How Much Latte Do You Get?

On March 16th 2016, two customers at the coffee chain in California filed a class action suit on all Starbucks latte drinks, alleging that Starbucks has been underfilling its lattes and shortchanging customers. Starbucks did not response on any social media platforms about the lawsuit. Instead, Starbucks keeps promoting its new products of mugs and beverages on Twitter from the end of March till now. In addition to the lawsuit, Starbucks is also in trouble because of its new rewards program. In the past, 12 visits can earn a customer a piece of free drink or food item. However, under the new plan, a regular coffee consumer would have to visit about 30 times to get a free treat.

It is wise for Starbucks to avoid talking about the lawsuit on the social media platforms and post new product promotions to shift the focus of the publics. First of all, not all of the Starbucks customers have such problems, so the sale will not drop since the Starbucks lover will continue loving the beverages and food. Second, Starbucks needs to watch competitor’s reactions towards its issue and be well prepared to capture the audience’s attention if competitors take advantage of the situation. Moreover, Starbucks should wait for the result of the court. Since FBI announced that it hacked into terrorist’s iPhone without the help from Apple, Apple does not have to write a hacking program that may violate the privacy of users. Therefore, applying to this suit, there might be chances in the future for Starbucks to get out of the situation. On the social media platforms, many people show their supports for Starbucks. A Former Starbucks worker clarified that it is better not to fill up a paper cup to the brim for safety reasons. Other people suggested to make the cups of Starbucks taller to guarantee the quantities.

In my opinion, Starbucks does not have to redesign the cups or send out press release to state the issue. Since people in the future will pay more attention to measuring the quantities of the latte at Starbucks, Starbucks can send a notice to its employees and ask them to fill up the paper cups. Last, Starbucks can inform its costumers friendly to ask for another coffee if they found their beverages are underfillying for some reasons.

Change Needs Time

The PR industry is broadly white and middle class. The first reason is that people from other backgrounds are always encouraged by their parents to study business, accounting, or engineering as those majors do not need professional writing skills. There are many job opportunities in such fields. However, PR industry requires the perfect oral skill and the writing intelligence. Since public relations comes from journalists, it is difficult for people whose first languages are not English to become professionals in writing qualified articles. Second, there are a giant culture gap between people from foreign countries and Americans. Since they do not share the same values and norms, it is easy to have conflicts and misunderstandings. Therefore, when asking the guest speakers the possibility that international students find jobs in America, they answered that it is almost impossible for companies to hire international students due to culture differences and the sponsorship.

 I think Syracuse University has been actively recruiting diversity in the student body, especially Newhouse. There are many Chinese students majored in Public Relations in Newhouse, which is totally different from the situation in my high school. Four years ago, I went high school in Rumford, Maine, where there was no diversity. I was the only Asian, so everyone wanted to make friends with me. I felt Americans were warm hearted. I was so impressed at that time. However, when I came to Syracuse, I lost the special treatment because there are too many Chinese students here. Sometimes, I felt Americans are cold in Syracuse because they do not care about thoughts of international students. For instance, when doing group work together, they tend to ignore words from Chinese students because Chinese students sometimes cannot express their ideas clearly. There are still nice Americans who are trying to learn about different cultures and accept different opinions. However, in the work place, nobody has time to listen to you if you are weak of expressing. I believe change needs time. I can understand why it is hard to accept diversities, but I think diversity is important in PR industry in the future because of globalization. 


TO Become the “1% People”

Yesterday, Andrew Soucy and Cristina Khoury-Folkens from W2O group came to our class and shared approaches of reaching costumers. The W2O group is an independent network of complementary marketing, communications, research and development firms focusing on integrated business solution. It served many famous clients and had tons of experience on communication strategies.

Although it is not my first time to know about “1-9-90” theory, I gained something different comparing to last time because I had had experiences from my internships and had learned advanced public relations courses this year. First, the one percent people can be considered as influencers. They are making contents, sharing opportunities in the daily bases and leading the conversations on the social media platforms. The nine percent people are called “superfans”, which means they are reposting or retweeting messages from the one percent people. Last, ninety percent people are general audiences. They usually choose to observe the world and may click the links but not write any comments or express opinions in public.

After dividing the audiences into three parts, we can make different tones and engage with them in different ways. First, if we want to reach the one percent people, we will get the story and give them as resources. I remember last time when I attended the W2O workshop, the discussion leader analyzed a case of promoting an acne removal product. In order to create presences on social media and build reputations for the brand, the PR people contacted several influential web celebrities and bloggers who are known of sharing make-up and skin care products and gave them free products as trials. Therefore, if they are satisfied with the products, they will share their experiences on social media. I think those people are “one percent people” in this case. What we can do is to address them with their interested topics and maintain relationships with them. The nine percent people could be the followers and fans of the web celebrities and bloggers. They would like to use the same products and help create the presences of the brand. Therefore, in order to make those nine percent people spread out information, PR people should make social graphic analysis, look at what their key interests, and indirectly pitch them through people who they follow.

We should push ourselves to first become the nine percent people. Always share excellent contents, make critical comments and repackage the information. If we continue practicing, we will grow as the one percent people and create the trends ourselves finally. We also need to think about building our own brand and start our influence from now, which can contribute to our future careers.


The Battle between FBI and Apple

This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook faced a problem since a court ordered Apple to unlock of the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, a suspect in the San Bernadino terrorist attack last December. Cook refused to give FBI any more help since FBI asked Apple to write software to create a backdoor to their iOS operating system, which may compromise consumer privacy.

Apple earned appreciation on social media due to the rejection of FBI since it stranded on costumer’s position to protect their privacy. Although the government may argue that the software would only be used in this case, there is no guarantees. However, Apple released a letter on the website on February 16, 2016 and expressed the need for encryption, which confused the costumers and leaded skepticism. However, it was still a right choice by Apple PR team to tell all the situation to the costumers. Cook showed transparency to earn people’s appreciation and their trust on Apple products. On another side, it is not humanity to not support FBI to investigate a crime. It may not fair to victims and their family members.

As an Apple user, I worry about the privacy as well. However, if government force Apple to assist their inspection or Apple already corporates with FBI to get the data, I can do nothing and I shall not stop using Apple since it is very convenient and has occupied my life. Apple cannot insist on rejecting the federal government for a long time. Therefore, the noise from costumers seems useless and futile because it cannot impact anything towards Apple’s final decision (or federal government’s final decision). It maybe a show conducted by Apple PR team to gain more support and praises from costumers. The reason is that costumers have to accept the new iOS once Apple releases it, so everyone would have to accept the new system regardless of the fact that it may have potential danger of hacking.


The Charm of Public Relations

It was a fantastic week since the weather turned mild after the giant snow storm. I was focusing on the campaign for Syracuse student veteran organization to increase awareness and improve relationship between student veterans and nonveteran students. It is originally for Bateman competition and my PR class, but I realize I have learned a lot from the process.

At the beginning, it is important to research carefully and get to know about the client, listen to their voices and examine attitudes and perceptions among the public. We finished the preparation last semester. This semester, we need to launch a milestone and come up with some influential events related to student veterans on Campus. Since I am in charge with media relations and social media, I need to build and manage relationships with clients and bravely talk to people and pitch my ideas. I am not confident of this task because I do not know how to pitch my ideas without making others feel uncomfortable. However, I believe if I make friends with my target audience from the bottom of my heart, they will be moved and also willing to listen to me. Moreover, I am not a talkative person in front of strangers, but I want to challenge myself for further internships or jobs. The first step was to get contact information from student veterans who were willing to share their veteran experiences in a video we planned to film. Last Wednesday, I walked in the building where the career fair was hold for student veterans and tried to ask several people if they could show up in the video. I was embarrassed at first because all the people were talking with each other. I told myself that once I start talking, I would not find it difficult. Also, I should not be afraid of rejections because there was nothing embarrassing if someone did not want to be in the video. I should not worry about failure before the start. At last, I received contact information from three helpful and kind student veterans. All of them were patient to listen to me and would like to help me make the video. When I stepped out of the building, I was proud of myself and have a feeling of personal accomplishment. I expected more practice in the future. Also, after I talking with student veterans, I tended to be eager to help them involve into the campus lives from the perspective of their friends. I think this is charm of public relations.



My name is Yuqi Zhang and you can call me Yuki. I am currently a senior student majored in Public Relations in S.I. Newhouse of Syracuse University.

I have been in America for five years. I used to go to high school in Monmouth, which is a small town in east Maine. After staying in Maine for almost two years, I am never afraid of snowing anymore. In addition, I learned how to feed lamas, how to build a wood bridge, and how to make whoopie pies in Maine since my homestay owned a farm. In 2013, I came to Syracuse and became a college student. I can speak Chinese, English and Japanese.

My dream is to become a premier in China, but my mom always laughs at me since she thinks I was joking. Although I am 21 years old, I still believe there will be a little bit percentage of possibility for me to become a premier after 20 years. I used to think about having a degree in design, but I do not think people in China would recognize a primer who studied in design. Therefore, I minored in Political Science, in case I will use the political knowledge in the future. If a cunning journalist questions me how a PR is able to manage a country, I can tell him with confidence that I earned a degree in Maxwell as well.  If I lose out in the election, I will become a free writer since I love travelling and writing. I believe that if I cannot change the world by making policies, I can change the world by a pen.

If you like me, you can check my personal website at: (If you do not like me, you can also check the website…) Anyway, have a wonderful day!