Posts Tagged 'San Francisco Office'

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 the 49ers are going to win the Super Bowl

Vernon Davis

Harbaugh, Davis, Akers, Smith … just a few names prove the Niners will win the 2012 Super Bowl. We’ve seen all season a team of players – not to mention coach Harbaugh – that have the heart and drive to win. If you saw the Saints game there’s no questioning the team’s ability to take this Championship win home.

SHIFT S.F.’s VP, Cathy Summers, explains, “The glory days of Montana and Young were all about offense. The interesting difference with this 49ers team is that the defense is so strong. They will shut down the powerhouse offense of Manning et al, and then meet the Ravens for the first ever Har-bowl. And don’t count out the Alex Smith/Vernon Davis combo – look for the game changing (winning?) play when those two hook up.”

So watch out, New York (that includes you, John Casillo) as Aaron Heinrich – the fearless leader of SHIFT’s S.F. office – states, “the Niners are Giant killers” and we will take you down again on Sunday.

Check out this epic video highlighting the Niners win over the Saints!

What Are YOU Doing to Give Back?

By Katie McGraw (@katiemcgraw24)

As a business, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day.  The bills that need to be paid, the headaches that need addressing, the latest win, or the latest loss.  Still, companies like SHIFT Communications, are finding ways to devote time and resources despite the fact that many businesses have been asked to do more with less.

President Obama once said, “Make no mistake: Our destiny as Americans is tied up with one another.”  With this in mind and with the national push to take part in spurring positive change, more companies are looking at corporate social responsibility as a necessity rather than a choice.

In late 2010, SHIFT engaged in their very own commitment to change by making a concerted effort to devote more time and resources to our Social Good Taskforce.  The SG Taskforce did some thorough research to determine how the company’s time and resources could be leveraged to give back.  In line with this effort, we kicked off the holiday season with a clothing and supply drive to benefit Cradles for Crayons.

Cradles for Crayons (C2C) is a Brighton, MA-based nonprofit organization that provides in-need children with the essentials to feel safe, warm, ready to learn and valued.   According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, there are more than 305,000 Massachusetts children ages 0-12 living in low-income and homeless situations.  To help curb this staggering statistic, Cradles to Crayons partners with social-service organizations in the Boston-area to connect communities in need with resources — new or gently used items in good condition.  While our first effort consisted in the gathering of supplies, we are also working to more actively engage with C2C during an onsite visit this Spring!

There are many benefits to volunteering from a business perspective.  It can provide increased community visibility to improving an organization’s overall brand, but there’s also something to be said for the value as it relates to the people within the company.

SHIFT’s Social Good Taskforce is led by Jen Burns, account manager with the company.  When asked what she believed was the greatest benefit of community engagement from an employee perspective, Jen offered the following:

“We work hard and play hard at SHIFT, so it made sense to tap into this energy to benefit our local community.  As a mother, I realize how fortunate I am to have a safe home for my child, clothes to keep him warm, and food to keep his belly full.  It’s truly heartbreaking to know there are children in our own community who are not as lucky.  SHIFT’s volunteer efforts ensure we are all taking an active role in helping to bring about change and instill hope.  Cradles to Crayons is a great organization, and we look forward to partnering with them in the future to help those kids in our community that need it most.”

Recently, SHIFT employees across all three offices jointly raised funds to support the American Red Cross’ efforts to aid Japan.  The company matched all employee donations and SHIFT raised a total of $2,400.

Embargoes Get No Love from Reporters

Embargoes Get No Love

By Colleen Wickwire

Per Wikipedia, an embargo is described as “a request by a source that the information or news provided not be published until a certain date or certain conditions have been met. The understanding is that if the embargo is broken by reporting it before then, the source will retaliate by restricting access to further information by that journalist or his publication, giving them a long-term disadvantage relative to more cooperative outlets.” (see full entry here).

This past Thursday night I attended a roundtable event titled “Embargo 2010: An Industry Discussion on Future Rules of Media Engagement,” that was hosted by Waggener Edstrom and held in downtown San Francisco at the Varnish Gallery. Sam Whitmore moderated the panel of reporters that included Mark Glaser of PBS’ MediaShift blog, Damon Darlin of The New York Times, Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher and Dylan Tweney of Wired (a replacement for TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington, who canceled last-minute). The session lasted for an hour, but could have gone on all night because I walked away realizing two things:

(1) no other subject seems to provoke such passionate discussion from a reporter; and

(2) we’re still a long way off from finding a symbiotic solution that will resolve the complications embargoes can produce.

The general consensus from the panel was that the embargo does serve a purpose. It allows time to further investigate into a story so that there’s more in-depth and thoughtful reporting. By the same token, embargoes are not welcomed with open arms, but rather as something that is tolerated because they are a necessity for some reporters (e.g., those writing product reviews). The biggest issue with embargoes is that they are often broken by competing journalists. One perspective that I thought should be repeated is from VentureBeat’s Paul Boutin (who was in the audience). He explained that once a story has been reported on, there’s no opportunity for follow up stories since the competition for page views is essentially over at that point. For instance, if TechCrunch posts a story before VentureBeat does (or vice versa) people aren’t going to read it again somewhere else. He believes that embargoes do work since they essentially line up reporters “like horses at the racetrack.” {see Paul’s take on embargoes here}

In terms of solutions, the panel addressed some interesting suggestions. Tom Foremski brought up the idea of announcing news via a press conference (virtual or otherwise) so that it levels the playing field by allowing everyone to learn the news at once. {see video here}

Others said that issuing news via a company blog (à la Google News blog) or via Twitter are the preferred alternatives. From a PR perspective, these both seem like great channels for issuing news if you are Google, but I question the effectiveness for Startup Company X, which has yet to develop its own “watchers” or “followers.” Not to mention the disservice it does to a reporter who may not be as familiar with the space, something more commonplace as newsrooms shrink everyday.

Other opinions reinforced the importance of relationships and how leveraging them (based on relevance and audience influence) for exclusive reporting is preferable.  While this certainly benefits some reporters by allowing them time for in-depth reporting, by design it greatly reduces the opportunity for clients to receive wide spread coverage of their news and definitely does not benefit the smaller outlets that likely won’t make the cut. While there wasn’t one single solution that seemed to appease everyone, there are two main takeaways – addressed as pet peeves – that should be reiterated here (although they are likely a no-brainer for most everyone reading this):

  • NEVER send or discuss the news before the reporter has agreed to the embargo, otherwise it’s fair game for them to publish it
  • ALWAYS alert reporters to a leak – if the embargo has been broken, make sure you let everyone who agreed to it that they are free to publish their stories as well

Are there any other ideas that haven’t been mentioned? How can PR teams and agencies issue news in a way that benefits not only the client and reporter, but ultimately the audience the story is intended for?

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