“It gave me the foundation to take me wherever I want to go”

Manship School students, whether currently enrolled or alumni, frequently credit the education they receive through the Manship School with setting them up for success on their career paths. But the benefits of a Manship School degree reach further than academic success alone, and relationships and friendships forged in the Manship School community also propel graduates forward into their careers.

Caroline Boutte, a May 2018 public relations graduate, credits the friendships she made through the Manship School equally with the superior education she received in the classroom for helping her to land a dream job far away from her Louisiana hometown. After a whirlwind job search, Boutte landed in sunny Los Angeles, California, where she got the opportunity to help build a public relations start-up from the ground up.

“The Manship School has been involved in every step leading to where I am today,” she said.

Boutte celebrates her 2018 graduation from the Manship School

When Boutte graduated in May 2018, she left the Manship School untethered to a permanent full-time job and with eyes wide open to the career possibilities that could await her. So when the family of a friend from the Manship School offered her a place to stay with them in Los Angeles while she scouted out job prospects and visited locations in the vastly different areas encompassed throughout L.A. to see where she might like to live, Boutte jumped at the opportunity.

“There was literally nothing holding me back,” she said.

Job searching proved strenuous in Los Angeles’ dynamic environment, but Boutte kept at it until she’d exhausted every public relations job posted in the L.A. area. Then, one day a public relations firm with no established internet presence and “only three Instagram posts” popped up in her search. She applied anyway, and soon after landed the public relations coordinator job at Plastic PR, a startup firm founded on November 1, 2018 by a former actress, model and artist who had grown tired of public relations companies that failed to capture the unique stories of people like herself. So she created her own, and Boutte got to experience building a startup from the ground up.

“I’m so happy to have found work I can get excited about daily,” Boutte said.

In her day to day work as a communications specialist for Plastic PR, Boutte divides her time between office work and attending events, red carpets and other out of office tasks with clients. In the office, Boutte identifies and compiles tailored lists of potential brand partners and media contacts to match her clients’ needs, creates pitch lists, writes client biographies and press kits, and researches strategic opportunities with a constant eye for what comes next. Outside the office, Boutte said her first months with Plastic PR have been jam-packed with glamorous events.

“Last weekend I accompanied a client to a Teen Vogue event, where I made sure she got photographed, networked and interacted with members of the press,” Boutte said. “This weekend, I’ll be attending a gala with another client, prepping her for the red carpet and photo opportunities. It’s rewarding and really fun,” she said.

Teen Vogue Summit
As part of her job, Boutte attends events like this Teen Vogue summit

Boutte credits the education she received from the Manship School with giving her the expertise and confidence to succeed in her new job in her new city.

“I would not have been prepared without the foundation the Manship School gave me,” she said. “Everything from social media management to media law, intro to public relations and public relations writing prepared me for what to expect outside the walls of the Manship School.”

Even though she’s just a few months in to her new gig, Boutte said she’s comfortable keeping up with the quality of work produced by the lead publicist at Plastic PR.

“The classes at the Manship School make sure you know everything you could possibly need to be successful in your field,” Boutte said. “It gave me the foundation to take me wherever I want to go.”

Boutte says her experience at the Manship School paved the way for her success today

Boutte chose to attend the Manship School rather than leaving Louisiana for college when a friend who had graduated from the Manship School took her to tour and visit. During her visit, her friend introduced her to Dr. Andrea Miller, associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at the Manship School. Boutte’s conversation with Miller sealed the deal on her decision to attend the Manship School.

“I wasn’t even a student yet, and here was this important person at the Manship School taking time out of her day to meet and talk with me,” Boutte said.

Boutte recommends current students take full advantage of the internships, connections and expert guidance available to students through the Manship School.

“It is what you make of it! Take as many internship opportunities as you can, and network with the people in the school,” she said.

“And if you can, live in South Hall among other Manship School students. You will create a group of people to connect with as a student and professional and create lasting friendships.”

Boutte herself is proof of that.

Article by graduate student Mary Chiappetta

New Research Finds Millenials More Motivated by Concern than Empowerment Ads

You may have heard that millennials are ruining everything from paper napkins to diamonds and chain restaurants. These consumer shifts – many stemming from the concern over the environmental impact of these items – are here to stay, since the millennial generation replaced the baby boomers this year as the largest consumer group. It makes sense, then, that in a world where the planet’s health is an increasingly visible concern, consumer preferences and priorities are indeed shifting toward sustainability and environmentally friendly products.

Jun Heo.jpgWith this shift, you’d think that millennials would be purchasing more sustainable products and focusing on the environment, but that’s not the case, according to Jun Heo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Digital Advertising at LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

“Although millennials are the most educated age group on environmental impact issues, many are not active in environmental issues,” Heo said.

According to a 2015 report by Nielsen, a global information and data management company known for its reliable reports on consumer behavior and media consumption, roughly 75 percent of millennial consumers are willing not only to replace products with sustainable alternatives, but are even willing to pay more for these products. Why, then, are so few millennials actively doing so?

Recent research from Heo shows that the advertising strategies which worked in appeals to older generations might not be working on savvy millennial consumers.

“Millennial consumers don’t respond to happy environmental ads, the kind that say you can change the world. Instead, showing them how the environment is harmed highlights the need for action and motivates millennials to purchase products that will help the environment,” he said.

Hopetoun_falls_from Wikipedia
Hopetoun Falls in Victoria, Australia. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

This works by cuing millennials’ high level of knowledge about the environment and bringing it to the top of their consumer priorities, a concept called salience. So, to activate millennials’ superior knowledge about the environment, advertisers should rouse their concern, Heo said.

“Young folks will not buy unless they have a concern in it,” Heo said. “Those with higher concern expressed more willingness to buy eco-friendly products.”

Heo’s results run counter to previous research, which indicated that knowledge does not actually affect consumer behavior. Instead, his research shows a direct link between consumer knowledge and consumer behavior in this age group. The secret is to make that knowledge accessible as part of consumers’ purchasing decisions by reminding them that they need to be concerned, and that the environment needs their help, while giving them a direct way that they can help: by purchasing the eco-friendly, sustainable product.

Heo teaches a digital advertising class at LSU’s Manship School

He got this insight by asking the quintessential millennial consumers – college students—to tell him whether they would buy sustainable products they learned about through different advertising strategies. The result? Knowledge about the environment and concern cued by the advertisements increased their willingness to buy these products.

In short, seeing an animal covered in oil or heaps of garbage floating in the ocean is a more effective advertising strategy than stale messaging that suggests consumers have the power to change the world, Heo said.

These results are key both for advertisers and manufacturers because they show the level of demand that exists in the millennial consumer age group for eco-friendly products. By incorporating these insights into their advertising strategies, companies who produce these products can get the attention of those who want to buy them.

“Advertisers can motivate consumers to purchase eco-friendly products by showing them the damage done by non-eco conscious products,” Heo said.

Perhaps matching an effective advertising strategy to the right consumer groups is the best strategy for the future of our planet – and for offloading the claim that millennials are ruining everything.

Article by Manship School graduate student Mary Chiappetta