Road-Tripping: It’s what I do

11 03 2010

I’ve been on many road-trips in my day and I have enjoyed them all- some more than others.  But the key to properly approaching and experiencing this type of journey is keeping the proper perspective.

It’s not about the destination, how many souvenirs you can get for a few bucks or how fast it takes you to get to your vacation spot- it’s simply about the journey.  Living in the moment, to be precise.

Whether you’re traveling a couple of hours away, or like the #wififwhip, traveling 16 hours to Austin, Texas, it’s the moments in between take-off and arrival that need to be treasured and truly LIVED.  The late-night meals at a Waffle House and the soul-spilling conversations that occur between the passenger and driver while everyone else is asleep are the brilliant moments that pump me up and inspire.

It’s during those times I don’t have a care in the world.  I’m on a road-trip, a vacation if you will, so my meetings with Mr. Worry and Mrs. Obligation will have to be rescheduled for another time, because I am at peace.

So what are your tips for surviving those road-trips and long vacations?  What moments inspire you?


1,103 Miles of Pure Connectivity

10 03 2010

1,103 miles. 17 hours, give or take.  Every inch,  every conversation and every one of those hours will be spent in a car during a road trip that will certainly culminate in public relations and technology bliss.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2010 PRSSA National Assembly in Austin TX, so naturally, myself and four other Butler students have opted out of taking the typical, comfy plane ride. 

Instead, Robbie Williams, Maddy Barnas, Emily Elliot and I will be making the road-trip of all road-trips- a 1,020 minute adventure in an SUV that has been completely transformed into a mobile wi-fi hotspot.

Throughout the journey, all four of us will be blogging, tweeting, UStreaming and connecting to the fullest. 

We have no plans.  No itinerary.  Only a destination.

There is no editorial calendar for our posts or concrete outlines of what we would like to write about.  Instead, we will chronicle our journey as we see it, as it happens.

So follow along, try to keep up and join us as we experience 1,103 miles of pure connectivity.

Please feel free to chime in at any point in our trip, give us advice, the location of the World’s Largest Frying Pan and other oddball attractions, great food stops and PLEASE keep us awake!

The Patron Saint of Delicious

25 02 2010

Upon entering the dimly lit and bustling tavern, I immediately encountered the strangest thing: mobs of citizens,  businessmen, big wigs and your everyday Joe cheerfully partaking in their delicious cocktails, telling jokes, carrying on and…crying. 

Crying?  Something was off. These folks looked happy, nay, exuberant, yet tears were flowing like Long Island Iced Teas at an open bar.

A plastic device began to erupt, signaling to me that it was my time to see what all of the fuss was about.

 Surrounded by walls of beautifully aged wood and joyous folks, I took my seat and began to dive in to the list of cuisine that lay before me.

Upon my lady friend’s ordering, my journey into cuisine legend began. 

The bow-tied waiter placed before me a shining, immaculate cauldron filled with six, enormous decapod crustaceans bathing in their own version of the Red Sea. 

Without a word, I tossed one in to my mouth and a stream of tears, none like I have ever seen, began to pour.

This was it.  The legend.  The St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail.  The feeling of your sinuses clearing in an instant and the jolt that shoots through your entire body is almost indescribable.

 Like a painful sore in your mouth that you just can’t leave alone, I went back for more.

In the fewest words possible, this shrimp cocktail is amazing.  Everyone has seen it on TV, read and heard about it, but there is nothing like experiencing it in person.  The shrimp are amazing, huge and tender while the flaming sauce is spicy and delicious.  Imagine taking a bite off of a horseradish root marinated in wasabi and then chasing it with the finest shrimp around.  It shocks you, but  only  for a few seconds, and then you crave more.

Whenever I am downtown and have a few bucks to spare- I grab this delight.  If you live in Indianapolis and normally need a cup of coffee to keep you going, try the cocktail instead.  It will surely jumpstart your day. 

It’s the true working man’s meal.

So those who’ve tried it, what was your experience? Those who haven’t, shoot me a message and I will gladly accompany you so you can experience this wonder yourself.

Great things are #HAPPO ‘ning!

19 02 2010

Please allow me to reintroduce myself.

My name is Evan Strange and I am a 22 year-old Senior at Butler University where I am studying journalism with a concentration in PR/Advertising and a backgound in business and marketing

Aside from school, I intern at one of the largest, full-service public relations and advertising agencies in Indiana and have been able to execute community relations, crisis communications and media relations programming.

I love to write, create, strategize, connect and am looking for an environment that is condusive to my creativity and strategic thinking.

I think outside of the box and I never want to go back in. I am a writer by trade and entrepreneur at heart- put those together and it’s a potent combination.

Add some proactivity, ingenuity and a lack of complacency and you have the makings of a lean, mean, public relations machine.

I enjoy a fast-pace, thrive on deadlines and I get results.

Put a problem in front of me and I’ll solve it.

I am hoping to move out west one day and would love to live in Colorado, Oregon or Wyoming but I am open to going where ever the wind should take me. Oh, and Indianapolis, I love you.

Want to know more? Here is my resume.

I’ll take my own umbrella.

12 02 2010

To preface this blog post, I must admit that I am a former marketing student who turned on the dark side (I only joke) and became a journalism and integrated communications major.

The other night I had an interesting discussion, some could call it a debate, with a good friend of mine who is a marketing student at Butler

As I was discussing a few PR matters with a fellow classmate, the marketing student across the room exclaimed “It doesn’t even matter, marketing CONTROLS the PR.  WE tell YOU what to do.”

With a simple “Oh, really?” muttered on my end, the debate ensued.

The point that she made was that PR fell under the magical Marketing Umbrella and that it was the 4th P, promotion.  With a few more text-book definitions rattled off, it was time for my rebuttal.

While I agree that the public relations and marketing departments in most companies work very closely, it is hard for me to believe that the marketers are in complete control of what the PR people are doing.

The next point I made was that she clearly misunderstood the role of public relations.  Yes, media relations (not to be confused with PR as a whole) executives may seek to promote a company or organization, but the end-goal of the public relations practitioner and a marketer are completely different.

While marketing is, in large part, focused on getting a product or service to a customer after a transaction is made, the goal of PR is the mutually beneficial relationship with not only the consumer, but with all stakeholders.  Yes, these relationships may result in a sale, but the main focus is completely different.

I’ve been fortunate enough to do some community relations and public outreach with my current employer.  To say those initiatives are controlled by marketing doesn’t sit well with me.

I have had an internship where both departments work directly with each other and another where the practitioner has a direct-line to the CEO of the organization being served.  In neither case was the marketing department in complete control.

Instead, it was more of a collaborative effort.  This is where IMC comes in.

At this point we came to a stalemate.  Progress was absent, and we were right back where we started.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a knock on marketing.  This is an exploration of the relationship between the two “departments” and a notice to those who haven’t yet grasped the concept of integration.

So what do you think- does the marketing department CONTROL the PR?  What have your experiences been?  What would your response to Ms. Marketing Student be?

Another piece of paper?

22 01 2010

Everyone has heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know” and while unfortunately I agree in many instances, is that really true?

Last night, during the twitter chat #u30pro, there was a lot of talk about the importance of networking and resumes, and which one is more important during a young hopeful’s job search.

First, let me clarify my comments about a resume being equally important, if not more, than a stack of business cards.

A resume is not just a piece of paper.  It’s a representation of your collective experience in a given area or field, and gives insight to a future employer about what you can actually bring to an organization.  So to say a resume is not important, it’s almost as if you are snubbing all of the hard-earned knowledge and experience you have aquired.

So is it “all about networking”?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-networking. Actually, I enjoy it very much and I understand its worth.  I have met some fantastic people through school, Twitter, my internships and organizations like PRSSA, PRSA and AAF.  Those people have provided me with opportunity after opportunity, and I am grateful, but it is I who has to deliver in the end.

Networking is a very important and crucial part of a professional’s success and has the potential to open many doors, but it’s your experience and knowledge that get you through those doors and allows you to have continued success.

So what do you think?  Which is more important- who or what?


Don’t Hate. Collaborate.

13 01 2010

I’m no social media purist. I have never claimed to be.  But I have used social media quite a bit and had success in the areas I’ve used it to supplement my efforts.  With that being said, that success doesn’t make me any better than anyone else who chooses to interact in any social media- it just makes me one of the millions of people who are engaging online.

 There is no hierarchical structure in social media where a certain amount of followers, subscribers, etc. gets you a certain status or rank.  Although some users may be more influential than others, everyone is on the same playing field, and that’s the beauty of social media.

Lately I have seen some social media snobbery that has irked me enough to write this very post.

The other night someone posted that they just don’t get people who don’t use social media, and that it’s far too important to ignore.  Yes, I agree that it is very important, especially in the area of work I have chosen to pursue. But, my SM use doesn’t make me any better than those who choose not to use it as much as I, nor does it detract from the person who doesn’t use it at all.

Just like SM is not a perfect fit for every campaign or PR problem/opportunity, it’s not a perfect fit for every person either.

With all of this in mind, there are a few points (that some are getting confused) for everyone to be aware of:

  1. Social Media is not PR, it’s just one of the many tools the practitioner has at his or her disposal.
  2. Twitter is NOT social media, it is A social media
  3. When you tweet, blog, etc. you are A PART of a community, not just a leader

Social media is the everymans media, it’s not elitist.  So collaborate with others and engage, don’t worry about those who don’t and learn from those who do.

Let’s think about SMobs another way. If you’re at a party, would you rather hang out with the cool guy who is telling you new things about a subject you’re very interested in, or Debbie Downer in the corner who is complaining about everyone else at the party and making fun of those who weren’t even invited?  I think the choice is obvious.

Bottom line: don’t hate, collaborate!