The reduction of plastic straws within some of the biggest restaurant chains is certainly shaping up to be an example of a good PR movement – something I’m rather fond of, I mean, why else would I be studying it?

This year has seen many major restaurant’s bidding adieu to plastic straws in an effort to end the ‘plastic tide’ of waste that is polluting the oceans.

These changes in the plastic straw spectacle come a year after parliament faced increased pressures to tax straws in a bid to reduce the quantity of consumption, although nothing was finalised at the time – however, it appears that brands have taken it upon themselves to step up and help the environment.

McD

The latest restaurant to announce the switch was McDonald’s, who confirmed they would be trialling paper straws in their stores in a bid to join the movement; it is likely that other fast food chains will shortly follow suit. McDonald’s are having an inventive and productive PR season, most recently with the launch of their Monopoly campaign (ever successful) and now with this, it can be said that many of their competitors will be looking for a chance to match their reputation. (Right, Burger King?)

Other companies ditching the plastic for paper include Nandos, All Bar One, Pizza Express, Wagamama and London City Airport.

This string of events perfectly marks the ‘PR’ chain reaction. A term coined by yours truly.

A chain reaction is defined as “A series of events, each caused by the previous one”, I’ve just put the word PR in front of it, makes sense, right?

When one large brand follows, others are bound to follow suit.

The first brand to instigate the movement effectively becomes a leader in the process and is known for their ingenuity and statement their make. Brands who imitate these actions are unlikely to receive such a level of high praise – this is because it becomes almost expected of them to emulate the approaches and positions of another.

Surely, this expectancy falls somewhere within their CSR (corporate social responsibility) right? Or is it just not wanting to face the backlash of not following suit?

When one company drives for change, others must subsequently follow in their footsteps, hence, the PR Chain Reaction.

In simple terms, observing the PR chain reaction, brands are not likely to see a magical PR turn-around in return, but it will certainly lend a hand in avoiding backlash for being behind the times.

Though the PR chain reaction is a term coined by myself, this idea of a reaction makes sense.

In today’s society, PR can be seen as a game of cat and mouse. Brands are often seen to be chasing each other to try and be the best, striving to go above and beyond their competitors; let’s be honest, that just how business works.

The chain reaction, whilst not allowing a company to be left behind, is something brands should aim to start, placing themselves at the top of the spectrum, to become the leader. If a brand becomes the first organisation to release a ground-breaking campaign, and others follow their footsteps, simply put, it is going to be a PR dream for the organisation.

At the end of the day, it’s all about thinking outside the box, being creative and taking risks.

 

Post by Erin Smith, final year BCU Media PR student, class of 2018

On Monday 30th, I was given the opportunity by Prova PR to attend the launch of the brand-new MG ZS. The launch itself took place at Whittlebury Hall in the Training and Conference Centre, which had a show room feel displaying the cars and visually pleasing graphics, giving us further information.

As a PR student, it was an eye-opening experience to attend the launch, as previously I have helped to organise events like this and witnessed the build-up but never got to see the final result. And as I was first to arrive, Aimee gave me a sneak peak of where the presentation was going to take place before all the journalists arrived!

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The presentation began with an introduction from Matthew Cheyne, Head of Sales and Marketing and followed with a talk from Carl Gotham, Head of Design at MG Motor. Both of them spoke about how important the design of the ZS was to the brand calling it ‘A new era’ for MG, and “a great drive designed for UK roads and UK drivers”.

The MG ZS is a compact SUV which is a “premium product without the premium price tag”. The car itself has three different driving modes: Urban, Normal, and Dynamic: all of which I got to test out when I took it for a drive!

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Whilst at the launch I was introduced to different journalists from around the country, such as Luke Edwards – a freelance journalist, who gave me his opinions and feedback on launches such as this one. It was great to understand different perspectives of launch events and what they believe makes a particular launch stand out from the rest. Such as the launch for the MG ZS took place in the countryside where the roads were quiet meaning they got plenty of driving time, compared to a previous launch he’s attended for another car brand where it was based in the city and the driving time was reduced due to traffic.

It was great to meet Aimee and Georgina from Prova PR who told me about how the event was pulled together and their roles in the launch. I also spent time with people from the in-house PR at MG who provided me with advice that will be extremely valuable in my future PR career.

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By the end of the launch I was convinced I needed to invest in an MG ZS of my own and walked away with an extremely exciting press pack which included MG merchandise along with a press release and promotional film.

 

Post by Kate Harper, third year PR specialist at Birmingham School of Media

 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no single ‘right way’ to graduate. You may be the sort of student who settles into university very quickly and soaks up the atmosphere, or like myself, you may take a while to adjust and find direction. If I was asked to give only one piece of advice it would be to do something that scares you every day, whether that is taking a risk on a university assignment or joining that society you have in mind. Scary can be good, and being petrified for almost my whole three years at university is what has got me to where I am today.

dean

The journey from A-Levels to University to Graduation may seem like a long time, but the experience itself seems to only last a few days; I still have times where I look back and wonder how on earth I survived first year, but nothing is more satisfactory than to look back and see how far you’ve come as a professional and as a person.

 

Whilst I don’t encourage you to fail, do not let that failure affect your drive and passion for your degree – remember you’re here for a reason and the admissions board and lecturers saw a light in you that you may not currently see in yourself.

I didn’t pass every module first time, yet here I am today with a 2:1, starting my career at one of the leading PR agencies in the UK, having applied for a graduate role shortly after leaving BCU.

This ultimately came down to my determination to succeed in my final year of my degree; I pushed myself to breaking points and I have survived to tell the tale and reap the benefits of this hard work.

My tips for graduate interviews:

Do not get disheartened if you do not get a graduate job straight out of university – use this time to develop yourself as an individual and create an identity for yourself.

Intern at agencies, make new contacts, keep on learning after you submit your dissertation and don’t give up. Find your expert area and take full advantage of this, own your knowledge, skills and experience and let your personality shine through in any interviews you may have.

Apply for graduate jobs you may not necessarily want just for the interview experience and use each of these situations to help build yourself and your confidence for when you finally get an interview in a company you want to work for.

Listen, learn and develop

My secret weapon comes towards the end of the interview, use your question time wisely and make the hiring managers think about you as an individual. My top question to ask is:

“In what way could you best utilise my skillset?”

This question will make that interviewer think about you as a person and will help to highlight your strengths.

I cannot thank my lecturers, Philip and Kelly, enough for their advice and knowledge and I would not be the professional I am today without their assistance. They are there to help you so make sure you take full advantage of their experience and expertise as it will assist you in your journey from graduate to executive.

If you have any further questions then do not hesitate to ask for my contact information and I will be more than happy to assist in any way that I can. I was in your position less than 12 months ago and I understand where you’re coming from – and where you could go.

 

Post by Dean Taylor, 2016-17 graduate of Birmingham School of Media, Social Media Executive at WPR Agency