Archive for Peppercom


Laughing our way through the workday

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Today’s post is from Peppercomm intern, Madeline Skahill.

It started as a typical Tuesday morning. Rush hour, bustling streets, and a bright New York sky paved the way for three Peppercomm interns on their way to attend Workforce Live 2013, an event that gives thoughtful insights into becoming an employer of choice. Grabbing the only open chairs in the back of the conference room, Stephanie, Madeline, and Jessica were able to apply their fast-thinking and texting skills to live-tweet the event as well as learn an important comedic lesson from two of the best.

Steve Cody, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Peppercomm and Clayton Fletcher, full-time comedian and Chief Comedy Officer, took the stage at the event to discuss the importance of comedy in the workplace. According to Steve, “Peppercomm is a place where it’s OK to laugh and OK to have fun”, allowing the atmosphere of Peppercomm to truly embody the four elements of a successful business: trust, authenticity, openness and teamwork. From the company’s website to client meetings, these four elements are evident in daily life at Peppercomm.

Embracing these four elements is the fundamental goal of a stand-up comedy experience within the workplace. Steve and Clayton stressed the fact that stand-up comedy is not a monologue of your favorite knock-knock jokes or Popsicle stick puns. It is the ability to relax, tell a story, and build a relationship with your audience. This relationship with the audience, or in our case, fellow employees, is a true factor in what makes Peppercomm stand apart from other PR agencies. It is an atmosphere filled with encouragement, motivation, and success all because we can sit back, relax, and share a good laugh.


When to call in sick

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The amount of sick days one takes regardless of the level within a company, is something all employers take notice of. As an intern or entry-level professional, it can sometimes be a little nerve wracking to make that call. You want to show your dedication to your job, company and clients and prove that you can work through anything, but you also should be mindful of your own health and those around you you could potentially infect.

Check out Sue Shellenbarger’s article “The Art of Calling In Sick—Or Not”  in The Wall Street Journal which discusses this very issue (and, yours truly is quoted in her article). Are you guilty of some of the items in her piece? When do you think one should call in sick?


A day in the life

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We love “day in the life” stories. It’s a great way to gain good insight into a company and see what you could potentially be doing in a position with your dream organization.

One of our summer interns with our Business Outcomes division did just that and reflected on some of his tasks while on the team. Read his post on the Washington and Lee University website and learn a bit more about our Business Outcomes team.


Today’s post is by Peppercom intern, Jackie DiMauro–future PR star and current organizer extraordinaire.

Today, a fellow intern asked me, “Hey! I know you are the queen of planners, where can I get a good one around here?”

Cue the horns, fireworks and fist pumps.

Oh, me? Why thank you. I really AM the queen of planners, aren’t I?

Let’s just say I’d usually feel bad for anyone who stumbled across my color-coded planner, but this was the greatest compliment someone could give an organized-crazed person such as me.

I always carry a planner/journal, a calendar and an iPhone to organize and prioritize my day-to-day life. I started doing this in college when I was juggling six classes, a full-time internship, and somewhat of a social life. Now, even though I’m out of school, these prioritization skills are still relevant and necessary, especially in PR.

My planner helps with many things, including:

  • Keeping track of my time and how long I work on projects.
  • Prioritizing current assignments and staying on top of deadlines.
  • Staying prepared for meetings.
  • Having a visual of my workload.

When you’re constantly prepared for meetings and meeting deadlines, it shows you’re serious about the position and the company. Your managers DO notice these things and they WILL respect you more.

But remember: it’s not only important to be organized and prioritize your workload as an intern, but also to be interactive with your co-workers and team members.

Starting at a new place, we interns may not know the best person to turn to if we have questions and we definitely don’t want to step on any toes. Should we lean on fellow interns? How about an AE? Dare I ask upper management? Sure, any of the aforementioned titles have a time and place to answer questions, especially depending on how closely you work with someone, but interns shouldn’t be afraid to communicate with management.

I’m not saying ask your management supervisor where to find a pen, but if you have a question about an account you’re on or a positive idea to share during a team meeting– then by all means say it! Being proactive and contributing thoughts to the people in power will only help an intern in the long run. It will also help gain the trust and respect of fellow team members who are above you.

Personally, it feels great to interact with upper management, or clients, and be considered a team player. It shows a level of professionalism, that as interns, we strive for.

So go out to your nearest Staples or Barnes & Noble, grab a nice, new, neat planner, and start organizing and prioritizing your workload. And, at your next team meeting, try to contribute an idea or story you’ve come across. Not only will you feel great, but your actions will speak volumes to your team members and managers.


Today’s post was originally published on Peppercom’s PepperDigital blog.

Every once-in-a-while a marketing/ad team just gets a new product so right. Consumers love the product, the messaging is fantastic and, overall, you wish you and your team had come up with the campaign.

This is not one of those times.

A few days ago I stumbled upon the page for a new writing product from BiC—Cristal for Her. Immediately I was intrigued, because how can a pen be “for her?” Apparently the colors have to be lighter and more sparkly, the weight of the pen must be noticeably lighter and the grip has to be, um, more ladylike.

For reasons I won’t completely bore you with, especially since if you’re above the age of 10, you can see the issue with the product itself. I was fuming just from reading the description of the product.

And I wasn’t alone.

One thing the marketing/ad/PR/apparently the whole company completely forgot about was not just the general public’s reaction to such a ridiculous product, was that, in the digital age, that reaction would get much attention and quickly.

Think about the firestorm you’re creating—you’re offending both men and women:

1) I personally can use a normal pen just fine and suspect a lightweight smaller grip will hinder my writing, not help. The natural conclusion for me is that if this pen is for women and I am a woman, then I must have monstrous hands. Also why do I need a pen “for her”?

2) Men with smaller hands or who like sparkly colors who could potentially want to use this product were just told that it’s a product for women.

And this is just the tip of the offensive iceberg—talk about alienating an entire consumer base.

But these same opinions and many more were mirrored on Twitter, on the reviews and pretty much anywhere an Internet goer can go and quickly.

BiC’s major error was not listening to its audience before creating the product. Peppercom’s go-to-market strategy has completely changed thanks, in large part, to Emily Yellin and her insistence that with new campaigns, etc. we listen to both the client and the client’s audience before implementing a plan. If BiC had done the same thing, they wouldn’t have to include sarcastic comment reviews titled “I’m writing this from the kitchen while making a sandwich for my husband” in their reports about the product. Though, I bet the reports would be pretty funny.

This was definitely not a good move for BiC and they should think about not just apologizing to women, but to the world for such a sexist marketing ploy. But a positive did come out of this; we were again reminded that for better or for worse, social media will spread our ideas (good or bad) in a matter of minutes. This is why marketing/ad/PR pros need to consider all ramifications of a new product or campaign. And, I’ll be completely honest, I would pay money to go back in time and sit in on the meeting to know who green lit this product’s campaign.

If you haven’t already, check out the reviews of this product. I’ll just go off with my monstrous hands and try to make it through the day knowing I’m using a pen designed for a man.

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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