Posts Tagged 'Boston Office'

SHIFT Brings Home TWO Bulldog Awards

Here at SHIFT, we pride ourselves on not only our creativity, but also our ability to bring extraordinary ideas to fruition. This is why we were all ecstatic when we recently received word that SHIFT had been awarded not one, but TWO Bulldog Awards. That’s right, on the heels of SHIFT’s recent honor of being named the 2012 Digital/Social Agency of the Year by the Holmes Group, the agency took home a Silver Bulldog Award for “Best Campaign under $10,000,” along with a Bronze Bulldog Award for “Best Technology Campaign – Business Category.” Check out details around both winning campaigns below.

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch?

It’s no surprise that the war for talent in the Bay Area is heating up more and more by the second. SHIFT’s Appirio team saw a PR opportunity to bolster Appirio’s recruiting efforts at Dreamforce by capitalizing on the media presence at the event and latching onto a recent U.S. jobs report. Realizing that free food and an event filled with hungry software developers was a match made in heaven, the team coordinated for a taco truck filled with free food to be parked just outside  conference doors.

The campaign, which cost less than $2,000, resulted in 8.7 million impressions and coverage in Bloomberg Businessweek, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Palo Alto Daily News, CIO and broadcast coverage on KTVU and KGO. Major Kudos to SHIFT’s Appirio team for rocking it out on this campaign and claiming the Silver Bulldog Award for “Best Campaign under $10,000.”

Getting into the game

There is no denying that the gamification space is hot right now, but this was not always the case. In a budding industry, SHIFT was determined to make Bunchball the pioneer and market leader in online gamification solutions as well as the go-to resource around the industry and any/all related trends. How could the team accomplish such a task? By starting from the ground up. SHIFT worked to educate reporters about the ROI of gamification and to make sure that Bunchball and gamification were associated as closely together as Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie, Jay-Z/Beyonce, John Mayer/Jessica Simpson/Jennifer Aniston/Taylor Swift – well, you get the idea.

In a nine-month period, the SHIFT team secured 170+ original media hits in top-tier tech and business outlets such as Forbes, Dow Jones, The New York Times, Forrester, AllThingsD, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable and USA Today. At the end of the day, the team helped to increase Bunchball’s competitive share of voice to more than 40 percent. Congratulations to SHIFT’s Bunchball team for bringing in a Bronze Bulldog Award for “Best Technology Campaign – Business Category.”

As the only awards judged by a panel of professional journalists and bloggers, SHIFT could not be more happy to add the Bulldog Awards to our list of achievements. It is further testimony to the agency’s commitment and dedication to providing our clients with stellar work on a daily basis.

By Annie Meenan (@anniemeenan)

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


“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


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

Why Social Media Will Save Us From Information Overload

By Amanda Guisbond (@agbond)

There’s no dearth of news these days.  Let’s take the most recent earthquake (ahem, aftershock to Boston and NYC) on the East Coast as an example of a “news event” that was sliced, diced and spun 100+ ways in a matter of 24 hours, including:

And my favorite:

The point here is, there have been many different perspectives on the news, whether brief or in-depth, and much, much more beyond what I’m sharing via links.  I’ve curated the news based on what leapt out to me from a simple Google News search, and now you get a more digestible sample of some of the “kookier” takes.

Really, to me, the earthquake was a small experience that I felt for a matter of seconds while at my desk at work, and my Facebook commentary was something along the lines of… “Now I have no excuse not to move to California.” (Engagement: 5 likes, 8 comments)

There I did it again, “curating” the news for my Facebook friends, who by the by, are sometimes my GO-TO source for a major event.  After the “shaking,” I jumped on Facebook, only to discover status updates from several friends from all over the East Coast assuring me that either a) they were being evacuated OR b) it was just aftershocks, and they were at a food truck stand when it happened.

The reason I went immediately to Facebook and not to Google News is because lately, Google News terrifies me with its overwhelming choices of publications, blogs and “in-depth” repurposed sub-pieces about major news events.  I just don’t know where to click and so I revert to my friends, who I know and trust.

There continues to be a major opportunity for brands to curate world news and events that are relevant to their industry, community and customers, via platforms like Twitter, Facebook and now… Google+!  So, as brands look to build out their own platforms – corporate blogs, branded communities – they should continue to identify opportunities like the “earthquake” to engage their audience and have a relevant, real-time conversation with them.

My favorite recent example?  Cape Cod’s Wellfleet Beachcomber (a beach bar with live music) took to Facebook with the following update this week – regarding the next weather disaster – honest, humble and totally upfront.  It’s not good news but… you can’t help but love ‘em.

Wellfleet Beachcomber:  Sucky News Alert Number One: Gene Ween and Dave Dreiwitz has been cancelled. There is no way we could talk Gene into driving 8 hours in a hurricane, even for the ‘Comber. Tickets (300 of ’em sold) will be refunded over the next 48 hours. Cold blows the wind…………

Why Awards Matter – SHIFT and the Bell Ringers

By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)

At SHIFT we like to believe we are different from other PR firms.   Those differences take on a few distinct forms:

  • The creativity we bring to the table each and every day for client programs
  • The way we use social media as a transformative element for ourselves and our clients
  • How we are a talented bunch who value dedication and determination

Now, I’m not saying you need a shiney plaque sitting up on the wall to affirm these beliefs.  But having some external recognition doesn’t hurt right?

As an 11 year veteran of SHIFT, I was proud to see all of the above attributes on display in the multiple awards the agency and individuals took home at the recent Publicity Club of New England’s annual Bell Ringer awards.  Whether it’s a Gold Bell for Rapid 7’s Organizational Identity Campaign, the company’s employee-driven Slice blog taking home the only win in the Agency Blog/Social category or our own Amanda Munroe being bestowed with the inaugural Ringer Award, it was a banner night for SHIFT’s Boston office.

I can tell you the office was buzzing and we’re proud that both our clients and industry peers know and respect our work.  Congrats to all the SHIFT winners, and we’re already planning on taking home even more next year!

For the Love of the Game

By Matt Trocchio (@Trochman)

Ah, the summer… It can really only mean one thing: softball season has begun again! Although the mighty SHIFT squad is once again off to a slow start, it isn’t always about the Ws and Ls on the record, it is what you take away from the game. Don’t worry, I’ll try not to be too warm and fuzzy. You can read last’s years post for that (Team Building: It Takes More than Just Trust Falls).

I’m often surprised at how often you can find direct comparisons of sports and PR.  Perhaps it’s because these analogies are universally understood, or maybe it’s because they just plain make sense.

I was speaking recently with another PR pro regarding PR career paths and the changes to expect along the way.  It’s something I think about quite a bit.  Not always for the reasons you may think either –not about increases in money, increases in control/power or if I get that new office with a window.  No, I am usually trying to get a grip on what I should be doing and what I should be letting go of.  Sometimes when you get so used to what your role is on a team, when it changes it can be hard to adjust. You are so used to certain projects and pitches that you just roll with it.  However, you need to remember there are hungry staffers working with you that are still looking to get these opportunities.  When do you learn to just let go?

The conversation I had was very interesting as he went on to describe how he views himself now compared to when he was in more junior positions.  When you first break out into PR you are like a starting pitcher.  You keep the pace for your team and you get the opportunity to throw some real heat at some tough tasks.  As you grow you move more into the closer position.  You are brought in to really take on some of the elite batters (pubs, contacts, etc) and ensure the win for your team.  You are also responsible to teach the bullpen along the way, allowing them to hear what you’ve learned since your days as a starter.  You show them your pitch techniques and tips and let them know how certain batters like to be pitched to or how to pitch around them.

However, is you move on to even higher levels you remove yourself from pitching altogether and become more like a catcher for a baseball team.  You are now behind the plate looking at the whole diamond, seeing every play unfold.  Your job is now to call the pitches letting your pitching staff know when to throw the heat, when to look for a curve or when to walk that batter altogether.  Your job is also to protect that pitcher – whether that be from a batter charging the mound or giving advice after a wild pitch.

This analogy could go on and on as you make your way to coach building and running your own team to someday perhaps owning your own ball club.  I think this description paints a pretty accurate description of the path through Agency life and what’s expected of you along the way.  If nothing else it reminds you that Agency PR is a lot like playing ball – it’s all about patience, experience and team work.

See you out on the field gang….

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Jen Burns

  1. Name: Jennifer Burns
  2. Hometown: Sterling, MA
  3. Where did you go to college: Syracuse University
  4. How long have you worked at SHIFT: Almost 5 years
  5. Use four words to describe yourself: Sarcastic, confident, caring and efficient (according to my husband.
  6. What made you enter the PR industry: I loved writing, but didn’t want to be a journalist. I did some research and thought PR was a good fit for my skill set.
  7. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up: Jennifer Burns is an author and Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia – her Website pops up.
  8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day: CNN, MSN,, Slate magazine, I scan a lot of different sites throughout the day.
  9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it: The best glass of wine in the world.
  10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you: I wrote an 80-page story in the 3rd grade called The Space Race, but my babysitter borrowed it to read it and lost it on the bus. I have had writer’s block ever since.
  11. What do you feel is your greatest personal success in PR thus far? Happy clients you can use as references for new clients! It means all the work you do, from press hits, to plans to counsel is appreciated and effective.


Inside the SHIFT Studio: Amanda Grinavich

  1. Name:  Amanda Grinavich (@agrinavich)
  2. Hometown:  Born in Houston, raised right outside of Scranton, PA
  3. Where did you go to college?  Boston University
  4. How long have you worked at SHIFT?  I did two tours as an intern (Summer of ’09 and spring of ’10) before being hired in the beginning of April 2010!
  5. Use four words to describe yourself:  Red-headed (an adjective in itself, trust me), independent, ambitious, loyal
  6. What made you enter the PR industry?  The ability to write, be creative and build relationships with people. It combined everything I was looking for in a career.
  7. When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up?  My Twitter page!
  8. What blogs or Web sites do you read every day?  I have over 200 RSS feeds, so I read quite a bit. My favorites are: the New York Times, Politico, Seth Godin’s blog, Lifehacker, Mashable, Deadspin, Puck Daddy and, TechCrunch.
  9. If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it?  The Firecracker
  10. Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you.  I geek out on hockey like no other.

Tool Time: PicPick

By Emma Murphy (@E_Murphy)

This post is for all the account coordinators out there who are tasked with regularly scanning the Web for news about their clients and clipping relevant articles.

Scanning for news and compiling clip reports can be a time-consuming process, particularly for ACs at agencies that use PC computers. Why, you ask? PCs don’t have a particularly user-friendly screen capture function.  I find the PC “Shift + PrtScn” command frustrating because you’re only able to take a screen grab of your entire screen. You have to spend valuable time cropping the image to isolate whatever you’re most interested in, which when you’re clipping articles is usually the outlet’s logo or an image with which your team supplied the writer.

Mac users, I’m sure, are familiar with the much more user-friendly “Command + Shift + 4” screen capture command that allows you to take a snapshot of a select area of your screen.

Well, PC users, I want to introduce you to a handy application that allows you to take a screen grab on a PC just like you can on a Mac. It’s called PicPick.

You can download PicPick for free, here. Once you have it installed, just click “Shift + PrtScn” like you ordinarily do to take a screen grab. Crosshairs will automatically pop up, and you’ll be able to select just some portion of your screen to capture. Once your image is in PicPick, you can easily resize, rotate, sharpen, or blur it… you can do any number of things. Also, what’s great is you can choose in which format you want to save your image, including: jpeg, gif, bmp or png.

I’ve already introduced one or two ACs here in the SHIFT NYC office to PicPick, and my guess is that if you ask them about the program, they’ll rave about it. They’ll say what a timesaver it is. Try it out for yourself and leave a comment here to let other Slice readers know how you like it.

Inside the Bell Ringer’s Studio

By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)

After much encouragement from my esteemed colleague Catherine Allen (@catherineallen) I had the opportunity to take part in this year’s judging for the Bell Ringer awards.  For the uninitiated, the Bell Ringers are organized by the Publicity Club of New England and since 1969 has been geared to “recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the communications and public relations professions.”

The categories are as numerous as the opportunities robust for recognition amongst your peers.  I served as a judge for the national broadcast category and the graphics category, and came away impressed with the results.  I wish everyone luck as the winners are announced on June 7th at the Westin Hotel in Watch City, USA (aka Waltham.)

Here’s my take-aways when considering submitting for either the Bell Ringers or any other awards, lessons I humbly submit will also help in your everyday PR lives as well:

  • Keep your writing simple – Reading through multiple submissions (think multiple pitches, speaking ops, etc.), the ones that stood avoided having the best nuggets lost in a fog of “classic” marketing/PR language.
  • Use relevant details – Pertinent details made the best pieces come to life.  Be careful not to overload your submissions with meaningless statistics that will take away from the story you’re trying to tell.  Speaking of which…
  • Tell a story – The outstanding submissions I read were actually on the shorter side, but told a very compelling story that cleanly progressed from situation to challenge to results.  They didn’t attempt to recreate the wheel, rather excelled at painting a clear picture.

Anyone have other tips they’d like to share when pulling together award submissions?  We’d love to hear them!

Making the Grade…in PR

By Ciri Haugh (@chaugh)

As the school year is once again about to come to a close, a pool of new graduates will start to flood the PR workforce. Though, as I think back to my days as a senior in college, and compare it to now – I can’t help but want to share some advice to the newest class of PR professionals. One of the best lessons that any grad should know is that an A in college doesn’t always equal an A in the workforce.

Sound a bit sobering? It’s not meant to bring the mood down but something I personally found to be true, and think its good to remember when approaching that first job. College provides some great skills and a analytical way of thinking. However, not all colleges – and PR programs – are created equal.

So how does a new graduate put their best foot forward? Here are a few tips that I would personally recommend, although every organization (and manager, for that matter) are different:

1.  Be a sponge

There are tons of reports, tools, formatting and stylistic preferences for every organization. It will probably seem overwhelming but take in as much as you can and you’ll be an expert on it before you know it! Find resources to refer to that will supplement your knowledge like the AP Stylebook on Twitter or Microsoft’s Office suite tips.

2.  Network early and often

Get to know other PR professionals, journalists and local influencers early so you can get a feel for the industry. Check out sites like EventBrite or PRSA for events in your area.

3.  Ask for feedback

If you start asking for feedback after projects, you’ll start to learn from mistakes and begin to understand the preferences of your manager, office or client. Mashable posted an article last year that covers how to solicit feedback. Though it was directed at designers, the strategies are still relevant to PR people!

4.  Look for a mentor

It’s not a bad thing to have silly questions or want to have another springboard to bounce ideas off of. A mentor can be those things, and provide insight about career path or answer questions that you might not be comfortable talking to a manager or VP about. Take a look at this US News article on 13 tips on finding a mentor.

5.  Practice, practice, practice

Writing is a huge asset in PR – and you’re expected to excel at it. Find a forum to practice writing and receiving direction on your work. MediaBistro offers a series of writing seminars and courses, though most are paid classes, they do offer free seminars and events.

The point is that at a first job, and especially a PR agency, you’re not expected to know everything. So just jump right in, work hard and ask for help often! You’ll do just fine.

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