Monthly Archives: June 2011

LeBron James: Time for a Little Humility

by Megan Cotton

Last November in my blog I asked “Can LeBron Take The Heat?,” a response to the Nike “What Should I Do?” video meant to repair LeBron James’ broken image after his move to Miami and the much hated ESPN special, “The Decision.” In my opinion the commercial did its job, using pop culture and witty scenarios to ask basketball fans (excluding Cleveland fans, of course) to forgive him for his move and just let him play the game.

Who didn’t do his job, however, was James. After more than disappointing play in almost every 4th quarter of the NBA Finals, James couldn’t conjure up humility for a post-game interview when he said, “All the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

Yes, you can say he was disappointed and caught up in the heat of the moment but suggesting that everyone who doesn’t cheer for you has “personal problems” is a step too far. For a player this highly scrutinized, with a history of showing bad sportsmanship, it was all the critics needed to attack him.

So what should James’ next PR move be exactly? His sponsors, like Nike, have been quiet so far, but this season’s disappointment seems to be a bit more than a well-made, witty commercial can fix.

In a blog posted on CNBC, “LeBron James’ Marketing Might Never Recover,” writer Darren Rovell, suggested that even if James wins one (or several) NBA Championships his image may be too far gone to save.

“The only repair can come through championships—LeBron finally getting it done, Tiger beating Jack. But that doesn’t mean that Tiger or LeBron will get back to where they once were,” said Rovell. “Winning a title is important for LeBron James. But the right person getting through to him as to why he’s in this position to begin with, and for him to accept what they have to say, might be even more important.”

That’s really what it comes down to: people don’t want to see “the bad guy” win. They want humility and a heartwarming story wrapped up with that championship. Right now James is too far gone for people to want a moving story about him featured on ESPN but as a PR professional you have to believe that very few images are actually beyond repair.

In a previous Platform blog about Michael Vick’s rehabilitated image, Libby Page laid out a process professionals can use to transform public perspective. Vick showed genuine remorse, got involved in community service and let his work at practice and during games speak for his new ethics.

James should follow a similar path. He should show the public he’s sorry for his post-game comments and that he is disappointed in his 4th quarter play. He should get involved in his new community and show that he cares about Miami. After that, he should focus on basketball and work hard to achieve what he left Cleveland for, to win a championship.

By not feeding the media with negative comments and lackluster play, he won’t give critics anything to talk about. So, maybe forgiveness can come with time and with James learning humility and keeping his over-confident attitude reserved for games … including the 4th quarter.

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Graduation Desperation

by Karissa Bursch

As my last blog post for Platform Magazine I find it only fitting to write about the one thing that has been on my mind almost 98 percent of the time since spring break . . . and that is graduation. Yes, it has finally come and gone — both the most dreaded and looked-forward-to event for every college student.

The end of the spring semester of my senior year has passed me by and suddenly I find myself in a pool of fellow graduates constantly talking about life plans, graduate school plans, summer plans, wedding plans, home and apartment plans, job plans . . . needless to say our conversations involve a lot of plans.

I am just as enthusiastic as any other graduate. I constantly describe to my friends and classmates my ideal future of moving to Atlanta with my boyfriend, buying a cute little dog or cat and working at a chic public relations firm hopefully in the environmental or international vein.

However, despite all my enthusiasm and excitement, I feel this growing knot in my stomach. Will it all work out? Where do I belong? What am I really supposed to do? What is really going to happen? Is it the right choice?

I’ve realized, I’m just so . . . free. I could move anywhere, I could do anything. The endless array of choices and the uncertainty of the future is daunting. Public relations especially gives you that ability to do a lot of things. How do you channel that PR drive?

I decided to do some research and a surprisingly large number of articles came up about post-graduation anxiety. It can happen to anybody, those with plans after graduation and those without, because even with plans you can still feel that gnawing fear that you’re not making the right choice.

Here are some resources and tips to help those in the same boat as me, a public relations graduate with a few butterflies flying around in her stomach:

In an article in The Guardian by Lyndsey Winship titled “Reality Blues,” Winship discusses the different stresses that come along with post-graduation life including the uncertainty of where you’ll end up or the shock of suddenly working at a high-stress job after the laid back atmosphere of college.

Winship recommends looking to advisers and your alma mater for help, “Surely [these stresses] need not be an inevitable stumbling block? With so many students facing difficulties, is there anything being done to make the transition more seamless? Careers services do provide advice, resources and seminars to help students with their decision making, and new research projects are under way, aiming to help students recognize the skills they have learned and apply them in the workplace.”

Also there is a very helpful page on the PRSSA website titled “Beyond Graduation: Onward with Confidence.” In coalition with PRSA,PRSSA provides different resources to PR graduates searching for their next move.

These resources include the membership form for the PRSA associate membership, the listing of the PRSA chapters across the U.S., information on the “New Professionals Section,” a subgroup of PRSA for members who are new to the profession, a link to the PRSA Job Center, information on how to get accreditation in public relations and information on graduate school.

There are also networking websites that can get you in touch with young professionals and recent graduates such as LinkedIn or PR Starbase, a social network for PR pros, MarCom experts and creative and digital freelancers, which even has a group within the site titled “Recent Graduates.”

It is resources like these that can help public relations graduates like me sleep better at night; and even with all of these resources I still think that a lot lies in the experience and skills that you’ve garnered over the past four years.

While I may not know where I’m going to be tomorrow, in a week, a month or even a year, I know that I worked hard over the past four years to get this degree and I have gained much experience along the way. With resources like those above available for us recent graduates coupled with making sure that we stay open and supportive as a community of young professionals, I know we can all succeed. It’s all about remaining positive and confident, and not letting those butterflies in your stomach get the best of you!

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