Nothing like the start of a semester to destroy all focus. Take today. I sent my first email at 7:22 a.m., my most recent at 7:56 p.m. It was my 50th email sent today and I ain’t done. I received and read nearly 100. And I missed lunch — dammit.
We all have those days, but I have them every day. So since I don’t have time to write a thoughtful post, I offer these
random rambling thoughts.
PR is looking for a few good men — but I’ll settle for one, maybe two. My PR Case Studies class, for the second semester in a row, is 100% female. In the previous year, just 7 men completed this gateway class and moved on in the major along with 36 women. Our 90-10 ratio reflects a national trend in the field.
I’ve written about this in the past, but now I’ve decided to do something about it. This semester, my PR Case Studies class will examine the gender imbalance in PR education and they’ll try to determine what’s causing it. We hope to survey freshman at 5 large universities, but I also expect my students will interview professionals and high school advisers, and, of course, examine past research on the topic. More about this as the project unfolds.
But let me speculate for a sec. Does PR need a new name? When last I wrote on this issue, my friend and Kent State alum Dino Baskovic posted this comment:
Not to be crass, but is PR viewed as a “chick” degree? It didn’t seem so when you took me in (from those cold, dreary days of architecture studio). It did seem odd that I was outnumbered 10-1…so maybe it gets back to recruiting.
Maybe Dino’s right. Maybe we just need a more aggressive effort to reach men. But I wonder if the term “PR” is too “soft” for the testosterone-driven among us. Might some young men see “relationship building” as too touchy-feely. Just thinkin’ out loud. I do that a lot here.
Bojinka Bishop, a colleague at Ohio University (my alma mater), added this comment to an email we exchanged yesterday. She gave me permission to share it.
An interesting anecdote – I also teach in what used to be called the “Global Learning Community” — about 85% female. The name was changed to the Global Leadership Center a couple of years ago — now we are 60% female. It would be interesting to see how many males vs females are in programs called marketing communication or corporate communication.
What’s in a name? Apparently quite a bit.
I mean no disrespect to Akron U or Capital One with that comment. The campaign worked well, drawing plenty of attention to its sponsor, and to the schools that played the game. UofA’s athletic department used viral email to encourage alumni and friends to vote, and it worked for them.
It’s pretty clear that Ohio State, Florida and other football powers didn’t give a flip about this contest, or they’d have knocked Zippy out in round one. But the folks at UofA siezed the moment, and that’s often what successful PR campaigns depend upon — opportunity.
It was a fun campaign, that also brought positive attention to UofA’s plan for a new $60-million football stadium. Say what? That’s no typo. Come 2009, the Zips will play their 5 home games there. And who knows, maybe they’ll will find something to do with it the other 360 days a year, too.
I’m a college football fan, but I’m one unhappy Ohio taxpayer knowing some of my dollars will fund this boondoggle. And it has me wondering if another Zippy is running the university.
UofA plays in the MAC, perhaps the least competitive football conference in Division IA. Only a year ago, UofA was one of 12 programs threatened with expulsion from the Division IA ranks because of low attendance. My school, Kent State, was also one of those 12, but we fixed it by serving beer at the tailgate parties. Sort of a no-brainer.
But no matter what happens, Zippy is still number one in the hearts of people who have nothing better to do than vote on the Internet. I voted for the little critter, but only after watching this clip on YouTube — and placed here for your convenience. It’s where I learned that Zippy’s a PR major. Update: My wife, who reads this blog only on rare occasion, tells me the role of Zippy is now played by a female. Is anyone surprised?
Is AMA taking lessons in PR. Don’t believe me? Check out the new definition for “marketing,” and say arrivederci to the 4 Ps — or was it 5?
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
Thanks to Judy Gombita for the link and to Mitch Joel for his thoughts. As you may know, I’m a bit suspicious of marketers, but this definition tells me they’ve been taking PR classes and looking beyond the “transaction” that has traditionally driven the marketing machine. That’s good news, I think. But maybe Mitch is right when he asks, “Did anyone know/care that there was a definition for Marketing?”
Until we meet again…