Ketchum Discusses Five PR Topics with Howard University Students

Last week, Ketchum CEO, Rob Flaherty, along with Ketchum colleagues, Leslie Schrader, Sharon Jones, Tim Weinheimer, Diane Johnson, and Brian Keenan, hosted more than 45 students from Howard University’s School of Communications. Chartered in 1867 shortly after the end of the U.S. Civil War, Howard University (HU) is one of the nation’s most prestigious historically black universities.

Students from the HU Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America were treated to a panel presentation led by Rob Flaherty. He kicked off the event by introducing the students to the Ketchum brand and by sharing how our creativity and diversity helps keep Ketchum at the forefront of public relations in a constantly evolving industry. Following Rob’s lead, Ketchum colleagues informed and advised the students on the following five topics:

Connecting Brands in Public Relations and Global Interdependence

    • The world is connected: Issues intersect so brands’ needs continue to transcend practices and geographies to best serve their corporate and consumer audiences
    • As brand counselors, it is essential that we work collaboratively and strategically with the global practices to identify opportunities and to mitigate risk

Developing Your Personal Brand and Landing the Perfect Ketchum Internship

    • Put your resume to work: Network, network, and then network some more!
    • Properly prepare for your interview: Research the company and its clients, rehearse an elevator speech
    • Be early, but not too early!
    • Learn the art of the perfect handshake!
    • Listen and ask thoughtful, prepared questions
    • Send follow-up thank you email/note

Engaging in the Digital Space

    • Personalization is key to successful online communications to ensure and deliver the most highly relevant content and experience
    • Think mobile first: Be sure to have a solid grasp on how to write strategies and messaging for the portable on-the-go customer

Communicating in the Multicultural Marketplace

    • Diversity is essential – but “diverse” doesn’t always mean different!
    • Know your audience and tailor your messages appropriately, while being wary of avoiding stereotypes
    • Language is key; but translating messages into Spanish (or any other language) doesn’t make your message culturally relevant
    • You need to discern when differences matter and, more importantly, when they do not

Participating in Mindfire

    • Ketchum’s award winning creative platform, Mindfire, succeeds through the dedicated participation of a diverse student community
    • HU student participation ensures the opinions and viewpoints of this cohort are shared with clients and the agency throughout the year
    • Students benefit through exposure to client challenges, prizes, career coaching, and exclusive content and notification of jobs and internships

Ketchum thanks the Howard University students for participating in an engaging and energetic dialogue about the PR industry and the importance of diversity in the work that we do, the clients we serve, and our daily interactions as PR professionals. We look forward to maintaining this relationship and to seeing them as new members of the Ketchum family with diverse skills, experiences and backgrounds.

 

Diane Johnson is a Vice President, Account Supervisor (VP/AS) with the Healthcare Practice in Ketchum’s Washington, DC office. Diane has more than 15 years of experience as a public health professional with a proven record in health communications, social marketing, project and fiscal management, strategic planning, and new business development. She has managed government, not-for-profit and industry communications programs aimed to educate the general public and specialty stakeholders—such as physicians, providers and multicultural communities—on a number of complex health issues including electronic health records, health information technology, medical coding and disease awareness.

She is a graduate of Brown University and received her Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina (UNC), Dennis and Joan Gillings School of Global Public Health. Ms. Johnson is also a W.K. Kellogg Fellow, Emerging Leaders in Public Health, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School in Chapel Hill, NC.