Humanize Your Brand (But Your Brand Is Not Human)



I was still an undergrad student when the Citizens United ruling occurred in 2010, protecting the first amendment rights of corporations to make campaign contributions. Like many people my age, I was outraged over the idea of corporate personhood. How could a corporation be considered a human being in the eyes of the law? At the same time, I knew that corporations can get into contracts and declare ownership of copyright and trademarked materials.  And as I started to get into the marketing communications field, I became aware of brands having a voice and personality on social media communications. Integrated marketing communications—where all points of contact resonate into one core message. Social media require interactivity between the brand and the consumer. It is a two-way communication line, unlike traditional TV, radio, and print (although those mediums have evolved with the growth of the internet and social media to include interactivity).

Brands with a Personality

“If your brand is a human being, what kind of human would it be?” I was surprised to discover a series of similar questions on a survey I was reading over for a client. I assumed that the person who developed the survey was trying to get a good idea of the culture and the brand’s identity. The survey occurred before I started working with the client, so I wasn’t involved in the discussion. The responses described my client’s brand as “feminine” and “timid” or “introverted,” a person who is over 35 years old, highly educated, and middle-class. Were they describing the brand, or their target base, or the make-up of the staff and board? It could be a combination of all three. It was as if the brand was being personified and I was able to leverage that.

Brands should absolutely have a personality. It is interacting with real human beings after all. But brands are not human beings in itself. Notice I’m using the word “it” instead of “they” when referring to a brand. Because brands are selling products or providing a service, it is still communicating with people. And having a unified style and message across all contact points is important because it avoids confusion and reinforces the brand’s position in the consumer’s mind. Brands are being represented by human beings, whether it is through online communications or interpersonal interaction. When you have humans using the brand’s name to communicate with prospects and customers, it is like they’re putting on a mask and advocating on the brand’s behalf.

Concepts of Brand Voice

In his book Face2face, David Lee King (2012) described three concepts of brand voice: listening, authentic communication, and sharing in a community.


Listening applies to all contact points and all aspects of business. When a product developer responds to complaints about a product, or an entrepreneur discover an opportunity to solve a problem, they are listening. Organizations listen to current and potential customers, offers the problem-solving product or service, and then listens to feedback about the offering and adjusts accordingly. Same thing happens when listening to complaints, by cutting through frustrations, listening, apologizing, and trying to make the experience a better one (King, 2012). There are even multiple ways for brands to eavesdrop on customers and learn their thoughts about product or service by setting up searches, subscribing to RSS feeds, and creating email alerts. Many messages on social media are public and it is imperative to keep track of good (and bad) word-of-mouth.


The second concept is authenticity. You essentially want to write like this: “This is really great Jill! We’ll be sure to pass this along to our friends at Smith Elementary.” Not like this: “Your response has been noted and will be responded to by one of our team in 2-3 business days” (Lee, 2014).

See the difference? The second sentence is so dull and robotic. Nobody wants to respond to cold and emotionless business drivel. Let the brand’s unique voice be heard by making it conversational. Taylor Hill at Harkins Creative said this about voice:

  1. Be a giver- provide good, solid info about the brand
  2. Be yourself- uniqueness, giving your take should be conversational

Voice consist of two elements – tone and content. Tone is the essence while content is the substance. Lee (2014) explains that a brand will have one voice and multiple tones to refine that voice. When forming a brand’s personality, I suggest coming up with a list of adjectives and listing synonyms. This is especially helpful for writing marketing narratives. Based on my client’s survey data, I determined these adjectives:

  • Sincere – modest, humble, patient, authentic, genuine, and gentle
  • Sympathetic – friendly, amicable, beneficial, welcoming
  • Visionary – wise, creative, imaginative, inspiring

Go even further with a chart (from Lee’s article):

Character/Persona – Who does your brand sound like? Tone -What is the general vibe?
Friendly, professional, inspiring, sociable Honest, humble, beneficial, creative, wise
Language – what kinds of words you use? Purpose – Why are you on social media?
Simple, whimsy, fun, gentle, genuine Engage, educate, inform, advocate, appreciate, entertain, create awareness

There are some concerns about automation taking away jobs…but I don’t even think robots could ever replace human to human interaction. Automation would still have to be programmed by a programmer to communicate authentically. Otherwise, it is garbage.


The third concept, sharing, will take the brand’s message to other websites. Social media users foster a lot of knowledge sharing and relationship building through common interests. Provide news and updates related to your business. Demonstrate your expertise and teach your customers new tricks and tips. Information sharing is a great way to get your followers engaged and they’re more motivated to share with their friends and peers– doing the marketing for you.

Authenticity is still the rule —according to King (2012), Honda’s Facebook in 2009 received a lot of negative comments for its Crosstour SUV. One “customer”, Eddie Okubo, made a positive comment. However, Okubo is a product manager of Honda! Sure, it is his opinion, but it would’ve helped if he provided some kind of disclaimer. Instead, the customers called him out, saying he’s trying to save his job.

Maybe the brand can’t vote (the social media manager certainly can), but brands can communicate. A brand personality and voice humanizes the brand, providing an incentive to spread word of mouth and even do the marketing for them! Delighted customers are motivated to share a brand’s message because first impressions matter. Brand personality builds relationships, further reinforcing a brand’s position in the consumer’s mind.


King, D. L. (2012). Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media tools to create great customer connections. Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books/Information Today.

Lee, K. (2014, April 14). How to Find Your Social Media Marketing Voice: The Best Examples, Questions, and Guides. Retrieved from

Why Your Business Needs a Digital Marketing Strategy

digital-marketing-1497211_1280Why does a brand need a digital marketing strategy? Would you start a business without a business plan? Would you shop for a big Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for 8 people without knowing what and how much you’re going to cook? A strategy will save you time and money. It is worth the investment to put it in writing. Determine what your goals are, how you will implement the strategy, and how you can measure the results of the strategy in order to make informed decisions to improve upon the strategy. It is a continuous cycle of writing and tweaking.

Here are the basic elements you need in a digital marketing strategy:

Goals, strategy, and tactics

What is your goal? Are you trying to get new leads? How many? By the end of the month or the end of the year? It is important to know the answer to your question. Businesses that lack a clear goal and strategy will lack focus and direction (Bailey, 2016). Make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Make sure the goal is clear, have some kind of metric, is feasible, and with a set deadline. The more specific, the better.

Some people include higher level objectives in their digital marketing strategy. It is helpful to remain focused on your objectives while brainstorming goals and strategies. Your goals will help you reach your objective, which in turn will help you reach your brand’s vision. In a way, visions and objectives are like goals, but they’re not specific enough to help you reach them. Setting realistic goals and clarifying your strategies and tactics are the only way your business can get from point A to point B.

Industry and Competition

Do you know where you stand in your community? In the market? What are your competitors? Research your competitors. Find out what they’re doing wrong (or right). Competition in the digital world can be as local as around the corner or as far as across the globe (Ryan, 2009). You’re fighting these brands for the attention and resources of customers. You want these consumers to choose your brand.

One significant tool to help you compete with your competitors is to determine your unique selling proposition (or point). What does your brand do that makes you different from all of the other brands selling the same thing? It will encourage existing and new customers to engage and remain loyal (Bailey, 2016).

Target Audience

It is crucial to study your niche. What do they like? What do they hate? What are their physical characteristics? Level of education? How do they behave on the internet? You need to know your target before you can figure out how to talk to them. Without a clear strategy for engaging with consumers and retaining loyal repeat customers, competitors are going to always have the upper hand over your business (Ryan, 2009). It is important to tailor your messages for the right people.


What platforms and tools do you plan on using to reach your audience? Do you know who will manage the platform or who will create the content? Some content will take a few minutes, others will take weeks or months. If you’re making a video, where will you get the equipment or the software to put it together? If you’re not skilled in creative forms of advertising, how are you going to get the help you need? As a business or an organization, it is crucial to budget and use cost-effective marketing methods to get higher profits (Bailey, 2016). It will remove confusion and messy experiences when skills and resources are strategically allocated.

It is also imperative to not confuse the audience. Make sure all contact points with the consumer are consistent. Digital marketing works best when integrated with all media channels, traditional et al (Bailey, 2016). A unified voice in your messages will provide a strong foundation and credibility with the consumer.


How will you measure the outcome? The best way to determine a measurable goal is to come up with an appropriate number. Maybe you decide that you accomplish your goal after making $10,000 in sales. Or maybe you’re just trying to get 4,000 visitors to your website. Or maybe you plan on monitoring responses for a test audience of 500 people to see if a product should be released worldwide or not. Often senior management does not apply key performance indicators or KPIs (Bailey, 2016). Setting a benchmark will help your brand evolve for the better.

After you reach your goal, is it the end of it? Of course not! Use the opportunity to improve your messages and marketing decisions. Use it to set new goals to continue to work towards reaching high-level objectives. Even if you’re not using a strategy, your competitors are. Don’t jump in without a plan.


Bailey, D. (2016, July 20). Why You Need a Digital Marketing Strategy. Opus Online. Retrieved from

Ryan, D., & Jones, C. (2009). Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. London: Kogan Page.

Next Step for Digital Advertising


Advertising has roots in ancient Egypt, Pompeii, Song dynasty China, and Europe in the middle ages. From papyrus messages on the walls to bamboo flutes being played to sell candy, human civilization had always used some kind of form of expression to inform their town or city of the whereabouts of their business and products. The invention of the printing press was a game changer in the 15th century, leading to advertising as we know it in capitalist societies today. Next came the inventions of the radio, television, and the internet, revolutionizing the way how brands send their messages and how consumers respond to them. By looking at the past, we can understand the future of advertising. As technology advances, we find that traditional advertising doesn’t entirely disappear, but adapt to the changes.

Digital Advertising Todaymacbook-624707_1920

Advertising is a large part of marketing, a combination of promotion, product, price, and place.  “Advertising is almost the same as it was in the mad men era,” said Jeff Rosenblum, executive producer of the 2013 film Naked Brand, in his interview with Bloomberg. “Digital [technology] changed the way we communicate but advertising took an old model and used that technology.” What were used as banner ads on newspapers are now banner ads on websites. Junk mail is now spam e-mail. Technological advances expand prior forms of advertising while offering marketers choices on how to connect to broader audiences (Ryan, 2009).

Digital Behavior Trends

Web 2.0 is the evolution in the way people are using technology (Ryan, 2009). According to Understanding Digital Marketing, the technology trends influencing consumer behavior includes:


Space and time are no longer limitations when it comes to communicating with people around the world. Consumers are using e-mail, IMs, text messaging, VoIPs, and social media to interact and build virtual communities. “There are more touch points now than before,” said Jordan Berg, Naked Brand Producer and co-founding partner of Questus. “We can’t ignore ads anymore.” Brands can connect with consumers through a computer, mobile device, on TV, the radio, newspaper, and mail. 

Technology leveling the information playing field

Consumers can do their own research of products and services, comparing and contrasting before they make a purchase decision. Information behavior, once a field of study for aspiring librarians, are now being included in the fields of marketing and digital communications. The best way to reach a target audience is to understand the needs and information behaviors of the target audience.

Relevance filtering

Consumers living in the digital age have learned how to be critical when they absorb information. Rosenblum stated during his interview how when brands sell a terrible product or behave unethically, no amount of advertising can cover it up. It is important for brands to be transparent, socially conscious, and work towards demonstrating good will to the public. 

Niche accumulation

Consumers with specific interests and hobbies are joining communities and groups. This opens up the opportunity to reach niche markets. Facebook’s advertising allows you to reach users beyond than just using demographics—there’s interest in sports, arts, music, and culture. There’s something for everyone. 

Micropublishing of personal content

Consumers are expressing themselves in so many different ways– social media, blogs, review boards, and message board communities. Brands can’t ignore them; these messages are public and easily shared by the peers of the consumer. It can either lead to positive word of mouth or negative.

Prosumer Culture

Consumers are getting involved in the development and production of the products they want. Individuals can build their own experiences, customize their products, and control their communication from brands. “Young demographics have control,” said Jeff Rosenberg, when referring to the fact that while attitudes towards advertising are similar across all demographics, young people are cutting the cord and getting entertainment from other sources online. Brands have to motivate consumers to share their advertisements and brand messages. 

Products on Demand

Consumers can get what they want anytime and anywhere. There is instant gratification. Brands can satisfy their consumers’ needs more quickly, easily, and with fewer barriers.

Check out Dr. Kaku's book today!
Check out Dr. Kaku’s book today!

The Future of Advertising

I listened to an audiobook of Dr. Michio Kaku’s The Future of the Mind while I was traveling on vacation. He is a physicist well known for researching string theory and the accelerating universe. His books explore possible scientific explorations and inventions that would be considered science fiction today. He applies the model of physics when making these fascinating predictions. One of the things he explored in his book is the difference between human consciousness and animal consciousness; how we use information from the past to predict outcomes in the future. Throughout his book, I’ve started thinking about how this simple concept is applied in so many different aspects of the world. That’s one of the reasons why case studies are important in the field of advertising; learning from past mistakes and triumphs to make strategic decisions in the future.

Technological advances today will certainly be considered “traditional” tomorrow. Moore’s law stated that computer processing power doubles every two years, and it is amazing how far we have come with communication. But just because something new comes along, doesn’t mean that it subsides previous forms of media. Marketing isn’t just about technology, but about the people using it and connecting with others effectively (Ryan, 2009). As long as people interact and connect, there are so many different ways to get information about a brand. Perhaps when mankind reaches to the point of uploading our consciousness into a computer, as what Dr. Kaku suggested, advertising messages and information may become so instantaneous and become part of some kind of collective intelligence.


But we shouldn’t expect such advances in human consciousness anytime in the near future. We’ll see changes in digital media that are built on the foundation of earlier forms of media. If web 1.0 is banner advertising, web 2.0 is interactive advertising, and web 3.0 is behavioral advertising, then what is the next step for web 4.0, 5.0, and beyond? As the industry and consumers band together to evolve digital media technology, we will come to understand new ways of advertising, perhaps on an emotional or personal level.


Bottom Line. (2013, September 25). The Changing Face of Advertising. Bloomberg. Retrieved from

Boyle, A. (2014, April 3). Brainiac Says We’ll All Be Part of the ‘Brain-Net’ Someday. NBC News. Retrieved from

Davey, L. (2016, June 29). The History and Evolution of Advertising. TINT. Retrieved from

Ryan, D., & Jones, C. (2009). Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. London: Kogan Page.

Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0 s Web 3.0 vs Web 4.0 vs Web 5.0 – A bird’s eye on the evolution and definition. Retrieved from

Top 5 Key Skills In-Demand for Administrative Assistants

Administrative assistants, or secretaries, traditionally provided staff and administrative support. They would prepare files, organize emergency impromptu meetings, handle scheduling and billing, and organize documents. Most positions require a high school diploma or GED; some executive assistant positions may require a bachelors degree or at least some college-level experience. However, the past three years many assistants have assumed the responsibility of middle management in addition to their daily tasks. Employers seek candidates with strong communication skills, technology skills, and industry experience. Here are the top key skills and characteristics that are expected from administrative assistants.

 Interpersonal and Written Communication Skills

Strong writing and verbal communication are essential skills, especially in the Administrative Assistant field. Administrative Assistants interact with employees, management, suppliers, and customers. It helps to have a dictionary and thesaurus on hand. Grammar refreshers can help you practice and minimize mistakes. Once you communicate something or make a mistake, it is difficult to take it back.

It is important to recognize not just written and verbal communication but non-verbal cues as well, such as tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions. Additionally, the demand for multilingual assistants is high, especially in regions where it is common to speak more than one language.

Maintain Confidentiality

This is a no-brainer. Employers expect administrative assistants to maintain the integrity of sensitive information in the workplace. A survey by CareerBuilder revealed that 53% of support workers overheard confidential information and 11% stumbled upon information that can get another employee fired. Gossiping and spreading rumors is a sure way to get fired, especially if shared on social media.

What happens if you encounter unethical information? It is important to exercise judgment when encountering such a discovery. Some companies have guidelines such as the University of North Texas, which prohibits retaliation against individuals who report harassment, discrimination, or sexual violence.

Digital Technology Skills

It isn’t enough to just learn how to use e-mail and Microsoft Office applications (even though advanced proficiency is needed). Administrative assistants should learn how to use Adobe PhotoshopInDesign, and understand basic elements of design, color theory, and composition. Administrative assistants may encounter tasks involving updating photos and graphics for a newsletter, website, brochure, or social media. Adept knowledge of some of the common social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is needed.
Administrative assistants should also demonstrate effective internet searching capabilities and use critical skills to make sure the source is credible. Some web-based tools such as Dropbox, Google, Evernote, Doodle will prove useful in the office. Technology and software applications are incredibly dynamic and it is up to you to stay on top of updates, take advantage of training opportunities, and be open to change.

Organizational Skills

Effective time management, organizational skills, and prioritizing are sure ingredients for improving office efficiency. Administrative assistants should aim to perform as seamlessly as possible. “Time is money” after all, so punctuality and accuracy will provide productivity and improve performance.

Industry Knowledge

It is typical for most secretaries to undergo short-term training once they begin. However if you can research and master jargons, researching processes, and staying updated on trade news it shows initative and may save an employer’s time from having to explain so many details. While not required, administrative professionals can work towards getting certification from the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Healthcare and legal administrative assistants may need to seek specialized training and experience to effectively operate in the field.


Administrative Assistant Jobs: What Changes Mean for You. (n.d.). Retrieved July 14, 2016, from

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants,
on the Internet at (visited August 23, 2016).

King, D. (n.d.). Four Principles of Interpersonal Communication. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from

Lorenz, M. (2015, February 26). Majority of Support Staff Workers Have Overheard Confidential Conversations at Work, New CareerBuilder Survey Finds. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from


Public Relations Specialists Occupation Outlook Infographic


PR Specialist Infographic

Infographic Text:

Public Relations Specialists

PR specialists build mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and its target publics. They design press releases and use other communication tools to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals.

Median Pay: $56,770 per year

Education: Bachelor Degrees

Job Outlook: Increase by 6%

Recommended Reading

The Public Relations Handbook by Alison Theaker (5th Edition)

Some types of PR

Consumer PR, Business to Business PR, Non-Profit PR, Public Sector PR, and Financial PR


The Public Relations Specialist Infographic is licensed creative commons attribution. You may credit with Crystal J. Hollis, @crystaljhollis, or website


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Public Relations Specialists,
on the Internet at (visited August 21, 2016).

What is Public Relations?


Have you ever observed a situation where there are so much controversy and discussion over a company or the marketing of a product and you hear someone comment, “this is such great PR for them.” When Ghostbusters (2016) came out in theaters, I scratched my head as YouTuber Comic Book Girl 19 described how Sony had “spun” the culture clash between misogynists and feminists into “great PR for themselves” then adds “this is brilliant marketing.” Was she talking about PR or marketing? Which was it?

People often use “PR,” “advertising,” and “marketing” interchangeably, but they each have different definitions and functions. Marketing is a mix of product, price, promotion, and place. Advertising refers to paid messages sent to a target audience. PR, however, draws on many practices and disciplines, including management, media, communication, and psychology (Theaker, 2008). It is not marketing or advertising at all.  It is a complex function used by higher level management to bridge relationships.

Learn about the history of public relations in the 20th century.

In The Public Relations Handbook, Johanna Fawkes referred to PR Week’s April 2007 article about Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and its mass guerrilla PR stunt against British American Tobacco and story about Julia Simpson, who was starting her new corporate media relations position at British Airways. Fawkes described the contrast between the activities and campaigns of pressure groups (ASH) and corporations (BAT) and advising senior level leaders on communicating (BA). While all three situations were different, they’re all relevant to the field of public relations. A PR agency can cause hostility to another company, seek maximum publicity, or choose appropriate communication tools to connect with a niche audience. I’ve reviewed several definitions of public relations mentioned in The Public Relations Handbook and the internet today.

A Google search of “what is public relations?” returns about 219 million results, with this definition ranked at the very top:

pub·lic re·la·tions

noun; plural noun: public relations

  1. the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.
  2. the state of the relationship between the public and a company or other organization or a famous person.

But I know that according to PR experts this definition isn’t the whole truth. PR is more than just maintaining a favorable image and isn’t just the state of a relationship between the public and an organization. There are many types of publics– consumers, employees, public officials, stakeholders, customers, and investors. I looked further. Public Relations, Strategies, and Tactics revealed that Rex Harlow collected over 400 definitions of public relations in 1976 to decide on the following definition:

Public relations is a distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its publics; involves the management of problems or issues; helps management to keep informed on and responsive to public opinion; defines and emphasizes the responsibility of management to serve the public interest; helps management keep abreast of and effectively utilize change, serving as an early warning system to help anticipate trends; and uses research and ethical communication techniques as its principal tools. 

Johanna Fawkes concluded that while this definition is useful, it describes what PR does and fails to explain what exactly PR is about.

Philip Kitchen (1997) adds that PR:

  • Is a Management function
  • Covers broad range of activities and purposes in practice
  • Is regarded as two-way or interactive
  • That publics facing companies are not singular but plural
  • That relationships are long term rather than short term

I think “two-way” is a big keyword in this definition, especially when companies are building relationships with target publics through web 2.0 technologies today. Social media and the internet makes it easier for organizations to monitor responses and have real time conversations with target publics. Wilcox et al. (2003) suggest the following:

  • Deliberate
  • Planned
  • Performance
  • Public Interest

Performance and public interest are also excellent keywords, reflecting how public relations is most effective when organizations follow through their promises to the publics with action. They say what they mean and do what they say. Intentionally demonstrating goodwill to the public ultimately builds trust.

When comparing public relations with diplomacy, L’Etang (2006) factored:

  • Representational (rhetoric, oratory, advocacy)
  • Dialogic (negotiation, peacemaking)
  • Advisory (counseling)

PR professionals represent and counsel the organization while facilitating the viewpoints of different publics. An ethical PR team will find a balance between advocating the public and advocating their organization. Proactive PR involves campaign planning while reactive PR involves dealing with a crisis.

Fawkes proceeded to share the Chartered Institute of PR’s definition, the UK’s leading organization for PR practitioners, framed in 1987:

Public Relations is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and understanding between an organization and its publics.

This definition suggests that the relationships are not “automatic or effortless” and that PR work “exists in time” (Theaker, 2008). PR practitioners have the ethical responsibility to serve the public and share an accurate view of the organization it serves (whether or not the organization itself is favorable to some publics). Fawkes (Theaker, 2008) shared a much simpler definition: “Public relations is about reputation- the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.” As of this date, a modified definition can be found on the CIPR website:

 Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and understanding between an organization and its publics.

The Public Relations Society of America led a global effort to modernize the definition of PR:

“Public Relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and its publics.”

I find it interesting that “process” is being used instead of “management function” simply because the latter suggests top-down, one-way communication.

Rent or buy Alison Theaker's 5th edition (2016) of The Public Relations Handbook today!
Rent or buy Alison Theaker’s 5th edition (2016) of The Public Relations Handbook today!

Critics of PR, such as PRWatch and Spinwatch, stress that PR is “synonymous with propaganda,” and that there’s too much abuse of public trust by corporate PR (Theaker, 2008). I disagree. If a PR practitioner exercised goodwill and responsibility to the public, then they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You cannot disregard ethics and call it public relations. It severs the relationship. The absence of ethics in a public relations message IS just propaganda. This is why ethics is so crucial in the study and discussions of public relations.

Fawkes mentioned how some critics such as Hutton believe that PR has “lost the battle for supremacy with marketing” because of its failure to find a definition. She even suggests that some practitioners are rebranding themselves as “perception managers” or “corporate communicators” (Theaker, 2008). While I agree that having a consistent message or “one true voice” for public relations is essential, I disagree that it is failing. I believe that the reason why no one can agree on an exact definition is because it is constantly evolving and some messages and activities for one organization will differ for another. The relationship between the public and higher management will always be there, and that certain key responsibilities and expressions will change over time to match the concurrent social and technological climate.

Even though there are many versions of the definition, PR definitely has its foundations in being the two-way relationship between an organization and its target publics. Successful PR is based on building trust, performing in the public interest, and giving voice to all sides. Which definition do you agree with the most? How would you define public relations?


CIPR (2016). What is PR? Retrieved August 21, 2016 from

Fuse, K. (2015). Personal Communication.

Kitchen, P. (ed.) (1997). Public Relations, Principles and Practice. International Thomson Business Press. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

L’Etang, J. and Pieczka, M. (eds) (2006). Public Relations, Critical Debates and Contemporary Practice. Mahwah, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

PRSA (2016). About Public Relations. Retrieved August 21, 2016 from

Theaker, A. (2008). The Public Relations Handbook (3rd ed.) Chapter 1: What is Public Relations? (Fawkes, J., contributor). London: Routledge. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

Wilcox, D.L., Cameron, G.T., Ault, P.H. and Agee, W.K. (2003) Public Relations, Strategies and Tactics (7th edition). Allyn and Bacon. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

Photoshop class at UNT (Fall 2014)

In Fall 2014, I took a course called “Computer Graphics for Mediated Communications” (CECS 5260). I learned and practiced designing materials using Photoshop.



Download here.

Denton Public Library’s original brochure

I have a brochure from the Denton Public Library and decided to improve on its content and design. I incorporate a lot of photographs in my work.








My website project

Oaklawn Leasing’s original website

I decided to improve on Oaklawn Leasing’s website. When I was apartment hunting I saw how their website could use a make over. However I do not think Photoshop is the best format for designing websites.

Note: Some of the links will not work.

Photoshop class at UNT Final Project [Interactive Kiosk]

In Fall 2014, I created an interactive kiosk-like story titled “A Friday Night in Denton” for Computer Graphics for Mediated Communication (CECS 5260). The story begins with the reader making a choice of Friday night activities. Each choice contain different scenarios where the reader interacts with a police officer. The goal of the story is to teach readers appropriate steps when confronting with police.

I chose the topic of confronting police because of the Ferguson protests of 2014. This was the first time I have ever made an interactive story or game. I hope to create more projects like this and incorporate graphics, audio, and video.

The information does not substitute for legal counseling with an Attorney. To play the game, you need to have Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 or better.

Download the file here.

Alternate Download Link



Anthropology Review: “Trekking Tradition”

Rural Nepalese welcomes societal change in “Trekking Tradition”

By Crystal Hollis | Fall 2010 | ANTH 1150 World Cultures Through Film

While most cultures that experienced drastic colonialism are unable to catch up, the Nepalese villagers in the film Trekking Tradition is an example of a type of culture that had adapted to the “invasion” of the western capitalism. The change that the villagers experience is a result from interactions that occurred over time. They were not controlled by private or governmental authority and were able to make their own choices. While some neighboring villagers criticize of how this specific village in the film is declining from tradition, the village themselves embraced modernization because of the convenience that came with it. Because of this embrace of the benefits, the peasant natives of the small village in rural Nepal were very welcoming of the tourists that can afford to travel to their mountains.

The Nepalese in the film has a strong aspiration to become modernized. According to the lectures, modernization is defined as the economic, social, political, and religious change that is interrelated with modern industrial and technological developments. The Nepalese were influenced by the market and felt that they have found life easier through trading with western society. Modern society technology, such as electricity and the toilet, appealed to them.  Everyone has a role to play in the village and there is a division of labor in tourism-related jobs that helped the village becomes charming. The restaurant workers are educated by the Nepalese government and are trained in culinary arts so that they can make the type of food that the tourists like. The Nepalese used to have village harmony and relative balance but now “work for money and not human or brotherly love.” Moving toward a more individualist, secular mindset the rural Nepalese no longer has time to worship traditional religion. Even though the villagers are somewhat a folk society, they are trying to go beyond being non-literate, small, and isolated. They opened their town for the rest of the world to explore.

A community can only respond in terms of structure and movements because of establishments, information, and experience. The Nepalese men were able to make decisions and experienced economic achievement on a local scale from adapting to modern society. The structure among the villagers is simple and somewhat pre-modernized.  The villagers function by competing with each other and ultimately working together to get the westerners to trek their mountains. Relationships in the village are evident in the form of kinship and also non-relatives. Some lodge owners adopt the orphan children; the children help work for the business in exchange for childcare, food, and shelter. The women were mentioned in the film as the “backbone” of the village but the men still have control over the economy. The village worked for the community but also at the same time worked for personal interests from property owners that are economically competing. The tour guides and lodge owners now has a different sense of individuation, defining themselves through their work rather than through their culture.

The villagers in the film is similar to the natives in Cannibal Tours since both groups depended on western luxurious tourists to form their economy and were able to use their profit to buy goods. Both used significant buildings to gain a profit; The Nepalese converted the teahouses to lodges for tourists to sleep in and the Papua New Guineans made profit from pictures being taken of the sacred shrines. The Peasant and natives were motivated to highlight their tourist economy because money helps make their lives easier in their point of view.

Some of the villagers didn’t like the peasant lifestyle that belonged to their culture; some wanted leisure and ease the same as what the western tourists has. But the villagers have somewhat a utopian biased view of the westerners but that is only because people with wealth and time were able to visit their village. The male youth are even attracted to western women, seeking love and romance. One tourist remarked how the Nepalese are only seeing the benefits of western culture; they are shocked at the idea that even in western society that poverty and crime still exists. The ethnocentric suppression of negative images from the western world limits the fact that modern society is not as perfect as perceived.

The villagers, a peasant type society, welcomed western culture and the economic prospect that comes with it. They yearn to become modernized because of the technology benefits that came with it. The community work together to get the village as a great tourist attraction but at the same time the property owners are waning from traditional values to individuation through work and materialism. Despite ease of life through technology and money, the modern world is not as superlative as thought but even though that is true, the small village is at a point where it is able to make their own decisions and participate willingly with the rest of the world instead of forcibly.

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Anthropology Review: “The Goddess and the Computer”

Bali tries to upgrade traditional irrigation systems in “The Goddess and the Computer

By Crystal Hollis | Fall 2010 | ANTH 1150 World Cultures Through Film

In the film The Goddess and the Computer, traditional methods are not simple but are very complex systems for a reason. Bali has a complex irrigation system and the rules and regulations involved are comparable the bureaucratic Modern-type society. The Balinese is a peasant society co-existing as a sub group to modern society because of the pressure from globalization and the attractiveness of modern technology.  This is most likely the reason why the priests openly welcomed the computer and collaborated productively with the westerners and Indonesian government officials.

A Peasant-based society, in the lecture, has been defined as someone in control of land while attached by ties of tradition and sentiment. Bali depends on worshipping the water Goddess in order to have a successful harvest. However, Peasants are also characterized to be at the mercy of the state, where economic and political decisions are made. The government still has control over cultivation rights. They tried to reform rice farming to modern society’s standards but it was unsuccessful because of the pest problem that wasn’t there while the land was cultivated traditionally.

Bali’s society, religion, and irrigation system is very organized and geographically categorized. This fact is somewhat similar to a bureaucracy because of the division of labor among those working in the dam, temple, and subak locations along the river. Bureaucracy, according to the lecture, is defined as a formal organization with a hierarchy of authority, a clear division of labor, and emphasis on written rules, communications, and records. While rules are not written and that communications and records are not emphasized, the Balinese follow a hierarchy of authority with the priests at the top functioning as the medium between man and the water Goddess. However with the priest’s enthusiasm of the computer that the anthropologist introduced, it would be no surprise if later on that communications and records are highlighted.

The computer served as an effective tool to get modern society to communicate and cooperate with non-modern societies. If it wasn’t for the anthropologist’s computer model of the river and the patterns between the temples and subaks, the Indonesian Government would not fully comprehend the value of traditional Balinese farming methods. The Government officials still want control over the agricultural system but it wasn’t too much of a problem to the priests since they are willing to let the Government officials have the computer. The priests recognized that an advanced technology like the computer would require training and expertise and it seemed appropriate for them to give it to the government. While modern society used centuries of science and research to develop a systematic agricultural system, sometimes it is the case that the ancestors knew what they were doing and hence the reason why traditional methods have successfully been passed down generation to generation. The anthropologists in The Goddess and the Computer recognized the success of traditional farming in Bali and used modern society’s characteristic of solving problems with logic and reason to find compromise between traditional and modern methods.

As a society travel further along the Folk-Urban continuum, sometimes resorting to imperialism to dominate and control, more sub-societies are created as consequence. Not every society can keep up and not every community is big enough to jump the bandwagon. This was evident in the film Holy Ghost, where members of the community do not possess all of the qualities of the pre-modern society because they are strongly tied to their religious values rather than resorting to scientific reasoning. In contrast, the Balinese in The Goddess and the Computer are a peasant society co-existing with a modern society and slowly making efforts to progress ahead. Globalization is at work as Bali, one out of many other non-modern type societies, work to integrate to modern society. Technology is making life more tolerable and is somewhat attractive. I have seen this pattern in previous films like Nomads of the Rainforest and The Living Maya where non-modern societies are using modern tools and technology to make work more efficient or using modern medicine for assistance. As of now, there is no label for societies past the modern or information age but it would make one wonder if societies prior would still exist or be pressured to be merged into one globalized type.

Bali’s traditional system is already as complex as a bureaucracy. However the Balinese depend on worship in order to have a good cultivation. They recognize that the government is the authority because they seem capable of expertise of the computer. Bali is one out of many types of societies enduring influence from a globalized society because of expertise and the efficiency of advanced technology.  As a conclusion, the Balinese are classified as a peasant/agricultural type society but is making its way towards pre-modern and eventually modern at a rapid rate simply because of pressure from already existing modern societies.

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