Archive for April, 2012

Memes and animated GIF blogs with clever taglines and phrases have been taking over the internet. It’s an interesting trend. You have a few funny breakout ones and then the knockoffs and less funny inside joke ones that follow suit.

What’s their purpose and how do they relate to the industry? Well, for starters, the funny ones can give you a chuckle during your break and help de-stress.

Who wouldn't want an animated Ron Swanson GIF? Thanks, Funny or Die!

The second purpose? It’s a constant reminder of our need to stay on our toes and on top of the latest trends. The first innovative/funny memes hit the internet and everyone is taken aback at how clever it is. Then everyone and their mother are making memes for everything.  It’s a good look at anything innovative we do. Are we one of the first memes or are we simply following the trend? It’s something good to think about and a path that anything new can potentially take.

Oh, do I have any favorites? I thought you’d never NOT ask (perfect use of a double negative):

So what do you love or hate about memes and animated GIF blogs? Have any favorites?

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve sat through several intern interviews and had the pleasure of listening in on an interview where the above comment was made. Working in PR for a few years now, first in Asia and now in the US, I know the interview process can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience where you accidentally say the wrong things or the person interviewing you isn’t exactly pleasant to talk to. As interviewers, we’ve all been in that position and usually overlook the occasional stutter or nervous hand twitch of a pleasant potential candidate. Yet, talking negatively about your previous positions or supervisors is definitely the quickest way to close the door on any job interview.

Bashing your last company at a job interview not only demonstrates your inability to stay positive and adapt in less-than-ideal situations, it ultimately shows a lack of self-reflection and unprofessionalism. While we’ve all had our share of unpleasant work experiences and may sympathize with you during the story of how your horrible supervisor made you quit your last job, nobody wants to hire Negative Nancy who openly criticizes her previous employers just because it did not work out.

In a fast-paced industry like PR, we are constantly under intense pressure and tight deadlines. Working as an intern at a PR agency can often feel extremely stressful when your supervisors are too busy to go into detail about a specific task and you have no idea what is going on. Like everything else in life, you’re bound to find things about your work environment and the agency hierarchy that you don’t particularly like. Yet, unless you plan on being unemployed, it pays to maintain the highest level of professionalism by doing the best you can and leaving your negativity behind.

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Just chill

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For the past 20 years, April has been designated as Stress Awareness Month, with April 16th’s tax day not surprisingly known as National Stress Awareness Day.  Since stress is

Beware: Prolonged stress can lead to printer violence.

something we experience every day, most people are unaware of the possible health problems associated with prolonged stress.

As interns or entry-level AEs in a fast-paced industry like PR, it is important to know when you need to step away from what you’re doing and take a breath. While studies have shown that a little stress can boost your adrenaline and improve performance during a long day at work, too much of it and over a long period of time can actually become counterproductive and work against you.

Excessive stress can also lower your immune system, disrupting your body’s natural balance and leaving you more susceptible to a range of health problems that include heart disease, dementia, and obesity.  This, in turn, creates a vicious cycle where you are increasingly unable to focus and perform at work, which causes more stress and inevitably leads to burnout.  Therefore, as an aspiring PR professional looking for a long and fulfilling career in a fast-moving industry, it’s important to find ways to relax even when you are neck deep in deadlines.

Take a walk: When you feel increasingly unable to focus and find yourself making careless mistakes left and right, step away from your computer.  Stop thinking about work for a moment and focus instead on that fabulous dinner you have planned with friends this weekend.  Taking short breaks when needed and clearing your mind  have been proven to boost productivity and enhance the quality of your work.

Stretch it out: After finishing a grueling two-hour conference call with a demanding client, take a few minutes to stand up and stretch out your body before starting on your follow-up emails.  Stretching, like any form of exercise, releases endorphins that help reduce tension in your body and improve your mood, promoting stress relief.

What happens at work stays at work: After a long day at work, it’s understandable to want to vent to your friends or family about how annoying your clients are.  Yet, repeatedly recounting your stressful day might actually cause more stress as you relive those negative events again and again.  Learning how to effectively reduce and manage your negative emotions at work will allow you to enjoy time with friends and family when you’re at home.

To find out more about how you can relax and the health benefits associated with relaxation, check out Sarah Klein’s article in The Huffington Post.

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If you’re a college senior, chances are that you’ve settled in to quite a panic by now.

Your last semester is starting to wind down and soon you’ll be entering *gulp* the REAL world.

No worries. You’ll be fine. Trust me.

Even if you feel light years behind your fellow graduates, you can get right back in the game thanks to a handy-dandy tool called the smart phone.

Now you can manage your job search on the go with the help of different mobile apps. Use them on your own or at your next PRSSA networking event and you’ll be sure to WOW a few employers and better your chances at getting your foot in the door.

Here are some of our favorites, but there are plenty available!

LinkedIn- Chances are you’ve already created a profile, but now you can set your status update, browse through your LinkedIn connections , search for jobs, integrate your address book, and connect with professionals or friends wherever you go. Better yet? It’s free.

BeamME- A free and universal business card exchange application on the iPhone. It allows you to send your personal or business card from your iPhone to any mobile device or computer, including BlackBerry devices and Macs- you can even track info on everyone you’ve met through (neat, huh?). Heads up- there’s a premium version with a cost attached, but compared to the cost of printing your own cards, it’s worth it.

LunchMeet- This one helps you find other people who want to network in your area using your LinkedIn account and existing contacts, with the help of geotargeting. Did someone say coffee or lunch?

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What’s the password?

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A startling new trend has hit the interviewing world—asking job applicants for his or her Facebook username and password.

Speakeasies aren't the only ones asking for passwords.

While it’s certainly not uncommon or unreasonable for prospective employees to see what a candidate may be saying in a public-facing social media outlet, it is interesting that some employers find it acceptable to ask for such private information.

In this job market, many are reluctant to deny such a request. My question is: Would you work for a company that would ask for that information?

Personally, I am not embarrassed of anything on my Facebook page (though maybe I should be since anyone who is friends with me now knows my affinity for Meatloaf and Hall & Oates via my status updates). I am also connected to most of my coworkers and even managers—those who I am not, are those who have just not popped up on my list of recommended friends. I keep my profile private merely because I do not want the entire world to have immediate access to anything I am tagged in, including photos. Is that unreasonable? No. Is asking for a password? In my opinion, yes.

Requesting to see someone’s private profile is the equivalent of asking someone if you can go to their house and go through their closet and drawers. It’s unnecessary and an invasion of privacy. Perhaps there is a place for this type of behavior in different industries (i.e. whatever industry Jason Bourne works in—amazing spy/agent)—but this may be where employers have a strict social media policy which would require one to not be active in this sphere.

This is an unprecedented issue for the ever-evolving ways of social media. Check out the Boston Globe’s piece on this subject.

How would you react to a potential employer asking you for any username and password information? What are your feelings on this new trend?

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The Intern Spotlight

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In today’s blog post, meet Allie Meyer, future PR star and current Peppercom intern.

1) Let’s get the low-down. Where did you go to school, where are you from and how did you end up in PR?

I am from Locust Valley, a small town on Long Island. In 2007, I left the small town to go to a semi-small school, Marist College. While at “Harvard on the Hudson”, I majored in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Psychology.  I graduated on May 21st 2011, ironically the day the world was said to end.

To be honest, I really don’t have an exciting or inspiring story about how I ended up in PR.  When I was younger, my friend’s older sister was in public relations and seemed to work on very exciting projects. It was because of this that I left high school unsure of whether I should study public relations or law (pretty much the same thing, right?). During my time at Marist, I learned what PR truly is and was interested the wide array of work you can do and the useful skills it teaches. My classes, projects and internships allowed me to see how much I enjoy planning events and finding strategic ways to handle different situations. To date, I have had more than six internships in many aspects of the communications/business field involving agency work, non-profits, social media and development.

2) What area of the industry do you find the most appealing?

Consumer, Travel and Business to Business are the areas of public relations I find most appealing.  There are many different and creative ways to handle each client and product, and I enjoy the team driven atmosphere.

3) What’s your biggest revelation about the industry so far?

My biggest revelation about the industry so far is the amount of work that goes into every project.  I have heard before that two years in public relations is equivalent to five or six years in other industries and I would have to agree.  PR is extremely fast-paced and requires a lot of hard work, which is what makes the industry so exciting.

4) Tell us about your proudest moment in the internship program so far.

My proudest moment so far was when I secured an ongoing blogging opportunity for a client.  I personally think it was all luck but the recognition felt great.

5) Any favorite/inspiring case studies and why?

I would have to say I agree with fellow intern, Alex.  My favorite case study so far has been Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turn 25.  A huge fan of TMNT myself, I thought the concept of an experimental campaign was bold and clever, especially considering the pervasiveness of social media in our society today.

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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