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

Top 10 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2017

What does the future look like for social media?

Sometimes a cutting-edge technology changes the game, or an old idea like virtual reality becomes new again. The social media landscape continues to evolve in unpredictable and surprising ways as new technologies, platforms and methods of content creation arise to capture our imagination and continually alter how we communicate.

Savvy brands that stay ahead of these trends hold a huge strategic advantage if they’re well prepared when these changes occur. Let’s take a look ahead and see what social media has in store for us in the year to come.

  1. Live streaming video

    Live video was first made popular by Twitter’s Periscope, and Facebook Live took it to the next level by offering social video content in real-time. Facebook Live is relatively new, but the format has already seen tremendous success. Some of the most viewed live videos are during events like the Academy Awards or NBA Finals. Instagram is now launching their own live streaming video option, and they won’t be the last. Millennials love video content and are the most active video viewers of any age group. Brands will need to sharpen their video capabilities and develop recognizable video styles to drive engagement and maintain visibility as customer expectations on the platform progress.

  2. Expiring content

    Snapchat popularized the concept of short-lived content through their disappearing “snaps.” This was extended through Snapchat Stories, which are semi-public and viewable for just 24 hours. In 2016, Instagram launched its own version of Stories based on the same notion: users love quick videos and photos that disappear a day later. Brands should be considering the best ways to incorporate this expiring content into their marketing. This format works best when turning everyday moments into a version of unique, informal storytelling.

  3. GIFs and emojis

    From Kim Kardashian’s Kimoji keyboard to Twitter’s Branded Hashtag Emojis, the choices users have for self-expression on social has gone far beyond a smiley face. Now, GIFs and personal Bitmojis are becoming commonplace. Many social media platforms are ahead of the curve; iOS 10 supports these new means of expression through iMessage keyboards, and Facebook has fully embraced GIFs. Brands would be smart to take advantage of this trend. Brands should be using GIFs and emojis in their own context, plus offering opportunities to consumers to express themselves through these images.

  4. Authenticity

    In the age of fake news and alternative facts, authenticity is more valued than ever before. Millennials get their news predominantly from social media, so they’re more likely to investigate and verify what they see. They also push for more transparency from media outlets and are quick to reward unexpected honesty. If users can see the real, human story behind a brand and its product, they’re much more likely to make a connection and cultivate a priceless brand loyalty.

  5. Facial lenses and filters

    Pokémon Go and Snapchat selfie lenses brought augmented reality to the forefront of social media. These facial filters and lenses are incredibly addictive and fun to use, as they increase the user’s ability to create a personalized experience and encourage sharing the silly results with other users. Facebook’s acquisition of Masquerade (MSQRD), a face-swapping selfie app, could play a key role in this. They’ve already begun experimenting with lenses within Facebook Live – enabling users to try on a variety of masks when sharing live video. Platforms will continue to improve on lens features in 2017, and brands should capitalize on these tools.

  6. Personalization

    Customers aren’t interested in dealing with irrelevant content. Thanks to the amount of consumer data and analytics available to businesses, irrelevancy can be a thing of the past. According to Alison Lewis, the CMO of Johnson & Johnson, “getting the right message to the right person at the right time has never been easier, driven by digital and data.” Highly targeted ads are bringing in massive revenue for most social media platforms. Using personalized content and smart data usage, brands can further influence and persuade their audience.

  7. Niche platforms

    Yes, there’s much more to the world of social platforms than just the major players like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Smaller platforms carefully built around specific interests are growing in popularity. Whether they’re based on an app or website, niche platforms represent opportunities for brands to showcase expertise to these potential audiences. These close-knit online communities offer chances to research and better comprehend a consumer demographic. Some great examples are GoodReads (book lovers), Ravelry (knitters) and Raptr (gamers).

  8. Influencer marketing

    Partnering with influencers is a great way to get your products noticed in a crowded marketplace. You also get an advantage of the trust they’ve built up within their target audience. Of course, it will be difficult to convince influencers to promote your product just by giving free samples. Make sure your proposal or campaign is equal in value to the influencer. Brands should also identify influencers, not just by the number of followers they have, but the kind of engagement they have with their followers. An influencer with a higher engagement score makes an even bigger impact when they promote your product or service.

  9.  Setting boundaries

    Social platforms are providing users with better controls over how their feeds offer content. Users are demanding more control over their social media experience, tailoring news feeds to their individual preferences. Twitter recently rolled out quality filter tools to help users control their experience and block specific words from being mentioned. Facebook overhauled their Privacy agreement, making the controls even more user-friendly. Users will have increasingly more power to view content related to their interests, changing the way they use social. Brands should ensure that their user experience falls in line with customer behavior and preferences.

  10.  Virtual reality

    2017 may be the year that virtual reality (VR) social networking comes to life. VR and augmented reality technology are entering the mainstream in 2017, and social platforms are set to embrace it. VR allows people to further connect on social media in a more realistic way. For example, Facebook and YouTube have both introduced 360-degree videos. This paves the way for users to share interactive VR experiences. The innovative technology will also offer brands more ways to engage customers. Brands should be looking at ways to utilize VR, or at the very least should be producing memorable experiences in 360 degrees that could eventually translate to VR technology.

You Are What You Tweet

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogger, YouTube, Pinterest. Social media provides endless platforms and an endless audience. Everything you share is put on display for the world to see, even if it’s just a cute cat video. You could spend hours crafting the perfect post, to be rewarded with “likes” from your friends, followers and fans… or you could lose your job, respect, and credibility.

First impressions

In the Internet Age, we are increasingly judged by the tweets, posts and pictures we choose to share. A survey by careerbuilder.com found that more than half of employers use social media profiles to research job applicants and filter out inappropriate candidates. Who could forget the Justine Sacco scandal, when a PR executive pressed send on this tweet before boarding her 11-hour flight: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” By the time she landed in Cape Town, she had been fired and publicly shamed.

If this kind of news tempts you to lock down all of your social media accounts, take a deep breath first. The flip side of this research tells us that a deactivated or private account makes the job applicant look like they have something to hide. You can try to erase your unflattering pictures or delete embarrassing status updates, but nothing is guaranteed private online since the invention of screenshots. Present your best instead of disguising your online presence.

flip the script

Being social media savvy in 2017 means choosing your words with care. Use your platforms for good, not just for promoting constant a highlight reel of your life. I love social media and plan on making a career out of it. I can connect with far-flung friends and family and keep myself updated on world news or trends. It’s a powerful tool that serves as your online representation and can lead to amazing connections. Social media can make an lasting impression and YOU get to decide what that impression looks like. Make it a good one!

OP-ED: Why college students should register to vote

You’re in college, expanding your mind and your comfort zones. You’re challenging yourself and learning about issues you’ve never considered before. But when the time comes, you’re going to pass on empowering yourself by voting?

The collegiate vote is too important to disregard. You’d have to be a hermit to ignore the sensation of the 2016 presidential election, but many college students ignore the role that they have played in the election results. Voter turnout for this demographic has reached record lows in recent years. If election night goes wrong for your candidate, you can tweet or post disappointment to your heart’s content. However, if you didn’t vote, can you complain knowing you missed your chance to change America’s future?

First, it’s your right as a citizen of the United States to vote. Many governments around the world don’t enjoy the freedom of democracy that we often take for granted. You have the unique opportunity to help select our government leaders, and the health of our democracy relies on your participation. Voting can also be a way to honor those who have helped secure our rights. No matter your race, gender or age, that right came at a price. Military who have fought for this country, suffragettes, activists and Civil Rights leaders are just a few examples of those to whom we owe our respect and freedom. Voting gives you the opportunity to help pay that debt. Honor the sacrifices others made so your voice could be heard when theirs was not.

Second, your vote matters even more than you might think. Many students don’t believe their vote will make a tangible difference, but history has shown that elections can be decided by just a handful of voters. In the 2012 presidential election, young voters were one of the key voting blocs in electing Barack Obama. Obama won the young adult vote over Mitt Romney by more than five million voters. When mobilized, millennials can be a powerful political force. Your generation can decide the whole course of an election.

Finally, elections are relevant to college students. Elections focus on issues that can have a direct impact on a student and their collegiate community, at a local or presidential level. Consider the fact that the president selects U.S. Supreme Court Justices for lifetime appointments. These judicial officials can exert a powerful influence for decades to come. The policies you vote for today can have an enormous impact on your life after college. Within the next four years, you may be getting a job, owning or renting a house, getting married, starting a family, paying for health care or building a business. By voting, you’re not just doing your part to influence the present; you’re also making an impact on the future. Do you want to leave those decisions up to someone else?

As students, you are known to be an unreliable voting bloc. Young adults often feel they don’t have enough of a stake in their college town or community to vote. Many college students are not able to vote using an absentee ballot. Students may live on campus for nine months of the year, and whether they can vote or not depends on state registration laws. These laws can be confusing to a young voter without the proper guidance. Combine this with the fact that many issues discussed in national elections, such as Social Security or foreign policy, are not issues that college students worry about.

However, for college students to have significant political influence, they must turn out in greater numbers than ever before. You have a part to play in that process. It’s a proven fact that college students have the power to make a difference. An important way to achieve this is to make your voice heard at the polls on Election Day. Voice your opinions on issues, policies, candidates and referendums. Stand up for what you believe in. Vote!

10 Best Super Bowl Commercials

    1. Carnival, “Come Back to Sea”

      Carnival began the night with a well-crafted, nautical version of 2014’s “Farmer” ad for Ram trucks. The voice over is John F. Kennedy in 1962.

  1. Snickers, “The Brady Bunch”

    Snickers’  spoof of The Brady Bunch features the best take of the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” formula we have ever seen. It has the perfect ending, too, with Dave Buscemi acting as Jan.

  2. NFL, “No More”

    After all the scandal the NFL has been through with domestic violence, this year, the league is working to resurrect its image. This ad is subtle, chilling, and based on an actual 911 call.

  3. Weight Watchers, “All You Can Eat”

    Weight Watchers created an attention-grabbing ad with all of America’s favorite junk food. Pointing out America’s over-consumption on a day known for greasy fried foods seems unfair, until you realize you’ve eaten an entire bowl of cheese dip.

  4. Avocados from Mexico, “#FirstDraftEver”

    Niche food ads aren’t known for being this funny, but Avocados from Mexico nailed it in this spot recreating the very first draft.

  5. Nationwide, “Invisible Mindy Kaling”

    Mindy is charmingly goofy in a world where she believes she is invisible (spoiler alert: she’s wrong), with a surprise cameo by Matt Damon.

  6. Budweiser, “Lost Dog”

    Not nearly as good as “Puppy Love,” but everyone loves it anyway. Who can resist adorable puppies?

  7. Bud Light, “Real Life PacMan”

    Whether this was staged or not, a real life PacMan game sounds just as entertaining as it is to watch in this Bud Light spot.

  8. Kia, “The Perfect Getaway”

    Pierce Brosnan still has it! Kia created a getaway so unexpected that even the star himself didn’t see it coming. Here, Brosnan’s agent attempts to persuade the former 007 to star in a romance movie.

  9. Clash of Clans, “Revenge”

    Take note, World of Warcraft — this is how you do a proper gaming ad! Liam Neeson makes an appearance as one angry opponent you definitely don’t want to overestimate.