Archive for Peppercomm

Oct
11

The Intern Spotlight: Katie Skelly

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Today we are going to get to know, Peppercomm intern Katie Skelly!

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

Hey y’all! My name is Katie and I am a recent graduate from the College of Charleston (CofC) where I majored in Communications and minored in Film Studies. I was born and raised a southerner in Lexington, South Carolina, but I will always tell people I am from Charleston because that place feels the most like home (secret is out, don’t tell anyone).

I have always been interested in any kind of media, though entertainment media holds a special place in my heart and, at times, an obsession. I think it is fascinating that there are so many things that go on behind the curtain. From the intriguing articles we read, the broadcast segments we glue our eyes to and different companies that work together to create the TV shows & films we watch. I was first introduced to PR during my first internship at the end of my junior year of college, which focused on the in-house side of PR. I knew I wanted to focus more on strategic media operations, so when I graduated PR was a direction I knew I wanted to pursue.

I heard about Peppercomm through my school. Steve Cody and Ted Birkhahn would visit the College of Charleston frequently because they were on the CofC Advisory Council for the Communication Department. The reputation of Peppercomm was clear on campus and when my professor and mentor Beth Goodier urged me to apply for its internship, I knew I had to go for it. It is one of the boldest moves I have made and will never regret it.

What better place to pursue PR than in one of the biggest cities the world?

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

Before coming to Peppercomm, I had never been to New York City. Now I love getting to continually go out and explore all the different opportunities this booming city has to offer. I love that you can wander the streets of New York and find a place you have never been before or maybe witness a person performing on the street.

Being a huge lover of film, I always make it a point to try and go to the cinema. New York always has niche film events going on every week, so there are a lot of options. I love going to bookstores with my friends to pick up the next gripping novel and finding new places to eat because I am a lover of food.

I love to write, so in my spare time I’m brainstorming my future masterpiece of a screenplay that I want Baz Luhrmann or David Fincher to direct (a girl can dream). Though, my greatest passion that I hope to get to do more of is travelling. Just like New York has thousands of opportunities, there are so many other places I want to visit and experience. Ever since I studied abroad during undergrad, I have developed a wanderlust, so I am always planning for my next adventure.

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

I love the media relations side of PR. Getting to reach out to top tier outlets and getting a response can be exciting, even more so when they are interested in what your client has to offer. It makes all the times you have been turned down or left without a response worthwhile.

I also really enjoy research and reporting. Given that I am a certified social media stalker, as many of my friends put it, I love getting to do any kind of audit or research pertaining to background on a competitor for a client.

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

This is my first PR Agency job, so I have been able to witness firsthand how people who work in PR are some of the most innovative and diligent people you will ever meet. PR can be a thankless job at times, but everyone here at Peppercomm manages to celebrate every win and support one another when times can get tight. In such a fast-paced, constantly shifting environment, it is neat to witness Peppercomm as an agency that not only takes the heavy load, but does it as a team.

I love getting to work with multiple groups of people. I always knew that in a professional role you will always be working with some sort of team, but at Peppercomm I work with up to 7 different teams! It can be refreshing and exciting because everyone always takes a different perspective and brings different ideas to the client.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I still am not exactly sure, but that is the fun of it! This industry is constantly changing, so I am trying to keep an open mind when it comes to future endeavors. However, one day I know I would love to be involved in some sort of strategic communication role for a film distribution or production company and combine my two passions.

Intern Lightning Round Questions:  

  • Netflix or Hulu?  Netflix
  • Text or Call? Call
  • Coffee or Tea? Coffee
  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs. I love them so much that I have started my own #doggosofNYC hashtag on Snapchat. Hopefully one day it will catch on.
  • NYC or San Francisco? NYC, though I would love to check out San Francisco
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? STAR WARS….and Han Solo shot first!
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? I grew up crunchy, but lately I have realized my love for smooth
  • Mac or PC? Mac.
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? I am a southerner, so you would think sweet. However, I prefer unsweetened.
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Nickelodeon, though I have to give Cartoon Network a shoutout because Scooby Doo was my favorite show growing up.
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate everything, except chocolate ice cream.
  • Seltzer or Water? Regular H20.
  • Cake or Pie? CAKE.
  • Tacos or Pizza? TACOS.
  • Hogwarts House?  Ravenclaw and proud.

 

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madelineToday we are going to meet Peppercomm’s current youngest employee! But you can call her Madeline Simko.

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

Hi y’all! My name is Madeline Simko. I am 20 years old … pretty sure I am currently the baby of the office. I’m originally from Summit, New Jersey, but I switch between Hoboken and Sea Girt when I’m not at school. Essentially I am a Jersey girl born and raised. The “y’all” might confuse some people –I go to a southern school so I’ve picked up on some southern lingo, which sounds funny paired with my slight Jersey accent.

In the fall, I will be starting my junior year at Washington and Lee University. It is a tiny liberal arts college in Lexington, VA, which is the cutest little town. I am a business and psychology double major, which keeps me running across campus between our business school and the science building. Aside from academics, I am very involved with a volunteer program called Campus Kitchen, my sorority and several committees involving event planning for the school.

During my February break this past year, I traveled to NYC to tour PR agencies as a part of a school trip. We visited Peppercomm’s NYC office, and I loved it. There is a W&L alum here with whom I connected and then applied. I was thrilled when I was offered the position of research & analytics intern.

 

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

While I do love my excel sheets and Talkwalker dashboards, I also enjoy being active and just hanging out with friends. My weekdays are super busy between nannying and teaching swim lessons, workout classes and walking my dog. I go crazy if my schedule is not jam packed, so I am enjoying the constant movement.

In my little free time between work and chasing after these children I nanny, you can find me out and about. At school I am always hiking or exploring the hidden treasures of rural Virginia. Here, I love going to museums, walking the streets of NYC or soaking up the sun at the shore. I of course also love to meet up with my fellow intern pals. I am so fortunate to be working with such a great group of people.

This past weekend I spent The Fourth down at the shore. I’m that person that refuses to just sit on the beach all day. I love riding waves and walking along the water.

 

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

This is my first real experience with the industry, and it has been a lot to take in. I really love the analytics and strategy aspect. I think it is so cool how campaigns and strategies come from the insights we gather from data. The intersection of numbers and creativity has always amused me, and that is why I think PR is such a fascinating industry. Understanding what the consumer wants, and then helping the client meet these interests and wants is a fun challenge.

 

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

This biggest surprise, at least for me, has been the amount of responsibility that I’m given. Everyone tells me your first internship is always boring with a lot of grunt work. That is NOT the case at Peppercomm. I get to sit in on important meetings and present my insights. It’s a lot of work, but I love it, and I am learning a ton. My first week was definitely challenging trying to figure out how the industry and how Peppercomm work, but once I got in the swing of things I felt more confident in myself.

I guess the biggest revelation I had was that everyone working at Peppercomm started where I am now. Everyone at some point was an intern trying to learn the ins and the outs of the industry. This has given me reassurance and confidence to tackle my responsibilities and learn as much as I can from this experience.

 

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Honestly, at this point, I have no clue! I just learned this past year that there are more than just traditional ‘PR roles’ or ‘marketing roles’. I am definitely more of a numbers girl (over writing). so it was daunting at first to be in this industry. The industry is incredibly intertwined and nuanced. I love the interaction and blending of these different roles.

I do eventually want to focus on strategy, but I have no idea if it will be through analytics or content or both. At this point I am not really worried about where I am headed in the industry. For now, I am just enjoying the journey, learning as much as I can, and soaking up the experience. I do know for sure though that I am here to stay. Sorry PR industry, looks like you’re stuck with me for a while.

I hope y’all have enjoyed learning a little bit about me! I love talking about my experiences with the PR industry. :)

 

INTERN LIGHTNING ROUND

  • Netflix or Hulu? Netflix 100%. I’ve rewatched Friends and the Office at least three times.
  • Text or Call? I actually prefer calling. I’m horrible at responding to texts and often talk/think too fast for my fingers.
  • Coffee or Tea? Low key addicted to both
  • Dogs or Cats? Dogs all the way
  • NYC or San Francisco? I went to San Fran once and loved it, but there is a special place in my heart for NYC since I’ve grown up here.
  • Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars is such a classic.
  • Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Honestly any kind of peanut butter. I eat it by the spoonful.
  • Mac or PC? Mac
  • Sweetened or Unsweetened Tea? Sweet tea!!!
  • Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network? Growing up the only children networks my family had was Cartoon Network. Scooby Doo and the Powerpuff girls were my childhood.
  • The Simpsons or Family Guy? Family Guy
  • Chocolate or Vanilla? It depends on the food. Cake and icing wise definitely vanilla but everything else I would have to say chocolate.
  • Seltzer or Water? I just recently really got into seltzer. I love that the fridges here are always stocked.
  • Cake or Pie? Cake, but only because it has icing on it
  • Tacos or Pizza? Pizza, although I am a fan of the “Taco Tuesday” trend
  • Hogwarts House: Gryffindor or Puff

 

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Oct
05

The Intern Spotlight: Chris Barlow

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profile-pictureIn today’s post, meet exclamation mark enthusiast and lone SF intern, Chris Barlow.

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

HEELLOOOOOO!! *Jerry Seinfeld voice* My name is Chris Barlow, and you may notice that I am not the first Barlow to grace the annals of Peppercomm. I attended both Diablo Valley College and San Diego Mesa College, community colleges in San Ramon and San Diego, respectively. I’m not exactly a fan of telling people that I am 22 years old and attending community college, but indecisiveness on what I want to do with my life has led me to it. I’ve dabbled in kinesiology, television and film and journalism, so one could say that I’m a jack-of-all-trades, bachelor’s of none.

Through my agnostic journey, I studied to become a personal trainer, worked on multiple award-winning thesis films at SDSU, wrote for a comedy news show, co-hosted a radio show for the best college radio station in the country, drove for Lyft and much more! I believe that this eclectic background gives me a unique approach to whatever task presents itself next.

I was brought to Peppercomm last summer by my mom (Or Ann. I still don’t know how to refer to her.), who offered me the opportunity to shadow intern at Peppercomm, which I took in a heartbeat. The alternative was making pizza 40 hours a week at minimum wage – I’ve faced tougher decisions. Though it was two weeks of fighting through a mountain of nerves, it was also two weeks of experience and learning about the workplace and myself. Coming into this summer, I was given the chance to come back as a fulltime intern. Needless to say, I dropped everything, came home, took it on and haven’t looked back since.

 

When you’re not hard at work at Peppercomm, what do you like to do?

When I’m not busy, I like to keep myself busy. I enjoy being active, whether it’s at the gym, on a bike, with a basketball or something new. Just about every day I listen to at least one podcast, and when I’m all caught up on that I’m either engrossed in an audiobook or blowing the dust off of a paperback book. Other than that, I’m typically obsessing over the NBA and NFL. I also take great pride in my fantasy football accolades, though many have told me that that just makes me a big loser.

 

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

This is not easy, but I have to say the B2B section has been very interesting to me. While B2C can make for better dinnertime conversation – friends are much more excited when they hear the name of certain companies over others – I think it’s pretty cool to work with corporations that I never would’ve had the opportunity to experience outside of Peppercomm.

 

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

Biggest surprise: After a session-and-a-half of being here, I still can’t answer the question, “What do you do there?” What I do at Peppercomm varies every day. I never know what each week will bring, and that element of surprise kicks the stigma of a nine-to-five desk job to the curb.

Biggest revelation: I am capable of being organized. This is coming from the kid who failed notebook checks in middle school. Interning for Peppercomm means hitting the ground running, and I learned quickly that I wasn’t going to be able to mentally balance tasks from multiple accounts. From creating a “To-Do List” folder in my email, to buying a basic daily journal, Peppercomm has shown that I have the ability to be tidy. I even see this same trait blossoming in my life outside of the office.

 

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

This is a question that I’m going to have to let the remainder of my stay at Peppercomm answer. According to Peppercomm CEO and Co-Founder Steve Cody, it’s “Out the door.”

 

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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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May
13

PeppTalks: CEO Edition

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Today’s post is contributed by NYC intern Katelyn Pecorelli.

Steve CodyFor this edition of Pepp Talks we sat down with the Co-Founder and CEO of Peppercomm, Steve Cody. At the age of 39 after leaving a global agency Steve found the time to co-create Peppercomm. Today, you will learn all about his life and what drove him to start this energy filled company.

KP: Where did you grow up, where did you go to school?
SC: Right across the bridge, I grew up in Fort Lee, NJ. I went to a nearby public school, Ridgefield Park High School and then Northeastern University.

KP: What was your first concert?
SC: Oh I know what it was! I saw Billy Joel in 1972 at a place called Paul’s Mall and it was just before he released Piano Man. There were only about 50 or 60 people there and he was the second or third person on the bill-it was way before he made it big.

KP: Which TV show is your guilty pleasure?
SC: Right now it is Vinyl, on Showtime. I also watch Billions on HBO. To be honest, the presidential debates, as far as guilty pleasures go, are better than the first year of the Jersey Shore.

KP: What’s an activity you like to do in your spare time? Besides mountain climbing and stand-up comedy and how do you find time for them?
SC: I read, all nonfiction. I am not a fiction person at all. I am always reading. I am able to mountain climb, schedule personal training sessions and perform stand-up comedy because of Dandy. She makes sure I set aside time to pursue my passions. As far as reading, the only upside of commuting on NJ transit is that I have an hour plus to pour into whatever book or podcast I choose.

KP: Which living person do you most admire?
SC: I have always thought Winston Churchill was the most amazing figure in history. Living…that is tough. My dad, Pop pop, because he raised three of us, put three of us through college and at 90 plus he is still feistier than ever. I take him out every Sunday for dinner.

KP: What would be your last meal on Earth?
SC: Last meal on Earth would be crabmeat cocktail and Dover sole with some nice Sancerre, which is French Savignon Blanc.

KP: If you could do PR for one celebrity/ client who would it be?
SC: Harvard Business School, I have worked with some great business schools but I would love to have a crack at a number one or number two.

KP: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?
SC: Dairy Queen, making ice cream cones and banana splits and I learned a very valuable lesson; I never wanted a job that had anything to do with dealing with the public. It was 3 months in hell, but it taught me a great lesson.

KP: What was your most memorable job?
SC: One of my first co-op jobs with Northeastern, where I worked for a radio station in Greenwich, CT. Two weeks into the job and this murder case was front and center–Martha Moxley and Ethel Skakel-Kennedy’s nephew was the prime suspect. So the first two weeks of my job, I would walk down to the police station and meet the police chief, Chief Barron, and he would tell me the crimes that had happened. Then the Martha Moxley murder happened and she was 16 and was savagely killed, so it became National news due to the Kennedy connection. One of the coolest moments was the morning after. Everyone was there for the press conference and Chief Barron opened the floor for questions. He said he wanted to start with Steve Cody at WGCH radio, which was unbelievable. I was dumbfounded and asked a generic question. The case is still unsolved.

KP: Do you have a piece of advice you live by?
SC: Try to help others. Any age, anyone, just help others in any way. I mentor a lot of students and the most rewarding part is working with them and staying in touch to see where they end up.

KP: What is your definition of success?
SC: Success is doing something that you enjoy every single day that challenges you, that stretches you, that makes you feel like you are in some way, shape or form giving back. That is success. Nothing to do with money, prestige or power, it just turns you on to doing whatever that is. That is professional success. Personal success is being at peace with yourself and having a good group of people that you care about and who care about you.

KP: How did you and Ed meet?
SC: I was at an agency and I got a call from a head hunter who thought Ed would be a good account supervisor. He felt we would click. Ed came in for the interview and I liked him. The company then won a big client, so I made the call and we hired Ed. Ed resigned from where he was, then the client that just hired us, fired us. So, I had to plead with my CEO to still hire him.

KP: What made you create Peppercomm?
SC: Two things; up until then I had just been working with big agencies and with big agencies the more you move up the less contact you have with the client. So, your job becomes administrative and operations–all the stuff I hate. The other thing was, I was at the perfect age. I was 39 and I said it was now or never, I don’t want to be 65 one day and say what if I tried. Those two things, in combination were why I started Peppercomm.

KP: How do you two work so well together for Peppercomm?
SC: We don’t! Only joking, after two and a half years of working together, we knew a lot about each other and who would be able to handle what parts of the company. It is still that way to this day, we are polar opposites in every way. He is the Hillary to my Trump.

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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