Craves: A Review

cravesOver this past weekend I ventured to Florence, OR with my boyfriend for Valentines Day.  Through some research on-line he discovered Craves Fine Dining, a cute little restaurant located in Old Town.  After looking over their reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor he decided to make reservations for us on Valentines Day.  Luckily, I decided to look up the restaurant before heading to Florence.  After looking over their website I discovered that they were going to have a special Valentines day menu.  It was a very limited menu, and I knew we would have been disappointed if we showed up at the restaurant now knowing about this special menu before hand.  The menu consisted of salad or soup for an appetizer and cod or steak for an entree.  I was a little disappointed with the limited options, but the steak was absolutely amazing, and I normally don’t even like steak.

I was also very happy with the service.  Our waiter was very attentive and friendly.  I did not particularly like the salad and when he noticed I did not eat much of it he offered me the soup instead.  All of the food came out in a timely manner and for the most part was very delicious.  It is a small restaurant too.  There were fire places and beautiful art work on the walls.  It is nice to enjoy a meal in a setting that makes you feel warm and comfortable.

I was a little surprised to see that a small restaurant in Florence, OR had a website.  It is very easy to find their reviews on-line, and all of the reviews are spectacular.  Their website is not interactive, but does provide a link to their menu and special events that they host at the restaurant.  It is also a bit out of date, but it hosts all the necessary information i.e. hours, specials, menu, photographs, and location.  There is also a history of the restaurant and interesting information about the owners.  All in all I was very glad I was able to browse the website before going to the establishment.

I think this restaurant is doing really great things, and is moving in the right direction with their website.  I would like to see the website a bit more interactive, and have a space for customer comments.

It is most definitely worth the drive from Eugene to Florence to experience such a great establishment.

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Michael Phelps; A Good Brand Rep?

Kelloggs Co.How important are celebrity endorsements?  Should celebrities be punished for their actions when it comes to representing a brand?  Professional swimmer, Michale Phelps was recently caught having a little too much fun last November while partying at The University of South Carolina.  Along with the alcohol he consumed at a party he was also caught taking a hit from a bong that was being passed around.

Celebrities are constantly in the public eye.  Phelps was caught participating in activities (smoking pot) that would not reflect well on the Kellogg’s Co. brand that “has a commitment to nutrition, health, and quality” .  If he is under a deal with them, is he constantly representing the brand?  Personally, when I saw the photo of Phelp’s hitting the bong I didn’t think about Kellogg’s Co.  I will admit though if I was eating a box of Kellogg’s cereal with his photo on it, I would probably think about him smoking weed.

Celebrities are constantly in the public eye, and everything they do or say is judged.  Of course someone is going to attempt to capture a photo of Phelp’s smoking.  For a typical college student that would probably be “the tightest picture ever.”  Everything he does is going to be reflected on the brands that represent him.  Therefore, I completely agree with Kellogg’s decision.  As a celebrity, you can’t go around hitting off of bongs and not except to be reprimanded for it.

Kevin Adler, founder of Chicago sports marketing firm Engage Marketing, commented, “Athletes are brands.  If you do something that runs contrary to your brand image, it will affect your ability to monetise that brand image.  It really is that simple.”

Steve Crescenzo, author of Corporate Hallucinations holds a different opinion on the matter.  Crescenzo believes that “Kelloggs Co. is loosing the best spokesperson they ever could have asked for.” He commented in his blog, “These people had the perfect pitchman for their products, and they blew it. Instead of cutting Phelps loose, they should have built an entire ad campaign around him.”

These different view points are very interesting.  Crescenzo is arguing that Kelloggs Co. should take advantage of this opportunity to frame their ads, while Adler argues that Phelps should have thought about his endorsement with Kelloggs Co. before affecting his deal by getting high.

So, in the end, I feel bad for Phelps.  He is a young man and just wanted to have a little fun.  As a college student I know that going out and “partying” with friends is a way to relieve stress.  Normal students can do that on the weekends, and do not necessarily have to deal with the consequences.  Phelps has the whole world watching him, and he better bet if people see him hitting a bong, they will definitely capture the moment and make sure everyone else knows about it too.

Does Kelloggs Co. want to support illegal drug use?  I would argue, definitely not.

Rabbit Review

Rabbit:

I love trying new restaurants. There is something about experiencing a new atmosphere, new food, and enjoying this experience with a special person that I just love. My date and I recently spent an evening at the new Eugene restaurant, Rabbit. Rabbit is a French bistro and bar. It is a very small restaurant located next to the Market of Choice off of Willamette.

The Food:

The food was definitely the highlight of this restaurant. We started off with Salads and Pate. The salads were delicious, I especially liked the dressing. The only down part of the appetizers was that we had to wait 50 minutes for them. I thought they forgot about them and were just going to bring our dinner, but the restaurant is just slow. The main course came 30 minutes after that. I had grilled chicken with green beans and potatoes. The chicken was delicious, but did not take away from the horrible service.

The Service and Atmosphere:

Both of these were terrible. The restaurant is in a horrible location. It is in a strip mall next to a grocery store; not the normal place for an upscale restaurant. The restaurant is also very small. Luckily we got there just in time to get the last available table. When there were only 2 parties waiting after us they had a 45 minute wait. I recognized one of the waitresses from a previous job in Portland many years back. She approached our table asking about my familiarity. It turns out she is one of three owners of this restaurant. I got the impression that the owners were either working on the floor or in the kitchen. This is a great way for them to make money, but not so great for service. It was obvious they needed more staff because my water glass stayed empty most of the time I was at the restaurant, and the floor staff was running around unable to accommodate everyone’s needs.

So what can this restaurant do better?

I am going to take a PR/social media standpoint on this. After doing a Google search on Rabbit I discovered that they lack a website. I think it is extremely important for new restaurants to have a website. People who are unfamiliar with the restaurant can go online to their website and browse the menu, and look at pictures of the restaurant. This particular restaurant has a strict policy about substituting dishes, and do not allow the customers to request dressing on the side. This would be great information to put on their website so customers are aware of this policy before going to the restaurant. I also think it would be beneficial for the owners to create a twitter account and a Facebook group. This would allow them to post updates about specials and events going on at the restaurant. It is important for new establishments to promote and market their product as much as possible. Various social media tools allows them to do this at little to no cost. Monitoring their status on yelp and other consumer review websites is also very important, that way they can work on what people are complaining about and continue to do well in what their audience is applauding them for.

David Finch gives great advice on how restaurants can use social media in this blog post:

http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/2009/01/30/social-media-for-restaurants/

Preps For The First Job

What is the transformation going to be like from college-life to life as a working professional? Are we going to be prepared?  I am confident in what I am learning in my classes.  I have learned a lot of valuable  information at my internship at the International Society for Technology in Education.  But are we really going to be prepared to work in a professional environment?  I think our group projects in classes are training us to work in a professional setting.

 After reading Searching for Savvy, I got a better look at what I should be prepared for.  I’ve also learned that if we are organized now we will be better prepared for life after graduation.  One thing I discovered while at ISTE has really helped me.  Google Alerts make my job so much easier! I get daily alters via e-mail about ISTE updates on Google.  I no longer have to research blogs every day, but rather the updates come to me through e-mail notifications. 

I think many college grad’s are nervous about taking the next step.  Familiarizing yourself with different social media tools and organizational skills will you definitely benefit you in the future.  I think the most difficult task is going to be taking a leadership role in an environment that is new and unfamiliar to us. 

The most important part to me about preparing to work in a professional environment is getting into the habit of proof-reading my work multiple times before submitting it.  This goes for quick e-mails, to work that will be published.  I know it’s not my best quality, but I have learned that just getting my two roommates to go over my work helps.  It never hurts to have a new set of eyes look at your work. 

Twitter: How beneficial is it?

I have been told numerous times that Twitter is a very effective social media tool.  I know people that have been offered a job by using Twitter, received great advice in a matter of minutes, and been informed of interesting news stories before finding it on an actual news website.  When I first started using the tool I had no idea who to follow.  I discovered Twitterholic, a website with the top 100 twitter users based on followers.  I found a lot of great people to follow that give out really interesting information. 

I am still learning a lot about Twitter.  One of the things about the program that really bothers me is the advertisers.  I really don’t want to follow someone that is just trying to sell me something, it’s not what I am using Twitter for.  I also have a hard time trying to figure out what to say.  I don’t like posting personal updates, because that is what I use my facebook for.  I find the benefits of Twitter through the groups that I follow.  I get updates from CNN, The University of Oregon, Nordstrom, and others.  I am hoping that once I get more comfortable with it I will be able to share information, not just receive it.  A website that I am beginning to get familiar with that really helps me is Twitturly, a service that tracks what URLs people are talking about as they talk about them on twitter. 

So in the end, I think Twitter is a very beneficial social media tool to be a part of.  Many employers use it, and expect you to use it as well.  It’s a great way to contact people with similar interests, and hear what they feel is important.  There are plenty of tools out there to help you get acquainted.

Searching for a job: When do we start?

                I definitely think now is the time to start the job hunt.  4-6 months is a great time to start the job search, but it is never too early to build beneficial relationships with professionals.  I feel like that is the most important part.  Most of the people that have graduated and gotten a job or are graduating soon and are already employed got a hold of those opportunities through their networks.  In my opinion, that is why expanding your network is so important.  It is part of the job search. 

                I also agree that it is a good idea to search for an internship.  It is a great way to see if the company is a right fit for you, and for you to perfect your skills before becoming a full time employee.  A lot of companies have summer internships.  A good way to find one of these is just by scheduling an informational interview with a company you are interested in.  An informational interview allows you to learn more about the company and for that company to learn that you are interested. 

    Exploring the world of recruiting and public relations notes that with five months left we should start building relationships around us.  Some may argue that this is easier said than done.  A lot of us are building relationships and not realizing it.  By using twitter, facebook, and blogs we are all building relationships.  By using these social networks effectively we can meet great people via the internet and improve those relationships at some point face to face. 

An Introduction

Since this is my first blog post I will start my introducing myself and discuss where I have come thus far in my quest for a job.  I have a term and a half left at the University of Oregon.  Some days I am excited about graduating and others I am completely freaked out.  I thought I was entering the “real world” when I graduated from high school but I was wrong, college is definitely not the real world.  We are living week-to-week, we know when we will be tested, challenged, and in over our heads with homework.  It is a scary thought not knowing  where I will be in a few months.  Eugene? Portland? New York City? Who knows!

I feel like I am doing all the right things to put me in a good position for employment.  I am a member of Allen Hall Public Relations, PRSSA , I have had a few internships, and I do well in my classes.  Sometimes I feel like that is not enough.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could fill out a bunch of applications and then some company will just accept us? If only we didn’t have to go through that scary interview process.  I am getting better at it, but I wish I didn’t have to practice so much.  Last time I sat down for an informational interview the interviewee said, “well, normally we don’t agree to talk with people that have typo’s in their e-mails…” That was a blow to the ego. 

That is enough whining from me.  We are graduating! We shoud all be excited and ready to see what is next.  We are all smart and we will find a job even if we have to fight against a poor economy.  In this blog I will talk about important interview experiences, resume tips, internship advice, and I will tell my story of entering the “real world.” I will also talk about some different areas of PR that I am interested in such as consumer, hospitality, and technology.  Just to get started, I will refer you to I am Intern,  a great blog to pay attention to and get great tips on finding a job.