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In today’s post, meet former student athlete and Peppercomm NYC intern, Bailey Irelan.
Hi, I’m Bailey. I recently graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism, where I was also on the Women’s Rowing team. I’m a Midwestern girl at heart, originally from Columbus, Ohio. I loved growing up in Ohio, but I always knew I wanted to experience someplace different after high school. I immediately fell in love with the East Coast, NYC in particular, and set my sights on working in the city after graduation.
I heard about Peppercomm from a handful of people, and after researching and learning more about the culture here, I knew I had to apply. You can really tell that everyone who works here loves what they do. I was also drawn to Peppercomm because of the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals that have seen the growth and change in the PR industry over the years. Their insight and deep knowledge are incredibly valuable to someone like me, who is just starting out.
What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?
One of my favorite things about the internship so far is the diversity of my accounts. I started here not knowing what area of the industry I wanted to focus on, but hoped I could get a taste of all areas to better understand what area of the industry I connected to. Although, I am getting to experience each type of client here, I have not yet honed in on which one appeals to me the most. I guess this is to say, I have no idea what my favorite area of the industry is yet, but I’m on my way to figuring it out!
Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?
During the interview process, I was told that the interns are treated as entry-level employees and in turn, they are valuable assets to their individual account teams. This isn’t to say that I didn’t believe them, but I continue to be pleasantly surprised by how much responsibility we are given and how many opportunities we have to really contribute to the success of our accounts.
Where do you see yourself going in the industry?
My time at Peppercomm thus far has shown me that I want to build a career in the PR industry. Every day, I am surrounded by extremely smart, dedicated and creative people and I’m motivated to have the same energy and passion in my work as they do.
The presidential election of 2016 will certainly be remembered as truly unique to any of its predecessors. Differing from previous years, social media is being seen as a key medium in measuring support and wooing potential voters unsure of which candidate to vote for. In order to stand out in a time when you can tweet and delete, social media and publications alike have contributed to the rise of the meme, the one common ground connecting an increasingly polarized population.
The political memes of 2016 have helped to tackle the frustration of the current elections with a humorous twist. Pop icons such as Drake and Kermit the Frog have been used as a way of expressing frustration, excitement and all the range of emotions that the current political contests have brought out.
Memes are being seen as a source of comic relief during a truly bizarre election. The unique way the public is addressing certain candidates on subjects from their age, viewpoints and appearance gives a fascinating character study on how well candidates are received. Additionally, they help measure public perception of how much the candidates engage with the public and how well their message is reaching potential voters. With candidates being portrayed in both positive and negative lights, all bets are off on the context. Even Sesame Street is getting in on the action.
Unfortunately, memes are not safe from being used for entirely unfunny reasons. Recently, the popular “Pepe the Frog” meme went from being a way to express common frustrations known as “first-world problems,” to being declared a symbol of hate by the anti-defamation league. Is nothing sacred anymore?
The fact that a made-up drawing of a sad frog has so much political pull shows how much of a reach these images have, and that memes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Thankfully, with five weeks left until Election Day, there will be plenty of time to get a few more laughs in.
by Holley Fells
Meme Credit –
Drake Hotline Bling
Welcome to Peppercomm! You are now officially part of the PeppSquad. To get ready for your three – month adventure with the agency, I, or should I say you, have shared a list of the most valuable pointers specific to each sector: consumer, B2B and financial. Interestingly enough, while you came into the internship with a consumer mindset, you are leaving tomorrow invested in the financial sector. Thanks to Peppercomm, you’ve reconsidered your interests and can’t wait to explore them in your PR career path.
I hope these tips serve you well, Maggie! Peppercomm is a very special place, and I do expect you to cherish your time there.
The Consumer Branch: Pitching heavy
To best support your consumer accounts, you need to think about why the brand is selling what it is and why its products/offerings can be of importance to its audience. This means putting yourself in the shoes of your client and their target audience. For example, you will be placed on the amazing Seasons 52 account. Seasons 52 is part of Darden Restaurants, along with Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and others. As a “Fresh Grill + Wine Bar,” Seasons 52 differentiates itself through its healthy, seasonal ingredients. Therefore, when pitching for the restaurant, your most successful hits will be when you include new items on the menu in your invitation. You want to promote your client by explaining to their consumers why trying the, for example, brunch menu at Seasons, is such a rewarding opportunity for a food reporter.
The B2B Branch: Research heavy
Gorkana and Talkwalker are hugely important as an intern at Peppercomm! Gorkana helps to pin down the right journalists/reporters/broadcasters to pitch and Talkwalker is an even better search engine than Google. Please pay attention during intern orientation when these sites are covered – it is rare that an agency offers such an in-depth onboarding.
The Financial Branch: Organization heavy
The key to succeeding in your financial accounts is being politically and economically aware. Your biggest tasks on these accounts, EY Insurance and Raymond James, will be briefing documents and competitor analyses. Formatting is very precise and specific to each account, whether it’s bolding, spacing or wording. Make sure to ask for any previous examples, if necessary. Even more important, however, is accurate content. Do your research! You will have various questions about the insurance industry and you should ask as many as necessary. Out of every PR sector, financial will by far use the most acronyms. Here is a little preview:
SME: Subject Matter Expert (an individual who can best speak for a specific topic)
FASB: Financial Account Standards Board (U.S. accounting principles)
IoT: The Internet of Things (devices talking to devices)
I can’t wait for you to start at Peppercomm, Maggie! Maybe one day, future interns will benefit from these tips as well.
by Maggie Rose
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.
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 home 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.
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.
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.”
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