Creating an infographic requires organized creativity. I found this oxymoron of an assignment challenging, yet fun.

For my PR class, I creating an infographic for The League to Save Lake Tahoe, which is an organization dedicated to preserving the environment in the Lake Tahoe basin.

As the famous saying goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.”  Infographics have taken this concept to a new level.

Benefits of a company using infographics:

  • Information is scannable
  • Message is clear and concise
  • They are more eye-catching than printed words
  • They are fun and engaging

When I created my graphic I wanted to focus on the elements of Lake Tahoe that people find awing. The clarity and the size of the lake are found shocking even to locals. My inspiration rooted from the depth perception used in the infographic regarding MH370. When I began to build my full visual I found that I needed to think about a fact literally to transform it into a graphic. I discovered many tips throughout the process.

Best practices:

  • Pick a color scheme at the beginning and STICK TO IT
  • Think what elements you want to include and how they can tie together
  • Break up the infographic into separate parts to signify separate points
  • Make more important elements bigger


This is my creation from Piktochart!


Keep Tahoe Blue Infographic

Keep Tahoe Blue Infographic



On May 6, 2014 National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell hosted a twitter chat the allowed fans to tweet in questions. Fans used the hashtag #AskCommish to communicate with Goodell.  The concept of communicating first had with fans can be beneficial to large organizations because it gives people a personal feel for the company. These live encounters can be difficult due to the lack of filter.

In this case, Goodell kept his head high as this “good” idea took a humorous turn when the questions started rolling in.

and finally…

Let’s Talk Crediblity

I believe that consistency and credibility go hand in hand. For a company to maintain their credibility through the public’s eye it must continuously be living and abiding by its mission.

Many times it will only take one mistake to ruin consumers’ trust in a company. Although, if the company has maintained great credibility.

An example of this is seen in the Target data breach which occurred in December 2013. According to the New York Times this massive financial disaster caused Target’s fourth quarter sales to drop 3.8 percent and transactions to drop 5.5 percent compared to the previous year. While sales did plummet, consumers still trust the big box store. Credibility was also restored by the response actions target took such as appointing a new chief information officer and investing $5 million in a cybersecurity coalition.

Not all companies maintain high enough credibility to survive a large blow. BP is still recovering from its company shattering oil spill in 2010 where it reported loosing a third of their company’s value. BP’s lack of transparency and accuracy during the first couple days of the disaster lead to the Obama administration to order the oil company to release all data related to the massive spill (e.g. environmental sampling analysis,  internal investigation reports and details of clean up effort).

Ultimately maintaing great credibility proves to be the best tactic in maintaining a loyal customer base and combating crises.

BP Oil Spill via

BP Oil Spill via


When a company wants to convey a message to an audience many times they are faced with the battle of being “tuned out.” The reader or viewer can anticipate what the message is going to be – based on the company – and will opt out of paying full attention to the message.

In the public relations industry it has been found that adding an element of surprise can catch the readers or viewers off guard, which prompts them to play closer attention to the message.

An example of this is shown in the NFL’s PLAY60 campaign.

This commercial uses a surprise element – along with a cute kids – to keep that viewer paying attention. If the kid would have said,  “thank you Cam Newton for coming to my school and teaching me how to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” the audience might tune out the message. This catchy ad not only executed the surprise element but also has shown the organization’s key messages in a more memorable way.

The ‘shock factor’ will not work every time – because that would become predictable – but utilizing the technique is a great way to wake up a sleepy audience.

Just for kicks, here is how Taco Bell used the same technique!



Crisis with the Clippers

April 25 marked a life-changing day for Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, when he was recorded making less than flattering racial remarks to his girlfriend. People across the globe are shocked and up in arms regarding Sterling’s inappropriate comments. From President Obama to Michael Jordan, celebrities have spoken to their disproval and many have called for game boycotts and his resignation.

This public relations nightmare has caused many brands – including Redbull, CarMax, Virgin America and Kia – to terminate their relationship with the Clippers. The national publicity put pressure on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, which he responded with a lifetime ban from the league as well as a $2.5 million fine.  

Not Sterling’s first foul

In 2002 there was not much uproar following Sterling’s sworn testimony, “African Americans ‘smell and aren’t clean'” In 2006 Sterling was sued by the Justice Department for housing discrimination; he would not rent apartments to Hispanics or African Americans in the Los Angeles area. Now, in 2014 Sterling’s behavior is centered in the public’s interest.

Why publicity now?

Many people are wondering why Sterling’s racism is now being publicly highlighted and criticized if this has been going on for years. While there are many arguable reasons for Sterling’s current limelight, I think an interesting angle to dissect is america’s fixation on sports.

  • A 2010 ESPN poll found that half of American adults have placed a bet on sports in the past year.
  • Of the 45 most-watched network TV broadcasts of all time, 21 are Super Bowls.
  • 53.2 percent of NBA fans watch five or more hours of basketball per week

Fan demographic across the United States. Retrieved from:

I think that America’ s fixation on professional sports amplified the coverage of this racial remark. The heavy following of the industry and professionals (i.e Earvin “Magic” Johnson) heightened the media attention and ultimately grew this PR crisis to the gargantuan monster it is now.

Finally, in the wise words of Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5W Public Relations, “No public relations campaign can help the Clippers franchise and the NBA out of this incident — other than removing Donald Sterling from the league. This man’s racist rants cannot be helped by a press release or press conference. Even the best PR campaign cannot help Donald Sterling.”

The Importance of Key Messages

In public relations, identifying the client’s key messages is essential to a successful campaign. Many times there will be “fluffy” information that disguises the core message. As a PR professional, it is your job to extract the main idea and trim away the rest.

Using key messages is necessary in crisis management PR. Addressing the public with a consistent message leaves less room for critique and conveys a clear and concise message to the public.

The “snowbrawl fight” at the University of Oregon in Dec. 2013 generated national media attention. For a national brand like the Oregon Ducks, it was crucial that the UO’s administration, the athletic department and the athletes were all expressing the same key messages.

The statements addressed:

  • Unacceptable behavior
  • Apology
  • Individual’s actions do not represent the entire community


“The behavior exhibited in the video is unacceptable and will not be tolerated on our campus… We will use this incident as an opportunity to remind our campus community of the positive values and quality of character that we as a university hold dear.” – Paul Shang, Dean of Students.

“I was one of the many UO students involved in the snowball fight on Friday and my actions escalated to an inappropriate level and for that I sincerely apologize. We never should have engaged innocent people and I deeply regret my actions and will accept the consequences.” – Pharaoh Brown, Oregon football player.

“While the reprehensible actions of a small number of students and student athletes are very disappointing, this single incident should not be taken as a reflection of the student body at large or our athletes,” –Sam Dotters-Katz, president of the UO’s student body.

Using the key messages to address the scandal, University of Oregon was able to slowly deteriorate the media coverage.



Here We Go


I am excited to say that this is my first blog post from a personal account. While I have enjoyed browsing through other people’s blogs, I am ready and eager to start one of my own. As an aspiring public relations professional, this blog will center on the sports PR industry in addition to the thoughts of an Oregon Duck in sunny weather. I will explore my personal interest with a professional lens in hope of sparking conversation around a variety of topics.

My background as a ski racer has led me to a fixation on the Winter Olympics. I am in awe of the worldwide collaboration. As I have learned more about communication through the SOJC, I have figured out that my dream job would involve working in public relations for Team USA. I am excited to explore topics that involve the presence of Olympic sports in the media.

In the next seven weeks, I will be focusing my posts specifically on sports public relations. I will explore the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to crisis management, social media and corporate practices. In addition, I will be responding weekly to a Pearl by Rebecca Taylor.

All comments and questions are encouraged. Here we go!