Archive for the 'New York Office' Category

Landing a Kick A$$ PR Internship

Internships can be some of the toughest jobs for which to interview – your experience is limited; you’re new at interviewing; and let’s face it…you’re trying to land a job in one of the most challenging job markets out there.

I’ve been managing the intern program here at SHIFT NYC, and let me tell you…I’ve seen A LOT of resumes – some good, some bad, but very few make me think, “Damn. I want this person working for me!” I’m now here to help you…so keep reading and I hope this post will teach you a thing or two about interviewing for a PR internship!

Making Your Resume Stand Out: Your cover letter and resume are the first things I see – why should I email you to set up an interview and not the other 500 people? I’m going to assume the obvious (proper proofing, formatting, etc…) goes without saying, so here are a couple things to think about when pulling the ‘ol resume together:

  • Include things from your past experience that can be applied to this new internship. I’d rather see that you helped manage a Twitter handle for your school’s athletic department than read about the waitress job you had three years ago. If it takes an extra bullet or two, I say “bring it on!”
  • Highlight positive accolades, promotions, surpassed goals. If someone else thinks you are great too, I want to know!
  • What makes you different? PR is all about creativity and well, in the words of our fearless leader, Todd Defren, being a little ballsy. Have you climbed a mountain? Won a spelling bee? Played a competitive sport? We don’t expect your list of professional accomplishments to rival Bill Gates’ – we just want to know who you are as a person. What makes you tick?

Congrats! You’ve been called in for an interview. You should be thinking, “OK, this is my chance to sell myself – time to show them why they should pick me!” PR is sales…if you can’t sell yourself, how can you sell your clients?

  • RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH! I cannot emphasize this enough. I want to hear that you know who SHIFT is. Heck, we’re the DIGITAL/SOCIAL MEDIA AGENCY OF THE YEAR! And we sure don’t make that fact hard to find. Read our website, read Todd’s blog and tell me what you make of it all!
  • Be on time. It still amazes me that in this competitive job market, people can still be 5 minutes late. Leave yourself an extra HOUR if you need to and park yourself in a coffee shop near the office to ensure you’re not late.

“Hi, I’m Talia!” (hand reaches out to shake yours). Firm handshakes people – we’re professionals! A floppy hand lacks confidence and PR is all about being confident.

The Interview:

  • Use your resume as a guide, not a script. I can read – I don’t need you to read me your resume bullet by bullet. Focus on your accomplishments and most importantly, what they taught you and how you plan to apply those experiences to your role at SHIFT.
  • Showcase your research. You took the time to get to know SHIFT, so tell me what you think. A question I always ask is, “Why SHIFT? How did you decide you want to work here?” I will tell you right now…telling me you just Googled PR firms in NYC will get your resume a ticket to the bottom of my trash can.
  • Ask me questions. Yes, you are the one being interviewed… but you should also want to know about the agency – the things you don’t find on the Internet. Find out what the job entails; ask about the office culture; heck, ask why I decided on SHIFT! The questions show you have a vested interest in both your internship and your professional career.

Wow. Great interview – I want you to come work with me. Please, I’m begging you…send a thank you note…it can be an email, written note, whatever suits your fancy, but please acknowledge that I, and most likely some of my colleagues, took time out of our busy days to meet with you. Even a couple quick sentences go a long way.

Hope all you eager intern candidates out there found this helpful! And please, if any readers have other helpful tips please feel free to share. Look forward to seeing some kick a$$ resumes and meeting some ballsy future SHIFTERS!

 

Not One, Not Two, but SEVEN Bells Toll for SHIFT!

SHIFTers have had a lot to be proud of this year – whether it’s being named Digital/Social Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report, winning Bulldog Media Relations Awards for excellence in media and publicity campaigns, or bringing in amazing new people and clients on the daily, 2012 is off to a killer start.

Last night, we added SEVEN Publicity Club of New England Bell Ringer Awards to the list, including:

  • Gold award: Best National Print Feature
  • Silver awards: Best Product/Service High-Tech Campaign; Best Business-to-Business Product/Service Campaign; Best Response to Breaking News
  • Bronze awards: Best Clean Energy/Green Technology Product/Service Launch Campaign; Best Social Media Campaign

In addition, Senior Account Executive Kate Binette was named the 2012 Young PR Professional of the Year, known as the Striker Award.

Since we’re all about our people and giving you an inside look at SHIFT, here’s the scoop from the folks who represented SHIFT at last night’s awards:

  • Kate Binette, Senior Account Executive (@katebinette) – It was great to catch up with former colleagues that I hadn’t seen in a while.  Last night reminded me how tight-knit the PR community in Boston is, and it was exciting to engage in some friendly competition and celebrate each other’s accomplishments.  But I have to say, I think the SHIFT table takes the cake for fun!
  • Jena Rossi, Account Manger (@jenarossi) – I was really proud to be a part of the Boston PR community last night at the Bell Ringer Awards.  In addition to taking home some impressive awards for our awesome agency, we were also able to give back to an important organization, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
  • Dominic Weeks, Account Manager (@dominicweeks) – My favorite moment was seeing Kate Binette collect her Striker award.  Having seen her in action with clients, prospects, colleagues, and reporters, I can testify that she’s a class act, so it’s great to see the New England Pub Club judges get it so right!
  • Zach Servideo, Account Manager (@zachservideo) – Last night got me thinking – the annual Bell Ringer event represents so much more than individual accomplishments.  The Bell Ringers are a yearly reminder that the local PR scene is dominated by a core group of talented, familiar names and faces.  While we all may “compete” for coverage, this dynamic group shares in the same goal – to grow and improve the Greater Boston and New England business communities.
  • Kelly Kane, Account Manager (@kellykane) – My favorite part of the night was a tie between bonding with awesome colleagues during the event and taking home the Gold Bell for National Print Feature!
  • Danielle Mancano, Account Manager (@dmancano) – My favorite part of the Bell Ringer Award ceremony was spending time with my Boston colleagues, who I rarely get to see…and looking at David Wade’s HANDSOME FACE!
  • Catherine Allen, Vice President (@catherineallen) – You know, winning isn’t everything.  But it feels damn good.  We mixed and mingled, enjoyed dinner amongst friends, laughed at the @davidwade commentary and toasted each other on another great year.  Cheers!!
  • Todd Defren, Principal (@tdefren) – I am proud, of course, of the hard work that went into bringing home the awards last night.  But when it comes down to it, the company was what made last night really great.

Congrats to all of the winners last night, and big thanks to the Publicity Club of New England for a great event.  Until next year!

SHIFTers with their awards.

 

SHIFT Communications Wins Digital/Social Agency of the Year

Yesterday was an exciting day at SHIFT Communications – the Holmes Group named SHIFT the 2012 Digital/Social Agency of the Year and it is such an honor! SHIFT was up against some stiff competition beating out the likes of Edelman, Ogilvy and Weber Shandwick for the prestigious award. We’ve worked hard to help pave the digital/social path for PR and it’s so great to see the hard work pay off. To demonstrate SHIFT’s appreciation and excitement, we’ve polled all three offices to find out how some SHIFTers reacted to the news:

“I literally shouted … okay, I almost freakin’ cried … when I first heard this news. I am so proud and happy for my hard-working, fun-lovin’ colleagues at SHIFT Communications!”

-Todd Defren, Principal

Boston:

“When you’re surrounded by so many smart people every day, you can sometimes take it for granted. But this is one of those moments that makes you say ‘wow, I work for a market leader – I’m a part of a game-changing company.’ Words can’t even describe the sense of pride I feel today in being a member of the SHIFT family. Congrats to the entire team!”

Zach Servideo, Account Manager

“I was thrilled to hear we won this prestigious award! All PR people know social is growing in importance all the time, but SHIFT is at the forefront of integrating it into each and every program we run.”

Julie Staadecker, Account Manager

“At a time when every PR/marketing/communications agency is clamoring to devise the newest and best social media strategies for their clients, it is a HUGE honor to be dubbed THE agency for social and digital by the industry standard aka The Holmes Report.  Add to that the fact that SHIFT is a midsize agency that consistently competes with the Goliath PR firms of the world on digital account work, and you’ve got one happy, scrappy bunch of social media enthusiasts.  The coolest part to me about the award – and indicative of SHIFT culture – is that I know it only fuels all of us to continue to push the envelope on digital further. The best is yet to come…”

Amanda Guisbond, Senior Account Executive

“When I joined SHIFT just over a year ago, I already had the impression that it was a social media heavyweight. Since then, I’ve learned so much about how companies should use social media to communicate with their key stakeholders.  Everybody at SHIFT is interested, engaged and, most importantly, curious about this issue.  We’re still dealing with a lot of unknowns and best practice is evolving.  When a SHIFTer isn’t certain about how a social media situation might play out, they’re honest enough to admit it and dedicated enough to make sure they find out!”

Dominic Weeks, Account Manager

San Francisco:

“Hearing the news just made me realize once again that I am so lucky to work here. I am very fortunate to work with such incredible talent and proud of the work we’ve accomplished.”

Matt Nagel, Senior Account Executive

“F#$% yeah!”

-Aaron Heinrich, Firm Director

“Ballah! Our clients have always seen us as one of the best digital/social agencies in this business — how fantastic to receive industry recognition from Holmes Group! And how else to spread the news? Across every social media platform linked to my name…of course. :)”

-Kristine Lee, Account Manager

New York City:

“We’re fortunate enough to have smart, forward-thinking clients who allow us to take chances with digital media. Our clients have come to rely on campaigns and programs that combine traditional and social PR activities, instead of acting as separate entities. This is where SHIFT has found its strength, and it’s fantastic to be recognized for it. “

Danielle Mancano, Senior Account Manager

“In the last year or so, I’ve noticed such a shift in the type of counsel our clients value most, and that’s our advice on digital and social strategy. As an agency we’ve been working hard to give the best advice and ideas possible, and it’s cool to see that those efforts have had an impact.”

Alexandra Brooks, Account Executive

“#Winning!”

Justine Navaja, Account Director

“I’m so proud to be part of agency that continuously delivers fantastic client work and is recognized for our growth in digital/social. GO SHIFT!”

Donna Ho, Account Coordinator

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Alex Brooks

@abrooksshiftcom

1. Name:

Alex Brooks

2. Hometown:

Dallas, TX. As we say, American by birth, Texan by the grace of God.

3. Where did you go to college?

Williams College– go Ephs!

4.  How long have you worked at SHIFT:

 3.5 years

5. Use four words to describe yourself:

Witty, loyal, old soul

6.  What made you enter the PR industry:

I graduated from college in 2008, right when the recession was starting. I was an art history major, but cast a wide net in my job search since there wasn’t much available, and pursued opportunities in marketing as well as the art world. SHIFT hired me as an intern and then as an AC about a month and a half later. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to start my career at a company where I’ve learned so much and worked with fantastic people.

7.  When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up:

Ridiculously enough, when you Google “Alexandra Brooks,” the first search result is the website of a psychic who shares my name. Apparently, she is a Healer who works with Pink Light, a gentle healing light that resonates to the energies of love, harmony, and peace (verbiage taken from her website – I can’t make that stuff up). As I tend to embrace an “insert sarcasm here” credo, this coincidence is pretty epic.

8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day:

Real News: WSJ, NYT

Fake News: People.com

10-Minute Break: Amy Atlas’ blog, Sweet Designs (she’s a dessert stylist)

Every Friday: Charles Krauthammer’s weekly column in Washington Post

9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it:

My ideal cocktail already exists – the French 75 (champagne, gin, lemon juice, and sugar). What can I say? I love my bubbles. Also love the classic cocktail nostalgia; I can see Coco Chanel knocking these back in Paris.

10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you:

My dad’s Jewish and my mom’s Catholic. I was converted to Judaism as a baby. One of my mom’s relatives, Andre Bessette, was canonized in October 2010. That makes half my genes Chosen and the other half saintly. In the words of Bill Murray (aka Carl Spackler), “So I got that going for me, which is nice.”


Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages: What’s the big fuss?

The social media world has been abuzz since last week’s official launch of Facebook Timeline for all brand pages. Timeline has been available for personal users for a few months, and while it’s been optional, it’ll ultimately be the only choice for people and brands alike. I’m now accustomed to seeing the new look on my friends’ pages: huge cover photos of sunsets, babies or pets (I’m guilty of at least two. See for yourself.), but how will Timeline actually transform a brand’s presence on Facebook? After speaking with reps from the site, taking an online webinar and reading up on all of the official Facebook documents, I’ve come to the conclusion that Timeline can enrich a consumer’s view of a brand. How can it do this? By creating a page where consumers might spend more time and by allowing brands to seem more human.

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Personal uses of Cover photos are often sunsets, babies or pets.

Here are some details about how Timeline works:

Cover Photo vs. Profile Picture

The new cover photo seems like a simple concept. It’s like a profile picture, but bigger. But Facebook claims that it’s more than that – and they may be right. The suggested use of this space is for an image that captures the essence of your brand. Not a logo, not a promotional photo, not just text. The cover photo is the soul of the brand page, and should convey the soul of the brand. On the other hand, the profile picture should convey the facts: the logo, the label, etc. Facebook chose a few brands as guinea pigs for Timeline. Among them were Coca-Cola and Manchester United and not surprisingly, their pages look great (I’m guessing their sizable Facebook advertising budgets didn’t hurt). The Manchester United page is the perfect example of the Cover Photo vs. Profile pic discrepancy. Their profile pic is just the Manchester United logo. And yet their cover photo is of an emotional, uplifting photo of the victorious team, evoking immediate emotion from any user. Even from me!

What it means for brands: Emotion sells.

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Manchester United gets it right with an emotion provoking cover photo

Pinning Your Posts

Another new feature for Timeline is the ability for brands to “pin” a post to the top of the page for up to 7 days. This is all about the first impression – any user landing on a brand page will see exactly what the brand wants them to see. The days are over when negative customer feedback live at the top of the Facebook Brand Page wall. This gives more power to the brand over all headlining content on their page. And while users are still encouraged to post on brand pages, Facebook has introduced a new option for consumers to privately message brands. This should cut down on some of the customer service type questions that are often prominently displayed on Facebook walls. Barack Obama’s profile is a great example of keeping the positive message up top, including user photos of reasons why they support Obama, positive videos and quotes from the President himself.

What it means for brands: Choose your pins wisely. They’re the introduction line in your consumer conversation, and you now have the power to control it.

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Obama pins positive posts. And check out his great cover photo.

Views and Apps

Here’s a big change: Brands can no longer select a landing page for their users to view first. Everyone will land to the brand’s Timeline. The only way for users to go straight to an application is through a paid media buy. Facebook has also changed up the way applications are displayed – they’ve said goodbye to the text links on the left side of the page and opted for pretty thumbnails at the top of the page, right next to the Photo and Like images. Brands will be able to move the thumbnails around, displaying which applications get top priority, although the Photo and Like thumbnails are stationary. This results in a nicer presentation, but a more top-heavy page, where users will need to scroll down below the fold to get to the real meat of the page.

What it means for brands: Brands can no longer dictate for users to arrive on welcome pages, “like to enter” tabs or apps. So, create thumbnails to make your apps pop.

Milestones

On to the main course: And here’s where brands can really show their personalities. The milestone function allows brands to chronologically add in the opening day of their business, the day they made your first dollar, when they expanded globally, etc… The actual timeline on the Timeline allows brands to expose their history to their users. Do consumers care? Brands are tasked with injecting their milestones with fun, interesting facts – otherwise the Timeline will fall flat. Starbucks started their Timeline with opening their first store in 1971, and for a company that has grown so quickly – it’s a fun read. Obama also gets this right. His milestone posts bring us back to the 1970s with fun facts such as: “Obama gets his first job working the counter at Baskin-Robbins” or “Obama moves in with his grandparents in Hawaii”. But then there’s Coca-Cola. Their first milestone on their Timeline is the company’s start in 1886. A brand with such a long, rich history should be fascinating to read about. But do consumers have time to scroll though their entire history? I’m not so sure. Especially since the Timeline functionality is still very sluggish. Once we see improvements with the speed, it might become a more attractive read.

What it means for brands: Keep this section short and sweet, with punchy and interesting facts. Brands want users to find your brand charming and inspiring, not just read a history text book.

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Coke’s milestones take us back to pre-Facebook times in 1886.

There’s no question – Timeline is pretty. And it will allow brands to speak to users in a whole new way. I just hope that Facebook doesn’t lose sight of the importance of the consumer to brand and consumer/consumer conversations, both of which seem to take a back seat with this new look. If the goal is to make brands seem more human, then human consumer engagement should still be a top priority. But as we’ve seen with Facebook in the past, there’s certainly more change to come.

The Power of Pinterest: Why Everyone Should Join the Pin-sanity

By Donna Ho (@donnatho)

So what’s with all the hype around Pinterest? As cliché as it sounds, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of the virtual pin board and social photo sharing website. Or you’ve been asked just a few too many times, “Are you on Pinterest?”

While it may have initially been an online spot for food lovers and wedding hopefuls, the site has become much more as a number of brands, businesses, and influencers have joined the Pin-sanity. The site was recently named one of the top 10 websites within the Hitwise Social Networks with nearly 11 million total visits in a week. And according to a study by Shareaholic, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google Plus, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

Everyday People Pin

Just a few months ago, I was that person who didn’t get it. Why was this virtual pin board so cool? After taking another poke around the site, I quickly became a Pin-somniac. What’s not to love about bookmarking and organizing you favorite photos and feeling creative? Being able to click through images to other interesting links made the site even more addicting and exciting, which brings to me to why others are catching on to the social media network trend.

Brands Pin

As brands have become comfortable with Facebook and Twitter and are learning the ins and outs of Google+, they are now adding Pinterest to their social media repertoire. The ability to pin and share photos through links helps drive traffic and therefore, increase visibility and sales. A marketer’s dream, right? Chobani and Mashable are just a few examples of some who are successfully pinning their own product/content. Marketers are even thinking outside the box, using Pinterest for contests, adding a Pin-It buttons to their site and using hashtags.

Brands are not only using the site to promote their own product, but create a brand personality online that will engage users.

Take for example, InStyle Magazine created a board for a Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, in which its 4,000+ followers most likely re-pinned, liked and purchased these products.

Influencers Pin

Just like Twitter and Facebook, people follow personal brands and enjoy seeing what their favorite guru’s inspiration. Fashion Director for Marie Claire, Nina Garcia, an expert in the fashion trend, for example, is very active in the Pin world with more than 240,000 followers interested in the upcoming seasonal fashion.

Whether you’re using the social network to spark ideas for your clients or for your own personal enjoyment, Pinterest is a fun and easy-to-use social tool that I believe has the power to stick around for a while. Although the site’s user base is mostly female, I have a feeling the guys won’t be too far behind to catch onto the trend. Are you convinced of the pin-sation?

Social Media Week New York

Last week New York City’s streets were filled with social savvy SHIFTers jetting from one panel to another for New York’s Social Media Week.  Below SHIFT’s own Reshma Fernandes (@reshma) shares a few insights into one of the panels she attended:

Can We Tweet Yet? Social Media in Financial Services – hosted by Actiance on 12/15 (Joanna Belbey) @belbey

Key takeaways

  • Social media deployment is a lot more successful when all the internal stakeholders from HR to legal to security departments are at the table at the beginning of the decision making process
  • The Regulators treat social media the same way as any other client communication so record keeping is of paramount importance
  • Put together a social media policy – every employee that represents your brand should undergo training on social media do’s and don’ts since finance is heavily regulated