Posts Tagged 'New York'

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

 

 

Why the Giants are going to win the Super Bowl

Giants Will Win Fourth Super Bowl in Franchise History

Eli Manning

After four straight convincing wins, the New York Giants are in the NFC Championship Game. And of the four teams still alive in the NFL playoffs, they have the best chance to win Super Bowl XLVI.

It’s easy to forget that on December 18, they were 7-7 and had just gotten embarrassed at home by the last place Washington Redskins. Statistically, the Giants were near the bottom of the league in total defense and were last in the NFL in rushing. With two games left on the schedule, their postseason hopes were on life support.

Yet in only a month’s time, the Giants have not only turned into the sport’s hottest team, but they have become the most balanced team in the league. Led by Pro Bowl quarterback Eli Manning and receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, the aerial attack is still as dangerous as it’s been all year, but the late-season emergence of a disciplined defense with the NFL’s best pass rush and an effective running game has been the difference between missing the playoffs and contending for a championship.

On offense, the Giants are simply difficult to defend. When they come out in three-receiver sets with Cruz, Nicks, and Mario Manningham, they can throw the ball down the field or keep it on the ground with Ahmad Bradshaw or Brandon Jacobs, which opens up play action. In theory, the Giants can execute a full gameplan using one formation, making it tough for defenders to know what’s coming.

Flip to the other side of the ball, and the Giants can do what most teams in the NFL can’t – they get to the quarterback with only a four-man rush. At times, they can get pressure with Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka and don’t have to send linebackers and defensive backs on blitzes. That means opposing quarterbacks have only a few seconds to throw the ball – into full coverage – before the pass rush gets there. Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, the probable MVP, can tell you that’s hard to do.

The Giants have peaked at the right time, are versatile enough to win any type of football game, and have an elite quarterback in Manning, who set an NFL record this season with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Sorry San Francisco and Boston (and SHIFT-less Baltimore), but it’s the Giants’ Super Bowl title to lose. 

Super Bowl 46

Inside the SHIFT Studio: Rachel Miller

Name: Rachel Miller

Title: Senior Account Manager

SHIFT Home: New York

Hometown: North Miami Beach, FL

How long have you worked at SHIFT? 4+ years

Use four words to describe yourself: Mommy, Chocoholic, Type-A, Optimist

What made you enter the PR industry? When I was entering college, a friend who had already graduated got her first job doing in-house PR.  I loved how her days always sounded busy and different and was intrigued from that moment on.  Didn’t hurt that my alma mater, University of Florida, had one hell of a communications program!

When you Google yourself, what’s the first thing that pops up? A Facebook page for someone that may share my name but does not bear any resemblance to me in the slightest.

What blogs or Web sites do you ready everyday? For the sensible adult part of me – CNN.com, big dailies like the NYTimes; for the geek in me – CNET and some other riveting tech pubs; the domestic part of me LOVES picky-palate.com; and the part of me that needs mindless entertainment frequents Perez Hilton of course.

If there was a cocktail created just for you, what would you name it? The Velvet Hammer – I have been told on more than one occasion that I can lay the smack down in an oh-so-pleasant way.

Tell us something unexpected/surprising about you: I have quite the “extensive” dancing career from being that peppy (read: annoying) girl dancing at Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to a short stint on TV circa 1995.

What do you feel is your greatest personal success in PR thus far? : I would have to say rather than one “shining moment,” I think it’s been my ability to develop a strong rapport with my clients.  It’s so important and mutually beneficial.  Every client is different but I always make it a point to get to know their “soft spot” whether it’s their kids, their love of gourmet food, or their favorite football team.  When you can find something you have in common and make it a part of the conversation, you are able to form a bond that makes working together much nicer.