Industry Vs Academics: PRCA Debate

Last Thursday I set off on a small adventure to London to attend the Industry Vs Academics PRCA debate. I had never really realised the division between the two sides before or at least I’d never considered it a divide. I’ve always seen the PR industry as one that is hugely diverse that you can join from almost any background and that’s one of the elements that I believe makes it fun to work in. Everyone has different experience and has a different approach to briefs, which is definitely refreshing.

Although I’ve only worked in the industry for a short time, part-time alongside university, everyone I worked with had a different history. Some had studied English literature, others had studied music promotion and others had studied journalism. The truth is that because PR covers every sector there’s room for everyone.

So what does having a degree in PR mean for me?

I believe it’s through experience and studying PR that you learn the most effective and successful ways to tackle different problems. People who join from other backgrounds may have the know-how of the sector, if that’s what they’ve studied before, but do they know the best way to engage with their audience via social media? Do they know how to structure and produce a press release?

I’d argue that for me now, after studying PR for almost three years and with around a years worth of experience in the industry, that a substantial amount of PR procedures have become common sense to me. Why wouldn’t you use social media to promote when it’s free and worldwide? Why wouldn’t you involve bloggers, celebrities and influencers (PewDiePie is another topic) to endorse your product or service?

This is where there’s a difference between PR students and other students. I have been specially ‘trained’ if you like, through live client briefs at university, work experience placements and employment in the industry, to know how to handle the stress of a career in PR, to understand that clients often need 24/7 care, to monitor media using tools including google alerts to ensure that I am on top of everything going on with clients. I have been taught all this to ensure that when I start my PR career after university I can hit the ground running. Something that students of other degrees may not be able to do.

However, although PR students may be better equipped when they first enter the industry others will soon catch up and that’s what we need. PR is one of the most diverse industries when it comes to previous experience and education, which is a good thing! It’s through a diverse mindset that we can achieve more. Everyone needs a devils advocate every now and again to point out the flaws and what could go wrong with a campaign and for that you need to have different expertise, experience or just a different mindset. PR students may have the advantage and training to begin with, but without other degrees and other expertise the PR industry would not be where it is now!

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Busy, busy bee.

This week has been hectic to say the least!

I’ve been spending the last week before university begins again in Aachen, Germany, celebrating my boyfriend’s 21st birthday. To surprise him, a couple of months ago I thought it would be a great idea to plan a surprise birthday party for him.

No big feat you might think.

That’s what I thought as well.

I was wrong.

Although I’ve enjoyed every minute of planning the party, it is understandably difficult to arrange cakes, decorations and people from other countries, especially with limited German. However, it was a challenge that was well worth it.

My boyfriend is a traveller, just like me, so he has friends spread across the world. So to make his birthday extra special I invited a couple of them along that he hasn’t seen in a while.

Arranging all the different aspects of this party and making them coincide whilst keeping it all a secret proved to be a challenge, but one I willingly accepted and I’m glad I did. Everyone had a great evening and it was pulled off without a hitch.

Now when can I plan another one?

Music Monday

This Monday I am currently writing from Aachen in Germany, so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to include a German singer in my Music Monday. Now you may well have heard of Lena before, she’s a young singer who won the Eurovision song contest in 2010. Now before you roll your eyes at me have a listen to this song first and then make a conclusion if you like her or not. You’ll probably be surprised and may well recognise it!

Music Monday

Sorry about my absence over the past couple of weeks! With assessments looming I’ve been swamped under with deadlines and haven’t had a chance to post. To get back into the swing of things I thought I’d start with a Music Monday post and go from there!

So this week’s band is one that I’ve enjoyed seeing grow, develop and build up a large following over the past few years. Their name is Eliza and the Bear and they have just released their debut album! Their tunes follow a rock theme but there’s definitely some undertones of folk and alternative. Definitely worth a listen and one to watch out for! Here’s my favourite song of theirs, It Gets Cold.

Interview: Kelvin Jones

Kelvin Jones, as you’ve probably heard if you read my last post, is an up and coming pop and blues singer, with a talent for guitar riffs and emotional lyrics. I was lucky enough to catch up with him before his gig supporting James Morrison and find out what the experience of moving from a university student, to a YouTube sensation to performing live with James Morrison was like! Here’s the results!

What’s your story so far?

This whole thing started two or three years ago, when I was in university and I was playing guitar in the local pubs, just trying to do the whole music thing. I wrote this song, Call You Home, and it just blew up and went viral. That was my ticket out.

From university, to YouTube Sensation, to supporting James Morrison, how does it feel to be so successful?

The word success scares me, I never really feel like I’ve quite made it. So regardless of what level I’m at it still feels like I’m not quite there. It still feels like how it did playing in the pubs, just a lot bigger crowd and a lot nicer pub!

Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

Musical is kind of simple, John Mayer and BB King. I don’t think there’s any one person from the non-musical perspective, more different arts, like photography and videography.

What have you got planned for 2016?

Just playing, playing, playing. There’s nothing like performing your music to a crowd and getting feedback from them about my music. So that’s all we’re doing. Anywhere and everywhere. We’ll be playing a lot in Germany weirdly and a few festivals, including Isle of Wight and The Great Escape.

What’s the best bit about touring?

The little moments when you realise what you’re doing and how far you’ve come. It’s pretty cool and still so new!

Sum yourself and your music up in three words.

Pop, I’m not going to shy away from that word, because it’s now a dirty word and it shouldn’t be. For myself I’ll say obsessive, because you need to be for this job. I’ll go with scared for the last one, for both my music and me, because I’m still figuring stuff out. I’m scared of where my music might not go, because I have such high expectations of where it could go. So yeah, pop, obsessive and scared!

If you missed my last post, check out one of his newest songs here: (I love what they do with the guitar!)

Gig Review: James Morrison and Kelvin Jones

James Morrison and Kelvin Jones are currently touring the UK, stopping at Southend, Bristol and Birmingham, among a few places and Thursday night I was lucky enough to interview Kelvin Jones pre-gig and see them both perform in the O2 Guildhall. James Morrison has been around for 10 years now and after a brief hiatus from music to settle down and start a family he’s back with a brand new album, Higher Than Here, and tour the UK. His current supporting act is Kelvin Jones, an up and coming pop and blues singer who’s inspirational story of progression makes him an artist to watch out for!

Kelvin Jones kicked off the evening with some of his own music, including his new single, Call You Home, and other songs of his new album, Stop The Moment. He also did a cover and mash-up of Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd and Shine by Years and Years. His acoustic tunes and blues vibes created a chilled out atmosphere before he finished his set with wild solo. Fast guitar riffs and highly emotive singing ensured the crowd that Kelvin wasn’t leaving quietly and he definitely gave everyone an experience to remember him by.

James Morrison rocked the stage, showing that performing was like riding a bicycle to him and that he hadn’t forgotten how to give his fans exactly what they wanted from a live performance. He played some of his classic tunes from 10 years ago, including You Give Me Something and Wonderful World, but followed them up quickly with his new and highly popular singles, Demons and Stay Like This. The crowd loved it, singing louder than James himself half the time! The screaming, although slightly deafening, showed the crowds exuberance and the love that Morrison’s fans still hold for him, even after the few years break. With their support his new album is bound to be popular!

Overall, a good night was had by all and I’d definitely go see James Morrison and Kelvin Jones live again. The acoustic tunes and rhythms of Kelvin’s slower more emotive songs contrasted and complimented James’ more rock-y approach in his new songs and the more pop vibes in his earlier songs. Both are a definite must-see!