Category Archives: Orlando

Orlando internship to new hire

CBR Public Relations offers paid internships for college credit and I should know – I was a summer intern at CBR in 2009. Obviously, I’m not writing this as a current intern, but as a full-time employee. So, how can you make the transition from intern to hire? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Put a smile on your face. OK, I know this sounds cliché. But employers want to know you have a good attitude, show enthusiasm for your new position and most importantly, show a willingness to learn. If you’re constantly looking at the clock, making comments about how long the day has been or complaining about not getting the “fun” assignments, you might as well keep your desk as plain as it was when you arrived. Throughout your internship maintain a positive outlook and use the time as a learning opportunity.
  2. Showcase your strengths. The public relations industry is constantly evolving and as professionals, we tend to take on new responsibilities as the client needs them. Tell your new employer how proficient you are in design programs or how much you enjoy – well, you fill in the blank. This could be your opportunity to bring something new to the company and most importantly, to the client.
  3. Be professional. You are now representing the company you work for. As an intern, you will be asked to join client meetings, listen to conference calls and actively participate in staff meetings, but you might also be given some not so glamorous assignments. Treat each task as a learning opportunity and a chance to show your employer how well you handle yourself in any situation. Believe me – it will pay off in the end.

While these are only a few tips to help put you ahead, they don’t necessarily guarantee a full-time position. There are a million factors that come into play and you should be prepared for any of them – good or bad. My advice would be to make each day count. Show your new employer how well you complement his or her company. It might count for more than you realize at the time.

If you would like more information about CBR Public Relations’ internship program, please visit our website or send your resume and two writing samples to

Brittany Hobbs, Business Development, CBR Public Relations

CBR wins Statewide award for PR excellence

CBR Public Relations is proud to announce its most recent honor – the 2011 Award of Distinction in Public Affairs, presented this week at the FPRA Golden Image Awards in Naples. The FPRA Golden Image Awards is a statewide competition recognizing outstanding public relations programs throughout the state.

The honor is the second for this particular grassroots campaign. CBR received an Image Award earlier this year from FPRA’s Orlando-area chapter.

CBR salutes its team of professionals for continuing to raise the bar and exceeding clients’ expectations. For more information about CBR, please visit our website or check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Achieving my APR: No Visa Required

This January, I decided to take a step forward in my career as a public relations professional. After reading up on the process and having a moment of panic over the intimidating journey before me, I took a baby step and went to a seminar about how to achieve Accreditation in Public Relations (APR). Surrounded by other Orlando professionals who had accomplished this distinction, my competitive side kicked in and I resolved to forge ahead.

Becoming an APR is a true mark of professionalism in the public relations field. The designation has been earned by just 5,000 PR professionals nationwide since it began in 1964 – less than three percent of the total PR professionals in America. Following months of studying and a two-part examination process, I’m happy to report that as of June, CBR boasts two APRs.

The APR credential is overseen by the Universal Accreditation Board, a group operated by the Public Relations Society of America. Candidates must successfully complete two phases – an oral presentation of a personal case study to a group of accredited peers and a very lengthy written test – before the UAB will grant accreditation.

What exactly does having the letters “APR” after my name mean (besides that I passed)? According to PRSA, these top professionals have a “fundamental knowledge” of communications theories and strategies, they are well-versed in strategic planning and implementing PR programs, and have a “commitment to professional excellence and ethical conduct.” For our clients, it shows not only that I will think strategically and put together measurable, successful public relations programs for them, but that I have clearly demonstrated this ability to the leaders in my profession.

Or, if you ask my parents, it means that I’m now “certifiable.”

Martha A. Gaston, APR, is an account executive with CBR.

An Intimate Social Media Experience with Orlando CEOs

I Have a Twitter Account. Now What?

When I first started experimenting with social media, I wondered the exact same thing. Twitter is about letting people know you had coffee for breakfast, right? Wrong. As a public relations professional and social media enthusiast, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge and understanding of the latest in the digital realm. For years, we have been hearing about the power of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. But are we truly tapping their potential?

Not yet.

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of sharing some insights with a group of Orlando CEOs who are members of Vistage, the world’s largest chief executive organization. This was a group of smart and savvy business owners who wanted a better understanding of the social media tools out there, and I wanted to show them some of the valuable, but lesser-known, functions of those tools. There’s not enough room here to share everything we talked about in our meeting, but I thought I would at least share some of my observations.

QR Codes – The Wave of the Future

Public relations, marketing and advertising professionals have been enamored with QR (Quick Response) codes of late, even though they have been around for many years. Some are even dubbing 2011 as the year of the QR code. Not only can they bridge the gap between a user’s offline and online experiences, but they can be customized. While QR codes are still working their way into the mainstream, many early adopters are finding creative ways to reach their target audiences. And I could tell this group of CEOs immediately understood the benefits of this technology. You almost could see the light bulbs go on as I began to talk about how they work. My hope moving forward with these nifty little codes is that professionals will employ them to provide that extra value to users and not waste their time.

Twitter Provides Valuable Monitoring Tool

Yes. We all use Google Alerts to monitor our brand and keywords. But what about monitoring on Twitter? Twitter’s search function proves valuable when trying to stay  on top of conversations happening around your brand or a keyword in a certain geographic area. While some may see Twitter as a place to post the details of your breakfast, providing a glimpse at the conversations surrounding an industry gave this group a different understanding of the “tweets” happening right at their fingertips.

When all is said and done, social media is constantly evolving, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is hard to keep up with everything. But, before jumping in and setting up accounts for every single tool out there, get to know the ones you are using now. You’ll be surprised at the functions you didn’t know you had.

Christina Morton is an account executive specializing in social media with CBR. 

Media Maven Blog: Anthony Trial Gives O-Town Opportunity Worth Seizing

I wonder if the Downtown Orlando community grasps the stage that is being thrust upon them — and the unparalleled opportunity that stage will bring – starting tomorrow morning.  For every reporter granted courtroom access, there are at least four other support personnel in the wings walking downtown streets, browsing our stores, utilizing our free Lymmo transportation service and looking to detect the pulse of Orlando. They want to know what makes Orlando tick.  These journalists are fascinated by the juxtaposition of our magical tourism “worlds” (Disney World, Sea World, even Flea World) against the world of a death penalty murder trial that, deservedly or not, has captured the world’s attention.

The setting of the last gargantuan trial (from a media perspective) was held near the Hollywood stages in Los Angeles, a city that is accustomed to aggressive paparazzi, famous faces and larger-than- life personalities.  With the O.J. Simpson trial as a barometer, it’s safe to say that Orlando has never experienced anything like what is about to descend upon the City Beautiful.  Mayor Dyer, Orlando City Council and the Downtown Development Board grasp this as an opportunity to showcase our true Orlando – to demonstrate our sense of neighborhoods and community and yes, our potential as a cosmopolitan destination is in the balance the next month or so.

While cities across the country are begging for publicity to generate economic development, the international stage has been thrust upon us.  It’s an opportunity to tout our greatness and to counter the image of a young mother who is charged with murdering her child.  It’s up to the folks in Downtown Orlando to seize this opportunity for the right kind of stardom.

Lori C. Booker, APR, is founder and CEO of CBR and is a respected media commentator.

CBR’s Expansion Continues

CBR, long considered one of the Southeast’s premier independent public relations firms, has appointed Peggy Gies as Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning. Gies brings more than 20 years of advertising and marketing experience to the company and will develop and implement campaigns for clients with a focus on integrated communications.

CBR expanded in the past year with a second office in Melbourne, Fla., bucking the national trend by growing during the recession. “When the market began to contract, we decided that the best plan of action would be to concentrate our energies on our existing clients. That strategy worked better than even I anticipated,” said CEO and Founder Lori C. Booker, APR. “We not only increased revenue, but we increased our staff as a result. With more than 25 years under our belt, and with the most experienced and dedicated team of professionals ever assembled in a local firm, CBR is poised to dominate the market as the economy recovers.”

CBR also announced the promotion of Brittany Hobbs to Account Coordinator. Hobbs interned at CBR in 2009 and joined the staff full time in January 2010 as an account assistant.

Interested in joining us? Check out the Career section of our website for more information.

An indicator worth watching

It wasn’t on Page One yesterday, but it should have been.  Tucked away in the second section of the Orlando Sentinel was a small shaded box announcing “Another good month for hotel-tax collections.”  I wonder how many grasp the importance of that article’s findings?

Sentinel staff writer Sara K. Clarke astutely noted that February’s resort tax revenues year-to-year were up a whopping 21 percent.  Re-stated, the tourism business had a 21 percent rebound — and no one’s shouting about it.

Hear me shout!

As the founder and CEO of CBR, I have navigated this company through several recessions, downturns, re-corrections – whatever term you use. They were all times of belt-tightening and cash-flow challenges.  But CBR didn’t just survive, we thrived. Now, it sounds like the tourism business is doing the same.  Hurray for Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida for the jump start.  For decades, we have turned to Disney for the economic miracles, but this time we give a bow to Harry’s wand.

In our decades of active involvement in IPREX, a world-wide consortium of “hot shop” PR firms, I have noted something very interesting: Florida is the last to feel a recession and the first to experience the recovery. I explored this theory with my Rollins College public relations class a few years back, and the students and I determined that the most obvious explanation is that families pre-pay their vacations and, when the economy is looking good again, they pre-book the next one.  It’s probably not the most scientific way to reach a conclusion, but it bears noting as we march out of the Great Recession here in the Sunshine State.

Florida’s tourism industry is an economic indicator that’s worth watching.  And smart companies are doing just that.

Lori C. Booker, APR