What’s In a Name? The “Other” PR Dudes and Guys

By Edward M. Bury, APR  (aka The PRDude)

When I launched this blog way back on September 4, 2009, there were two big challenges before me:

1.  How do I learn to manage this cool, new and free open source blogging platform called WordPress.

2. What to name the blog.

Through pointing and clicking, trial and error, I mastered #1.  (After all, I had time on my hands at the time.)  But I struggled with #2.  I didn’t want to use my real name, even though there’s total transparency regarding the author here.  My goal was to chronicle my strategic efforts to land another full-time position in my profession — public relations.  Blogs should be your vehicle to communicate your passions; so I needed a name that incorporated public relations, but wanted something contemporary and casual.

“PRGuy” was my first choice.  It was taken on WordPress.  PRDude was not taken.  So without hesitation I registered myself as The PRDude.

Google “PRDude” and a lot of my posts come up, along with this question:  Did you mean: prude.  In fact, there are around 464,000 possible answers.  I don’t have the free time to review every one. But I did scan a few search pages and found the following:

1.  There’s a guy (at least I’m making an educated assumption) with the Twitter handle of PRdude. He bills himself on Twitter as, “PR pro not a miracle worker.” He’s apparently from Manhattan and he maintains a blog.

2.  Within the WordPress family, a gentleman from the U.K., Hao Nguyen, blogs at That PR Dude.   According to his blog he’s “23-year old Account Coordinator” with an agency.  Does some pretty cool stuff, like interviews with industry professionals and a “day-in-the-life” profiles.

3.  Someone maintains a YouTube account that’s attributed to PRDude.  (It’s not me.)

4.  A public relations professional from Boston named Sean Horrigan bills himself as The PR Guy.  Here’s what he will bring to clients: “…the Power to Build Brand Awareness, Instill Customer Loyalty and Increase Market Share.”

Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude, circa March 2012, San Juan, PR.

No need for me, The PRDude, to offer any further comments on the guys noted above, or any commentary, for that matter.  It’s interesting to view others who blog or comment on public relations, a profession and practice I’ve addressed here in 122 posts written over the past 32 months.

What’s in a name, like The PRDude? You tell me.  Did I make the right choice?  And, while you’re at it, visit the guys above. We share a few things in common.

On the Week Before Earth Day, What Are You Doing to Save the Earth?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Way back in 1970, during the waning days of hippiedom, someone got the idea of celebrating one thing that all of us — regardless of who we are, where we’re from or what kind of house we live in — have a right to from the time we take our first breath until our last.  Despite current popular belief, it’s not the right to text while driving, walking, dining with the family or operating heavy machinery.

It’s the right to live here on planet Earth.  Make that live on a planet Earth that will still have enough fresh air, clean water and natural resources so the next couple of generations of people can live here.

The celebration in question is Earth Day, an initiative started — where else? California — and, according to its web site “activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.”

The official “day” for Earth Day is next Sunday, April 22.  But this week kicks off a whole series of activities  designed to make you think — or better yet commit — to doing a small or large part to reduce, reuse or recycle in order to make things better for the environment.   There’s things everyone can do.  In the office building where I work, the management team will collect used electronics for proper recycling.   Stumped at what you can do?  Stop using plastic bags by taking cloth sacks to the grocery.

In the 42 years since the first Earth Day, environmental issues have been woven into our collective consciousness. Think of the heightened awareness for the environment in everyday life.  (And, awareness after all, is one measurable objective that should be a cornerstone of any concerted, strategic public relations plan.)  For example, the word “green” has evolved to become a verb, as in “going green.”

Want to learn ways you can go green?  The Earth Day Network website offers some great insight into what the movement launched the past four-plus decades.

In fact, the Earth Day folks want everyone to make a commitment to an Act of Green. Nearly 1 billion already have committed to taking some simple measure to help the planet.  Here’s what the PRDude committed to:

 

That’s right.  I’ve positioned a rain barrel to catch water, which will be used to water the perennials, annuals, tomatoes and culinary herbs within our small Chicago yard.  Loyal readers know growing things is one of my passions, as noted in this gardening post from last July.

Are you passionate about the environment?  Will you commit to Earth Day’s challenge?  What can the average person do to help communicate envir0nmental issues?

Share your ideas in a very green way: Reply to this post.

 

The PRDude Goes to PR (As in Puerto Rico) Part 2

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

With the memories of our recent trip to Isla del Encanto or the Island of Enchantment still fresh in my mind, I gladly deliver the second installment.  Last time, I chronicled my visit with my public relations friend  Carlos Rivera, APR. As promised, this post will be somewhat of a travelogue, including cell camera photos taken along with observations during our all-too-short vacation.

(Aren’t all vacations too short? Especially when you work so hard?)

Actually, The PRDude has used this space a few times before to present thoughts and pictures during travels.   Last December, I wrote about a nice weekend in Wisconsin visiting friends, reliving memories of my childhood and strolling the scenic resort town of Lake Geneva.  In September of 2011, I shared thoughts and insight on my second favorite city in the world, New York.  And, I provided a snapshot of my Chicago neighborhood, Logan Square, following a stroll through our farmer’s market and an art show during a hot Sunday last July.

Note to travel editors:  If you like what you see and read, I’m ready to talk, especially if you need a piece on Hawaii, Paris or Rio. Without further ado, some images and insight in and around San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On a cobblestone street in Old San Juan. We loved the pastel buildings tucked side-by-side in the narrow streets. The cobblestones have a cool bluish tint. One wonders how many horses, cars and people traversed these thoroughfares the past 400 or so years.

View of the harbor with cruise ships. San Juan was a natural place for the Spanish to fortify because of its deep natural harbor and towering bluffs. From one of the old forts, I took this shot showing the kind of ships that sail into the port today.

Me and a true artist. In the small plaza outside our hotel, Susan snapped this shot of me with an outstanding Puerto Rican musician. I've played guitar and harmonica and sang in bands for decades. Someday, I hope to be able to deliver a fraction of the soul and artistry this humble man delivered playing for tips.

A day at the beach. The Atlantic Ocean was a short cab ride from our hotel room. We spent a great afternoon sunning at a sister property and got to see modern San Juan. Lots of nice new hotels, some fine beaches and still lots of local character. Yes, there were T-shirt shops and tourist hang outs, but more restrained and colorful than we anticipated.

Keeping the faith. On our last night, we heard music coming from the old cathedral across from our hotel. Upon venturing out, we came across a procession of the faithful complete with musicians, the Knights of Columbus and men carrying a large statue of the Virgin Mary. The procession wound its way to various churches in Old San Juan. We were touched by the devotion displayed by these people.

Looking out to sea. I captured Susan on one of the old fortifications looking out over the water. Visiting the two forts, San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal, is a must stop for visitors. These are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, cool beyond belief to tour and cost just $5!

El Convento. Our hotel was a true highlight of the trip. The building originally built as a convent, then expanded and converted to a boutique hotel 100 or so years ago. Lots of charm and character, quite terraces, great views of the harbor and a magnet to an international crowd. We felt we truly were away from home at the El Convento.

A few final thoughts.  You don’t hear much about Puerto Rico, at least not from a marketing perspective.  I recall TV spots and promotions years ago, but not recently. Some no-cost recommendations to those in charge of pr0moting Puerto Rico as a visitor destination:

  • Promote the fact that U.S. citizens can travel to a Caribbean island without a passport and without having to change money.
  • The Puerto Rican people are a cultural gumbo of the Spanish, Africans brought in slavery and native Taino peoples.  Communicate this in the same way New Orleans promotes its French Creole heritage.
  • Point out the lesser-known cities of Mayaguez and Ponce on the Caribbean side.  My friend Carlos said these cities are just as historic and cool as San Juan, only not as big.

Now it’s your turn: Have you visited Puerto Rico? Share your thoughts on this Caribbean commonwealth.

The PRDude Goes to PR (As In Puerto Rico) Part 1

By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude

Buenas noches.  I mean, good evening.  A few days back from our recent vacation trip to Puerto Rico, and I’m still flaunting my command of Spanish.  Along with the aforementioned greeting, I mastered ordering beer and asking directions to the men’s room. 

Last week, Susan and I spent a delightful week in Old San Juan, the commonwealth’s capitol city, rich with culture, history, architecture, beauty, food and drink.  In Part 1 of this report, I’ll chronicle some thoughts from a real PR guy from, well, PR.

I’m referring to my friend and former colleague, Carlos Rivera, APR, Executive Partner at Partners Communications of Bayamon, Puerto Rico.  I’ve known Carlos for six years, as we served together during my years on the Universal Accreditation Board.  Carlos represents Asociacion de Relacionistas Professionales de Puerto Rico, one of the nine organizations that make up the UAB.

Carlos Rivera, APR.

During dinner at a hip restaurant called Casa Lola just across the beach in the resort district on the Atlantic Ocean, Carlos shared these thoughts on his business and the state of public relations in Puerto Rico as we drank white wine and dined on some tremendous food.

The Client Roster. Partners Communications represents some pretty well-known brands like United Airlines for media relations, crisis communications and other duties.  Carlos said the shop just picked up a distributor of consumer products, and we discussed some strategies on how to incorporate Facebook and other social media to help build awareness.  Perhaps use Facebook to drive traffic to an event.

The PR Business in PR. Overall, business for practitioners on the island is good, especially for the small and boutique agencies like Partners Communications.  Clients are recovering from the lean years that battered budgets everywhere and many can’t afford the hourly rates and retainers charged by the agencies flaunting household names.

The APR Needs a Push in PR. The Accreditation in Public Relations credential is available to practitioners in Puerto Rico; but like here stateside, the big agencies and corporations have not fully embraced the value of the APR and the leaders are not making the credential a priority for those committed to the profession.

As noted above, my Spanish is somewhat limited.  Make that really limited. But during our time in Puerto Rico, I experienced a modern nation (okay, commonwealth) with diverse, passionate people and a relatively thriving economy.  Yes, there were pockets of poverty, but you’ll find that everywhere.

Have to believe that an enhanced public relations community could help the commonwealth build awareness for its key economic drivers — tourism, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.  (Yes, pharmaceuticals.)  Carlos said many of the big shops all have offices on the island, as noted, there are plenty of opportunities for start up players.

We noticed a grand new mixed use real estate development under construction along the harbor.   Real estate — that’s the industry I know best.  Hey Carlos: Need another partner?

Next time, I’ll provide more of a travelogue on our days and nights in Old San Juan.