Author Archives: samanthadickson

New Year, New Opportunities

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Keep your head in the clouds and your hands on the keyboard.” – Marissa Meyer

Earth to Sam… Are you there? Hello?

Yes, I’m back!

After a brief hiatus, I have returned. To all my readers, I’m SO sorry it took this long.
Let me explain.

In September of 2014, I began the journey into my final semester of my Masters at New York University, which meant a few things. First, since I fast-tracked my degree I would have a heavier semester than most. The semester would be spent writing my thesis, fulfilling a practicum placement and on top of those two (which are considered a full semester),
I would be completing two additional courses needed in order to graduate –
Crisis Communication and Reputation Management. In case you’re wondering, I survived.

The months of hiatus were spent researching, planning, and building big projects. I conducted my thesis research on reputation management and branding initiatives using digital platforms in the airline industry. A mouthful – I know. The end result was to produce a best practices guide for airline companies in using digital platforms and how this corresponds to proving a return on investment. It was a daunting task at first, but the guide proved to be a valuable resource in an industry faced with innumerable complications – especially with communication.

On the other end of the spectrum, my practicum was to work alongside the New York Knicks to develop an integrated marketing plan that could be implemented as a means of promoting and building their current efforts. It was an incredible experience understanding the realm of sports public relations and the strategic ways they go about communicating with fans.

So, what now? Well, as many of my readers know, I am originally from Toronto but relocated to New York to complete my Masters. Now that they’re over, I’m hoping to stay in the city (fingers crossed!) and find a job. I’m currently doing all that’s related to the job hunt!
Resumes, cover letters, and of course networking!

It’s a new year for new opportunities. I’m excited to see what this year has in store.

I’ll be back later this week with some more posts!

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What Twitter’s “Buy Now” Feature Means for the PR Pro

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On Monday, Twitter announced the roll-out of its new “Buy Now” feature to a select number of users. The feature, which displays a “Buy” button on designated tweets, is being introduced to users who currently have the mobile app. Twitter says that this new feature is intended to give users a more streamline interaction with their favorite brands, making purchasing from that brand more accessible.

So, what impact will this feature have on the role of a PR professional? As the world of
e-commerce continues to expand, with an increasing amount of human spending happening on the web, this new feature is a logical next step for Twitter. The feature allows for companies to
tailor tweets to their target audience, and either publish as a regular tweet or a promoted tweet.

For the PR professional, we are tasked with proving ROI to our clients, and demonstrating the value our communication services have in building a strong brand identity and a loyal following. This new feature gives PR professionals additional leverage on proving conversion rates, where social media can directly link to a transaction made by a follower.

The “buy” button will allow a seamless integration of e-commerce into our work, provided the message stays consistent with brand identity and doesn’t interrupt the natural flow of the feed. This means that for some PR professionals, wearing multiple hats will become more apparent. In other words, understanding how to successfully manage reputation, community building, while working towards contributing to the bottom-line will become inherent in the social media portion of our jobs.

As this feature continues to be rolled out to more users, the challenge will be to make the flow seem uninterrupted, and not appear to force the user into making a purchasing decision.
Furthermore, Twitter has the task of ensuring that privacy information won’t be compromised — a challenge that may be the biggest concern to users who are contemplating storing their personal credit information on the app.

What are your thoughts on the “buy now” button?

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Your Job, Your Choice.

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Seth Godin once said, “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”

The more I read, and reread that quote, the more it becomes entrenched in my brain as an idea that everyone should live by, hanging on to each word as a true testament for living the life we actually dream of living. Why?

We live in a world where the majority of our time is spent at work. Making money, paying bills, and living in a sea of college debt. I’m going to guess that 80 percent of our time is spent
working in order to live comfortably, while the other 20 percent of the time is spent doing things that we feel rewards us for all our hard “work”.

For some of us, that 20 percent is spent on a beach in the Caribbean, while for others it’s being at home where we can hypothetically relax, unwind and not think about… you guessed it, work.

Godin has a point, though. What are we escaping from, and what decision did we make that put us in a position where we feel we need to “get away” from the life we created?

In a conversation I had with my Dad over the weekend, he brought up the recent pool of
applicants entering the job field – millennials. In other words, yours truly. He had a subtle
trepidation about the number of incoming resumes with what some might call, career jumpers. Five months here, three months at XYZ, and seven months working abroad. Not to mention the switch from Finance to Fashion to Food Security.

With great curiosity, he inquired not only about job stability, but also about candidate
trustworthiness, fearful of how quickly someone can walk away from a permanent position. My response seemed to be somewhat defensive, but truly reflective of the society I’ve been brought up in.

In honest fashion, I told him if he was looking for someone who would be there long term to try increasing the number of years of experience required for the position — inevitably an older
applicant. The difference between hiring someone from Gen Y and Gen X is substantial, it just depends on what the job is and what the position means internally for the company.

Gen Y has been raised by Gen X, living with the hope that we can grow up and land our dream job – and we really believe it. That doesn’t mean we are going to end every job within a few months, unsatisfied with the position, reluctant about the field and angry about the pay.

However, we are naturally drawn to expect more from the companies we get hired by, and if we feel unfit or unhappy by the position, we aren’t afraid to make a change. We’ve begun to
understand that the 80 percent of our time is valuable. Too many times we see individuals land in a position, working countless hours for something they actually hate. They’re unhappy, but
reluctant to make a change.

I think the greater mistake is not recognizing you have the potential to control your own
happiness, and find a job that doesn’t have to be called work. Of course you’ll have some days where you can’t wait for the day to end – but don’t settle for that on the everyday. Ultimately, we want to be recognized for the talent that we have, instead of filling a job that really is meant for someone else. In my opinion, this is just a natural progression of the job market.

Maybe I am just optimistic, but at the same time, you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.

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