By Caleb O’Neal

I recently went on a weekend trip back to the Lone Star State. As I returned to work, I fell ill. I tried to soldier on at work, working through the pain until I decided that I couldn’t handle it anymore. I went to the doctor where I was told that I could not go to work or do anything for the rest of the week.

Below are the pros and cons of that week off.

Pros

Netflix: Anyone who has a Netflix account knows the dangers of being home with nothing to do for an extended period of time. I was hodogme for 6 days straight. I would watch the usual shows, The Office, Psych, and Parks and Rec, but then I discovered a new/old show, The West Wing. (Chris Piedmont and Samantha Bruno can attest to the greatness of this show). I was immediately hooked on political public relations and political strategy. I watched the first season, 22 episodes, in those 6 days!

Seamless: I consider Seamless a pro and a con. Seamless, if you are unaware, is an app that delivers food from numerous restaurants. You now see why I also consider this to be a con. I ate the most unhealthily I have eaten all summer and loved every minute of it. I didn’t have to go out and sit in a restaurant by myself, because food was brought directly to my apartment!

Caring Managers: During my quarantine I was exchanging texts with my intern committee managers, Samantha Bruno and Chris Piedmont. They would both text me throughout the day asking if I was ok or if I needed anything. I will say that I could not have gotten through the week without them.

Cons

No Work Related Anything: As an intern, you have a lot on your plate, at any moment of the day. As a sick intern, you don’t even have a plate. Peppercomm wanted me to get better and that meant resting and disconnecting from work. I begged Samantha and Chris to let me do some things from home but they didn’t budge, not even a little bit, but I was chomping at the bit to come back to Peppercomm.

No Email: As an Intern for Peppercomm you are not permitted to have work email on your phone or personal computer. As an OCD person, I was dreading the day I returned to work and opened my email. I hate unread emails. When I went back to work I had 291 unread emails! I was heads-down all morning sorting through my inbox.

A Whole Lot of Nothing: I did absolutely nothing most of the time I was at home. Like I said, I watched Netflix and I ate food. There were some days when I would get tired of those things and decide to work on an online class I was taking. I became so stir crazy that on one day I took 2 tests, 3 quizzes, and a mid-term!

I Have Kidney Stones: I think this one is pretty obvious.

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Lauren Earthman PictureGrowing up in a close-knit community outside of Dallas, Texas, it might not come as a surprise that my life transformed when I moved to Pennsylvania for college.

I not only experienced physical shock as an unprepared freshman wearing rain boots in two feet of snow, but I also experienced a type of culture shock while learning to adapt to the people and life around me. Instantly, I noticed the differences between the two regions of the country. People dressed differently, spoke differently and certainly acted differently.

As a student studying public relations and business, I’m constantly focused on the act of communicating and connecting with people –skills that have definitely grown since my move to the north. I believe that it’s important to understand the little differences between the many ways of life in the world, and by evaluating these distinctions, we are more likely to succeed in the public relations industry.

Language Differences: Let’s talk about the word “y’all.” If you ask anyone from the south, “y’all” is a word, or better yet, an abbreviation of two words. By combining “you” and “all”, suddenly you have a southern accent. Believe it or not, “y’all” isn’t the only word derived from regional dialects. My friends in Pennsylvania like to enhance their vocabulary with “yinz” or “yous” to describe a group of people. It has become a new hobby of mine to go back and forth with my Peppercomm co-workers about words that stem from our various corners of the world. Imagine their faces when I tried to describe the word “catawampus.”

Lauren Table

Self-Branding: Beyond our dialect or accent, communicating who we are, or our “self-brand,” is directly influenced by where we’re from. Whether we like it or not, our surroundings impact how we present ourselves. As communications specialists, it’s essential that we establish a solid “self-brand” before we take on representing the brands of our clients. So embrace where you’re from and don’t be afraid to incorporate a little southern charm, west coast ease or east coast pride into your personal brand.

Communication Styles: Depending on your day-to-day lifestyle, your work habits and communication techniques are likely to vary. From personal experience, I had to adapt to a faster work pace when I relocated to the north. In public relations, it’s important to know the different lifestyles that people live in order to better understand their approach and reaction to various matters. Understanding people and their backgrounds will not only help you relate to different audiences, but will also make you a better communicator.

In a country that covers more than 5 million square miles, it is no wonder that regions have developed different cultures. These “invisible borders” have the potential to disrupt communication, but by mastering the art of understanding others we will succeed.

by Lauren Earthman

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In today’s post, meet improviser, intern, and future great, Maggie Rose.

Maggie

Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

 

Hi, I’m Maggie. I am a rising senior at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. I’m originally from Chicago, IL, one of the most gorgeous cities on the entire planet. After growing up on the Midwest, however, I knew I wanted to head out East. Bowdoin has an outgoing and exuberant community that has allowed me to work with a variety of audiences. There, I am the Co-Leader of our Improv group, the Improvabilities.

 

The first thing that drew me to Peppercomm was it close association to comedy and its unique take on PR. Peppercomm’s moto of “Listen. Engage. Repeat.” has resonated with me since first exploring its website. The agency is profoundly admirable in how it deeply engages with its employees and clients to create future relationships that both benefit the company itself and its partners.

 

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

 

At a liberal arts school, I am double majoring in Government & Legal Studies and French. My interest in crisis management and interpersonal relationship building has led me to PR. My favorite thing about the industry thus far has been its intense focus on writing. Whether it’s a press release, a pitch or a social media post, corporate PR requires detailed and thoughtful writing. I believe I have significantly improved my grammar and brevity, which should be a huge advantage for the future of my career.

 

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

 

I knew this would be a tough internship. Even during the interviewing process, the Intern Committee expressed to us the level of commitment that would be required. I did not, however, realize us interns would have the privilege of working so closely with Peppercomm Executives. No intern task is menial or irrelevant. Just as the highest executives in the agency, each intern is valued for their presence and contributions.

 

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

 

I’ve loved interning in corporate PR. While I originally thought I would be most fit to work on consumer accounts, I’ve become a huge fan of my time spent on financial. The variety of exposure that I’ve gained through consumer, B2B and financial has taught me how such industries differ in their needs, wants and even external relationships. In my future of PR, I do see myself incorporating my specialization in public affairs. While all industries of PR require some sort of political awareness, I’d love to understand how I can fully combine one with the other.

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abc

Who doesn’t want to be a triple threat? As a high-school musical wannabe who danced, sang and performed and a retired varsity soccer player who ran, passed and scored; becoming a triple threat has always been at the forefront of my mind.

Today, my quest to become a triple threat continues as a PR intern at Peppercomm. At Peppercomm, my fellow interns and I work on accounts across three industries–consumer, financial and B2B.

Prior to joining the PeppSqaud, my PR experience was limited to the fashion industry. During past summers I studied at FIT, participated in fashion PR courses and completed the summer long Vogue Intensive Program at Conde Nast College of Fashion. Although PR had always been at the core of my fashion resume, I was initially nervous to enter the financial and B2B industries at Peppercomm.

In hindsight I had nothing to fear.

After a few weeks at Peppercomm, I realized the same three basic principles held true across all accounts. The ABCs of PR (as I call them) have guided me to become a PR triple threat.

Audience

  • Discover and learn your client’s target market. Whether it is a large demographic for a consumer account or a few specific stakeholders for a B2B account, figure out who your client needs to communicate to.
  • Research theiraudience. Look into this audience’s interests, opinions, lifestyle, occupation and age. The more information, the better.
  • Draw upon someone you know or a company you are familiar with that fits within the target market, as a reference.

Brand

  • Figure out who your client is and who they want to be. This includes the client’s personality, values, beliefs, interests.
  • Reference your client’s mission statement, website, products or services. In addition, social media is a popular and effective way to cultivate a brand image for your client.
  • Compliment and highlight your client’s leadership. Inspiring leaders span across all industries, from consumer to B2B to financial. Have these leaders comment on current events or leadership techniques.

Content

  • Content is key across all sectors of PR. PR professionals share and create various types of content from press releases to pitches to thought leadership.
  • Newsworthy content is required in order to successfully write a press release or pitch a story.
  • Different clients share different types of content. Consumer clients share new products and special events, while B2B clients share trades, acquisitions and partnerships.

Use these ABCs to master all of your accounts from finance to consumer to B2B. By applying the universal ABC’s of PR to various accounts you’ll become a triple threat in no time!

 

by Molly Prybylski

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Caleb O’Neal.

Caleb SuitTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

I am about to start my senior year at Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. I am originally from Burleson, Texas, which is about 15 miles south of Fort Worth.

When I started college I had no idea what I wanted to major in. During the first week of school I decided I would major in advertising and public relations, and I haven’t looked back.

During the second semester of my junior year I started looking for internships. One day during my search, I decided to google “top PR firms in New York City,” and coming in at the number 9 spot was none other than Peppercomm. I visited its website and fell in love. I loved that Peppercomm did so much more than your average PR agency—they in fact redefined PR. I decided to apply and the rest is history!

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I am a huge baseball fan! I absolutely love the sport and the game experience. I have loved baseball ever since I was 2 years old and my dad took me to my first Texas Rangers game. I would love to work in public relations, player relations, or media relations for any professional sports team. That is my dream and that is the area of PR I find most appealing. Not only would I get to do the thing I love, PR, but I would also get to do it for a sport that I love.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

I was quite shocked when I arrived at my desk on my first day and immediately had a project to start working on. When people hear the word intern they think of someone who just gets coffee. At Peppercomm, everyone, even the interns, plays an important role. I also faced some culture shock when I arrived in New York. No one seems to use “yes ma’am” and no one has even heard of the term “cattywampus.” But, that’s a topic for a different post.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I would love to say I see myself working my way up the ladder for the Texas Rangers and then eventually becoming head of player relations or media relations, but who knows? I could end up going in an entirely different direction than sports and honestly, I wouldn’t mind. Even though I have only been at Peppercomm a short while, I absolutely love it here. This environment is definitely something I have not experienced before. Yes, I am an intern, but that doesn’t mean I have to be scared to be friendly with everyone I work with. I am excited to see where I end up in this industry.

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To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here