• Temple PRSSA

Sean Greenwood, Director of Public Relations and Communications at Ben & Jerry’s, spoke to Temple PRSSA’s members on April 13 with his presentation “Using PR for Good Vs. Evil - How Ben & Jerry’s Communicates for Progressive Change.” Greenwood has been with Ben & Jerry’s for over three decades, beginning in 1988 as a member of the Vermont-based company’s Special Events and Tours department. From there, he worked his way through a number of roles within the company until reaching his current position, which he has held since 2005.

Greenwood began his presentation by explaining that Ben & Jerry’s sees itself not as an ice cream company, but as “an aspiring social justice company that happens to make ice cream.” He added that one of the company’s underlying philosophies since its 1978 inception was that businesses have a responsibility to give back to their communities.

Throughout the years, Ben & Jerry’s has not been afraid to stand up for what it believes is right and back up those beliefs with action. Greenwood sees this social mission as the differentiator between the company and its competitors, saying, “it’s not for sales, we do it because we believe in it.” In a time where many are expecting large businesses to assist in fighting the pressing issues of today, Ben & Jerry’s is leading the way.

Recent company-led initiatives have centered around increasing voting registration, combating environmental issues, bringing more Black-owned businesses into the supply chain process, and dismantling systemic racism. Greenwood described how Ben & Jerry’s is completely transparent about being political, yet is not partisan, citing that they have fought against legislative policies spearheaded by both major American political parties.

Another primary point was that Ben & Jerry’s avoids cause-related marketing (where the goal is to build the brand), instead favoring values-led activism (where the goal is to create progressive social change). Company culture and practices are also important to Ben and Jerry’s. The ice cream icon strives to make its workplace an environment where people of all backgrounds feel welcome and supported.

In October 2019, Congressman John Lewis, a historic civil rights icon, spoke to employees at Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Vermont. Soon thereafter, a partnership was formed to create a graphic novel trilogy celebrating Lewis’ life and the causes he fought for. Today, Ben & Jerry’s sees its social justice impact as “necessary trouble” - taking inspiration from Lewis’ famed quote. Looking towards the future, expect Ben & Jerry’s to continue striving to create progressive changes for years to come.

This blog post was written by Erik Potts, Digital Committee Member.

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The rise of social media creators that associate themselves with brands is ever increasing, which is why it is imperative that companies are aware of social media trends in order to use them to gain valuable brand recognition. More often than not, these small creators-turned huge creators, are associated with brands, intentionally or unintentionally. Today, we will look at two rising social media creators that are associated with brands, and how we as PR professionals utilize that exposure.

The first case study is about a creator named Nathan Apodaca, aka Doggface208. Apodaca is a TikTok creator that took social media by storm in September 2020. He posted a video of himself longboarding while drinking Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice (unintentionally), and it instantly became a viral sensation. The video blew up and has accumulated over 80 million views. So, the question is, how did Ocean Spray handle this situation?

It is difficult to have your brand represented by a person, especially if that someone isn’t vetted and approved beforehand, but that is the curse and beauty of social media. In this case, having Apodaca unintentionally represent the entire face of Ocean Spray worked in their favor. About two weeks after the initial video, Ocean Spray collaborated with Apodaca, and the company received worldwide brand recognition. To this day, Ocean Spray is still using Apodaca to represent its brand on TikTok. Instead of ignoring the situation, Ocean Spray cooperated with the bigger story and managed to gain valuable brand recondition.

The second case study is about a creator named Milad Mirghahari, a TikToker who makes Subway sandwiches. He currently has over 3.5 million followers and records himself making sandwiches via a camera strapped onto his chest. Mirghahari’s videos are known throughout TikTok and have an active base of supporters. With Mirghahari’s videos showing the raw functions of Subway, i.e., how they prepare food, clean dishes and make sandwiches, it would be understandable if Subway told Mirghahari to stop producing videos. Instead, Subway took this opportunity and made it work for them.

Subway decided to create a social media campaign that incorporated Mirghahari’s style of videos. Subway had Mirghahari run their TikTok and create content for them. The campaign was successful in terms of engagement. Before the takeover, Subway averaged around 100 thousand views per video, but when Mirghahari took over, the average jumped to almost three million views per video. Subway had many options here but chose the only option that increased their brand awareness and associated themselves with a famous content creator.

Content creators using brands intentionally and unintentionally will only increase. In these two instances, if either company wasn’t aware of social media trends, they would have missed out on huge opportunities to boost their brand recognition. The key takeaway for PR professionals is that social media is a spontaneous community that can either make or break a brand’s image. With that in mind, we need to not only make sure that the brands we represent have a social media presence, but also be culturally aware of trends and trendsetters in order to capitalize on opportunities and avoid potential crises.

This blog post was written by Constantine Van Sickle, Director of PR.

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It is undoubtedly difficult to stay focused on school when the sunshine starts to peek out from behind the wintery clouds. The temperature starts to rise, and students gather in their socially distanced spots on Temple U’s Beury Beach. The end of the semester is a tough push forward, especially when the warm weather mocks you through the windows. Below are 3 tips I follow to help me push through the last few weeks of a tough semester.

1. Write down what you need to do

When you write down your weekly assignments, it becomes easier to visualize what tasks you need to complete each day to stay on top of your work. Staying organized and maintaining a clear understanding of what you need to do helps keep your mind sharp and your goals focused! P.S. - planners are your new best friend.

2. Remember to eat, sleep, and get outside:

It can be tempting to give in to your desire to spend time with friends outside rather than stay in class. So don’t be afraid to let yourself relax and have fun in the warm weather. After a year of being shoved inside, it’s okay to do a socially distanced walk with some friends (+ some face masks) to release the built-up cabin fever. Sleeping is also super important, as is fueling your body with food that makes you feel good. Taking care of yourself is an important part of achieving your goals and staying focused.

3. Ask for help when you need it

No one signed up to do college all alone. When it comes time for final papers or studying for the big exam, there is power in a different set of eyes. Don’t be afraid to set up a Zoom call for a virtual study group, or utilize Temple’s Writing Center to get a new perspective on the paper you just wrote. The end of the semester means you’re so close to being done, so don’t give up!

Being focused on school at the end of a semester is easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Staying organized, asking for help, and taking care of yourself are all huge parts of staying focused this spring. Despite the extremely difficult last year of being a college student, success is still out there for us to grab.

This blog post was written by Anne Cleary, Director of Fundraising.

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