PR Rules

PR Rules
A blog about our adventures in the great, mad world of PR. Write your own story. Blog. Become. Get noticed. Share. Write on.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tips to Reduce Sticker Shock on Monthly Eletrical Bills

Man, it's hot out there. And your wallet can certainly feel the pinch. Here are 12 tips from the brilliant Andrea Woroch to stay cool while reducing your kilowatt usage.

Consumers across America are experiencing sticker shock with this month's electrical bill. While kilowatt rates vary by vendor, a new national increase is being seen across the country.
With the enactment of the Clear Air Interstate Rule from the Environmental Protection Agency, 31 states are required to substantially reduce power-plant emissions. Specifically, power plants must reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by a whopping 71 percent and nitrogen oxide emissions by 52 percent.
Coal is both the most common energy source and the primary cause of both emissions. As a result, this new regulation is expected to cost coal power plants billions of dollars for retrofitting or in facility replacements. Naturally, this expense is being passed on to consumers. Short of going "off the grid," what's a customer to do? Here are 12 tips to help reduce your kilowatt usage.
1. Go Window Shopping
When the weather hits over 90 degrees and it's too hot to be outdoors, leave your credit card at home and head to an air-conditioned mall. After a few laps around the perimeter, you'll have gotten some exercise while catching up on the latest fashions.

2. Get Out of the House
Turn off the air conditioning, the TV and all those electricity hogs and enjoy some time in the great outdoors. If your kids spend their summer vacations playing video games, they're sucking up a lot of energy without expending any of their own. Sign them up for sports leagues, summer camps and other activities outside the home. While you may have to pay a registration fee, you can still save on equipment by using Target and Sports Authority discount gift cards ordered from such sites as

3. Turn Off Power Strips
Even if you've turned off the television, computer and other power vampires, those power strips are still sucking you dry. The same goes for rechargers, which may seem benign when not hooked up to your cell phone. The fact is, they're still drawing electricity when not in use, so flip that switch. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the standby power of unused appliances usually accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of residential electricity costs.

4. Power Down Computers
Running a computer and monitor 24/7 uses about 1,100 kilowatt hours annually, or roughly $100 a year. Save 60 percent to 80 percent by putting your computer in power-saving mode or turning it off completely.

5. Use Powerless Cleaning Appliances
Use an old-fashioned can opener instead of that space-hogging electrical opener to reduce kilowatt usage. Clean rugs with a carpet sweeper instead of a vacuum. (You can find these old-fashioned cleaners at a surprising number of garage sales.) Dry laundry on a clothes line or rack instead of a power-hungry dryer. (Washers and dryers are 19 percent of your energy bill.) In general, consider how you can replace miniature power users with powerless appliances.

6. Shut the Curtains
Turn off or turn down an air conditioner by keeping windows covered during the day. You'll minimize sun exposure while maximizing the cooler night air.

7. Wash Dishes in Batches
It may seem hand-washing dishes would reduce both your water and electrical bill, but Energy Star appliances are actually much better for your family finances. The original investment, however, is terribly high. As a simple fix, wait until the dishwasher is completely full before running it. Avoid filling the machine with over-sized pots and pans as they're cheaper to wash by hand. Keep in mind that dishwashers compose 2 percent of your electrical bill.

8. Lower the Lighting Bill
You've heard lots of talk about CFL light bulbs and there's a reason why. CFLs are cheaper to run, generate less heat and last much longer. Switching out just one incandescent bulb for a CFL will save you $35 in energy costs -- or up to 65 percent -- over the projected 10-year life of the bulb.

9. Turn Off the Stove
Pasta, veggies and other foods cooked in water will continue to cook once the water is boiled. Turn the burner off half way through the cooking process and you'll reduce your energy use; just make sure you leave on the lid to hold in the heat.

10. Fill Up Your Freezer and Fridge
As with your dishwasher, these kitchen appliances operate more efficiently when full. You needn't overbuy at the supermarket, however. Instead, fill bottles and milk containers with water to take up the extra space.

11. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Give your air conditioning system a break when no one is in the house. According to Energy Star, increasing a house's temperature during these hours by pre-programming a thermostat cuts the average household's electric bill by $180 a year. That's because heating and cooling systems are 45 percent of your monthly energy bill.

12. Clean A/C Filters
Filters clog up with pollen, animal hair, dust and other unmentionables. Cleaning or replacing your filter improves efficiency. You'll want to clean it more often if you have pets or are experiencing a particularly heavy pollen season.

Share these 12 tips with your audience so more people can save energy and money.
Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch, is available to share "12 Tips to Save Kilowatts and Cash" with your audience for an in-studio, satellite or skype interview. Andrea has been featured as a media expert source on NBC's Today Show, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, ABC News NOW and many more. For more savings tips follow @AndreaWoroch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Final Examination

Dear Graduate PR Students,

Thanks again for a great semester. It has been an honor being with you and learning from you this spring. Please note that the recorded lecture from last week's class is now up on Blackboard in your MP3's folder. Also, please let me know how I might be of assistance to you prepare for your final examination. If you have any questions, either e-mail or call me on my cell phone:  607-592-2527. Please leave a message if I am unable to answer and I'll call you as soon as I can.

Final Thinking Oral Examination- To be presented both in written form and communicated orally in class on Tuesday, May 10 from 7:30-10:00 p.m.

Given your extraordinary work ethic and hard work on the final project and by extension, with your real world client, where you are initially putting theory into practice—the ultimate goal of any course— I struggled to find a real purpose other than causing you stress to assign more examinations that end up turning into more rote memorization more than actual learning.

Rather, I want to hear from you each for five minutes on the last class. Come to class with the answers (to all five questions below) prepared and typewritten. I will then ask you a series of questions based on your responses, as well as any other questions that might arise.  Further, I have reviewed all of your work for the semester. I have all of it in a binder and I will be sending you each an individual report about your work this semester via e-mail on Monday, May 9.

In person, on the evening of the Final Oral Examination, you may also raise questions about my assessments of your work as well. While I am working with one student for five minutes each, the the rest of the class will be filling out individual evaluations of how they felt each person on their team performed.

Here are your (5) exam questions: 

1)      Gladwell’s skills as a researcher and writer lie in connecting the dots between what would seem to be disconnected ideas, and once connected they add great richness to our understanding of the issues at hand. In your work in public relations, either academically or professionally, do you believe the essence of our work is connecting the dots between what would seem to be disconnected ideas? Please explain. You may also cite some of Gladwell’s work in any of the readings this semester to support your answer.
2)      In “What the Dog Saw,” Gladwell taps a unique research approach and views problems and issues not from his own point of view but though someone else’s eyes, someone close enough to the phenomenon to give us new perspective. In reviewing the essays you were assigned this semester in this text, pick one that you enjoyed best. Tell me why. 
3)      The Tipping Point offers insights into the phenomenon of the ―tipping point—that moment when an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold and turns into an epidemic. Understanding this moment is invaluable to PR professionals. Explain why.
4)      The most challenging thing about public relations is that it is essentially intangible. How can we measure and predict what we cannot actually see?  All semester, we have spoken of PR in many different ways- it is essentially, the management of credibility. In the last few weeks of class since the Midterm, summarize what you have learned about credibility, particularly as it applies to any relevant case studies and/or class discussions on Risk Communication.
5)      Social media sure is hot right now for PR professionals. Why? How do you think you will use (or are using) social media to best advantage in your work? Do you think it’s a fad or that it will endure? Explain.

Good luck and see you Tuesday night! 
All best,

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dealing with PR Dilemmas at Applebee's and Olive Garden

Dear Class,

Please read this article and comment on the statement issued by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in reaction to this PR dilemma. Given what we have discussed about crisis PR and positioning strategies, is this statement effective? Why or why not?

Some of the PR consultant's comments about the use of social media during a crisis are very timely, considering tonight's discussion on the role of social media in a PR executive's life.

Applebee's, Olive Garden face PR problem after serving alcohol to kids - via @USATODAY

From a quick scan in the headlines, it appears that Olive Garden's current PR mess re: alcohol in sippy cups is exacerbated by some employees using Twitter to complain about the validity of their frequently advertised cooking school.
Can't wait to talk about this stuff!

See you tonight,
Professor Berry

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Home Green Home Update

Hello Class,

First and foremost, thank you all for your insightful questions posed when Joe Nolan came in to talk to us. (Please remember NOT to post any information about our client's business on this blog, since it's not a private blog and some information may be considered proprietary!).  I would like all Team Captains to write Mr. Nolan, thanking him for his time and summarizing any questions or comments you might still have. Please copy me on any and all correspondence to the client.

As discussed, Team Captains should e-mail one another and find a time before NEXT Tuesday to journey down to the store and meet with Joe. I would like to be part of that meeting if possible. You may find that using Doodle is a great tool to see where synergies exist with calendaring.

I will also be writing everyone tomorrow to outline some key areas for you to consider. I look forward to hearing more of your great ideas as you throw yourselves into this exciting project.

Take care,
Professor Berry

Bye Bye Spreadable!

Dear Class,

Jazzed about "Spreadable" and their You-Tube video, I went to their website...but alas, they are out of business.

They JUST shut down six hours ago. Wow. See their Tweet below. I can't seem to find out why they went would make for an interesting story. I will see if JetBlue still has the "spread the word" icon up on their website.

As of today,Spreadable will be shutting down & no longer accepting sign ups.Thank you to those who gave us a try! Info:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 29 Class Agenda

Dear Grad PR Class,

Please go to Blackboard to download the PPT for our class on 3/29. The second page contains important information on what we'll cover and what we'll leave for the class on 4/5.

Thanks for your kind attention. Feel free to post any questions.

See you later,
Prof Berry

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Blog is Alive! PR Rules!

Dear Class,

It was wonderful to see so many posts related to our field- from crisis PR, to State Department PR, disaster relief and the Red Cross, to tips on social media management, to WalMart facing the largest class action suit in U.S. history, to "Spreadable" (let's watch that You-Tube video in class and discuss), to the future of PR as a career and more!  And of course the other big news- that Starbucks no longer has its name in its logo!  I tweeted this just now: Starbucks removes name from its logo this month - says fame now bigger than name.

Please keep posting to this blog- it really does serve to build conversation and community.

Speaking of community- tomorrow night we'll welcome our client Joe Nolan, owner of Home Green Home to class for the first 30-40 min of class. (The 4/5 visit didn't fit in his schedule and we both concurred- better earlier to visit with the teams anyhow!) I  e-mailed you all a packet of information re: Joe's top questions, priorities and preliminary questions and ideas. Please review it if you haven't done so already.

FYI:  I've met with Joe twice over spring break and we have begun to formulate a vision about how each team's efforts might be put to best advantage. In the meantime, please  friend HGH's Facebook Page:

And don't forget to check out HGH on  YELP! :

Ideally, Joe will speak for a few'll break into groups and I think he'll just visit with each group for about 10 min. The idea is to get to know him, his focus and dreams for his business. You'll also need to start thinking about setting up a meeting schedule. I thought that Team Captains might like to meet as a group with Joe at his store so that you could move the project along. Just a thought among the numerous ones you'll explore in class tomorrow evening.

After Joe's visit, we'll attend to the lecture portion of our class and then have some discussion on PR, world events and some of the cases in our text. Then as they say on movie sets, that will be a "wrap."

Be well,
Professor Berry