What does professionalism mean in public relations? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of professionalism is the skill, good judgment and polite behavior expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.
Public relations professionals are to conduct themselves in a skillful and civil manner. Professionalism in the public relations industry is expected — and quite vital — to conduct work for a client on a daily basis.
This notion makes me think of a time when I was in grade school and my teacher would tell me to watch the class while she stepped away. This always gave me a sense of responsibility, which was a great feeling as a child, and also the sense to handle any matters professionally. When my teacher returned, I gave her a report on how the class behaved and if any faculty asked for her whereabouts. I know this story cannot describe the need for mature decision-making and professionalism in the real world, but the attitude is embedded and flourishes as people age.
Throughout the campaign process for our client, Capital Area Special Olympics Louisiana, we, The Limn Group, handle business in a professional manner. We value our craft and commitment to our client; hence we want them to view us as competent public relation professionals. Even when we are not handling the matters of our client, we must remain professional.
For example, just this past week we hosted the kick-off event, Fair in the Square, for CASOL’s campaign and all members were assigned to pickup supplies for the special evening. I was assigned to stop by Fresh Pickin’s, a local produce market to obtain miniature pumpkins that attendees would paint on during the event. From the time of arrival until the time I pulled off the lot, I had to remain professional because I was the face of CASOL. Fresh Pickin’s employees saw me as an ambassador for CASOL, which is why professionalism is very important in public relations. We are representing a brand and therefore have to act as such.
By the same token, ethics in the public relations industry is seen as rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad. In addition to professionalism, we must act with integrity in every situation. Doing what is morally correct isn’t always black or white, but we must stick to our values and mission statement to stay on the right path.
Luckily for TLG, our morals align with those of our client, but sometimes agencies are not fortunate enough for that to happen. Even then you must maintain professionalism and figure out what the future of the client-agency relationship is. It might not always be easy, but it’s the right thing to do to advance as professionals.
As an agency with integrity and perseverance, The Limn Group sought after Baton Rouge’s greatest audience: families. This weekend, our agency hosted a campaign kick-off event called Fair in the Square for our client, Capital Area Special Olympics.
The much-anticipated event took place in North Boulevard’s Town Square and was an
Members of The Limn Group stand in front of the information tent Friday at Fair in the Square in North Boulevard’s Town Square.evening filled with hot chocolate, a silent auction, carnival games and much more. Charles Guillory, the chapter’s area head, smiled from ear to ear as he approached the location. Each group member could see he was pleased with what he was seeing.
“You all really put on a terrific night,” Guillory said a few days later in an email. Guillory spoke to the audience that evening and also accepted a large donation from First United Methodist Church on behalf of the chapter. The sounds of children laughing and dancing, thanks to TLG’s own Daisy Miller and her dance session, confirmed that the night would be a positive step in the right direction for our client.
As public relations students, we learn that evaluation is an important step in measuring an outcome to a project, program or, in this case, a campaign. To evaluate the evening and the campaign thus far, I observed three important objectives: awareness, acceptance and action.
An overarching goal was to have a successful event. Fair in the Square was originally planned to last three hours; but due to decreasing temperatures, TLG concluded the event an hour early. Like many occasions, unplanned results are sure to occur and our response altered minor scheduled parts of the night. While some could look at this as a failure to complete plans, we felt we accomplished what we set out to do, and the event can still be measured a success.
In public relations, a professional must take into account his or her awareness objective for their client. For TLG, that meant having an effect on the awareness of potential sponsors in the capital area. We wanted to increase their understanding of the resources our client offers to intellectually disabled residents.
To evaluate this objective, TLG has the post-event survey, which will gather insights from those who attended the event. Though currently under review, we hope to see a 15 percent increase from September to December. Our other tactic is to reach future sponsors through the media. A news release recapping the event will be sent to the media, and a video news release will be included as well.
Furthermore, our acceptance objective is to have an effect on the acceptance of private donors in the capital area. More specifically, we want to increase their following on CASO’s social media. Since the day it was created, the Facebook page has garnered 186 “likes” so far. The number increases weekly and therefore means we are meeting our objective. We hope to have a 15 percent increase of “likes” between September and December.
Additionally, our action objective is to have an effect on the action of donors, specifically to increase their donation amounts to CASO by $500 between September and December. The kick-off event raised more than $1,800, and we are still receiving donations from businesses and residents that planned on attending and giving this past weekend.
If you ask me, I think the event opened a door to the community for CASO, which is what public relations is all about — building relationships.
Capital Area Animal Welfare Society Media Kit*
A Memorandum for Limited Brands*
A Press Release for the late Shirley Temple*
Note* Some writing samples are for class assignments and are fictional.