democratic grassroots movement to elect Al Gore for President in the next election. The movement is called Draft Gore and has been picking up major steam over the last year. American citizens are signing onto a draft at the website called and they currently have over 52,000 signatures. The movement believes that Gore is the true voice of the Democrats and the only statesman that can effectively return the White House to the American people. They are truly a grassroots movement and are not backed by any powerful group, instead they insist that the movement is built on the “enthusiasm and passion” of the American people. The group believes that the majority vote winner from the 2000 election is still the best candidate for 2008. While Al Gore has not declared to throw his hat in the ring as of yet, the group prides themselves on the fact that they are doing everything in their power to promote his candidacy. It is starting to become a national movement with chapters opening up in every region of the United States.

It is not only a grassroots movement either; many political analysts are stating that they believe that Gore would be the best candidate for the 2008 election. Journalists and commentators Pat Buchanan, Tony Blankley and Eleanor Clift all have stated that they believe Gore will run in 2008. Additionally, ABC’s George Will predicted that Gore will run in the next election. Former President Jimmy Carter has also come out and is publicly supporting him saying that “If Al should decide to run, I would support him.” There is more to it than just these top political analysts’ predictions; recent polls have shown that Gore is ahead of some of the candidates that have already announced their campaign. In a poll Gore was ahead of John McCain by 47% to 46%. In a DailyKos poll he leads all other potential candidates by 68% and he also leads heavily in an AlterNet poll. On February 27, 2007 a poll conducted for Time magazine showed that Al Gore has gone up 10 points in a public opinion poll while Hillary Clinton has gone down 4 points. Even the Economist Magazine is supporting Gore by saying, “Mr. Gore is the ideal candidate for the Democratic stalwarts who turn out to vote in the primaries. He came out strongly against invading Iraq. He has spent the past six years warning the world about global warming. And he was robbed of victory in 2000.”

For more information visit,

Friday, February 23, 2007

Heal: Living Well after Cancer--Blog

The new magazine, Heal: Living Well after Cancer has brought forth the idea of setting up a blog to help spread information as well as spread the word on the magazine. It will be set up as a place for those who have had cancer, as well as those who have not, to learn how to live well after surviving cancer. The magazine is a spin off of Cure Magazine, a publication focused on informing and communicating with those who are currently battling cancer. Neither of the two magazines currently has a working blog nor any way for readers to create a forum for conversation about cancer and its effects. This blog must be set up simply to allow the average blogger to respond and give their opinions or insights on cancer research, treatment and or the life of a cancer patient in remission. Additionally, this blog can be a leeway into other blogs or sites dealing with the same issues. While this blog will act as a community forum for anyone to discuss or share ideas about cancer, it needs to make sure that it is not simply an advertisement for Heal or Cure. This is vital because people trust other people, not companies that they see are out to earn more money through indirect advertising.

The blog should be set up in a way that the readers and bloggers can not only easily access the sidebars; they need to also make it easy to access other blogs and sites that are focused on cancer. The sidebars are the key element to this blog because it will direct traffic to areas the blogger wants to focus on. One possible side bar could be something called “The Doctor’s Corner,” where bloggers can ask questions to an MD and receive well informed answers. This sidebar could be updated weekly by a doctor with tips and facts on living well post cancer with certain questions answered each week. If possible, a well known doctor will draw much attention to this sidebar adding to its credibility. The next possible sidebar topic could be called “The Mind, Body and Spirit,” where an expert could chime in with tips on how to maintain an all around healthy lifestyle. I think this sidebar should be split into two groups, one for women and another for men giving each gender an equal opportunity to learn and share facts that only pertain to their situation. This sidebar can also act as the spiritual aspect adding to the mental and physical health elements. I believe the site should have more than three sidebars for gathering and sharing information, but my suggestion for the next side bar would be a link called “Testimonials.” This sidebar will allow anyone to share their stories about being in remission and how it has affected their lives. This may be the most important aspect to the blog because as I stated before, people will listen to others who have shared a similar experience.

The goal of this site should be to help those who are in remission, but they also need to align themselves with some other sites in order to create awareness and more insightful information. To visit Heal Magazine go to Here is a list of other blogs that could fill this role (and by no means is this exhaustive):

Monday, February 12, 2007

Blogging as the New PR Tool

Blogging is defined as "a frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links" according to It is most clearly understood as a mixture of one's personal thoughts and current events or reactions to certain happenings on the web. These blogs offer personal reference on these events and invite others to respond to the bloggings. It seems to be a more effective way of information dissemination through word of mouth where bloggers who trust each other can learn and react to others.

The emergence of blogging as a tool for public relations is a new and effective way for companies to reach the public on an individual basis. Before blogging became a norm, the old public relations strategies seem more or less barbaric. Meaning, reaching the public was an impersonal experience where these large firms used other large firms to inform the public of products and information. This old form consisted of press releases where someone would produce a highly scrutinized piece of information and send it out to newspapers just hoping that a reporter would pick up on the event or news worthy story. The Internet has produced a new and effective way of displaying and transferring information for every individual. While there are countless ways in which the Internet can produce this vital information, blogging is one of those ways and is something that is growing at a rapid pace. The website has put it best by saying that blogging is this "new form of communication is an oxymoron; mass intimacy." Essentially, blogging is "mass intimacy" because it is an individual's personal idea or thought displayed for anyone with Internet access to view.

A good example of how the old trend of press releases has seen its match was when Google hired Vint Cerf as Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist in 2005. The day of the hiring Google could have very easily sent out a mass press release to every major newspaper in the world with a guarantee that it would have been reported on. However, they went a very different way and Cerf himself posted on a blog about his position and his excitement about the job. While 2005 was not too long ago, it was still early in the era of blogging and Vint Cerf put the Google bloggings on the map (by the way the blogging post was called Cerf's Up at Google!)

Companies are not just using blogging to introduce new CEOs, CFOs and the like, these companies are also using blogs to announce new products as well as acting as spin doctors on certain issues. Yahoo has been using their blog, the Yahoo Search Blog, to announce new aspects to their search engine website such as Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Search. The idea behind using these bloggings as opposed to the traditional press releases is that once someone sees the new tool on the Yahoo Search Blog they can go to it right from the website without having to change websites (even though typing in a new URL does not seem hard, we Americans like things easy and Yahoo has certainly been aiding us with that). Additionally, Yahoo has been using their blog to respond to some criticism over certain aspects of their site. Instead of directly responding to these criticisms, Yahoo has been posting about what they are doing to improve their quality and development of new ideas. This way the company can guide the readers and use it as another tool for Public Relations.

This new concept is the latest in the Public Relations field and is something that everyone involved in the PR industry should learn about. In fact, it is just another way in which the PR world can reach the American public and may also be a more reliable source for consumers. The idea that someone can learn about an event or product from someone with firsthand experience helps with dependability. As this is such a new concept, it is fun that we are all learning about this great new tool together.


The idea of media and public relations is seeing a complete change in our world of the internt and the ability to be in constant contact with someone else no matter where in the world they are. With the easy-to-use internet publishing tools, constant connections and powerful mobil devices, the online spectators have become the active participants and even the source for news and information. The idea of this blog is to disseminate that information and produce suggestions for improving ones ability to find and use public relations information for the future.