The ‘loaf’ behind Tillamook Cheese

It’s safe to say that most people residing in the Pacific NW have heard of Tillamook Cheese. Not only have they heard of it, but also probably swear by it.

PR Presentation at Tillamook Cheese[Megan Russell, Anna Reinhard, Tillie the Cow, Carly Fortunato, and myself]

When deciding on a food company to do a social media audit and conversation analysis for as a class project, my team and I looked no further than Tillamook Cheese. Being a Tillamook girl, born and raised, I had no objections. The girls and I delved into Tillamook’s social media efforts, along with those of its top three competitors: Cabot Cheese, Yoplait and Ben & Jerry’s.

Two months later, Tillamook’s senior director of marketing, John Russell, invited me and my team to Tillamook’s marketing office in Tigard, Ore., to present our audit and analysis. Without hesitation, the girls and I pulled ourselves together and made the trip from Eugene.

Upon arrival, John and his lively team greeted us. Stepping into the office, it was apparent that we were in Tillamook territory. Furniture of blue and orange, the Tillamook brand colors, decorated the office and images of Tillamook’s new packaging lined the walls. After a full tour, we made our way into the conference room, where we were joined by the full Tillamook staff. As we began our presentation, each of the Tillamook employees listened eagerly. This was when we knew that our input was highly regarded. After a delicious lunch put on by the Tillamook team, we finished our presentation and thoughtfully answered every question. Our Q&A shortly turned into a brainstorm session, where our strategic thoughts on expansion were valued.

the Tillamook Cheese cookbook

As our day came to a close, we were each gifted the Tillamook Cheese cookbook, a Tillamook cheese slicer and a coupon for free cheese! What a thoughtful team! I think I can speak on behalf of my team that we were impressed. It was an amazing experience, and it felt great to know that our work was appreciated. I’m glad that our assignment not only was used as a portfolio piece but also was usefully put towards the client.

To view our Tillamook Cheese social media audit and conversation analysis, click here.

Check out Tillamook Cheese on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

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Five easy tips for creating an infographic

I created the infographic below on the benefits of red wine using Piktochart. This infographic is not only appealing to look at but also full of great information.

Benefits of Red Wine Inforgraphic

1. Find a relevant theme
When choosing a theme, think about what your infographic is about and how you want it to be portrayed.

2. Take advantage of the provided clip art
Free clip art can be hard to come by. If the program you’re using has provided images, use them. Plus, chances are that they will be much better quality than the images you’ll find in a Google search.

3. Play with fonts
This was my favorite part. Don’t be afraid to mix things up, but be sure to stick to 2-3 fonts.

4. Do your research
If you do your research, you’ll have some great statistical data. Stats look great on infographics. Don’t forget to cite your sources!

5. Have fun
If you have fun making your infographic, people viewing it will be able to tell. Let loose and tap in to your creative side.

Slow Food in public relations

Have you ever wondered what public relations strategies go into an organization or group like the Slow Food Movement? Do you know what Slow Food is?

Slow Food

Photo by ExperienceLA

Slow Food is created to restrain fast food and fast life. If you haven’t noticed already, local food traditions have disappeared, people’s interest in the food they eat has dwindled, and they don’t seem to care where their food came from or how it tastes anymore. It is the goal of Slow Food to make local, wholesome and delicious food easily accessible.

Personally, I was curious about the Slow Food Movement in the U.S. I wanted to understand what problems such organizations face from a public relations standpoint, as well as what pieces of information are examined. So, I took the opportunity to read an academic journal article for my public relations class this week. I chose the following article:

Stokes, A. Q. (2013). You Are What You Eat: Slow Food USA’s Constitutive Public Relations. Journal of Public Relations Research, 25(1), 68-90.
doi:10.1080/1062726X.2013.739102

Method

Past public relations activity of Slow Food was analyzed through the use of the Slow Food Nation website (slowfoodnation.org) and the organization’s main websites (slowfood.com and slowfoodusa.org).

Items that were examined:

  • Use of symbolic communication to give meaning to food
  • Creation of a type of climate to motivate individuals and groups to act
  • Key words, metaphors, themes, narratives, and images
  • Comparison of the philosophy, mission, manifesto, description, campaign overview, FAQ, and description of activities of Slow Food International and Slow Food USA
  • News releases from 2006-2008

Results

Slow Food used three key rhetorical strategies – definition, identification through narrative, and enactment – to reach potential supporters. These strategies explain how Slow Food cultivates food knowledge, forms members committed to the movement’s goals, and possibly influences the PR practices of other food movements.

1. Definition

  • It must clearly define its key concepts for American audiences to increase membership and commitment
  • It needs to lose its elitist image and explain to those that are unfamiliar with Slow Food why they would want to support its ideas to adopt a new food persona

2. Identification Through Narrative

  • It must address the concerns that Americans may have about food
  • It should introduce unfamiliar, new topics
  • It needs to connect the Slow Food lifestyle with societal priorities, such as obesity or food contamination

3. Enactment

  • It needs to encourage consumers that their actions behind food choices matter
  • It must keep the focus on making small, gratifying choices matter, instead of lecturing its followers
  • It should emphasize the importance of each individual customer in changing food culture

Conclusion

I find it important for our personal health, the health of others, and the health of this world to partake in the Slow Food Movement. With the lack of interest in the origin of our food, I believe it will only be a matter of time before we lose our sense of tradition all together. I think that it would be helpful if these public relations strategies were implemented, especially concerning the ambiguous definition of Slow Food.

Five things you need to know about the food and beverage industry

Interested in f&b public relations? Find out the things you might not know.

Callie BruhnLast week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity sit down with Callie Bruhn for an informational interview and discuss public relations in the food and beverage industry. Callie, a senior account executive at Edelman, has experience working with food, wine and lifestyle clients. Although she currently works primarily in the tech industry, her stories and memories provided me with the insight I needed to pursue my career in food and beverage public relations.

She shared five things you can expect from the industry and public relations as a whole.

1. The product cycles are slow.

The wine industry is slow, which is just the nature of it. If you think about it, the actual process of making the product is much different than other industries. If you’re working for a small winery with few products, they’re going to have those current products for much longer than a larger company. You are going to be promoting the same wine for a long time. It’s not as if a new type of pinot is going to be released next week.

2. Creativity is a must.

It’s important in the food and wine industry to be super creative. You must be able to refresh your thinking on a regular basis. The technology industry has a natural news cycle and you’re given a lot of information. Whereas, with food and beverage, you really have to push yourself to make great stores and figure out what you should promote. Is it a great recipe? Is it a great chef? Are there interesting wine makers? Is the wine itself interesting? Instead of pitching your product and seeing what happens, you have to almost work backwards. You have to find the opportunities that already exist and figure out how you can fit the product into them.

3. It’s all so related.

You can’t beat the perks. You’ll have the opportunity to experience a lot of great food and drink a lot of great wine. However, with public relations, they’re all just products. Whether you’re working in food, tech or healthcare, you’ll use the same skills. You will do the same types of things and ultimately, you’ll really tell similar stories. Be open to whatever falls in front of you because it’s all so related. The ability to write well and have good grammar is applicable everywhere. That’s what’s important.

4. Double, triple, quadruple check.

After making a mortifying error, Callie expressed the importance of mistakes and the things you will learn from them. “It was eye-opening in terms of being really diligent; always double, triple, quadruple checking. It put a bit of the fear of God in me,” she said. You don’t necessarily realize how important things are to people until you make a mistake. You will learn more from your mistakes than from your successes.

5. Take what you can get.

Cast a wide net and put yourself out there as much as you can to see if anything sticks. Wherever you land, despite how bad things are or how exhausted you may seem, it will all work out in the end. Callie mentioned that we’re in a culture now where everyone seems to be having a life crisis when they’re 25 years old. It’s unnecessary. Getting used to the 9-5 life cycle is a huge adjustment, so take things in strides. It’s important to realize that every opportunity you get is important and will help you, regardless. Even if you can’t find a job right away and are working at Starbucks for six months, you will learn a ton from working there. If you’re nice and smile, everything will work out.

Callie provided me with the precise information I was looking for. It is my hope that her expertise will guide you as much as it has guided me.

Welcome

Jessica Hamel
“If you’re 22, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

– Anthony Bourdain.

Hello, my name is Jessica Hamel, and I’m a senior at the University of Oregon. I am majoring in public relations and minoring in business with plans of graduating in June 2013. You can find out more about me here.

With my interest in the food and drink industry, I chose to create a food blog last year. You can find me blogging about my favorite recipes and places to eat over at Paprika and Pearls. To captivate my excitement for public relations, I have created this additional blog to discuss public relations topics and relate them to my area of interest.

I am a life-long learner. Through my studies in public relations, I have found that the best way to learn is through communication. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining a public relations blog, I will strengthen my PR knowledge. I urge you to join me as I travel through the world of public relations.