Inspiration from the Breadbasket

Two days ago I was privileged to take part in my first-ever Twitter chat with the lovely Kathryn Budig. Originally from my hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, Kathryn has transformed her passion for yoga into a career that encompasses the world. She’s hosted yoga retreats and workshops from Florida to New Zealand, and recently put out an “Aim True” yoga DVD with giant fitness retailer Gaiam.

In partnership with ZICO coconut water (which, alas, I have never tried), Kathryn talked with fans and fellow practitioners for an hour.  Mostly I was just stoked to have an actual almost-real-life conversation with one of my idols. Kathryn, it must be said, is the rock star of the yoga world. And she’s from Kansas! KANSAS!

Throughout the chat, she answered questions ranging from technical yoga advice to the spiritual side of one’s practice. I started to realize what a fabulous marketing opportunity this was for ZICO—associating themselves with someone like Kathryn and making her accessible to thousands of fans, driving all of these potential customers to ZICO’s Twitter page—that is some serious public relations. ZICO’s brand was completely unknown to me prior to this encounter. By the end of the chat, I found myself looking up the flavors of coconut water they offered,  the nutritional content and where I could purchase the beverage. I have yet to actually try the stuff, but if Kathryn Budig likes it…

In all seriousness, it was an amazing experience to ask personal questions of someone I admire so deeply and receive instant direct responses. I have a newfound respect for Twitter as a mechanism for bringing people together, publicly and professionally, who would otherwise never have the opportunity to learn from each other and exchange information.

Kathryn really is doing some pretty cool things. If you think you might be even remotely interested in yoga, check out her website at www.kathrynbudig.com. I’ve never seen this austere and esoteric discipline made so accessible. She’s garnered quite the global following, and rightly so.

Pretty impressive for a girl from the little town of Lawrence.

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Listen to the Dr.: Seuss and Public Relations

The books of Dr. Seuss seem to inspire an inordinate amount of discussion and, shall we say, derivative works (some less academic than others).

Observe:

Yet I am no exception: Seuss’ story The Lorax provides the reason and the rhyme for my major in public relations.

For those heinous individuals unfamiliar with the book, Lorax chronicles the tale of a greedy creature named the Once-ler, who begins, for all intents and purposes, destroying the earth in his quest for corporate domination. The Once-ler’s annihilation of all the “Truffula trees” in the valley summons the Lorax, who pleads with the Once-ler to stop the destruction. His words have stayed with me since my six-year-old self first happened upon them:

I am the Lorax

I speak for the trees.

As a public relations professional, I can amplify the voices that would otherwise be
swallowed up by the seething beast of today’s information-communication overload.
Because the truth is that every charity and non-profit needs help in order to help the people for whom they exist. They need promotion and publicity to remind the rest of us of what we should be doing with at least some of our time and money. Think hungry children, refugees, disabled citizens and the homeless man under the bridge.

I’m not sure if I will ultimately choose PR…I have several years to go. But if I do, I won’t be a spin doctor, a manipulative marketing fiend, or even a company pawn intent on increasing profits.

I will speak for the trees.