You look pretty today.

Compliments are constantly tossed around at my internship at Toussaint Law Firm every Monday and Wednesday.  Everyone seems to make it a point to brighten someone else’s day with a nice compliment.  The office that I work in is filled with down-to-earth employees that are always looking for ways to boost others’ confidence.  Whether it’s comments on clothes or feedback on ideas, drafts of writing, or work ethic, everyone at Toussaint Law Firm is positive.  I’ve loved working at TLF for the past six months and I’m excited about my continuing internship into the spring.         

Since 2009 year is coming to a close, I wanted to re-cap the amount of knowledge that I’ve learned.  Not only have I discovered new things about myself by working independently on marketing/public relations projects, but also by working with my six wonderful colleagues that made my experience so memorable. 

I was hired in July of 2009 by Scott Toussaint as a Marketing Director/Intern for Toussaint Law Firm in Seneca, S.C.  Since TLF had never had a marketing sector of the office, I met with Scott on my first day of work to discuss my duties.  Together, we devised a marketing plan that singled out each area of law that TLF practiced and how we were planning on bringing in more clients to each one of those areas.  One area of law that TLF specializes in is special needs law.  Not being familiar at all with special needs law, I did research through the Internet and through Jeremey Poindexter, our special needs law attorney. 

I began a major project after researching special needs law.  After discussion, Scott and I decided that sending out packages to special needs advocate groups in South Carolina would be the best way to reach our audience.  I created brochures, drafted an informational letter, created an advocacy list, and sent the packages.  In the informational letter, I let the advocacy know that Jeremey Poindexter would be more than happy to come speak at meetings to inform others about the area of special needs law.  A week after the packages were sent, I already had four advocate groups secure Jeremey for a speaking engagement!  Another four groups want Jeremey to speak at their meetings in early 2010.  The response to the packages was awesome and the feedback boosted my confidence. 

I also worked on designed advertisements, drafting copy for the Web site, managing the Toussaint Law Firm Facebook account, securing speaking engagements and lunches for the attorneys, and wrote news releases about new employees.   

Through the first part of my internship, I’ve realized what really excites me: creating things.  I really like taking something from scratch and building it into something great.  I’ve loved working independently as well as in a group at my internship because it’s helped me grow.  I’m hoping to continue to learn and grow throughout the next semester.

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Public Relations and Marketing- IMC

After reading chapter 13, I better understood the major differences between public relations and marketing. It was helpful because currently, I work as the marketing director at Toussaint Law Firm and sometimes I feel as though the things I do could be put into a public relations category.  While public relations, advertising, and marketing all follow the same process of researching, planning, communication, and evaluation, they are focused on different things.  The specific way that our book describes the differences in public relations is that it is focused on many publics instead of just on consumers.  I found this series of photos on The Ads of the World that shows the difference between marketing, PR and advertising.  While this series of photos comically describes differences, it is very precise in its quick descriptions.

While marketing consists of the four P’s (product, price, place, and promotion), public relations focuses on the promotion.  Through IMC (integrated marketing communications)  strategies, companies develop plans to market different products in different ways.  IMC differs from mass marketing in that it focuses on individual consumers, practitioners use databases to target consumers, practitioners send out well-focused messages, use consumer-preferred media to send their marketing messages, and favor interactive media. 

After reading this chapter, I’ve realized that I do a little bit of public relations as well as marketing work at TLF.  Maybe I should change my title. 🙂

My Defintion of Public Relations

In my last public relations class, I learned that public relations is the management of complex interactions between an organization and it’s publics.  To me, this definition encompasses many different things.  Through my personal experiences with working in three different areas (corporate PR- Verizon Wireless, small firm- JDPR, and law firm- Toussaint Law Firm) I’ve learned that a public realtions practioner wears mutliple hats.   Writing press releases, constantly keeping in contact with the media, developing new ways to pitch ideas, working with a company’s philanthropy, making flyers and brochures to distribute, and tracking media clips are only a few of the many things that I witnessed my fellow co-workers continuously do at my internships.

Now, as times are changing and more news is becoming “citizen news” through social media, PRos must keep up with the new technology that is being invented.  Through Twitter, blogs ,and Facebook, YouTube and other forms of social media, a company can be praised or totally ripped apart within moments.  It’s scary to think that people who may not have any expertise on a part an organization that you represent can easily bad mouth it and cause permanent damage.