INTRODUCING OUR NEW INTERN: MEGHAN FARRELL

This blog post has been provided by our intern, Meghan Farrell.

Hey everyone! My name is Meghan Farrell, and I am a senior public relations major minoring in business at the University of Texas at Austin. I was born in Calgary, Alberta but moved to Houston, Texas about 14 years ago – what a change! I quickly grew to love the U.S., and appreciate that you can’t shovel humidity.

Moving to Austin for school has been an incredible journey, with the city feeling almost separate from the rest of the state. I have experienced so many new things, like kayaking below South Congress Bridge while the world’s largest urban bat colony flies above, and don’t even get me started on the food here – trust me, I won’t stop talking.

My love for public relations began my sophomore year of college when I realized it was all about stories. I love telling a good story to my friends, family, or whoever will lend their ear. It’s progressed to the point where friends will ask me to tell stories for them, even when I wasn’t there. Finding out there was a major where I could do what I already loved was the most relieving feeling, and once I began taking PR classes I felt at home.

Before beginning my internship at Ketner Group, I worked as a student assistant to the Public Affairs Director at UT’s Harry Ransom Center. Some of my daily tasks included drafting media advisories, creating media contact lists, and analyzing their social media statistics. I also learned a great deal about pitching to the media. I truly cherished my time spent there, and I encourage everyone to go check out their vast collections.

When I’m not writing papers, I like to spend my free time hanging by the water, watching Chopped, snuggling my cat Billy, or finding the next great restaurant in Austin. I also love returning to Houston to visit my family especially because of our newest addition to the Farrell clan, my 2-year-old niece Mila.

I am incredibly excited to be spending my summer with Ketner Group and look forward to the stories that lie ahead!

Black Friday Forecasts

This blog was written by our intern, Jenna Jordan

For many Americans, Thanksgiving signals countless things: the beginning of the holiday season, spending time with family, reflecting on what you’re grateful for, or eating too much of your favorite homemade dishes. Sometimes it’s all of the above! But for more than 70% of Americans planning to holiday shop, Thanksgiving marks the “official” start of Black Friday. Even before the turkey-induced drowsiness wears off, many are already planning where to find the best discounts. This Black Friday however, discounts have already begun weeks in advance, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online.

The shopping triad gains momentum: Brick-and-mortar, e-commerce and mobile expected to break records

For many years, Black Friday was a historically brick-and-mortar sales holiday that eventually moved into the e-commerce world. But this year, it is estimated that shoppers will stray away from tradition and move to mobile on Black Friday – which is expected to be the biggest mobile shopping day ever in the U.S.

While Cyber Monday is still the largest e-commerce sales day, Chain Store Age predicts that e-commerce will see larger growth on Black Friday, just as it did in 2016. However, success in brick-and-mortar retail shouldn’t be ruled out this year, as 44% of Americans who will shop are planning to camp out for doorbusters. Overall, price is the most important factor related to shopping during the holiday season, so consumers are likely to do their research and plan ahead before making their purchases, whether in a physical store or online.

A shift to “Black November”

In a lot of ways, it feels as though Black Friday has already begun. eBay found in a new survey that 45% of Americans start holiday shopping well before Black Friday, and retailers are responding. On November 1, Amazon opened its Black Friday store. Other major retailers, including Kohl’s, Walmart and Sears, are also pushing promotions earlier. Target has made the decision to close its stores at midnight on Thanksgiving – but it’s not a sign of brick-and-mortar decline. More likely, Target is just taking a page out of REI’s #optoutside campaign playbook and focusing on the well-being of its employees as a means of differentiation instead. Additionally, their Black Friday discounts began on November 6, so there is no need to rush to the store Thanksgiving Day.

Steve Barr, U.S. Retail and Consumer Sector Leader at PwC, has taken to calling Black Friday “Black November” as the discounts continue to stretch out over the month. “Black Friday is still going to have a meaningful place on the retail calendar,” said Barr in a Retail TouchPoints interview. “It’s just not as significant as it used to be as a stand-alone date.”

According to Forbes, consumer spending over Black Friday weekend is forecast to grow by 47% year after year. Yet more retailers – an expected 70 to 80 stores, will be closing its doors on Thanksgiving in 2017. This isn’t a result of a brick-and-mortar decline, but simply a reflection of a discounting season lasting longer. As a result, consumers may be able to keep their Thanksgiving reserved for their families, and save their shopping for the rest of the month.

Meet Our New Intern: Jenna Jordan

This blog post was written by our intern, Jenna Jordan.

Hello everyone! My name is Jenna Jordan, and I am Ketner Group’s new intern. This is my final semester as a public relations major at the University of Texas at Austin and I am so excited to be spending it with Ketner Group.

I was born and raised in San Antonio, and stuck close because I am a family girl. Although I only have a brother, I have more than a handful of cousins, aunts and uncles who always find themselves together each weekend. Besides spending time with my family and studying for class, you can find me reading, exercising, swimming, or FaceTiming my incredibly neurotic but lovable dog, Scout. While I’ve stuck close to Texas all my life, I do have the travel bug and hop on a plane whenever I have the chance. This summer, I was lucky enough to visit Cancún and New Orleans, and I am already making plans for Europe next year.

Before joining Ketner Group, I interned with a local Austin nonprofit and assisted the founder with coordinating events, increasing membership and running social media. This past spring, I was an intern for a lifestyle public relations company here in Austin. With my team, I juggled about eight restaurant and hotel clients, all in different stages with distinctive needs. I got to try my hand at pitching to media and was included inclient communication, which was an insightful way to see both the client and the agency side of public relations at work.

During my freshman year at UT, I was convinced I wanted to be a publicist for celebrities in Hollywood, but once I realized the number of long nights that came with that career path, I turned my attention to what I was learning in class. On top of public relations, taking business and creative writing classes showed me that I not only love writing, but I also love marketing, and seeing how marketing and public relations interact.

Coming from an office of less than 50 people, I didn’t think I would join an even smaller agency – but I’m so glad I found Ketner Group! Just by our team meeting on my first day, I can tell everyone here is hands-on and interested in the work they do.

I’m so excited to kick off my semester with B2B and retail technology, especially with the holiday season fast approaching!

 

KG is hiring: Fall 2017 PR Internship

Ketner Group is currently seeking a proactive and diligent intern for the Fall 2017 Semester to support our team, with the possibility of being invited to stay on for the spring term. The paid internship would begin in August 2017 with a flexible schedule of 15-20 hours per week. The intern will have the opportunity to work alongside our fun-loving, collaborative group while gaining real-world agency experience supporting B2B clients.

Qualifications:

  • Must be entering or in their senior year of undergraduate studies
  • Possess strong writing and communication skills
  • Willingness to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Organized and detail-oriented
  • Previous public relations and/or communications internship experience is a plus, preferably with an agency
  • Ability to learn quickly and adapt to our team’s work culture

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Researching media and analysts
  • Editing and/or writing client press releases and marketing materials
  • Managing editorial opportunities
  • Compiling award and speaking calendar
  • Building media lists
  • Crafting blog content for clients and internal use
  • Developing social media posts for client and internal use
  • Participating in staff meetings
  • Assisting with other duties as assigned

Application instructions: Please send resume and cover letter, along with writing samples to Adrienne Newcomb at [email protected]; no phone calls, please.

Meet our newest addition to the team: Madeleine Hatley

This blog post was written by our intern, Madeleine Hatley.

Hi, everyone! My name is Madeleine Hatley and I am a senior public relations major at the University of Texas at Austin. Coming from the small town of Paris, Texas, I was ready to head to a larger city with more growth opportunities and also more things to do other than take pictures in front of the world’s third largest Eiffel Tower complete with a cowboy hat.  During my spare time, I love seeing live music, discovering new restaurants, and taking my adorably fluffy Corgi, Oliver, to Zilker Park.

Prior to joining the Ketner Group team, I mainly worked in politics. My past experience has taught me that internships are vital to figure out what best suits your personality and what path you want your career to follow.

My first internship was with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at Texans for Greg Abbott. I mainly worked on his social media, press releases regarding the governor and event scheduling. It was a great first internship in that I learned how to further develop my writing skills and got the opportunity to represent a single client via social media.

This past semester I was an intern at Axiom Strategies, a political consulting and public relations agency. I got the chance to represent and write for House and Senate members and meet lots of interesting people. I also got experience helping with crisis management and handling tricky situations that can easily escalate online and by word-of-mouth.

My cute puppy, Oliver. I wish he was still this size!

However, after two political internships, I decided it was time for a change of pace. I imagined I could be the real-life Kerry Washington in Scandal, but the job was far less glamorous than I imagined. The political sphere did not allow me to connect with people how I like to nor did it allow me to utilize much that I had learned in college. I felt like a small fish in a very large pond.

This is one of the reasons I think my internship at Ketner Group will be so valuable. The people here are so welcoming, actually care about your ideas and want to help you learn. On my first day, they ordered pizza for me and we all got the chance to get to know each other a little better over lunch. If my first day is anything like the rest of my internship, I know I will love it here. It took me long enough to find an internship that suited me!

Trial and error is the key to college internships. Get your first or second (maybe even third) internship out of the way to find which path you want to take. Internships give you real world experience so you aren’t forced to be in a field you dislike for the rest of your life. Try, try and try again until you get your dream internship that leads to your dream job.

As for my dream job after graduation, I would love to work in an agency setting that allows me to grow as a writer, team member and professional. I am a native Texan, so I would love to stay in Austin or move to Dallas to be closer to home.

I am very much looking forward to my time here and hope to learn valuable skills I can carry with me to my future career!

 

What I’ve Learned at Ketner Group

This blog post was written by our intern, Daniela Ramirez. 

Find an Internship to Help You Develop These Four Skills

Senior year has held lots of great memories for me, from interning at Ketner Group to finishing my capstone project during my last semester of college. Working at Ketner Group throughout my senior year has been a wonderful experience as I gained a variety of skills, whether I realized it at the time or not. I believe a few of the skills I have learned along the way have been particularly critical in prepping me for the next phase of my career.

Teamwork
Teamwork really does make the dream work. What I have appreciated the most about Ketner Group is the team-oriented approach. They tackle everything with teamwork and include members of the team from every level, which has allowed me to gain experience in real client work. I never feel intimidated to ask questions, go to a team member to understand something better or pick their brain about a certain subject.

Time Management
The great thing about Ketner Group is that you are not solely assigned to one client so I’ve been able to work on a variety of projects and tasks. A valuable result of working on a multiple clients has been learning to manage my time, making the most out of deadlines and priorities.

Media Relations
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about media relations is how big of a role research plays. Pitching media is nothing if you haven’t taken the time to research the best targets for a particular opportunity or idea. Being smart about the journalists you reach out to and making sure the information you are pitching them is relevant and appropriate is key for achieving media relations success.

Messaging
A big part of PR is looking at the bigger picture and understanding the noteworthy takeaways. When putting together customized pitches or content, understanding the overarching message and goals will help grab journalist’s and the reader’s attention.

Land an Internship to Help Gain These Skills
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of a team that challenges me everyday and pushes me to continue learning. I believe this is something everyone should look for an internship.

When seeking an internship, go after opportunities that spark your interest and relate to your passion. If you want to work at a non-profit in the long run, intern at a non-profit, but if you’re interested in working at a PR agency or corporation after graduation, find an agency or corporation with a strong internship program. A good place to start your search is by joining student organizations that are relevant to your major and attend events with companies, events or individuals that are of interest to your work. These opportunities are a great way to learn more about their day-to-day and will help you get your foot in the door.

Ultimately, make the most of your four years and put yourself out there; the more internships you do, the more you will learn and get a better idea of what you want to do after school. Before you know it, these opportunities will be gone and it will be time to enter the job market.

 

 

Navigating the Job Market

This blog was provided by our intern, Daniela Ramirez.

As graduation draws closer, reality starts to set in and before you know it, it’s time to venture into the job market. The search can be long and intimidating, but I’m here to share some strategies to expand your network and make what seems a never-ending process, a smooth transition.

Get Involved
First off, get involved early and join student organizations. Joining groups that are of interest to your major will give you experience that you can’t learn in the classroom or by reading a textbook. For example if you are a PR major, join PRSSA but also join other organizations that may have some overlap, such as your school’s advertising or marketing organization. These organizations will give you face time with industry professionals, expose you to different disciplines of the field and leverage your knowledge of the industry a little more.

Network
Don’t just network with other students at your school, attend events put on by local professional organizations to get to know people working in your prospective field. Many schools also offer networking trips. I find this one the hardest to do, but it has also been the most rewarding. It’s crazy how spread out a college’s alumni network is, and you never know when a connection can lead you to your next big opportunity.

Get to know your professors out of the classroom and learn about their experiences and academia. They all come from various professional and academic backgrounds and are able to help you figure out your career trajectory.

Take Advantage of Career Services
Use your college’s career services office and actively peruse opportunities that come through the office. They are a great resource and often serve as the liaison between students and employers. They will be able to help you secure informational interviews and portfolio reviews when recruiters come to campus, expose you to different company information sessions and give you the tools you need to get your foot in the door.

Seek Valuable Internships
Lastly, find an internship that will help you grow and expand your undergrad experience. Join a company that sparks your interest and fuels your brain. Sounds cliché, but your time at school does go by fast and before you know it these opportunities will be gone. For me, joining the Ketner Group has allowed me to grow faster than I ever have before and become more confident than ever that this is the field for me. After all, how cool is it to be able to come into an internship that challenges you everyday?

A Marketers Christmas

Moving Beyond The 30 Second Super Bowl Ad Spot

This blog was provided by our intern, Daniela Ramirez.

The biggest sports event of the year, the Super Bowl, is one of America’s most highly celebrated events. Millions tune in every year to watch two teams go up against one another, competing for the NFL’s biggest title. But this year I tuned in for a different reason, the ads.

We all know how expensive these advertising spots for the Super Bowl are and generally only major brands can afford to make the investment. However, I often find myself thinking, “Why would you spend all of that money? How do these high profile brands measure their ROI for a spot that can cost businesses over $5 million? Is it even worth it to have your name out there for 30 seconds when it has the opportunity to be skipped over, muted or even fast-forwarded in today’s DVR world?”

Companies often use the Super Bowl as an opportunity to move a brand or product forward in the marketplace, pioneer forward thinking and engage with their consumers. With this in mind, many brands are moving beyond the traditional TV platform to share their message and create a bigger strategy out of their 30-second ad spot. This is where public relations and marketing come in.

Since brand’s now have more opportunities and channels at their disposal, they can create and drive an entire campaign around one ad, such as Lumber 84 did this year. The televised “The Full Journey” spot prompted users to head to their website to discover the uncut film and find out what happens at the end of the journey. What you found was not a simple advertising campaign, but a powerful statement that has made this brand that was previously only well-known in the building supply industry, a household name. Shortly after the spot aired, Lumber 84’s website crashed as a result of social media conversation and publicity around the advertisement’s message.

Airbnb’s Super Bowl spot was part of larger campaign launch. Shortly after their “We Accept” spot aired, I received an email to my inbox as a call to action to learn more about their brand and #weaccept campaign.

Photo taken from Airbnb’s email

 

After clicking the “Learn More” button, I was led to a blog post that provided me with more information about the campaign and Airbnb’s corporate social responsibility initiatives.

 

Photo taken from Airbnb’s website

 

These cross-channel marketing strategies are one of the many tactics communications professionals are using to make their advertising dollars go further. And, we saw this not just after the ads aired but before kickoff. Many brands teased their spots before the Super Bowl event to generate buzz, create curiosity and engage with their audience.

Whether it’s before, during or after the big game, ultimately, brands need to implement a strategy that will resonate with their audience. But the challenge is figuring out how to do that. In the age of digital, brands are always looking for new ways to break through the noise and be top of mind. No matter the medium, it’s now more important than ever for advertising, marketing and public relations professionals to join forces and communicate one cohesive message while keeping the consumer in the middle of the conversation.

 

 

 

 

Austinite, Longhorn, and new Ketner Group Intern, Sara Shaw

horns
Photo provided by Sara Shaw

This blog was provided by Ketner Group intern, Sara Shaw

 

My name is Sara Shaw and I am a senior Public Relations major in the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin. I am also pursuing a minor in Spanish as well as a certificate in the Business Foundations Program. I grew up in Austin and, naturally, love it so much I decided to stay for school, which is easily the best decision I’ve ever made.

I am the youngest of three children, so I have had my fair share of older-sibling-bullying. Too many times did I fall for, “I’ve got a surprise,” and end up with a bar of soap in my mouth. Talk about a surprise. As an “adult” this has made me a great team player and very capable of laughing at myself.

I became interested in public relations in high school because of my love for stories. More specifically, the stories of people around me. What people were passionate about, what motivated them, why they loved what they did. I was good at creating relationships with people and getting them to tell their stories. I loved that PR combined the art of story-telling and business strategy. So with the click of the mouse I declared my major and haven’t looked back since.

southwest
Photo provided by Sara Shaw

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity of interning for Southwest Airlines in Dallas. I was the communications intern for their Network Operations Control Department. Imagine a command center at NASA, but these guys are dispatching nearly 4,000 flights a day. I was lucky enough to be on their communications team and learn more about the airline industry than I ever imagined.

When I’m not in the office or in the classroom, I love to explore my hometown and discover the next great taco place. I recently went to El Chilito on Manor Road, and highly recommend the Cherrywood breakfast taco.

As a senior in college, I often get the question, “What are you doing once you graduate?” I’ll tell you now that I have no idea. However, I am very excited to be with Ketner Group this semester and get hands-on experience in a more “traditional” PR setting. Everyone here has already taken Daniela and me in as part of the team and we are eager to keep learning from everyone!

 

 

 

New Intern on the Block: Daniela Ramirez

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Photo provided by Daniela Ramirez.

This blog was provided by our intern, Daniela Ramirez.

Hello everyone! I’m Daniela Ramirez and I’m one of the new Ketner Group interns, it’s nice to e-meet you! I am currently in my final year at The University of Texas at Austin studying public relations. It’s hard to believe that I am a senior (cue the nostalgia) and already in my last two semesters of undergrad. Looking back as a curious freshman, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with public relations or the type of job I wanted to work in following graduation. Through previous internships and courses, I have been able to develop a trajectory and carve a more focused track. These experiences have led me to develop a more strategic outlook and make the most of my four years at the best school in the world (Hook ‘em!).

Having worked in a variety of communication and public relations roles in the beverage industry, music business working with niche, reggae-type artists and bands as well as non-profits, I have been able to widen my scope of knowledge and skills. I’m excited to work with the amazing team at Ketner Group and continue to develop my B2B communication skills, and not to mention, learn about some pretty cool retail technology! Having only been with the team for a short time, I already feel so welcomed and truly feel like a valuable asset.

Now, a little bit about myself. I’m from a small town near Fort Worth, Texas called Kennedale – maybe you’ve heard of it? That’s why I was so excited to move to Austin and really live in a place that I haven’t experienced before. I love everything about Austin and the energy that it offers; I don’t plan on leaving the city scene anytime soon (sorry, Mom!). I’m all about experiences and living in the moment. You can often find me seeking out the next place to try brunch, attending a concert in town or going to an improv comedy show. I love to meet new people and learn about their life. That’s what really intrigued me about studying public relations; it’s a discipline that’s all about sustaining relationships through authentic dialogue. It’s a field that’s conducive to learning and exploring new interests and allows you to build an arsenal of skills. I love diving into different industries and learning how they operate, hence the range of my internships. Overall, I’m an extrovert and love to surround myself with good company. I’m excited for the semester ahead and spending my time with Ketner Group. As a senior, I’m anxious as well as excited for what’s ahead, while ironically wanting time to slow down at the same time.

Looking forward, I hope to work in the agency world so I can continue to gain varied experience in one industry and widen my scope of knowledge. I can already see that interning at Ketner Group will make my public relations undergrad experience memorable and one-of-a-kind, and I am very excited for the wonderful opportunity!