Archive for the 'Public Relations' Category

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Emily Adams

  1. Name: Emily Adams, @emmyj2890
  2. Hometown: Hamden, CT
  3. Where did you go to college: Boston University
  4. How long have you worked at SHIFT: I started my internship in September 2011 – but I’ve been an AC since Monday!
  5. What advice would you give to interns considering a career in PR?: It’s really important to have internship experience if you want to work in PR. My advice for interns is: Try your hardest on any assignment handed to you – even if it seems silly or tedious. If you do a good job on those, you’ll be taken more seriously and the more exciting projects will come!
  6. Use four words to describe yourself: Genuine, considerate, scatterbrained, fun!
  7. What made you enter the PR industry: I entered BU as a magazine journalism major. After a year or two, I ended up deciding between PR and advertising. I chose PR because it is a nice combo of all the majors I was choosing from! PR requires writing and creativity, but is more social and goal-oriented! My first PR internship was at SHIFT and I loved it here, so I stayed!
  8. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up: Not me!!! I need to boost my SEO.
  9. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day: Mashable, Twitter…. Perez Hilton
  10. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it: A Wild Ginger
  11. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you: I’m a left handed redhead. I always thought that was pretty unique, but in an office full of redheads there’s bound to be another lefty! But I played hockey in high school and punched someone on the ice once! I think that’s pretty surprising if you know my personality. Hah!
  12. What do you feel is your greatest personal success in PR thus far? Getting hired by SHIFT! My career just started, so hopefully I’ll have a long list of PR achievements soon!

The Next Big Step

By @kimberlydiesel

Last month, San Francisco intern Mich Wells gave us the hilariously informative Intern 101, offering fantastic advice for all the future SHIFT interns out there. Yes, internships are a great way to gain experience and get your foot in the door but what about getting a more permanent seat at a desk?

That brings us to why we’re here. This is for all the interns out there who are going the distance and vying for the coveted Account Coordinator role. I spoke with some of my fellow former interns to find out how their internship experience impacted their decision to stay in PR and talk about what they learned from their transition from intern to account coordinator.

What about your internship experience here at SHIFT made you want to stay in PR?

“I felt like I was part of the team. Prior to joining SHIFT I had done two internships elsewhere and although I learned a lot, I never learned as much as I did at SHIFT. I was invited into client calls, team meetings, basically anything to help me see the bigger picture of PR.”

–          Justine Routhier, Account Executive

What was the most important piece of advice you took away from being an intern that helped you get to where you are?

“Do everything you can to prove that you want to be there. You won’t get anywhere great without taking that extra step. This doesn’t just apply to your work. Get involved and get to know your co-workers.  Having more people know your personality can only help you when it comes time to interview, especially here at SHIFT where the culture is so important to everyone.”

–           Kristina Scuoteguazza, Account Coordinator

 What is the most important thing you’ve learned since your intern days?

“Openly communicate with your manager and your team members. They’re there to help and that way nothing gets lost. If you need help, ask for it. If you’re stuck on a project, ask. You can’t learn from your team without asking questions.”

–          Amanda Grinavich, Account Executive

What was the biggest challenge you encountered during your transition from intern to account coordinator?

“Honestly, I can’t think of a HUGE challenge I encountered. For me, the biggest change was being held completely accountable for my projects and realizing how important the smallest details are. But I could not have been set up better to excel as an AC after interning at SHIFT for 6 months. Great mentors along the way made the transition pretty smooth.

–          Lily Albin, Account Coordinator

It sure seems like we are big on tooting our own horns around here. But how could we not? When I asked everyone what made them want to stay at SHIFT, the answer was unanimous: The people and the culture. Still, a lot of the advice above applies not just to interns here at SHIFT, but to all interns looking to take the next step. So much of it goes back to Mich’s two pieces of advice; be communicative and be proactive. If you don’t speak up and go the extra mile, how will anyone see your passion for PR?

Have more advice for our interns? Sound off below!

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Alex Brooks


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:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Why Authoring a Blog May Be My (And Your) Best Career Move

By @JohnCassillo

If you’re in public relations, chances are you write. A lot. Yet, I’d bet many of us try to check out from one of our most common daily activities once we leave the office. If you were a biologist, it’s probably unlikely you’d be doing lab work on your weekend, so why would (should) PR folks be expected to take pen to paper – or finger to keyboard – when they don’t really have to? Well, included below are some of my own rationalizations for spending three-to-four extra hours per night writing… about college football:

  1. Entering the minds of the reporters you’re pitching – If you’re wondering what the reporter on the other end of the phone could potentially find interesting, blogging’s one good way (of many) to get additional insight. Whether you post just once per week, or every day, blogging puts you into the editorial mindset and allows you to see the news you’re pitching much differently.
  2. Gaining valuable editing experience – If you’re just starting out in your career, it’s unlikely you’ve done a lot of copy editing. But if you run a blog, you become your own editor and develop a more critical eye toward your own writing. Say you happen to join (or start) a blog staff, now you get to develop editing skills for other styles of writing beyond your own, too.
  3. Become more accustomed to urgent deadlines – Writing at night, the deadline is usually when I’m too exhausted to think anymore, but by placing sleep as a deadline, I’ve increased the speed at which I write things so more posts get done. This also applies to point number-two.
  4. Building a portfolio – Junior-level staffers may not have the most extensive experience writing client materials, so the best way to grow your portfolio early-on is blogging. Coming out of college a few years ago, nearly every interviewer asked if I had writing samples or a blog. Rather than some senior class projects (or as younger professionals, a pitch or two), I had a URL full of work to hand over. The fact that you enjoy the subject you’re writing about will also shine through, and allow readers (be they managers, clients or prospective employers) to see your best work.
  5. Crafting a voice – An important part of writing for yourself, or your clients, is creating an appropriate voice. By setting the tone on your blog early, it establishes a personality and brand which visitors will start to associate with both the site and you. Sounds an awful lot like our jobs, doesn’t it?
  6. Developing relationships through social channels – Clients are pushing more and more for active, respected social channels, so why not develop your own experiences in this regard, with relation to your blog? Take a look at what space your blog inhabits (sports, music, food – whatever it may be) and build relationships with influencers through blog commentary, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms. Knowing the ins and outs of how to get content and opinions shared around the web makes you look great to your clients and managers, and allows for better results for your team.

If you already have a blog, congrats! You’re probably doing most of these things naturally. If not, there are plenty of easy ways to get started. Just think up a topic you like, and post as little as once every week-or-so to an aptly-named Tumblr, WordPress or Blogger site (of course there are other services as well). This all may seem daunting at first, but in the long-run, your quality-of-writing and future-self will thank you.

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Leslie Grant

1. Name:

Leslie Grant

2. Hometown:

Lemoore, CA

3. Where did you go to college:

UC Santa Barbara

4.  How long have you worked at SHIFT:

  One year

5. Use four words to describe yourself:

Optimistic (sometimes overly), ambivert (it’s the Gemini), easy-going (always along for the ride), dreamer (fancy spin on ADD :))

6.  What made you enter the PR industry:

I wanted to find a career that was social, creative, innovative and different from day-to-day. After doing my homework, I took a chance on PR and it has yet to disappoint.

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

Google+ telling me to complete my Google+ profile. How convenient!

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

Mashable and People are my go-to resources for all things social media and celeb – Twitter helps me weed through the rest of the clutter.

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

The Chatty Cathy – a few of those suckers and I’ll talk to anyone who’ll listen (beware).

10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you:

My great grandmother and her family originally sailed to San Francisco by way of Tahiti – her name was Ella Elisa Hedwig Tetuanui Terroro Hinatua Kramer Brown… seriously. Obviously, I got the Western European genes (hence the general disbelief).

11. What do you feel is your greatest personal success in PR thus far?

Securing a feature story in Fast Company! Excited for more 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?