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Generation Z Protestors

AS GEN Z COMES OF AGE, ITS TIME TO GET TO KNOW OUR NEW COHORTS 

Millennials are now fully integrated into society as adults and the culture has come to a better understanding of what makes the tech-savvy, diverse generation tick. We’re only just beginning to learn about Generation Z – the oldest of which is joining the workforce this year. Early research reports are helping to paint a picture of what this generation values, what motivates them, what they expect of employers and how they are decidedly different from Millennials.

What Defines Generation Z

Born between 1996-2012, members of this generation are true digital natives. They’ve never been without access to the internet or smart phones. They’ve never known a world where social media wasn’t fully integrated into their lives or unrestricted access to information wasn’t readily available.

Beyond technology – environmental issues, terrorism, global refugee crises, and corporate greed have all been part of Gen Z’s formative landscape. 

They are brand-savvy and socially conscious and are set to be the most racially and ethnically diverse population in U.S. history. 

They understand the impact of their decisions; they will make choices that serve their needs, while still contributing to the greater good. This will be a generation that will make a difference.

Generation Z’s Top 3 Priorities:

  1. Enjoying Life
  2. Finding a great job
  3. Becoming a better person 

Millennials vs. Gen Z

generation z vs millennials

 

  • Millennials emerged alongside technology advancements, but Gen Z was born with internet access.

As a Millennial myself, I remember fighting with my parents because someone was on the phone and I couldn’t use the dialup internet. Motorola Razors were the common cell phone used “only in emergencies” and the internet was charged by the minute. While Millennials adapted to the rapidly evolving technology of smart phones, constant connectivity and on-demand entertainment, for Gen Z these innovations are largely assumed. 

  • Millennials own their social media addictions, but Gen Z is detoxing.

While Millennials know they’re addicted to social media and sharing everything online, mostly, they can’t be bothered to unplug. Gen Z, on the other hand, has witnessed the negative affects of social media on the older generation and trying to combat it at an early age. Nearly 34% of Gen Z have deleted their accounts and another 58% are actively trying to take a time-out from the feelings of stress and anxiety that social media is perpetuating. 

What does this mean for marketers? Invest in relevance over reach. The landscape has changed. Organic reach has fallen so low for social platforms that it has become less viable as a tool to reaching Gen Z. However, it has become one of the best ways to deliver one-to-many or one-to-one branded content. Today’s approach on social should be focused on engagement and conversation.

  • Millennials want original content, while Gen Z responds to authentic and ethically sound content.

In a world where negative content and fake news seem to be flooding our timelines, Gen Z wants posts from brands to be factual and ethical. Millennials respond to original and catchy branding, but Gen Z’ers have higher expectations and a carefully tuned radar for being sold to. Corporations and brands need to take a stand on social issues to earn their trust. Social values are very important to this young generation and they want to support companies who believe in a bigger picture beyond a bottom dollar profit.

Shifting the message and how its delivered in response to Gen Z values will be key to marketing success.  While influencers have been effective with Millennials, Gen Z has started to see through them. Friends and family have the most impact on Gen Z’s purchase decisions. Successful brands will engage the new generation and earn loyalty through authenticity and the right messengers. 

  • Millennials brought tech-savvy and fluid lifestyles to the workforce and Gen Z is expected to combine those traits with the work ethic of Baby Boomers and independence of Gen Xers.

Generation Z as a whole is full of enthusiasm and optimism. They are wise beyond their years, because they have learned from previous generations’ mistakes. They know what they need to do to get ahead, and they aren’t afraid to do the work. They are well-rounded, with their feet on the ground, while still being able to dream about a great future. They have many traditional goals such as secure employment, long term loyalty, a house, a car, and money for retirement, but they also say they plan to strike out on their own and build a future that aligns with their values. 

As Gen Z enters the workforce, they want:

  • A great boss; 
  • Stability;
  • Flexibility to work where and when they want; 
  • An invitation to be part of a team; and 
  • A diverse and inclusive workplace. 

Looking Ahead

Overall, we as a society, have never had a generation born into a technology boom like today’s. We don’t yet know the impact this will have, nor the impact of Donald Trump as the first president most Gen Zers know as they turn 18.  

Though we don’t yet know how this generation will shift our society, their ability to be heard and fearlessness in standing up for what they believe in hint they are a generation to look up to.
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Mike Phillips - World Traveler

Mike’s Euro Travel Adventures

« NEW BLOG SERIES »

I spent the past month traveling around Europe on an extended vacation. In my blog series I’ll share some of the more interesting adventures and discoveries I had along the way. The discoveries relate to public relations, industries we work in, communication, and history, too. Scroll to the bottom now to check out some of my wild photos!

Stop 1: Frankfurt, Germany. 

I spent the first two days of my trip in Frankfurt, Germany –  though jet lag made it feel like a week. Still, I managed to cram tons of activities into those days.

I admit I didn’t have high expectations for Frankfurt, mostly because I didn’t know anything about the place. But I’m happy to have discovered that it’s a wonderful multi-cultural melting pot with people from all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa calling the city home. I don’t speak a lick of German but it didn’t seem to matter much as everyone spoke enough English to get me fed and to help me navigate the city.

Bizarrely, the layout and “feel” of the city is reminiscent of Portland in a way that was both similar and completely foreign at the same time. They don’t have the perfect north/south/east/west layout – but there are several streets crammed with places to imbibe and enjoy culinary adventures – much like our neighborhoods including Division, Alberta or Mississippi. The Main River flows through the center of town, dividing the city like the Willamette in Portland. Frankfurt is incredibly bike friendly too – and on my second day I explored a food cart festival and met a craft beer enthusiast named Max who was obsessed with IPA’s. Nearby a bike race and some kind of running competition meandered through the main platz. In the afternoon I caught an American Football game between the Munich Rangers and Frankfurt Galaxy.

The fans were wild and took their soccer-style noise-making antics to the football stands. They’d surely love a Timbers game. When I got back to my hotel in the evening, I had a conversation with the hotel bartender Stefan about infused liquors and he shared some of the šljivovica that his boss is making in small batches.

Does it get any more Portland?

I’ll admit that I spent some time later that evening Googling to see if Frankfurt has a sister city relationship in America. I discovered that in July 2015 they cemented this relationship with Philadelphia, the city of “brotherly” love. This could be unbridled enthusiasm speaking, but I am thinking our friends in Philly need to alter their pact to a “brother city” relationship and let PDX step in to create a much needed partnership between two cities that love bikes, beer, booze and the convenience of a direct international flight thanks to Condor Airlines.

Unfortunately, the low point of my day came when I went out of my way to try to do something work related after I stumbled across a sign that translated to “The Communication Museum.” I naively thought it would be an homage to the craft of public relations, strategic communication and crisis communication in Germany, but it was a large room devoid of visitors with a bunch of displays showing the evolution of phonographs, telephones, computers and other bits of technology.

communication museum

Click the image for an exclusive look at the communication museum!!!

Anyway – that concludes my first dispatch. Here’s what to expect from upcoming posts:

Stop 2: Gamescom. Cologne, Germany

Having a stepdad working in one of the Northwest’s hottest tech towns has its advantages. In July I was invited to join him for the Gamescom gaming conference in Cologne, Germany.

Gamescom is Germany’s biggest convention on digital games and also serves as an interface between the world of gaming and other cultural and creative industries, as well as the digital economy.

I’d hoped to pass my AM:PM PR business cards to communication-challenged gaming companies across Europe, thus legitimizing future travel adventures and hopefully clearing a path to bring my AM:PM PR colleagues with me next time – but I discovered a different reality altogether. To be continued!

Stop 3: Sarajevo International Film Festival. Sarajevo, Bosnia. 

Just 20 years ago the first Sarajevo Film Festival was held during the middle of the longest siege of a European city since WWII. Attendance projections were low as a result, but 15,000 risked sniper bullets and mortar attacks to see 37 films from 15 different countries.

I’m happy to say my experience was a bit less harrowing, and I had the pleasure of seeing the debut screening of a film from a local Portland duo titled, “Finding Bosnia.” I look forward to sharing more soon.

Stop 4: Exploring Lineage in Ireland. 

Blood lineage to my great-great-great uncle Sean Mac Diarmada is probably shared by thousands of other McMorrow’s, McDermott’s and Mac Diarmada’s across Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United States – but that doesn’t stop my family from laying a firm claim to this Irish hero from 1916.

Mac Diarmada will be getting his time under the spotlight as the Irish nation celebrates 100 years since the Easter Rising of 1916, an event he helped orchestrate with Thomas Clarke and that eventually led to the creation of the Irish Republic (and gulp, a bloody civil war).

I visited his statue in his hometown with my grandfather and father – three generations! I never thought I’d see the day. I spent some time with my grandmother in her ancestral village in County Mayo where I was able to reconnect with distant relations. We also had interesting experiences exploring mystical Celtic wells and catching jam sessions and visiting renowned pubs.

That is a quick overview of the trip – more blogs to come.

PR Parfait Blog featuring Pat McCormick

PR PARFAIT REPOST: PR Pro Spotlight – Pat McCormick

 

U of O senior and Allen Hall PR Account Supervisor, Kati VanLoo, interviewed Pat McCormick for her blog – PR Parfait. We’re reposting and giving Kati two thumbs up.


Katie VanLoo authors the PR Parfait blog

 

By Kati VanLoo
Published March 11, 2015

 

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview AM:PM PR Partner Pat McCormick. A communication pro with over 40 years of experience in issue management, Pat knows the ins and outs of the public relations industry. Now he spends his days at the Portland agency with his daughter Allison McCormick and other team members navigating the PR needs of their clients. Here’s some insight he provided on the industry and advice for those of us just venturing out into the job market.

PR Pro Pat McCormick

Photo from The Portland Business Journal’s “Cool Spaces” feature May 23, 2014

 

How did AM:PM PR come to be?

My daughter Allison worked for me at a PR agency in Salem for fifteen of the twenty years that I was there. In the final five years she was there, she helped with more consumer-facing PR. The young professionals were really having an impact on how everybody was communicating. It made it really clear how difficult the evolution is in our business. It personally excited me to be working at a time when there was so much change going on. When I could have retired, I talked to Allison about starting this business to continue to be a part of what’s changing.

 

How are young PR professionals impacting the industry?

Young professionals come into the workplace now with a sense of the currency of what’s going on. There’s a type of reverse coaching that comes from young professionals today because there are ways they grew up communicating that are different from the way older practitioners communicate. This generation also comes into the workplace in a little bit of a different fashion than, say, the Baby Boomer generation. That generation’s young professionals came into the workplace with the notion of “keep your head down; keep quiet.” Young professionals will come in today thinking, “I can contribute today.” It’s energizing in the workplace.

 

How important are ethics in PR?

I think an important element of PR is adhering to the ethical standards of our business. We want to have credibility, and we want reporters to trust us. The longer you’re in the business, the more you value those standards to not only help guide what you do but also decide what lines those you’re working with may be crossing. Also, we are often called in to help organizational leadership identify how their decisions could impact significant stakeholders of their company. That means sometimes you’re telling a CEO something he doesn’t want to hear, but in order to live up to the standards of our business we have to do that to our best ability. If that means that we have to fire that client when they want to continue making unethical decisions, then we fire that client. There are no long-term benefits to crossing those lines.

 

What is one challenge you think many PR pros face?

Part of what I think is often overlooked as a significant component to what we do is listening. We have to listen in order to fully understand what they are asking; they may not know enough to know exactly what to ask for. So, we have to listen and help them figure out what it is that they need. It’s really easy to just jump to, “Oh, why don’t you just do that,” without truly understanding what their needs are. Don’t jump too quickly to a solution without fully understanding the problem.

 

What advice do you have for PR pros in training?

Building a network can’t start too soon. The best available tool right now is LinkedIn. Be hungry for every contact that you make to be a connection on LinkedIn. Include the people you are going to school with; there will be times later on when those connections will give you the opportunity to speak with someone through them. Capitalize on those connections.

 

What are you looking for in new hires who have just graduated?

Something we look for, which I always credit Kelli Matthews for being the one who helped make possible [at the University of Oregon], is a student who understands the digital platforms. Do they have an online portfolio, a blog, a Twitter feed? What do they like to post, and how active are they? I just like to know they have familiarity with those types of platforms.

Also, we look for the ability to write. Along with being able to write well, journalistic-ally speaking, it’s important to see if the person can identify what’s important and can be clear, concise, and to the point.

 

 

Mike Phillips - Washington... University

Mr. Phillips Goes To Washington (state university)

Mr. Phillips, a.k.a. Mike, shared his thoughts on writing effective cover letters and resumes with students at Washington State University in Vancouver and, now, you.

Last month I traveled to the beautiful campus at Washington State University in Vancouver where I was a guest lecturer for a technical and professional writing class taught by professor Craig Buchner.  I spoke about writing effective cover letters and resumes for job applicants.

Although I somehow managed to talk for an hour and fifteen minutes, the essence of my presentation can be distilled into two simple points:

1. Know your audience.

2. Check for spelling and grammatical errors.

This may appear to be non-information, but believe me, if you’re out applying for jobs right now, many among your competition are sending the same generic resume and cover letter to all prospective employers without regard for the company or position they are applying for. If you are guilty of such things, this blog is for you.

 

How does this look in practice?

Writing better resumes and cover letters

Now, I have enough empathy to recognize that applicants resort to these tactics in an effort to cover the most ground possible while expending the least amount of personal energy. Unfortunately, this is a flawed tactic, mostly because the people getting hired aren’t using this tactic. As a golden rule, you always want to personalize your writing to the specific job and company you’re applying to.

At AM:PM PR we’ve seen cover letters that begin with “Dear to whom it may concern” – kind of a mashup between two boringly generic introductions. People will sometimes do this when they can’t find the appropriate hiring manager. But you can get around this problem using Google to find the correct contact. Or if it’s a small company, identify someone that appears to be senior-level that you feel you might have rapport with due to common interests or experiences.  Personalize your outreach, but don’t be too cheesy (or stalker-like).

In other cases we’ve seen people gloating about their attention to detail in the same paragraph as a major typo. We’ve received long-winded cover letters that read like novellas, yet have no direct application to any position we’d ever have at our business.

You're hired!Another writing tip is to include some information in your cover letter to acknowledge that you’re familiar with the company and position that you’re applying for. Spend some time with the prospective employer’s website, read some recent news coverage. Use what you learn and insert it into the cover letter to foreshadow how your resume will be directly applicable to the position you’re applying for, and demonstrate some enthusiasm.

Finally, tweak your resume so that your past experience is relevant to the position you’re applying for. If your previous experience is baggage handling and you’re applying for a writing position, you may need to get creative. But don’t get so creative as to lose credibility.

 

A Final Word

am:pm pr tips

First impressions are important, and even seemingly inconsequential typos can make for a dour first impression among potential employers. You can’t underestimate the importance of good writing, punctuation and grammar. If these are areas where you lack expertise, it may be worthwhile to call in an expert to help you.

You can avoid all the aforementioned problems if you customize your resume and double-check your work before submitting. Two seemingly simple ideas, but woefully lacking from a surprising amount of job queries and applications.

For more, here’s a handy WikiHow entry titled, “How to Write an Email Asking for an Internship.” 

 

For future insights and ideas from AM:PM PR, like us on Facebook.

Is your news newsworthy?

How to Successfully Pitch Media

 

Media pitch tips from a veteran-TV reporter

 

KGW's Pat Dooris spoke to am:pm PR's Speakeasy

KGW’s Pat Dooris spoke at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy about what to expect if you have a story to pitch. These were his tips.

 

Only Pitch What’s Current.

“I don’t care about something happening in August when it’s February,” Pat says. “I need to fill a news hole today and tomorrow. Much farther out and it better be really good.”

Be Available Now.

“If you pitch me and I bite, you’d better be ready to go in 30 minutes,” Pat warns.  “I’m not kidding. You have a short shelf life. If I can’t lock you in with that time amount I’m moving on to the next potential source or story. I have no time to waste and no option for no story tonight.”

Offer Compelling Humans.

“Every story needs real people that are affected by the issue we’re talking about. Whether it’s sewers or acupuncture or taxes or a mission to Mars, we need real people that will talk with us for our story – and yes, that means on camera!”

Make the Humans Available!

“I once had someone pitch me a ‘C’ level story. But on this particular day we were short of story ideas so a ‘C’ looked like an ‘A.’ I called back quickly, but they didn’t have anyone…not ANYONE who would go on camera,” Pat shared. “Not only did we dump that story and move to the next – I was pissed and never took another pitch from that person.”

 

 

Be available for interviews when you are pitching a story.

 

What Gets Through

  • The number of people affected – Is it significant?
  • New news – Is this the first we’ve heard about it?
  • Stories with people willing to talk openly.
  • Good visuals i.e. video, compelling photos, infographics.
  • Compelling sounds.
  • Media trained experts.
  • The “What’s In It For Me?” (WIIFM) translation.
  • Something that runs counter to prevailing conceptions.
  • Something that reveals truth about ourselves.
  • Stories that involve emotion.
  • Stories that involve animals.

 

The 5 Biggest Influences.

    1. Emotion
    2. Number of people affected
    3. Visuals
    4. Sources available to go on camera
    5. Good talkers

 

About Pat Dooris

Pat Dooris has worked in TV News for 29 years. He’s interviewed more than 29,000 people and done at least 17,000 live shots. He’s won awards including two Northwest Emmys along with awards from the Oregon Association of Broadcasters and even a National UPI award. Yep, United Press International. He’s been reporting that long. Pat is a reporter at KGW TV and a media coach who trains people and companies on how to respond to the press. Rather than ducking the media, he believes people and companies should embrace the chance to tell their story in powerful ways. Find out more about his services at PatDoorisMedia.com

 

am:pm pr tips

Editor’s Note: While Pat’s tips are focused on pitching TV media, much of his advice works well for pitching any kind of media. So be wise, think ahead, and put yourself in the reporter’s shoes.

Make an impression.

Catch attention and have a ridiculously good time

 

TEDx speaker, artist and corporate coach, Gary Hirsch, at AM:PM PR’s Speakeasy on involving your audience in what you do and make 

As an artist, illustrator, improviser, and co-founder of On Your Feet (OYF), Gary Hirsch, collides improv with business to help companies relate, create and collaborate – all while having a ridiculously good time.

For the past 16 years Gary Hirsch has worked with some of the world’s most innovative organizations exploring how improv impacts communication, leadership, idea generation, brand building, organizational development, and collaboration. OYF’s global clients include Intel, Disney, Nike, Apple, P&G, Daimler, The British Ministry of Defense, a small band of Northern Californian Buddhist monks (really) and many more.

He talked about his work and the inspiration behind it at a very popular TEDx talk last April.

The OYF network includes improvisers, filmmakers, anthropologists, advertising, marketing and research folks, and the former snow cone king of Portland, Oregon. Core beliefs listed on the website include:

  • You can only get so far sitting down.
  • Learning is often emotional and experiential before it is intellectual.
  • You shouldn’t have to pay extra for the emergency-exit row.
  • More heads are better than one (under the right conditions).
  • Actions speak louder than mission statements.
  • Giant Post-It sticky-backed notes are the greatest invention in world.

 

Artist Gary Hirsch behind a small unit of his Bot Joy army. Each Bot is individually painted and numbered and programmed with special abilities that include bringing you joy, making you feel loved, calming you down, giving you energy, taking the blame, inspiring you and saying “yes” whenever you need to hear it.

 

Gary has created his own pet project and creative outlet – Bot Joy. What started as hand painted bots on the backs of dominos to inspire his clients at Pixar and others has grown to an army of more than 23,000 little robots and several bots as big as the side of a building inspiring bravery of patients at children’s hospitals, cities that need encouragement and beneficiaries of gifts from friends or family who want to offer support in a lasting way.

OPB’s Oregon Art Beat featured Gary’s work when they joined him at Randall Children’s Hospital last year and his work has been exhibited at The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and in galleries in Portland, Seattle and Las Vegas.

His Bot Joy project has inspired others to “steal his idea”, with hundreds of students and artists making their own bots around the world.

Bots are multiplying and taking over the world to spread joy.

 

Ryan Block’s cringe-worthy recording of his call with a Comcast customer service representative had been played almost times

Comcast’s Teachable Moment in Customer Service

Today’s customer service extends far beyond just the one-to-one relationship businesses have with their customers.

 
20+ years ago when I was being trained for a retail job at the mall (Sock Wear Consultant at Boston Socks) we were warned that happy customers will tell three friends but angry customers will tell dozens. Now angry customers can tell hundreds or thousands with a few key strokes. When combined with entertaining or aggravating images, videos or recordings, those complaints can go viral because they resonate with a common experience.

We experienced our own frustrations with Comcast when we opened our first AM:PM PR office in 2010. We couldn’t get anyone to talk with us at Comcast until we posted about our experience on Twitter. We got a call the same day and our issue was resolved by the following week.

Comcast appeared to handle this recent public customer service embarrassment well by:
  1. Taking responsibility;
  2. Apologizing; and
  3. Taking steps to get it fixed.

"We are very embarrassed... The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable." - Comcast

Time will tell how far Comcast will go to actually fix the problem. Pay policies at Comcast are coming to light that show the incensed employee on the recording is likely one of many and a symptom of a much larger customer service issue at Comcast. No one is surprised.

am:pm pr tips

Comcast’s teachable moment demonstrates that brand damage can be substantial from one small incident involving a single employee in a large organization. Every customer interaction is an opportunity and a vulnerability. Customers want attention, honesty and efficiency. As long as you abide by those guiding principles, your reputation is protected.

Comcast and every business with customer service should assume every customer has thousands of social media connections and any interaction is being recorded. Today’s customers have the power and are enacting change – even in monolithic organizations. I like this trend. I know I’m inspired to hit “record” more often. I wish I thought to when going back and forth with a relentless car salesman last week…

AM and PM discussing Comcast's damaged reputation

AM:PM PR Chiming in on KGW-TV’s Comcast Story

 

After a cringe-worthy customer service call with Comcast went viral on the interwebs, KGW-TV asked AM:PM PR to talk about what it could mean for all businesses with customer service. AM:PM co-founder Allison McCormick spoke with Channel 8’s Joe Smith about the power of today’s customers and how businesses should be thinking about every customer touchpoint.

 

Offer content that interests your audience and take the steps to optimize it.

SEO Tips From a Portland PR Firm

 

Have a strategy and offer content with value to your audience

If you have a business or a brand, you must have a strong online presence. Public relations agencies are no different. Every business wants to stand out and show up on the first page of searches.

Businesses and brands face ever increasing competition to be noticed. With more than 1 billion active websites, consistent attention to Search engine optimization, or SEO, is key to raising visibility.

From 1 website in 1991 to 1 billion in 2014

SEO is the process of affecting the rank of a website in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid search results. The earlier and more frequently a site appears in search results list, the more visitors it will receive.

Basically, SEO encourages keyword use to increase traffic based on what people search for. However, there is a drawback. Focusing on keywords can stifle creativity.

At AM:PM PR, we write about what we’d want to read. We want what we write to be interesting, authentic, and worth our reader’s time. It’s always a bonus if we write something others find worth sharing.

It’s a complicated balancing act. How do you safely walk the tightrope between entertaining readers and attracting potential new clients with strategic keywords planted throughout the copy?

 

SEO can help your business

SEO Tips

  1. Be Subtle – While keywords are important to search, don’t litter your posts with them. In this post all focus keywords are in bold. Words and phrases like “public relations,” “search engine optimization,” and “SEO Tips” are all terms that could bring people to our site.
  2. Be Creative – Sensibility with keywords can attract visitors, but creative, useful content is what keeps them coming back. Try writing your post first without worrying about keywords and then add them where they make sense. While headlines should contain focus keywords, you also need to grab attention with them.
  3. Be Mindful – Think like the reader you want to have. What do you want your audiences to think about you? What do you want to portray? Being mindful of how copy, relevant content, and keywords work together will help attract visitors and keep them coming back.
  4. Be Visual – Google likes images. Adding images and properly naming, sizing and tagged them will help your rank and make your content more attractive and memorable.

Paying more attention to SEO does take time, but it’s part of today’s cost of doing business.

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