Archive for Public Relations

Today’s guest post is authored by NYC intern, Robert Smith

Remember when Taco Bell purchased the Liberty Bell? The fast food chain took out full-page ads in a number of high profile publications, claiming it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. This was back in 1995, long before social media captivated their millennial customer-base.

Today, Taco Bell is clearly a brand that knows its audience, leveraging their influence to promote new products and campaigns. From 2007-2015, Taco Bell’s following has grown exponentially amassing nearly 1.55 million Twitter followers and 9.9 million Facebook likes at the time of this post.

In 2014, one day after launching a mobile payment and ordering app, Taco Bell wiped out its social media channels to promote the mobile payment application. Its Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr pages were “blacked out” with a single post promoting the hashtag #onlyintheapp, effectively driving traffic towards their ordering app.

Taco Bell manages accounts on several other social platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, Pinterest, Tumblr, and keeps a close eye on emerging social platforms.

So how can other brands replicate this success?

1. Incentivize, don’t control— It’s important to not try and control what people think or say, instead encourage or incentivize followers to share your content.
2. Be human— “Code-switching,” refers to when a person alternates back and forth between multiple languages in a single conversation (professional and personal personas). Understand that both come together to affect preferences.
3. Actively Listen, Answer Questions— Use conversations online as an opportunity to listen for insight.


Let us know if you’ve received a memorable response from Taco Bell’s Twitter handle!

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The Intern Spotlight: Amira Khatib

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Amira Khatib 

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

I’m from Iowa and I graduated from Iowa State University in December 2014 with a B.S. in Public Relations. Originally, I majored in journalism, but after working as an editor for an on-campus magazine, I decided I wanted to be on the “other side” of the picture working in public relations.

Rather than studying abroad last spring, I interned at a boutique PR agency in New York.  It was a pretty bold move as I had never visited the East Coast before moving to the city. After living in New York for five months, I was completely in love — everything from the city’s pace to the energy of agency life revealed my true passion for public relations and complemented my adventurous spirit. Plus, it’s a media mecca so I knew it would be the best place for me to live as I pursue a career in PR.

When researching some of the best PR firms in the city, I found Peppercomm. After poking around the site and the PRiscope blog, I just knew it. I called my mom and told her that I had found where I was going to intern. I crafted a fun, creative cover letter, did a Skype interview, and a few weeks later I found out I had gotten the internship position. Things moved quickly after that – I had finals, graduated, celebrated Christmas and moved to New York a mere two weeks after graduation.

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

I definitely love the media relations side. It’s great to help craft pitches, pitch reporters, and get feedback – even if it’s not always positive. As far as industries, I’ve found that I’m most interested in the financial accounts. It’s a learning curve but I enjoy the sheer amount I learn every time I dive into those accounts. I look forward to the projects that I work on for those accounts because they can be a bit challenging.

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

It’s wonderful to be welcomed with open arms. From day one, my accounts have valued me as an equal team member. In fact, within my first week I found and helped secure an opportunity for a client. I’ve always heard that no two days in PR are the same, and I’ve slowly realized how true that is. It’s exciting to be able to work on different projects and gain insight into companies and industries I may have never known too much about.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

It’s up in the air at this point and that’s the beauty of this industry. Though I have plenty of ideas, I enjoy public relations’ versatility and ability to translate into many different career paths. Right now, I would like to continue working at an agency where I can have a diverse set of accounts. I enjoy the creative and collaborative culture of agency life. Down the line, I see myself eventually starting my own agency or working in-house for an organization I’m passionate about.

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The Intern Spotlight: Lauryn Bodden

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Lauryn Bodden

2ec4968Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

There’s a saying, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.” Well I was born and raised in Tampa, but I am truly Texan at heart. About five years ago, I committed to Southern Methodist University on a soccer scholarship. It’s in Dallas, that I found my addiction for Mexican cuisine, talent for two-stepping, and knack for building relationships within Meadows School of The Arts’ Communication Studies program. My journey really set off a couple years ago with the start of my personal blog, which set the foundation for my Honors Thesis on the national food system. I was awarded a grant to conduct research on Europe’s relationship to food in comparison to that of America, which led to my internship with the marketing team of Roast Restaurant in London. From there, I jumped into public relations with Moroch Partners and bigInk PR before freelance writing for D Magazine, Feed Me Dallas, and Susie Drinks Dallas.

Growing up, I always loved throwing myself in new situations to experience new cultures and people. When it came time for graduation this past year, it only seemed right to make moves to a city that would push me past my comfort zone and offer an environment that I could develop even more as a person and communicator. What better place than New York City? After doing my research for the best public relations companies, I stumbled upon Peppercomm. The company offered a wide range of major companies and provided a culture that I knew I could learn from. I submitted my application, crossed my fingers, and on January 12th found myself unpacking boxes at one of the best companies I have come to known.

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

Every individual and company has a story. I find a passion in connecting people from all different backgrounds, interests, and needs on a common ground. Whether it’s understanding the client’s business outlook and brainstorming the best way to approach their target audience or understanding a niche market and bringing them to a business I know can meet their needs, I love bringing people together. Public relations has so many different aspects to the job and allows me to learn and utilize a spectrum of skills.

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

I have worked at a number of agencies from corporate to boutique and each one has given me a very different experience in regards to participation and management communication. I was surprised at the level of involvement I was awarded at Peppercomm. I am on a total of six accounts that push me to be just as committed as the next. With such as wide variety of accounts, I have done more within these first four weeks than ever before.  Time management is the key to balancing all the work and making sure the client’s needs are met. I am enjoying my time learning from each of my accounts and building on this skill.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Be it public relations for a restaurant or freelance writing for a publication, I have worked many sides of the industry to provide a range of experience. Ultimately, I want to dabble in a little bit of everything. I have a connection to the hospitality industry and see myself thriving in restaurant public relations, but Peppercomm is teaching me that I enjoy other industries as well. However, I will always see myself as a foodie and hope to freelance write for either a print or online outlet at one point. Each day, I see a new aspect of myself and look forward to seeing how my time at Peppercomm will help me transition into my career.

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Today’s guest post is by Peppercomm account executive, Ali Hughes.

aliAs you can imagine from where I left off in my last post, television news is not as glamorous as most people think. Everyone has their favorite anchor, or weather person that they allow into their lives every day to keep them up to date on the world around them, but not many people think about the work that goes on behind the scenes to pull off one 30-minute show that will never be aired again.

Despite the hard hours and your work often going unnoticed or underappreciated, a well-oiled newsroom is a thing of beauty. One show depends on so many people, and as the producer you have to keep everyone happy – from the photographers, to reporters, anchors and the control room. Everyone wants to put on a great show, but no one can do it alone. It is a unique job, putting all your hard work and emotions into each story you write just to start all over again the next day, and the only people that really understand that is your team.

After two years in Michigan, working every show from the morning to evening, from Fox to NBC, I aimed for bigger and better things and moved to San Francisco, CA. Jumping from a 114 market to a top 10, I had visions of amazing benefits, a higher pay and a great schedule. No more being underappreciated and overworked, no more working every holiday and having to sleep while everyone else is out enjoying their lives. Boy was I wrong. Of course working for a national network had its perks, such as higher pay, a much nicer newsroom, bigger staff and even a helicopter for breaking news. Yet the decline of the newsroom is hitting the country – no matter what market you’re in. The days of getting your news from your favorite local anchor is over.

Newsrooms aren’t just competing with each other anymore– they are up against twitter, news apps, Google – a world where news is instant. That means more work for a smaller staff and having to work at a station for many years before having off holidays or being on your dream show. For most that dream show is the 5 o’clock evening shows – meaning having a shift of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — normal working hours!

Needless to say, I quickly realized I needed to get out of the news industry. It took me three years and two stations, but I finally believed what older anchors and producers (lifers) kept telling me – “get out now while you’re still young.” I started dreaming of normal work hours, of not having to sleep during the day and walk through the city at two in the morning for work.

After secretly interviewing at many public relations firms in the city, I found Peppercomm and tried to let my news director down easy. I ended up working both jobs for a few months and am still a freelance writer at the news station; despite my new and exciting career it is hard to cut ties with an industry that feels so familiar. As I get ready for work in the morning, I still get excited hearing the morning news intro music and often find myself trying to catch errors in the slugs (writing on the screen).

As I work on the other side of the media now, I realize how much the news industry taught me, and how much I learned from lifers that I first thought were just trying to scare me off. I have a new life now in PR, but the local news will always have a special place in my heart.

Hopefully you’ll keep this post in mind next time you’re pitching a broadcast reporter or producer – who is probably over worked and very tired. When they snap at you or delete your emails without even reading them, don’t take it personally. And one last thing – when you’re on your way home at 5:30 to see your family or enjoying a paid holiday, try not to take it for granted – I know I never will.


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The use of social media is becoming more important each day. Working in public relations there will be opportunities to strategically use social networking sites for all businesses. B2B and B2C companies alike all have a target audience that they are trying to reach and most likely those audiences are active on social media. The above video breaks down the socialnomic benefits of using social media in a professional setting.

When you are in a client or team meeting and there’s a question on whether social media is a good idea for a client, just play this video and the answer should reveal itself. Keep in mind that not all social media sites are for every company. If you can share this video and give recommendations on why a specific social network would be best you will be a shining star on your team.

Do you believe social media has a role in all industries?


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Intern Video

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