Kraft Foods Incorporating the Groundswell

In this world of always changing and increasing use of technology, social media has come to the forefront of advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, sales, etc. YouTube, Twitter, blogging, and many other forms of social media are being used more and more by major companies and corporations. For instance, Kraft Foods has created a website which coincides with this new social media age by adding videos and blog posts.


I would like to share two ways in which Kraft Foods has become involved in social media by comparing the company to the book Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. It’s a book by two Forrester analysts with practical, data-based strategies for companies that want to harness the power of social technologies like blogs, social networks, and YouTube. Groundswell is based on facts and experience from analysts who have advised more than 100 business clients on social technology strategy.     


One way Kraft Foods is using the ideas produced by Groundswell is by listening. In different sections on the Kraft Foods website, you can view a message board where Kraft consumers share their cooking ideas and recipes with one another, whether it’s entertaining, healthy living, or Kraft’s cooking school, where you can learn about basic cooking techniques. This gives the company the opportunity to receive feedback on the consumers’ needs and wants.


 Another way Kraft Foods is using the Groundswell is its use of videos, which can be found on the website as well as YouTube, and the ratings on each dish or recipe. These tactics could be in different categories like listening, energizing and embracing the Groundswell. Videos of the preparation of the meal helps consumers stay involved and interactive. The ratings could help consumers share with one another their thoughts on a specific recipe. This is a great tactic to get consumers involved because people are more willing to try something if it is recommended or highly praised by someone who has already tried it.


Lastly, Kraft has incorporated its brand on the growingly popular virtual social media program, Second Life. Millions of users can now play with the added feature of a Second Life supermarket which was launched by Kraft in May of 2007. The Supermarket is the only food manufacturer on Second Life, with Kraft Foods as its only brand. This relatively new form of social media is a great way to get consumers curious about Kraft brands, possibly items that did not originally associate with the Kraft Foods brand. This reinforces the quality of its products as well as variety.


Kraft Foods could definitely work on some aspects that would involve using the Groundswell ideas more effectively. Getting as much feedback and information from your consumers are keys to making your company successful. If your consumers are not happy, no one is happy. Kraft could definitely use more innovative ways of involving consumers, but in my opinion, they do have a pretty good grasp on social media at present.   


November 21, 2008 at 4:39 pm 2 comments

Building a Relationship with Your Local Print Shop

Sure I’m only in college, but I’ve already encountered problems with getting assignments printed at my local print shop. I shouldn’t blame them for the confusing margin settings, using only particular software programs, and having older equipment. I shouldn’t expect any print shop to conform to my needs. They are doing me a service, so I should conform my publications to their specific settings.


I recently took a tour of the Eagle Print Shop at Georgia Southern University, and they were able to show us why customers must follow such particular guidelines when submitting an item for publication. Some may have tight budgets and limited resources, so you need to find out what those are before sending something to them.


On the blog Design Matters, a post entitled Online vs Local Printers expresses how this issue can be easily settled. The author’s opinion is that although sometime more expensive, using a local printer is the better option because you can build a relationship with your local printer, meaning they will take the time to meet your needs and do the job right.


With all of the confusion and frustrations you may encounter at your local print shop, you must remember that they are helping you, so it’s in your best interest to build a positive relationship with the print shop in your area. If you are planning a career that will require you to design and create regular publications, here are some things to remember before sending something off to be printed.


·         Visit your local print shop to introduce yourself to the owner or manager.

·         Ask questions about the basic formatting of specific items.

·         Find out the cost of individual items or bulk.

·         Don’t assume a print shop will have the program you need. ASK!

·         Find out their specific preferences, such as labeling items on your jump drive.

·         Be prompt. Bring items to print shop as far in advance as possible.



Do anything to make your local print shop’s experience of working with you a pleasant one. Building a good relationship with your local print shop as you pursue a career in public relations could be an extremely important aspect of the ease in which you complete a publication task. If they hate to see you walk through the door, then they are not as likely to be overly helpful in a speedy print job. Your willingness to work with them and conform to their settings could result in their willingness to help you in an emergency.

November 21, 2008 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

Top Reasons to Use Adobe InDesign

Almost everyone has heard of the software Adobe InDesign, but do you know how easy and efficient it is to use for your desktop publishing projects? InDesign is a great program for creating items like brochures, flyers, newsletters, and much more. What makes it such a good tool for publishing products is that’s exactly what this software was designed for: Creating. It’s much more efficient than standard programs like Microsoft Word, and trust me I have done my best to create using Word, and it’s not easy to manipulate. You can’t type beside a picture because the cursor won’t allow it. You can’t type on a path around a picture. You can’t use transparency or manipulate fun shapes. It’s just too structured of a program, and it’s not designed to create like InDesign.


According to A Review of Adobe InDesign from, professions ranging from advertising and newspapers to public relations need a good mix of graphic skills and writing to produce quality print publications for clients. Adobe InDesignis the perfect software program for people with little graphic design knowledge. It opens up a world of creative possibilities for those with limited design experience. From cool typography tools to its flexible illustration tools, Adobe InDesign has definitely made creating desktop publishing projects fun and easy (well, once you use it a couple of times).


All this said, I’ve compiled a short list from personal experience and other reviews of top reasons why you should consider using Adobe InDesign for your next publishing project.


·         Professional typography:Create interesting, sophisticated typography for any media with text and table styles, text wrap control, the Paragraph Composer, OpenType support, drop caps, and more.

·         Balance:“All in all, InDesign CS3 has an excellent balance of new design and performance features, making this a compelling upgrade for the program’s user base.”

·         Designer Awards: “The designers gave careful consideration to functions that aid creativity, improve productivity, and allow repetitive features to be scripted. Because the developers are working on the next version.”

·         Layout productivity tools:Quickly and precisely produce sophisticated page layouts with fun designs using productivity tools that were created or enhanced based on the input of InDesign users worldwide.

·         Search with Ease: One new feature I have found extremely useful is the expanded Find and Replace options. You can now search based on object attributes and make changes to strokes and fills document wide instantly.


If you are still uncertain about using Adobe InDesign, research the information on these links as well as other reviews. I’m certain you will find that for your most basic project to your most complex, InDesign will fulfill most if not all of your publication needs.

November 20, 2008 at 11:25 pm Leave a comment

Developing a Good Blog

I am not alone in this new blogging endeavor. I feel better now, just by stating (writing) that. As a college, and like most other people, starting something new, something that can totally mess up a certain routine, can be intimidating and often frustrating. When my professor explained what blogs and posts are, my immediate reaction was not ‘cool’.

But now that I’ve started blogging on a somewhat regular basis, I don’t know how most young people are turned off by the idea, especially in this internet age. Blogging is such a good way to be expressive, share ideas, and voice your opinions. I’m still learning and exploring, along with my classmates, many of whom already have exceptional blogs of their own.

For instance, Donovan Sharkey’s blog Sharkey’s Machine has not only a unique and clean design, but it also includes valuable insight which targets areas like business and public relations. His latest post Blogging for Big Businesses is a great example of how he incorporates his own perspective with the links and information he found about this particular topic.

Sharkey comments on how blogging could greatly impact The North Face, a company that he is currently researching,  saying, “It is possible that if The North Face doesn’t capitalize on blogging and social media that their brand will go the way of countless other fly-by-night fads. Anybody remember Ocean Pacific, British Knights, or Members Only? Blogging can be the catalyst that helps organizations continue the momentum growth; instead of slowly losing steam and not knowing why.”

Another great example of a well developed blog from a classmate is Kelli Martin. Her self-titled blog includes fun graphics, catchy titles, and a great layout. This blog is easy to read and stresses many of the important basics of public relations, such as her latest blog entitled Strategic PR Planning and Goal Setting. Martin also incorporates great links about her interests and personal information, such as the Fortune 500 Company Limited Brands and her resume.

Developing a good blog takes time, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really not so bad. Depending on the topic of your blog, follow these three writing guidelines to make it successful.

·         Develop a writing style and tone appropriate to your subject material.

·         Post often, even if your posts are short.

·         Allow your readers to comment on your posts.

November 20, 2008 at 4:11 pm Leave a comment

Penelope Trunk’s Blog, “Brazen Careerist”, Scores Big

Last weekend at the Public Relations Student Society of America 2008 National Conference in Detroit, Michigan, college students from across the nation had the pleasure of hearing Penelope Trunk, author of “Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success”, speak at a general session for the Public Relations Society of America. Aside from publishing her book, Penelope is also an expert business advice columnist for the Boston Globe and author of the popular blog, “Brazen Careerist: Advice at the intersection of work and life.” In my quest to find fun and interesting blogs, particularly ones with some relation to PR or communications, I knew after listening to this remarkable woman that I had to start reading her blog.


“The Brazen Careerist” blog is fun, personal, and full of great advice for the new generation workplace. In one sense, Penelope reminds me of Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO series “Sex and the City.” She seems to have a crazy life wrapped up in her writing and relationships. On the other hand, Penelope is like Martha Stewart, Oprah, or even Meg Whitman, CEO of pioneering online auctioneer eBay Inc., in that she is incredibly intelligent, charismatic, and very knowledgeable on good business and public relations tactics.


This blog is definitely entertaining and informative. I think it’s fantastic when you can be good at something and love what you do. It is evident that Penelope Trunk enjoys writing, and I now look forward to checking up on her blog to see what will happen next, whether it’s another dramatic tale from her personal life or a new list of great advice. Between her clever titles and tips and her excellent writings skills, I’m sold on this ‘Brazen Careerist’ and give Penelope Trunk’s blog an A+.

November 6, 2008 at 4:46 pm 1 comment

PR Communications

I have recently started checking out new blogs (well, they’re new to me), and my latest find has sparked my interest. It’s a public relations blog entitled “PR Communications” with the subtitle, “John Cass, a marketer, writes about corporate blogging, PR, marketing, social media, and the Internet.” Sure, the title alludes to what John’s focus is, but his posts are incredibly helpful for anyone in PR who likes receiving tips about new software, social media, leadership roles, and news in the corporate world.


I am fairly new to blogging, so my skills could definitely use some improvement. I’m still learning some of the basics, like what sort of keywords should I not target, how to add quality in business blogging, and this blog answers these questions. He also incorporates other sites and blogs within his posts. John not only gives tips and good blogging techniques; he also makes comments on other business blogs and provides readers with a hyperlink to locate them. The format of his blog also makes it easy to navigate and see everything clearly.  


This blog clearly targets the many aspects of public relations communication, but I like how John applies the field of public relations to the various topics of his posts. I have really enjoyed gaining a new sense of awareness about blogs and their often valuable information. John Cass’s blog has certainly been helpful to me, and I hope to be just as informative about public relations in my own blog in the future.

November 6, 2008 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Article Review: Admiring the Organization

This past summer, Denise Bortree and Richard Waters studied the relationship between volunteers and nonprofit organizations using the four relational quality outcomes originally proposed by Linda Hon and James E. Grunig a decade ago. The relational dimensions are trust, commitment, satisfaction, control mutuality. According to Hon and Grunig, trust is a critical factor in the volunteer’s decision to help an organization advance its mission. Commitment ultimately results in the volunteer’s relation to the organization’s mission. Satisfaction was proven to be a powerful variable used to predict an individual’s willingness to invest time and resources in the organization. Lastly, control mutuality seeks to evaluate which side has more power in the relationship.


After studying these four concepts and conducting their own research, Bortree and Waters tested a fifth dimension of the volunteer-organization relationship not found in the work of Hon and Grunig. The concept of admiration, meaning the degree to which one likes or approves of the behavior of the partner, would provide a way for organizations to assess how key publics view an organization. This addition to the four outcomes contributes to the quality of the relationship. “The presence of admiration in the volunteer-nonprofit organization relationship would likely improve the volunteer’s perception of the relationship. Volunteers seek out organizations that they admire and expect that their donation of time and their work be valued by the organization” (4).


As a public relations major, I am very interested in learning about the different aspects of the field. Public Relations involves the management of relationships between an organization and its significant publics (4) just as the nonprofit-volunteer relationship was studied in this journal. These relational quality outcomes could most definitely be applied to a PR professional’s practices. Although it should have come as no surprise, I was amazed how the relationship between nonprofit organizations and volunteers was so important.


There have been several instances that I volunteered, but my efforts varied among the different organizations. The American Heart Walk is a perfect example of how far a nonprofit organization has come over the years. I am always willing to solicit donations and serve within a community for The American Heart Walk Association because they make volunteering so easy, and they make your personal time and efforts feel much appreciated. However, other nonprofit organizations are less organized and no as appreciative of your service. This article helped me see why it is so important to gain strong relationships with your public and maintain them.


Now that I am more aware of nonprofit organizations and their role in being effective communicators with volunteers, I would like to learn how other organizations seek to maintain strong relationships. The concepts in this article are certainly useful guidelines for public relations, but I am interested to see how large corporations seek the admiration, commitment, and satisfaction of their key public. I will be following Kraft Foods Corporation as well as the Humane Society of Statesboro, GA in two upcoming projects, so I will be looking for the relationship attitudes of both organizations to see if their relationships to their public and volunteers are strong and effective.


Bortree, D., Waters, R. (2008). Admiring the organization: a study of the relational quality outcomes of the nonprofit organization-volunteer relationship. Public Relations Journal, 2, 1-17   

October 23, 2008 at 12:07 am Leave a comment

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