What’s in the KC Projects PR Toolbox?

We all need a little help when it comes to managing our time, projects, schedules and tasks. It takes a village to make things happen (and I’m not just talking about the incredible team at KC Projects)! I’m talking about the tools we use to help us stay organized and on track.

With so many apps and programs available today, how do you know which ones are the right fit for you? It can take plenty of testing and trial runs, but KC Projects has found several that we couldn’t live without. Check out a few of our favorite tools and let us know what you think.


When your marketing strategy involves content creation, a tool like Grammarly can go a long way. Grammarly works as you write to catch mistakes and suggest improvements. It does a great job with grammar and stylistic errors. Grammarly has a browser extension that fixes mistakes, whether you’re writing in Gmail, LinkedIn or WordPress. It even keeps track of how many embarrassing errors it has saved you from publishing and delivers a weekly report.


Say hello to the modern-day AOL Instant Messenger. Working in public relations requires flexibility and collaboration with your team members. Slack allows us to do just that. With Slack, you’re able to create different channels to organize conversations, attach important files or send direct messages to each employee or intern. Plus, it’s much easier than shooting an email just to ask for a quick favor or answer a question. Once you go Slack, you’ll never go back.


Dropbox is an invaluable cloud service. You can back files up to the cloud, sync them between computers, and share them with our team. These features make it easy to access saved folders from anywhere. That’s not all it can do, though. Dropbox automatically creates backups of files and keeps a log of changes made, perfect for tracking progress on a project. Our Dropbox helps organize client photoshoots, graphic design files and important documents.

Microsoft OneNote

With multiple clients and social accounts to keep track of, sometimes there can be too many “tabs” open in your brain! That’s why we use OneNote, a digital note-taking app that allows our team to share meeting notes, documents and even attachments. It captures our ideas and organizes them across all devices, collecting them into labeled notebooks. Whether you’re in the office or on-the-go, OneNote automatically saves and synchronizes your thoughts and ideas so you can always pick up where you left off.


It always improves my mood when there’s music playing while we work! Subscription streaming services like Spotify let you choose from an unlimited library with millions of songs. The themed playlists are updated every day, and you can even create radio stations based on favorite artists, songs or albums. There’s also the Discover Weekly playlist, with new music generated based on your listening habits. Now playing: “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles.

Are there any apps, tools or services you couldn’t live without? Let us know in the comments!

Daley Henson is a public relations intern at KC Projects PR in Birmingham, AL. This article originally appeared on the agency’s blog.

Case Study: Urban Decay Razor Sharp Eyeliner

Urban Decay Razor Sharp EyelinerUrban Decay is a cosmetics company known for their edgy, cruelty-free products. Their brand motto is even “beauty with an edge.” However, that edge might be too sharp for some, as a recent social media post on Twitter appeared to glorify cutting and self-harm.

Founded in January of 1996 by Sandy Lerner and Pat Holmes, Urban Decay’s original tagline was “does pink make you puke?” They rebelled against typical cosmetic ideals, producing alternative eyeshadows with names like Acid Rain, Smog, Roach, and Oil Slick.

In their brand statement, Urban Decay encourages customers to “go from a pixie to a vixen, from a rock star to a starlet. Be who you want to be today, just don’t be average. Urban Decay is beauty with an edge. It is feminine, dangerous, and fun.. appealing to celebrities, rock stars and anyone who relishes her individuality and dares to express it.” This statement deeply resonates with their target audience of young adults looking for an alternative cosmetic line.

Urban Decay quickly became known for their products like Perversion mascara or Vice lipsticks shaped like bullets. Their infamous line of Naked eyeshadow palettes caused a stir upon release in 2010. The release of a new product in August 2016, Razor Sharp Liquid eyeliner, was just as heavily anticipated.

The post

Social Media PostTo promote this new eyeliner, Urban Decay created a post on the social media platform Twitter that asked, “Ready for some razor sharp swatches, UDers?” It featured an image of a forearm with carefully drawn, thin and straight lines of eyeliner across it.

This practice of swatching makeup is a common trick in the makeup and beauty world. Beauty bloggers and brands frequently employ this visual to present products as they might appear on your skin. However, the phrase “razor sharp” next to thin lines across a wrist suggested self-harm, also known as cutting, to many Urban Decay Twitter followers.

The negative reaction was instantaneous, with many followers tweeting back their disgust at the potentially triggering image. The post remained live on social media for at least 12 hours, and generated plenty of outrage as well as support for the edgy cosmetics brand.

Social Media Reaction

Social Media Reaction

The response

Urban Decay finally responded with a quick follow-up tweet, explaining to their followers that they swatched on the inner arm “to show texture and shades. We didn’t intend to reference self-harm as the product is named Razor Sharp Eyeliner.” This explanation did not placate followers that believed that the company was mocking or glorifying self-harm. Urban Decay deleted the offending tweet later in the day.

Urban Decay Response

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that that self-harm is a major risk factor for suicide. Between one-third and one-half of U.S. teens have engaged in some sort of self-injury, mostly through cutting and burning. Another shocking statistic is that 70% of teens have made at least one suicide attempt.

Given their target demographic of young adults, Urban Decay’s ignorance of self-harm and suicidal tendencies was shocking to many customers and definitely eye-opening for their digital media and PR departments.

Birmingham Fashion Week: Social Media Release Example

Social Media Release Example

*This is a social media release for a university course. This is not an official release from Birmingham Fashion Week.*


The Magic City is preparing for its most fashionable week of the year with internationally-renowned designers like Tibi and Kendra Scott coming to town. Birmingham Fashion Week kicks off on August 25 with runway shows held at the Boutwell Auditorium.

This year’s schedule has runway shows each night August 25-29 and promises couture fashion collections seen in New York. Local boutiques, make-up artists and hairstylists are all participating. A panel of both local and national celebrities will be judging competitions.


Birmingham Fashion Week was founded on the ideals of bringing unity to our community through fashion. Known as the most stylish week of the year, BFW gathers fashionistas of all ages to celebrate and support the future of Southern fashion. It hosts prominent labels and internationally renowned designers, as well as local boutiques. BFW has been recognized by local, regional, and national press for bringing in acclaimed designers like Tibi, Show Me Your MuMu, Rebecca Taylor and more. With over 500 volunteers working behind the scenes, our runway showcases the incredible work of emerging make-up artists, hair stylists, photographers and models. BFW has now become a hub for Southern fashion, encouraging locals and visitors alike to visit and explore the creative talents in Birmingham, Alabama.


“To create an atmosphere that not only positively influences the local economy, but advances the persona of the Southern fashion industry while setting the stage for future generations.”

  • Birmingham Fashion Week begins on August 25 and will hold runway shows each night until the finale on August 29.
  • The events will take place in the Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama at 5 p.m. each night.
  • Professional brands such as Rails, Charles Ellis, Alice & Trixie and Heidi Elnora will present their fall collections.
  • Tickets will be sold online, with week-long packages and single night tickets available starting at $25.
  • “Every year has been amazing, and as the events grow, we try to make everything bigger and better. We’ve been able to add some great new features and surprises this year, and the talent that we have this is far more recognizable.” – Heidi Elnora, Designer and Co-Founder of BFW
  • “When we started this event, we did it because there was so much talent in Birmingham that flew under the radar. BFW provides a platform for local creatives that go unnoticed. Artists are given an opportunity to showcase their talents here.” – Jeana Lee Thompson, Co-Founder of BFW


Birmingham Fashion Week Logo
Birmingham Fashion Week Finale





Video: Auburn Family



Krista Conlin Robinson, Publicist and President of KC Projects PR: krista@KCProjects.net

Brailyn Hardy, PR & Brand Coordinator: brailyn@KCProjects.net



Website: https://www.bhamfashionweek.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bhamfashionweek

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/bhamfashweek

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bhamfashionweek

Ethics in Public Relations

Ethics in PR

Ethics is defined as a set of moral principles, in distinguishing right from wrong and determining the nature of what should be valued. In the public relations discipline, ethics includes values such as honesty, openness, loyalty, fair-mindedness, respect, integrity and forthright communication.

Whether working with traditional or digital media, a proper code of ethics must be followed. Not only are there legal requirements to meet, but there are also ethical guidelines that need to be met in order to keep a customer’s trust!

The state of ethics in the practice of public relations depends on the practitioners’ adherence to a proper code. When practitioners follow the Code of Ethics established by the Public Relations Society of America, they add to the integrity of the field and set the industry standard for professional practice.

The following are some of the fundamental beliefs that guide practitioners’ ethical conduct, professional behavior and their decision-making process:

Provisions of Conduct

Free Flow of Information: In the age of fake news, protecting and advancing accurate and truthful information is more important than ever. It is essential to serving in the interests of the public. In PR, this practice maintains the integrity of relationships with media, officials and the public.

Disclosure of Information: Building trust in relationships requires the protection of confidential or insider information, whether it’s from a client or employee. This principle also applies to the transparency of brand sponsorships, as the rules of engagement for influencer marketing are strict.

Conflicts of Interest: Avoiding real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest builds the trust of clients, employers, and the public. Put an end to situations that put personal or professional interests in conflict or derives a personal benefit. For example, Ivanka Trump had to shed potential conflicting interests when she began serving in her father’s presidential administration.

In Conclusion

When it comes to ethics, these core values show the true measure of a great public relations practitioner. Always remember your ethics, as it is a crucial part of public relations and can advance your career as a PR practitioner!

Why a Major in Public Relations is the Perfect Fit

Mad MenChoosing a major in college can be stressful. Having to make that one decision that defines your next four years and future career is overwhelming! However, the decision to major in public relations is one I will never regret.

As a freshman at Auburn University, I had never heard of public relations. I only knew what I was good at… writing, editing, event planning, and all things social! My college career began in marketing (not creative enough) and then interior design (too creative). My advisor finally suggested public relations, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that guidance.


While there are several required courses, the public relations major gives a variety of classes and elective to choose from. For example, I am able to take a Business Marketing class as well as a Writing for Television and Film class! Some of the required public relations courses include Journalism Fundamentals, Multimedia Writing for PR, Case Studies, PR Research and Style & Design.

Office SpaceThe coursework at Auburn University made me a better writer, stronger communicator, and a more effective event-planner. Through projects and presentations, I have learned how to work in a group setting and become comfortable speaking in front of an audience. Many classes have real-world clients involved, where you have the opportunity to conduct research or develop a campaign from start to finish for them. This class experience has given me great confidence in my public relations abilities, whether I’m in an internship or office position.


Auburn University requires every PR major to complete an internship before graduating. This requirement makes you more attractive to companies and helps broaden your horizons before a job search. The internship program must also prove that it actively strengthens a student’s PR skills. Therefore, the day to day intern work isn’t the typical coffee run and office work! Instead, PR students can learn and contribute to the workings of the organization.

Using MemesThe internship opportunities are truly endless, as every company needs an intermediary between the organization and its audience. It can be helpful to network with clients and begin building those relationships early. Internships can also help you to discover more about your interests. Through my own summer internship at a creative agency, I had the opportunity to work with multiple clients on event planning, press releases, websites, graphic design, and so much more. It helped me realize just how much I loved working with social media and digital content strategy!


One of the best things about the public relations major are the endless job opportunities available. Public relations is a versatile major, with skills that benefit in a variety of industries. Entertainment, athletics, fashion, healthcare, politics and non-profit organizations all utilize PR practitioners. A career in PR definitely doesn’t put you in a box!

Public relations is for the creative, the entrepreneur, the leader, the innovator, the writer, the communicator, the social media savvy, the designer, the problem-solver, the analyst, the researcher, the curious, and the driven.

Many public relations graduates choose to work with either a firm (such as an advertising agency) or go into corporate or “in-house,” which is investing in one client over time. Both avenues of work have their own pros and cons, and I’m still not 100% certain which course I will take in the future.

Public Relations

Public relations practitioners can easily become event planners, media relations experts, marketers or social media managers. Any job that requires strong writing skills and relationship-building would fit perfectly. From an advertising agency to a Fortune 500 company, your PR major is what you make of it!

Does a major in public relations interest you? Visit Auburn’s College of Liberal Arts website to learn more.

Crisis Communication Case Study: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle hazmat suitChipotle Mexican Grill is known for their innovative, fast-casual and farm-fresh food. They’re definitely proud of their supply chain, so much so that marketing ads focus on their naturally-raised and organic ingredients. Their mission statement is even Food with Integrity.

These facts are ironic considering their recent struggles with food safety. Outbreaks of not one, but three food-borne illnesses and pathogens (Salmonella, E. coli, and norovirus) in Chipotle restaurants have resulted in numerous hospitalizations and fatalities. Their long-standing rhetoric of food integrity stands in contrast with the reality of bacteria making their way into your burrito!

The epidemic began in August 2015 at a Simi Valley, California location. A sick employee infected 234 customers, but the outbreak was over by the time health officials confirmed a link. In Minnesota, 64 customers ate tomatoes with a side of salmonella. The worst case came in November 2015, when more than 140 Boston College students (including half the men’s basketball team) picked up the highly contagious norovirus from their campus Chipotle. In total, almost 500 people in 9 states became sick from Chipotle’s food according to public health officials.

the apology

Biohazard ChipsThe effects were immediate once health authorities posted information. Sales and stocks were tumbling, and Chipotle saw their first quarterly decline as a public company. Steve Ells, the founder/CEO of Chipotle, made an appearance on the Today show on December 10 for a televised apology. Ells acknowledged the situation, apologized and expressed concern for the suffering customers. He announced a comprehensive food-safety program that would “exceed industry norms” and stated that Chipotle had recently hired two food-safety consulting firms. However, he admitted they still did not know which ingredients to blame. Produce that’s hard-to-clean and eaten raw is considered high-risk. At Chipotle, that’s the tomatoes, lettuce, and cilantro—the same stuff that gives that signature fresh taste.

“The fact that anyone has become ill eating at Chipotle is completely unacceptable to me, and I am deeply sorry,” Ells wrote. “As a result, we are committed to becoming known as the leader in food safety, just as we are known for using the very best ingredients in a fast-food setting.”

About a week after this apology, Chipotle placed full-page newspaper ads across the country pledging to do better. Ells also promised customers that Chipotle would be “the absolute safest place to eat.” Following these actions, more E. coli outbreaks were reported in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

Lessons learned

In February 2016, Chipotle implemented strategies to win back its customers. They used an abundance of caution in closing down company-wide for an “employee food safety training meeting” on the morning of February 8. The brand also launched their giveaway campaign, called the “Chiptopia Rewards Program.” 5.3 million users downloaded coupons from Chipotle’s app for a complimentary burrito, and 50% of the coupons were redeemed.

Chipotle hazmat suitChipotle was absent online amidst this crisis, offering no public statement on its website or social channels. Their Facebook and Twitter pages only had responses to angry customers. Meanwhile, their website had pages devoted to their supply chain sourcing. No official channel acknowledged the crisis as Chipotle faced seven lawsuits and an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In January 2016, they finally updated their website with a “Focus on Food Safety” page addressing how the crisis happened, explaining the viruses and featuring more details of their new testing methods.

in review

I feel Chipotle could’ve had a stronger online presence throughout the crisis. Their social media channels were merely used as customer service tools. I also can’t help but wonder how they could emphasize their fresh ingredients while skipping over food safety basics. It doesn’t matter how fresh or healthy their food is if it’s been contaminated! Finally, I wouldn’t have stated to press that Chipotle would be “the safest place to eat.” This generalization is impossible to guarantee, and the CEO looked foolish as he was proved wrong yet again.

Mark Crumpacker, the Chipotle chief creative and development officer, said “There’s nothing worse from a trust perspective. This is not the kind of problem that you market your way out of.”

In conclusion, Chipotle was honest, authentic and quick to put their CEO and communications team on damage control with this situation. They did a good job changing the conversation with their Chiptopia rewards program, which was necessary to win back wary customers. It’s unfortunate that their marketing and branding centered so heavily on their food production before this crisis, as I feel it only made the irony of the situation even more tempting for media coverage.

Spring Break 2017: The Final Countdown

Carnival Cruise

As a senior facing graduation, I’m counting down the days of my collegiate life. It’s hard to believe that my golden years as an Auburn student are now coming to an end. However, this final spring break comes at the perfect time. Between classes, interviews and midterm exams, I’m ready for a tropical vacation!

Since this will be my last collegiate getaway, I want it to be perfect. And being the planner I always am, I’ve created a public relations plan for my spring break trip! This public relations plan lays out my goals for spring break, the objectives that will help me achieve my goals and the strategies and tactics that make sure my objectives are accomplished.

Ferris Bueller Quote

Goal: To cherish my friends and the limited time we have left together as college students.

Objective 1: To increase the time I spend with friends by 100% over spring break and make up for those nights spent studying.

Strategy: Taking a cruise to Mexico. Taking a cruise as a group of friends gives us the freedom to enjoy quality time together on vacation without worrying about planning our itinerary.

Tactic: Quality time by the water. This tactic won’t be hard to come by throughout our time together on a cruise ship. We have five days of beautiful beaches and resort-style pools to look forward to!

Tactic: Good food. “Foodies” would be an understatement when describing my group of friends. A good brunch is required, and desserts are researched in advance (chocolate lava cake is a must).

Goal: To enjoy a relaxing and stress-free vacation.

Objective 2: To see a 50% decrease in stress levels by the end of the week. With this objective, I aim to unwind and recharge.

Cruise GymStrategy: Practice self-care by going to the spa or gym on our cruise. Endless buffets can often lead to weight gain, so fitness is important. I can then ease any sore muscles with a spa massage.

Tactic: Catching up on much-needed sleep. There’s nothing better than snoozing the day away in a tropical cabana or basking in the sun with a Pina Colada nearby!

After all that analysis and planning, based on the outlined goals, objectives, strategies and tactics, I don’t see why this spring break can’t exceed expectations!

Bon Voyage!

Carnival Sunshine

A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging

To blog or not to blog?

As I set up this blog for a class (shout-out to #Sisson3280), it struck me how easy it was to create. Carving out your own little corner of the internet can be a piece of cake. It’s writing the perfect post that takes work!

I’m not the only one to realize this. Personal blogs are a dime a dozen in these tech-savvy times. It’s even become the norm for brands, from Disney to Dodge, to create their own corporate blogs that give us a peek behind the curtain.

Blogging is definitely a skill that’s here to stay. Here are my tips and tricks for a blog that breaks the mold:

Take a risk.

Research what’s out of your comfort zone, or take the opportunity to dive deep into an unknown topic. Every time you hit “publish,” that’s another chance to show what you know (or what you’re learning about)!

K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid.

This principle isn’t just for design. Short sentences that are easy to read work best in a post. Don’t make your blog more complicated than it needs to be.

Consistency is key.

Consistency keeps readers coming back to your blog. The timing of posts should be consistent as well. If it hasn’t been updated since 2010, it’s time to restart.

Find your voice.

Let your personality shine through your words! Give your brand a cohesive tone and message by the language you choose. Remember, a formal company ≠ casual blog.

Sharing is caring.

Make it as easy as possible for readers to share and subscribe to your posts. Adding social links or an RSS feed is simple, especially through WordPress plugins. After all, a blog without readers is just a diary!


A Valentine’s Day SWOT Analysis

Valentine’s Day. It’s that time of year when heart-shaped desserts and giant teddy bears take over, and love is in the air! If a cutie has caught your eye this year, you no longer have to be their secret admirer. Here’s your chance to pop the question and ask, “will you be my Valentine?”

Of course, this decision will take some thought and careful planning. That’s where your PR cupid comes in. What do all great PR practitioners do when they need to make a decision? Perform a SWOT analysis!

This analysis lets you take a step back and look at your crush, identifying key issues and creating an action plan. Let’s get started:


It’s important to recognize what your Valentine gets right, especially the internal character traits that made you fall in love with them in the first place. Think of the positive qualities that set them apart from the crowd!

  • Are they caring, kind, selfless or sweet?
  • Will they cook or clean? Do their own laundry?
  • Can they make you laugh or give a great compliment?

It can be easy to ignore the little problems in someone you like, but these minor flaws can become major issues further down the road. Identify their weaknesses now to see what you consider to be a “deal breaker.”

  • Do they need to improve their table manners?
  • Are they constantly on their phone ignoring you?
  • Is your crush being hurtful or dishonest?

These external factors are an opening for growth. Look to the future and think about what you want out of your life. Do your Valentine’s future plans match up?

  • Does their family own multiple vacation homes?
  • Will their major yield a fulfilling and lucrative career?
  • Are they interested in having children and a family of their own?

Threats could ruin your relationship by putting obstacles in the path of your love. Recognize threats beforehand to weigh the true cost of commitment.

  • Family – Does your family approve? Do the in-laws?
  • Friends – What if they dated one of your friends? Do they get along well?
  • Yourself – Are you ready to take on a new relationship?

Using this criteria to form a plan of action, you should be ready to get your Valentine locked down in no time!

PR Cupid