Week 2 – PR Writing

week-2This is the second blog post you will respond to for the semester for JRNL 314 – PR Writing. Remember, discussions begin on Tuesday and end on Friday.

 

It is important for public relations writers to know everything about a company or an organization to determine story angles that may be of interest to the news media.

Select an organization of your choosing to research. Find out the following things about it:

a. Annual revenues

b. Number of plants and their location

c. Number of employees

d. Products

e. Competitive position in the marketplace

f. Number of shareholders

g. Names and background of key executives

h. Use of trademarks

i. Key publics

j. Trends affecting the industry

A variety of sources are available including those from the library, Web, and company literature. Once this material is assembled, what timely story angles about the company can you compile?

There are 42 comments

  1. captainepic337

    Myfavoritestudent.com is a company I have worked with for several years as an RHA (Residence Hall Association) leader on campus. They work in the care package industry and I thought this blog post may be a good plug that they deserve.

    Annual revenues vary since My Favorite Student takes only a share of the profits, as well as different contracts yielding different levels of income. They are based out of one central location in New York City. Myfavoritestudent.com is family run and as such, has an extremely small staff of only about 20 people.

    They provide food, clothing, school supplies, holiday themed goods, and collectable items. All items are school-specific and branded. As I said above, Myfavoritestudent.com is a division of an established family-owned business, My Favorite Student is an easy, turnkey operation ideal for college and university student groups or boarding schools. The program provides high quality care packages that parents, relatives or friends can send to their “favorite student” throughout the academic year.

    My Favorite Student is not a company with share holders. They have no famous executives or public figures. All interactions are via phone conference or email.

    With many years of experience in the gift basket industry, the team supporting the My Favorite Student efforts takes great pride in the quality of these hand assembled and labeled packages. Our experience and buying power allows us to purchase name brand items and baked goods for every favorite student.

    The economy has made it difficult to go on shopping sprees and buying name-brand supplies for college students. This company has provided a sensible price that allows students and parents to afford what they want for college. With more and more students leaving home for college each year, this allows parents and friends to maintain a connection and show they care over long distances.

      1. captainepic337

        The news angle that I would like to pursue is the angle of parents keeping in touch and showing their love to their students away at college without being there in person.

        We live in a digital age. As such, communication is evolving. Students, for the most part, know and understand that their parents love them. They are told all the time. Actions speak louder than words.

        College students are looking for independence, but often, still need help from their family. My Favorite Student is an outlet for exactly that process by proving tangibly that someone is there for the student that cares about their well-being and success.

        The news here is that there is an outlet for both students and parents to get the emotional fulfillment that they crave during those tough college years of detachment from family.

        Students can still get the help they need without taxing their tight wallets and parents can keep that loving connection to their child while still staying away and allowing them to learn independence away at school.

    1. lmcnulty26

      My favorite student sounds like a great organization. I like how they are into the care packages because I just think of how I would love stuff from home if I had to be away. It must have made so many people happy over the years. I also like that they are a family owned company and only take a portion of the revenue that is brought in. It is nice to see there is a company out there that is not really interested in the money. From what was said about them it seems to me that they are in it because they care, which you don’t see very often or hear about for that matter especially when it comes to college students. You mostly hear about care packages for solders or them being sent to a place where a national disaster happened. I’m glad you posted about them because it was nice to learn that something like this is out there.

      1. loraxson

        My favorite student sound awesome. I never went away for school, but if I did I would want my parents to sign up for this! I feel like this organization could go big. As random as it sounds, “care packages” are so in right now. I recently saw 2 commercials; one with a care package for a dog that comes in the mail every month and one that comes every month for women. I think these are great ideas. It’s making things exciting and everyone loves a surprise. It’s EXPENSIVE being a student and this organization may put some parents at ease when sending their kids off. I’m curious though, how does one find out about this? I’ve never seen any advertisements for it or anything. Not sure if that’s just because they don’t need to market to residents that are not out of state. It’s nice to hear about organizations like this. Well done!

    2. abbeyflo

      I have never heard of this site before! It seems really interesting. I wish I would have heard about this before because it seems like a great idea. I know when I started college I never received care packages much from my parents because I don’t have the most creative mother in the world. She was never really good at making that kind of stuff, so this site would have been perfect for her.

      Being such a small company though, I think it would be really important for them to find their way into the media somehow. I think a good idea would be since their aimed to college students, maybe they could use some of their profits to put towards a scholarship every year. This could help get their name out there and allow more people to learn about them. Another possibility would be to offer free gift baskets to some students who are really in need. The power of the media could really help this company grow.

    3. dosborn4

      This company is so amazing. I think what they are doing for these families is great and it shows that not all businesses are just money hungry, but there are those that actually care about the community. Like you mentioned, the economy is crazy and its so hard to be able to afford simple things sometimes such as school supplies and clothes. Also, the scholarship sounds like a terrific idea since they are geared toward students.

    4. Heidi

      It is a really cool idea because there are a lot of parents who are too busy, but this company makes it possible for busy parents to still be able to send care packages to their kids. I agree with Abbey about using some of the profit toward a scholarship because it would help spread the word about the company, and it could even help them land a spot in the Eastern Echo or maybe other local papers. It is also pretty cool that it is a family-owned business because the care packages aren’t something that you are going to find at chain stores, and I think that adds to why the company is unique and different.

  2. lmcnulty26

    Pepsi is a very large company that many of us have contributed to before. They offer many products such as Pepsi, Aquafina water and AMP energy drinks just to name a few. The PepsiCo Company also owns many other beverages which are under that main blanket company. According to a Bloomberg Business Week online report PepsiCo’s 2012 revenues totaled $65.5B USD, while annual earnings equaled $4.10 per share. I don’t think there is a way to nail down just how many plants and their locations are of this company just because it is so big. I tried finding the information and came up short.
    I found on pepsico.com that in the part of the website that goes through the history they mentioned that in 1965 they have 19,000 employees. With the company as big as it is today I could only imagine what the number is today. We all know that Coke is a big competitor in the business. To get the information on how many stockholders you have to go through many steps and again because the company is so large the number is probably huge. If you go to PepsiCo’s website they have a whole page designated to the many people they have as executives. There had to be a page full of 20 or so people that if you clicked on their names it went into full detail of each and everyone’s background information.
    A news story I would compile from this information would be just how big is the PepsiCo brand? They own so many different things it’s probably too hard to find all of the information out to write a story. I would match the story to a new product one of the brands is unveiling and then use the information above to add a little depth to the story.

    1. captainepic337

      I liked that you chose Pepsi. As you said, it is a very large company that many of us are more familiar with them than we may have realized. So many product that we use that we don’t realize are Pepsi, actually are. My mind=blown.

      It is amazing how much money they make! Though, I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising seeing how many products fall under the Pepsi co. umbrella.

      My uncle, Kyle Kunst once worked for Pepsi under the Poland Springs label for many years before retiring in 2009. I enjoyed learning a little bit more about the company he worked for for so many years.

      I would be interested to see as time progresses how the company grows. You had mentioned some past data. It would be very interesting to see a line graph of some sort showing profit, company size, share value and so on.

    2. kcbproject

      With a large corporation like Pepsi, I think it would be hard to come up with something that hasn’t been done before. Advertisers are always trying to avoid mundane, played-out pitches to gain new customers, and I think coming up with something fresh would be a very difficult task. Journalists would be very skeptical about a Pepsi story that didn’t give them a catchy headline, so I think it would have to be a pretty big deal for it be printed. A new product would be great if it could be tied into a certain trend or issue that is relevant to many people at the current time of release. Great example because it is one that really makes you think.

  3. dosborn4

    The company that I found of interest was Beats by Dr. Dre. The product was launched in 2008. The market for headphones has really increased over the past years. The annual sales for this company are approaching $500 million. This company is based in Santa Monica, California but they have a Beats store location in SOHO, New York. Other than North American stores that sell this product, this company also has their products sold by other retailers around the world that include stores in; Canada, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Even though Beats can be bought around the world, there are only 300 employees that are working for the actual business. Beats partnered with HP in 2009 to produce the HP Notebook. They also produce Headphones, Earphones, Speakers, Beats Audio with HTC smartphone and have sound systems in Chrysler vehicles.

    The company doesn’t have many shareholders, but those that have shares include; Access Industries, Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Lovine, Dr. Dre and HTC, which has the largest amount of shares in the business. Beats has 40% of the market share in the billion dollar headphone industry. The signature Red “B” is the logo that the company uses which stands out against others. One of the people that helped get the company started was co-founder Dr. Dre. He began his career as a member of the world class Wreckin’ Crew. In 1986 he co-founded N.W.A., and in 1996 launched his own record label “Aftermath Entertainment where he discovered new artists such as; 50 Cent, The Game and Kendrick Lamar. Jimmy Lovine is the co-founder and CEO. In his early years he found himself in the studio with John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen. Later helped people like, Tom Petty, Patti Smith and U2 achieve career breakthroughs. He also co-founded world renowned record label “Interscope” in 1990. Lastly, Luke Woods is the President and COO of Beats. He was also Chief Strategy Officer of Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) and President of the imprint DGC Records. Wood earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University with a major in American Studies.

    From what I researched on the Dealerscope.com website, is that there are a couple things that are affecting the headphone industry. The first thing is the expectation of superior sound. The second thing is keeping the prices affordable. TrendReports.com explains that celebrity endorsements are a big trend and companies are just slapping their names on products. Fashion, customization and noise cancellation all are also factors that competitors have to think about.

    Story angles that I could use could talk about the decline of headphone sales over the years. Another could be the comparison of Beats and Apple headphones.

  4. laurenbronson

    A very successful company known for their excellence in customer service is Nordstrom.
    a. Their annual revenues were $12.57 billion last year.

    b. Nordstrom has 224 stores in 33 states in the U.S.

    c. Based on the research I’ve found, Nordstrom has roughly 60,000 employees.

    d. The department store sells a variety of products from women’s clothing, men’s clothing, children’s clothing, footwear, jewelry, fragrances and make-up.

    e. Nordstrom competes with luxury retailers such as Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.Making it one of the leading department stores in the United States.

    f. I could not figure out how many shareholders they have.

    g. Enrique Hernandez Jr. is the chairman of Nordstrom and is also the director of Wells Fargo Bank. The founder is John W. Nordstrom, his grandson, Blake Nordstrom is now the president.

    h. Above anything, Nordstrom is known for their superior customer service…they provide free shipping for all of their online merchandise and they allow free returns with no expiration date on the product bought!

    i. Their key publics are predominately women, ages 25 to 50, because Nordstrom offers such a wide variety of products with different designers and styles… it attracts both young and older women.

    j. Right now we are merging into the fall season and that is a huge trend/time for department stores. Nordstrom is of course banking on their customers wanting to buy a fall wardrobe. The weather is getting cooler so they have been displaying more of their expensive jackets and coats. With the holiday season just around the corner, it is a major time for shoppers which is of course the best time of year for Nordstrom. Let the shopping commence!

    A timely story angle I can use with Nordstrom is that they only have 5 sales a year and one of them is quickly approaching to accompany the change to fall. The fall season is a major time for retailers… the change in weather makes people go out to buy warmer clothing which usually tends to be more expensive (which is a plus for the department store). Also the holidays are gonna be here before we know it! It’s the most important time of the year for Nordstrom, so you better believe they are gonna bring their A-game.

    1. loraxson

      Lauren, I love Nordstrom’s too. You’re right on point with how Fall is one of the biggest times of sales for them; I’d say so over all of the other seasons. I found it hard to find shareholders as well for the organization I researched. I think that maybe companies don’t always want to share that information? Mine was a new, smaller company only with 12 branches and I couldn’t find anything. I think that Nordstrom’s does so well is because it’s not quite as high end as Saks Fifth, but it caters to a wide range of people all with different budgets. Stores like this do great because people know that they can find something in their price range, as where I won’t even bother walking into Saks Fifth because I know I won’t find anything that I could afford. I really like your idea of a story angle too. Giving people a time limit seems to be the best way to increase sales. Nice job Lauren!

    2. abbeyflo

      Lauren, I think that Nordstrom’s was a great company to talk about. They are a strong company but they also sell such a large different brands and products in their stores. I like your story idea because I think the shift between summer and fall is SO huge for retailing companies. Another good idea about a story lead for Nordstrom’s could be their other line of stores called Nordstrom Rack. I think this would be an interesting thing to write about because this line of stores almost aims towards a whole different group of people. The age group, 25-50, is probably the same, but it is more for people of middle class. They offer a lot of different brands in their stores but it isn’t nearly as expensive. Nordstrom Rack offers their products that are on clearance, making a much cheap shopping trip. I think the way the company is expanding that way is very interesting.

      1. laurenbronson

        That’s a really good point Abbey! I hadn’t thought of doing a story lead about Nordstrom Rack but it very relevant, especially for students like us who might not be able to afford the typical outfit from the Nordstrom department store. I think it was so smart of Nordstrom to also have a Nordstrom Rack… it’s still their high end fashions but at affordable prices. Which creates and even broader target audience that they are now able to reach!

    3. akangas1

      You are absolutely right! In the world or retail this time of year is perfect for sales and advertising those sales. This would also make a story angle. However, don’t you think there is something deeper in this information that would make for an even more interesting story angle? I say this because they will be advertising these sales, but is that story-worthy when that information will be known to the public regardless? For example, what if your story angle was about Nordstrom’s and their competition. What sets them apart? Another story angle could be why the store doesn’t have a store in every state, only 33 and guaranteed there is more than one store in each of these 33 states. What gives? What are their demographics and why don’t they put any locations in those other 17 states?

    4. thecompanyofb

      Nordstrom’s!!!! Oh how I love thee! I agree totally, fall season is one of the best seasons anyway, but for Nordstrom’s one of their best seasons period! The intro of all the new sweaters and boots is definitely what I get excited for with these big department stores. They already have such a huge following! I think you could definitely use that angle towards all of the new Racks that their building and their recent expansions to larger markets, like Canada. “Step into fall with Nordstrom’s Rack’s Grand Opening” or something along those lines, they’re building these stores so frequently and that could definitely be something used to your advantage. Also, definitely playing on their amazing customer service! Customers love immaculate customer service, anytime! But especially inching toward Christmas, when everyone is expected to be over the top nice and helpful! “Nordstrom’s endorses the Christmas spirit 365 days a year”

  5. loraxson

    The organization that I chose is now one of the most well-known places to go for treats in the West, Sprinkles. I chose this company because I had a roommate over the summer who worked at Sprinkles. She brought me a cupcake home every single day she worked, and now I’m going through withdrawals.
    A. Since this is a fairly new organization, annual revenues were not found. However, the founder donate 100% of proceeds to a variety of charities and the total is almost at $5 million for 2013.
    B. There are currently only 12 Sprinkles stores nationwide, not including the world’s first “Sprinklesmobile,” which is a truck full of Sprinkles cupcakes. The founder of the cupcake phenomenon, Candace Nelson, has plans to open up a total of 34 Sprinkles bakeries in the Middle East this year. Also, cupcake mixes are sold in over 250 of the ever so popular (and expensive) Williams-Sonoma stores in U.S. and Canada. The 12 locations are: (2)Los Angeles, Chicago, Beverly Hills, La Jolla, Dallas, Houston, Georgetown, Newport Beach, Scottsdale, Palo Alto, and New York.
    C. From doing a little research I didn’t find out exactly how many people work for Sprinkles, but I do know that there is a manager, shift supervisor, cupcake concierge, and a cupcake associate on at all shifts. That’s not including how many bakers there are. Since it’s a fairly new, but rapidly expanding business, I assume that they’re hiring a load of new staff.
    D. Sprinkles sells cupcakes, doughnuts, frozen yogurt, cookies, cake, ice cream, and retail.
    E. Sprinkles is the most talked about cupcake company that I’ve ever heard of. People go absolutely nuts over it. This organization IS the leading competitor in the bakery department. It’s featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Nightline, The Tyra Banks Show, Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, Entourage, The Food Network and so many more.
    F. Sprinkles has donated approximately $4.8 million to different hospitals and schools and the Women’s Cancer Research Fund. 100% of the proceeds go to a variety of charities and daily leftovers go to food banks. As of now, those are the shareholders.
    G. Candace and Charles Nelson are the founders of Sprinkles. Candace attended the professional pastry program of Tante Marie’s in San Fransisco. She also attended Wesleyan University, and previously an investment banker. From what I get from researching, the founders like to keep these stores on a more personable level. There were no other key executives that I could find.
    H. Trademarks of Sprinkles include recycled containers that the products are put in for customers and every flavor has a different trademark signifying its type. Sprinkles is written in red cursive letters that’s on everything from boxes, ice cream cups, napkins, and more.
    I. The key publics are on the southwestern part of the United States. These cupcakes can range anywhere from $8-$12 so it’s known to be upscale.
    J. Eating in style while donating to great causes is the trend that Sprinkles has set. Every product that is made from this organization is beautifully detailed and well put together. Celebrities such as Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian boosted sales by being shot by the paparazzi eating these pastries at the different locations.
    Different story angles that could be used for Sprinkles is how it’s so involved with charities, opening of new stores, and how everything about them is “environment friendly.” I love Sprinkles!

    1. kcbproject

      There are a lot of smaller chains that really have taken off, and with the right story I think it would be possible for any company to become a household name.
      I like the idea of the “sprinklesmobile,” and I feel like it could very easily be turned into a feature story in any local newspaper if it came to visit a city or town.
      Cupcakes are very easy to make and can be found in the grocery aisle of any grocery store for very cheap, so the fact they are $8-$12 is a hook that I think could resonate with the public. “If someone gives you a sprinkles cupcake it really means they care about you,” is the idea I would try to put in people’s heads.
      A very good example of a company that has all the right tools to be very profitable, good job.

    2. lmcnulty26

      I have to say after reading your post about the Sprinkles organization I now would like a cupcake! Too bad the closest one is in Chicago. I’ve never heard of Sprinkles (probably because there are none around here) but it sounds yummy. Why has no one come up with the idea of a mobile truck full of cupcakes to sit around campus? I love the fact that you mentioned what this company really is all about and that being how they give so much to charities. It’s so great to see a company out there that is not all about profits and in it for the sake of helping others. That would make me buy one of their cupcakes even though and $8 dollars I would really have to justify it and tell myself the money goes to good causes. I’m glad you posted about this company because it was a nice to find out about the wonderful things they do.

    3. laurenbronson

      Okay I totally want to go to this place now!!! You can never go wrong with a quality cupcake. I think that Sprinkles is a really unique answer to the question… I hadn’t heard of it before but looking at all they have done in regards to giving back to charities and their efforts to remain green and recycle is very impressive and will keep them ahead of the game on what’s trending right now. I like what you said, “eating in style while donating to great causes”… I mean what more could you ask for? A company that not only says they have integrity but truly follows through with it with action, while being stylish, sophisticated and fun! I hope they bring a Sprinkles to Ann Arbor! I guess I’ll just have to fly out to SoCal… which will not be a sacrifice! 😉

    4. evanmete

      I love baking!! Especially cupcakes!! Candace Nelson is an amazing women opening what is known to be the first specialized cupcake bakery. I always enjoy watching her judge other bakeries cupcakes on the show Cupcake Wars and hear her critiques. I’m concerned that the whole cupcake bakery is just a fad that will start to pass though. As much as I love a good cupcake I hate having to pay $5 for a single cupcake (doesn’t mean I don’t buy it though). I wish there was a Sprinkles around here and like Lauren said it would be great to have one in Ann Arbor. It would be a great location anyways with the higher income families/ residents in the area it would be a thriving business.

    5. Heidi

      I really enjoyed reading about the company you chose to write about, and it is pretty great that 100% of the proceeds are donated because that means the company is very involved in helping the community. It would be kind of interesting if they had a build your own cupcake day on Valentine’s day because I think that would be a great story and I think a lot of people would be interested in attending the event. However, I wonder if creating more stores would create a loss in popularity because I think part of the cool factor is that you can’t just easily go to a Sprinkles store like you can Just Baked. I think Sprinkles sounds like a way to celebrate a special occasion, and so I would assume that sales should be good during Christmas since it is a great gift to give to someone or it would be even great to just bring for dessert for Christmas.

    6. dosborn4

      In love the fact that Sprinkles donated majority of their proceeds to places that need help. I think a lot of business lose sense of reality an that their are those that are less fortunate that need support and help. I also think it’s fabulous that the Oprah Winfrey show supports this company.. Anything that Oprah touches is pretty much gold. I love cupcakes and lie the fact that they sell other things like yogurt to reach different demographics as well.

  6. kcbproject

    Ken
    I chose the Department of Veterans Affairs, and also the Ann Arbor VA hospital in specific.

    A. Due to the large number of veterans that are guaranteed health benefits after active duty, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a very large budget. Their request for an increase in money for 2014 was found amongst other public documents on its government website.
    It said, “The VA 2014 Budget request for 2014 is $152.7 billion. This includes $66.5 billion in discretionary resources and $86.1 billion in mandatory funding. Our discretionary budget request represents an increase of $2.7 billion, or 4.3 percent, over the 2013 enacted level.”
    Not too many companies have that much money at their disposal.

    B. The VA has a very extensive network of healthcare facilities. It has 827 veteran based outpatient clinics. These range in terms of the different types of care and services that are provided, but they are mostly used for helping veterans with routine treatments. There are also 300 VA Vet Centers and 151 VA hospitals nationwide. Every state has a place for veterans to receive health care, and facilities have been rapidly expanding in the past decade.

    C. The VA website states, “As of September 30, 2008, VA had 278,565 employees on the rolls. Among all departments and agencies of the federal government, only the Department of Defense has a larger work force.”

    Another interesting fact is the VA has over 110,000 yearly volunteers that give over 11 million hours of their time.

    D. The VA offers a variety of services for the veteran community. The Ann Arbor VA Hospital, for example, can provide in-patient care for the elderly as well as mental health patients. They have a full staff of doctors at the VA that can perform extensive surgeries and their new ER room was opened earlier this month after extensive remodeling. They can pay for schooling and assist with home loans as well. They offer programs to help veterans with anything ranging from PTSD to managing finances. It is a very broad spectrum of services.

    E. The VA has a very strong position in the marketplace due to the fact that a lot of veterans can’t afford healthcare at the moment, and they receive top notch health care and other services without any monthly or yearly bills. Some disabled veterans can go to other private hospitals, but they can also receive services from the VA at the same time with no additional cost.

    F. Not applicable

    G. Erik Shinseki, retired U.S. Army general, is the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and was appointed by President Obama. Shinseki directly advises the president on veteran issues.

    Chief of Staff, Jose Riojas, was a former Brigadier General in the Army, and served for over 30 years. His job is to ensure the workers at the VA enjoy a safe and secure work environment.

    Local Ann Arbor VA hospital PR rep is Derek Atkinson. He will be speaking at the PRSSA meeting later this semester. He served in the Marines.

    H. The VA has its own trademarked logo and it is very well-known by the general public.
    I. It is estimated the U.S. has over 22 million veterans, and they are all allowed to receive health care.
    J. The recent wars and the large numbers military members suffering from post-war illnesses has made the workload for VA hospitals gradually increase over the past decade. This equates into a bigger budget and workforce for the VA.
    There are always a lot of news articles that can come out of a VA hospital. Many members of our community know veterans or are related to them, and it is always a relevant topic of discussion. I have personally written stories from the Ann Arbor VA hospital’s press releases. They were about a variety of topics including additional health care staff, studies about PTSD, and the EMU football team and Ms. Michigan visiting in-patients at the hospital. The PR practitioner is always sending out new story ideas, and some of them are about very relevant issues affecting veterans. The most interesting fact that I found was the large number of volunteers, and I think there could be a lot of options for good hooks for a story.

  7. abbeyflo

    I chose one of my all-time favorite stores, Target to look at.

    a.) In 2012 target’s annual revenue was 72 billion dollars.

    b.) There are approximately 1,700 target stores in 48 states throughout the United States.

    c.) Target employs roughly 361,000 employees currently.

    d.) Target offers a variety of products in their stores. Majority of their products are health, beauty and house hold essentials. But they also carry electronics, apparel, food, pet supplies, and home furnishings.

    e.) Target is very successful company that is a great competitor to others. Target is the second largest discount retailer (behind Wal-Mart, unfortunately). They are number 36 on
    the Fortune 500 list.

    f.) As of early 2013, there were around 16,000 shareholders to record.

    g.) Target has a long list of executives within their company. Here are the top two:

    Timothy R. Baer – Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
    Timothy deals with law department, government affairs, assets protection

    Tina M. Schiel – Executive Vice President, Stores
    Tina has been with the Target company for over 25 years and oversees the 1,700 stores and 360,000 employees.

    h.) Target’s logo is a big trademark of their company. Also, they consist of a few products lines, such as their healthy food, workout gear, and pharmacy services, all of which are Target trademarks.

    i.) Target’s key publics are aimed for the middle class with their discounted products. Their health and beauty products and clothing lines are aimed more for you and middle aged women.

    j.) There are A LOT of different trends that affect Target and the type of products they sell. The biggest one being the time of the year. Depending on what time of year it is,

    Target will sell products to accommodate it. For example, back to school is huge within the company. They also follow a lot of different holidays and summertime.
    A good story angle that could be good for the Target Company could talking about how much they are continuously growing and getting bigger. Even though they aren’t quite as big as successful as Wal-Mart they do more for the community than Wal-Mart does. Target teams up with many different types of philanthropies and contributes to their causes. Also, the employees of Target do a large amount of volunteering in the community every year. I think this aspect of the company makes them stand out from other similar companies.

    1. akangas1

      I couldn’t agree more. Focusing on a philanthropy stand point would be a really good story angle. I feel that a lot of research would have to be done on this subject and many questions would have to be asked such as what does Target do for their local community? Do they do charity work and so forth for the communities they are a part of? Also keep in mind, there will always be someone out there who is looking to disprove any good deeds Target does in their community. With that in mind, doing thorough research and covering all bases can ensure a good story angle with the added benefit of advertising their good deeds to the community.

    2. thecompanyofb

      Yes! I totally agree with this angle. Target partners up with tons of charities and companies across America which already helps to deem them as a company that “cares”. I think they can continuously use this as a story angle and never go wrong. Incorporating that into their business, and picking companies that are a part of the trends of their target markets will definitely help. Also, if Target linked up with a specific company or initiative that was specific to the time of year they are trying to drive sales for would be a good idea as well. For Christmas, maybe linking up with the adopt- a- family program, and maybe have their customers adopt a family using only the products Target sells. This will give back to a cause, as well as challenge their customers to shop only in their stores which will also help to increase their sales.

    3. evanmete

      Target is also a great love of mine. Besides their low prices I am always in love with the products they carry. I never knew that Target was such a big supporter of different charities so after reading your comment I browsed around online to look for myself and found this article, http://pressroom.target.com/news/target-donates-to-support-families. It talks about how in 2009 during the holiday season (one of their trends like you said) donated over $1.25 million dollars to the Salvation Army. They didn’t stop there though and worked with Hasbro Inc. to donate money as well. The duo worked together so that when certain Hasbro toys were purchased in Target stores 5% of the purchase price of the toy would then be donated to the Salvation Army. For something more current this year to remember the deaths of september 11, 2001 Target let out a call for community service for its team members and has stated that every september will now be a community service month.

    4. ekrzyzan

      I LOVE Target! I had no idea that they weren’t as successful as wal-mart. In my opinion they are way better! I also had no idea that target employees had to do volunteer work. I think that right there is a story in of itself. People love philanthropies and community service, it always looks good when you are helping out the community. I would take advantage of the good they are doing and make a story out of it so the public can see all the good they are doing! Target is already a favorite amongst a lot people, however I think if we were to all know that they were so involved with helping different cause they would be an even bigger favorite!

  8. lmcnulty26

    I have to say after reading your post about the Sprinkles organization I now would like a cupcake! Too bad the closest one is in Chicago. I’ve never heard of Sprinkles (probably because there are none around here) but it sounds yummy. Why has no one come up with the idea of a mobile truck full of cupcakes to sit around campus? I love the fact that you mentioned what this company really is all about and that being how they give so much to charities. It’s so great to see a company out there that is not all about profits and in it for the sake of helping others. That would make me buy one of their cupcakes even though and $8 dollars I would really have to justify it and tell myself the money goes to good causes. I’m glad you posted about this company because it was a nice to find out about the wonderful things they do.

  9. akangas1

    Having worked at Bed Bath and Beyond for two years I decided to research them.

    a)According to CNNmoney.com Bed Bath and Beyond’s annual revenue is $10.9 billion. Out of this $10.9 billion $1 billion is profit.

    b)Bed Bath and Beyond deals with vendors so the number of warehouses is not known. However, there are 1,475 locations in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, as of 2012.

    c)There are currently about 48,000 employees working for Bed Bath and Beyond.

    d)There are a number of products sold at each Bed Bath and Beyond. All stores sell kitchen, dining, bed and bath merchandise. However, what products sold and what location depends on the volume rating of the store. If the store is an “A” volume store they will sell everything brick and mortar Bed Bath and Beyonds sell, with an ever-growing selection online. That considered, lower volume stores will sell the bare minimum.

    e)Bed Bath and Beyond is thought by many to be competitive in the marketplace with Target and Wal-Mart.

    f)The number of shareholders is unspecified but Bed Bath and Beyond are traded in NASDAQ and are included in the Standard and Poor’s 500, Global 1200 Indices and the NASDAQ-100 Index. They are also in the Fortune 500 and Forbes 2,000. Bed Bath and Beyond is involved in a buy-back program where they have an agreement with their shareholders to pay them for their own shares.

    g)Key executives include founders and co-chairmen Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein as well as Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares. The board of directors is made up of independent groups of people. They are independent of each other so that they are more focused on their jobs in helping Temares with his job.

    h)Bed Bath and Beyond’s only specified trademark is their own name.
    i)Key publics at Bed Bath and Beyond are women between the ages of 30 and 50.

    j)Trends affecting the industry is online shopping. Bed Bath and Beyond is the number one retail store affected by show-rooming.

    A great story angle with these facts and figures would be with the shareholders. Bed Bath and Beyond is part of a buy-back program with their shareholders where they are slowly buying back their own shares so that one day they will be a privately owned corporation. This is a somewhat difficult task for a corporation so with further research a great story could come from this.

  10. thecompanyofb

    The company I chose was The Children’s Place, since I am currently employed by them, I thought this would be helpful to myself to use them.
    A. Annual revenue was 1.7 billion dollars
    B. They currently operate 1,095 stores as well as their online store
    C. TCP houses an estimated 4,100 employees
    D. TCP offers a range of children’s clothing, from infants to a size 14; both boys and girls
    E. I would say that TCP is in a pretty good position in the marketplace, their only direct competition would be Justice (but they mainly sell girl clothing, but now offer a boys line) and major department stores, but I would say that they are a business unlike many. They offer a good group of products under one roof
    F. I couldn’t find exactly how many shareholders TCP has
    G. Jane Elfers, CEO; Michael Scarper, COO
    A news angle that I would use for The Children’s Place would be “We offer more coupons and discounts than our competitors” TCP offers an immense amount of ways to save more on top of our already low prices for children’s clothing. I would compare the amount of coupons and ways to save that we offer to our competitors. Back to school season is one of our biggest times of year, and parents continue to shop for uniforms throughout the year. I would make a contest of some sort to the customers and offer a complete “back to school” wardrobe for the winning family.

    1. ekrzyzan

      I love your idea for the contest! You could make it a social media contest where they would have to follow The Childrens Place on all of their social media sites and then post a picture of there child doing something school related. It could be doing homework any number of things! And then the most creative one or most liked one would win! They would have to hashtag The Childrens Place in there picture of course for you to see it. This would be a great way to get all sorts of attention thought. It would bring people to your sites, not only the contestants but also their friends that are voting on them. The contest would bring in so many customers, I mean parents, along with everyone else, loves free things!

  11. evanmete

    Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC is based in San Mateo California and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America Inc. It is a branch of Sony Computer Entertainment, which is based in Tokyo, Japan. Their offices are located in San Mateo, San Diego, and Santa Monica California as well as Bend Oregon. They have 43,034 stockholders as of the end of the last fiscal year and have an annual revenue of 6,800,851 yen which is up from 2012 but lower than previous years.
    They are home to one of the most sophisticated Motion Capture Studios in the world in their San Diego campus. It is stated on Sony’s website to be, “Vast as an aircraft hangar, the 120’x120′ space is filled with 124 cameras and divided by a non-reflective, acoustic absorbing curtain that drapes from the 35ft ceiling. This high-tech partition enables the studio to offer the popular service of synchronous Motion Capture and audio recording”. It is used to help create accurate human movement in video games as well as using actors to give their pixilated counterparts real facial emotions and voices. Creating a more genuine experience for gamers.
    SCEA is not just about the PlayStation, its other products include the current PlayStation 4, cameras including the Sony cyber-shot, VAIO personal computers, Xperia smartphones and tablet, televisions, sound systems and headphones.
    The President and CEO is Kazuo Hirai and has been in that position for a little over a year. The president and CEO of Sony Mobile is Kunimasa Suzuki who works with is vice presidents Akihiro Hiraiwa who is vice president of development and Patrik Olsson vice president head of apps and services for Sony mobile.
    The biggest trend that is affecting the gaming industry is the move to mobile devices. This is where my timely story comes from. The story would be about SCEA’s move into the mobile market and how their “One Sony” motto was being used in their new smartphone and tablet. It would also discuss how Sony is making the connection to their loyal following of gamers.

  12. Heidi

    I chose to take a closer look at Whole Foods Market because it seems as though health food is becoming a trend, and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this company.

    A) In 2012, the revenue for Whole Foods Market was $11.7 billion.
    In addition, there are several days during each year that the stores have community giving days. During the community giving days, five percent of the total net sales for the day are donated to a not-for-profit organization. It was also pretty interesting to discover a Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas decided to have people vote on which not-for-profit organization they wanted the store to donate to and then the store donated to the organization that received the most votes. I thought this was an interesting way to promote the grand opening for the store, and I think this is something that more places should consider doing because it is interactive and it is also a great way to help the community.
    Also, here are the links:
    http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/fast-facts/
    http://austin.culturemap.com/poll/vote-for-your-favorite-non-profit-and-whole-foods-market-will-donate/

    B) The website for Whole Foods Market says it has more than 340 stores in the UK, Canada and 39 states in the U.S., which are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

    In addition, I thought it was interested that it is listed as the eighth largest food and drug store in the U.S.

    C) Whole Foods Market has more than 73,000 employees, but the first store that opened in Austin, Texas on Sept. 20, 1980 had 19 employees, and this shows how far the company has come since 1980.

    D) According to the website for Whole Foods Market,it has more than 2,400 natural and organic products.

    E) There are a range of competitors since a lot of stores have at least some healthy options on their shelves so there competitors can be other organic food stores, but competition also includes Costco, Kroger and etc. In addition, they do have an advantage due to the large size of the stores and having an inviting and fun atmosphere, but I’m not certain that is enough to convince people to pay higher prices for food. However, I think focusing on quality is another advantage and that quality can perhaps make the extra costs worth it.

    F) I do not have an exact number of shareholders, but I believe AGF Investments Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. are at least two of the shareholders for Whole Foods Market.

    G) John Mackey is the co-founder of the company.
    Walter Robb is the co-CEO and he is also on the advisory board for the organic center for education and promotion, which ties in very well since Whole Foods Market has organic products.

    H) The logo for Whole Foods Market is a trademark, but there are also brands that are trademarks, such as 365 Everyday Value.

    I) Whole Foods Market targets people who are focused on eating healthy, and also perhaps people who are mid-30s and older because I do not believe many college students could always afford to buy groceries here as compared to Meijer.

    J) I definitely think Whole Foods Market is having a tough time right now because I think people are watching how much they are spending. However, I think people are becoming more concerned about their health and also becoming more aware of the consequences of not eating healthy from the media, and this means there is still going to be a demand for organic products or healthy options.

    There is still some time before November comes, but I think it would be interesting if Whole Foods Market wrote a story on having a healthy Thanksgiving dinner on a budget. I think this story would be great because I think a lot of people would consider eating more healthy during holidays if they knew it could be affordable and if they also knew it could taste as great as the extra calories they are missing out on. And perhaps they could discount products around Thanksgiving in order to attract more customers.

    However, I think another interesting story would be if Whole Foods Market did a story on the difference between 365 Everyday Value soda, which is sodium free and has nothing artificial, and other soda, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola and etc.

  13. Heidi

    I chose to take a closer look at Whole Foods Market because it seems as though health food is becoming a trend, and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this company.
    A) In 2012, the revenue for Whole Foods Market was $11.7 billion.
    In addition, there are several days during each year that the stores have community giving days. During the community giving days, five percent of the total net sales for the day are donated to a not-for-profit organization. It was also pretty interesting to discover a Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas decided to have people vote on which not-for-profit organization they wanted the store to donate to and then the store donated to the organization that received the most votes. I thought this was an interesting way to promote the grand opening for the store, and I think this is something that more places should consider doing because it is interactive and it is also a great way to help the community.
    Also, here are the links:
    http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/fast-facts/
    http://austin.culturemap.com/poll/vote-for-your-favorite-non-profit-and-whole-foods-market-will-donate/
    B) The website for Whole Foods Market says it has more than 340 stores in the UK, Canada and 39 states in the U.S., which are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
    In addition, I thought it was interested that it is listed as the eighth largest food and drug store in the U.S.
    C) Whole Foods Market has more than 73,000 employees, but the first store that opened in Austin, Texas on Sept. 20, 1980 had 19 employees, and this shows how far the company has come since 1980.
    D) According to the website for Whole Foods Market,it has more than 2,400 natural and organic products.
    E) There are a range of competitors since a lot of stores have at least some healthy options on their shelves so there competitors can be other organic food stores, but competition also includes Costco, Kroger and etc. In addition, they do have an advantage due to the large size of the stores and having an inviting and fun atmosphere, but I’m not certain that is enough to convince people to pay higher prices for food. However, I think focusing on quality is another advantage and that quality can perhaps make the extra costs worth it.
    F) I do not have an exact number of shareholders, but I believe AGF Investments Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. are at least two of the shareholders for Whole Foods Market.
    G) John Mackey is the co-founder of the company.
    Walter Robb is the co-CEO and he is also on the advisory board for the organic center for education and promotion, which ties in very well since Whole Foods Market has organic products.
    H) The logo for Whole Foods Market is a trademark, but there are also brands that are trademarks, such as 365 Everyday Value.
    I) Whole Foods Market targets people who are focused on eating healthy, and also perhaps people who are mid-30s and older because I do not believe many college students could always afford to buy groceries here as compared to Meijer.
    J) I definitely think Whole Foods Market is having a tough time right now because I think people are watching how much they are spending. However, I think people are becoming more concerned about their health and also becoming more aware of the consequences of not eating healthy from the media, and this means there is still going to be a demand for organic products or healthy options.
    There is still some time before November comes, but I think it would be interesting if Whole Foods Market wrote a story on having a healthy Thanksgiving dinner on a budget. I think this story would be great because I think a lot of people would consider eating more healthy during holidays if they knew it could be affordable and if they also knew it could taste as great as the extra calories they are missing out on. And perhaps they could discount products around Thanksgiving in order to attract more customers.
    However, I think another interesting story would be if Whole Foods Market did a story on the difference between 365 Everyday Value soda, which is sodium free and has nothing artificial, and other soda, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola and etc.

  14. ekrzyzan

    The organization I chose is Autism Speaks. It is a national philanthropic organization that raises money for autism. It hold various events throughout the year to help raise autism awareness. To be honest when looking through their annual revenue I got a little confused about what was what and what certain things meant. However it appeared that they made around 60 million last year? But then again I could be wrong. I do know that they are having a walk for autism tomorrow at the Palace of Auburn Hills. That could definitely be story material! It would be great PR for the company to talk about them getting out here in Michigan and spreading the word on autism. Autism Speaks trademark logo is the standing man puzzle piece. For me at least whenever I think of autism I know think of the puzzle piece, and that is all thanks to Autism Speaks. They are nationally partnered the the sorority Alpha Xi Delta (my sorority) and together the do A LOT of fundraising. Alpha Xi Delta is required to hold at least one event a year and all of the proceeds go to Autism Speaks. A great story would be one about one of the Alpha Xi Delta chapters and they event they held that year. They could go out to there campus and interview them and everything. Another great story for this company would be one during April which is Autism Awareness month. During the month there is autism awareness day and you could write a story about all of the different things going on and all the areas that are “lighting it up blue.”

  15. ahutcher

    I have been working at the Designer Shoe Warehouse since the end of the Winter semester and have always been interested in the details behind the scenes. Although associates are in the know, the Journalist in me does want to know more. I found a lot of this information very interesting and it is cool to know that this company really does care about its brand and the product.

    Annual revenues
    I could not find the annual, but I did find the quarterly number for this past summer (June to August). It was 562.1 million dollars.

    Number of plants and their location

    The company has one distribution center that is located in Columbus, Ohio (that I could find). I learned—through work—that the 377 stores around the United States and Puerto Rico are going to ship to the consumers’ homes with a service called Charge-Send.
    There are private-label brands created by the company. I couldn’t find information on where those brands are manufactured.

    Number of employees

    Possibly over 11 thousand ranging from full-time to part-time employees.

    Products

    Shoes, accessories (purses, laptop bags, wallets, scarves, gloves, jewelry), socks, shoe care (like your water proofer, mink oil, shoe laces, shoe cleaner, inserts, heel protectors, linings, fresheners).

    I’m not sure exactly how to answer the marketplace question… But the company is up 78% in the stock market.

    There are 271 shareholders.

    Designer Shoe Warehouse has trademarked its Acronym. There was a lawsuit to Zappos.com.

    After DSW, Inc. starting their online shopping center, they brought out the lawyers against Zappos because of the use of the trademark on Zappos’ affiliate websites. The websites consisted of DSW praises, but linked to the Zappos.com website.

    The company doesn’t really target a specific type of costumer.
    Shoes for everyone (men, women and children)… One stop shop for anything shoe related.

    Because this brand has been around a lot and it thrives on customer service, I believe that even with the commercials and ads that are released, the effect of word of mouth is greater. Another tactic that the company uses is marketing the steady flow of clearance and sales items. Once a person becomes a member of the store, they receive emails and updates on the sales in store. It’s a cycle.

  16. Heidi

    I chose to take a closer look at Whole Foods Market because it seems as though health food is becoming a trend, and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about this company.
    A) In 2012, the revenue for Whole Foods Market was $11.7 billion.
    In addition, there are several days during each year that the stores have community giving days. During the community giving days, five percent of the total net sales for the day are donated to a not-for-profit organization. It was also pretty interesting to discover a Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas decided to have people vote on which not-for-profit organization they wanted the store to donate to and then the store donated to the organization that received the most votes. I thought this was an interesting way to promote the grand opening for the store, and I think this is something that more places should consider doing because it is interactive and it is also a great way to help the community.

    B) The website for Whole Foods Market says it has more than 340 stores in the UK, Canada and 39 states in the U.S., which are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
    In addition, I thought it was interested that it is listed as the eighth largest food and drug store in the U.S.
    C) Whole Foods Market has more than 73,000 employees, but the first store that opened in Austin, Texas on Sept. 20, 1980 had 19 employees, and this shows how far the company has come since 1980.
    D) According to the website for Whole Foods Market,it has more than 2,400 natural and organic products.
    E) There are a range of competitors since a lot of stores have at least some healthy options on their shelves so there competitors can be other organic food stores, but competition also includes Costco, Kroger and etc. In addition, they do have an advantage due to the large size of the stores and having an inviting and fun atmosphere, but I’m not certain that is enough to convince people to pay higher prices for food. However, I think focusing on quality is another advantage and that quality can perhaps make the extra costs worth it.
    F) I do not have an exact number of shareholders, but I believe AGF Investments Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. are at least two of the shareholders for Whole Foods Market.
    G) John Mackey is the co-founder of the company.
    Walter Robb is the co-CEO and he is also on the advisory board for the organic center for education and promotion, which ties in very well since Whole Foods Market has organic products.
    H) The logo for Whole Foods Market is a trademark, but there are also brands that are trademarks, such as 365 Everyday Value.
    I) Whole Foods Market targets people who are focused on eating healthy, and also perhaps people who are mid-30s and older because I do not believe many college students could always afford to buy groceries here as compared to Meijer.
    J) I definitely think Whole Foods Market is having a tough time right now because I think people are watching how much they are spending. However, I think people are becoming more concerned about their health and also becoming more aware of the consequences of not eating healthy from the media, and this means there is still going to be a demand for organic products or healthy options.
    There is still some time before November comes, but I think it would be interesting if Whole Foods Market wrote a story on having a healthy Thanksgiving dinner on a budget. I think this story would be great because I think a lot of people would consider eating more healthy during holidays if they knew it could be affordable and if they also knew it could taste as great as the extra calories they are missing out on. And perhaps they could discount products around Thanksgiving in order to attract more customers.
    However, I think another interesting story would be if Whole Foods Market did a story on the difference between 365 Everyday Value soda, which is sodium free and has nothing artificial, and other soda, such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola and etc.

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