Tweet this, Snap that, Like it, Pin now, Insta later, Post those, Connect here, Stream now… 2017 was a banner year for social media. Paid advertisements dominated our Facebook timelines. Twitter doubled its character limit to 280. Instagram lets two people to go live at the same time in the same live stream, and there are rumors swirling that they are about a new 4×4 layout. Selfies have taken a backseat and live stream videos have taken their place as the best way to engage followers. Keeping up with the ever-changing social media changes can make it hard to craft a cohesive social media marketing strategy that’s up to date and fresh.
Despite the constant noise, 2018 seems to be poised to create even more disruption with more streaming platforms, messenger apps, social e-commerce and more. Social media is the addiction that allows us to connect and share with each other like never before. It is one of the best ways for brands to create a more personal online community with your followers. Lay the early groundwork for 2018 with these five social marketing trends to increase your brands’ competitive edge:
1. A SHIFT TO TARGETING GENERATION Z
Generation Z, aka the millennial generation born 1996 or later, is all grown up and soon will have spending power. This is the first post-digital era that has no clue of what pre-Google life was like. Their lives have been shaped by social media and in turn around shaping how social media is used by brands. These millennials prefer personal social channels like Snapchat and Instagram to the peeping eyes of Facebook and Twitter. Their world has been shaped by accessibility and immediacy thanks to having their world in the palm of their hands—the smartphone. They have grown up cultivating digital communities, which affects the way they engage with brands and make purchasing decisions. They look to social media to get their information from people and brands they trust. Combine augmented reality apps to bring your brand and events to life and cut through the clutter amongst their peers through instant viral word of mouth appeal.
2. INCREASE IN INTEGRATED INFLUENCER MARKETING & E-COMMERCE COLLABORATIONS
Influencer marketing has exploded over the past two years and is slated to continued growing. These are the new celebrities who are turning their online fame to launching their online businesses. The new year brands will partner with influencers to create specialty lines and fuses celebrities, bloggers and everyday consumers to create new influencer-to-influencer collaborations. The core of influencer strategy should be to build long-term relationships, similarly to how they connect with their followers. The relationship should be authentic so it genuinely engages with their audience to create relevant content touch-points in the mix.
Combine augmented reality apps to bring your brand and events to life and cut through the clutter amongst their peers through instant viral word of mouth appeal.
3. MOVE OVER SELFIES, WE ARE LIVE
Live video content not only grew this year, it took over. There are no shortage of apps where we were shooting live video for our followers. It was the next natural iteration in a social media evolution and Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, and Snapchat were all there for it. Like live television broadcasting, live streaming gives audiences exclusive insider content in a way they may have never seen otherwise. We can respond with our audiences in real time by answering their questions, acknowledging them as it feeds that sense of community. People do not want to see every thing that happens in your business, but sharing moments that connect to human emotions or allow real-time interaction, such as backstage tour, time with friends, live events, or Q&A. And due to their short durations, followers click to view so they can feel apart of the video with their favorite celebrities, vloggers and brands.
4. EPHEMERAL CONTENT WILL RULE SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
In 2015, Snapchat found success amongst younger millennials with its ephemeral content—short-lived content that lives for 24-hour period. This platform became the go-to website for must-see content due to their time sensitive nature. This year, Facebook and Instagram crept in on Snapchat’s turf with their incorporation of Facebook Stories and InstaStories, respectively. The thought of disappearing content may be scary but several brands have already begun to find success on Instagram, including J. Crew, E! News, and model Emily Ratajkowski. This technology removes the stuffiness of the perfectly stylized images and gets back to authentic real-time content that draws attentions as it creates a sense of urgency before the content is gone.
5. MESSAGING APP CUSTOMER SERVICE
Chatbots are improving social customer service to make it faster and easier. No more sitting in the queue waiting for the next available representative or tweeting at brands to for customer support, now chatbox messaging apps add a new alternative for consumers to get help where they are. Brands will be jumping on this new artificial intelligence technology, voice assistants and chatbots to provide personalized customer service and consumer marketing experience. Facebook and Instagram are already offering this to their business pages so owners can have an automated conversation with people who click on the page’s messenger.
Whether it’s a tweet update, app update, email blast, or Insta pic, social media is paramount for any modern marketing strategy. What worked in January may not work in December, so focusing on creativity and imagery will ensure that your strategy is easily adaptable to keep up with the new trends and advancing technologies.
About S. Angelique
S. Angelique Mingo is the Creative Director at Sinala Noir, a fashion and lifestyle communications agency for contemporary brands on the rise. S. Angelique designs hybrid public relations and social media strategies to help generate buzz and build brand awareness. She specializes in storytelling, brand development and project management and is known for her energetic, hit-the-ground running approach to every client.
While holiday gift guides have wrapped and spring pitches have been sent out to print pubs, there’s no rest when you’re #alwayspitching. Try these idea-starters to get the wheels turning as you turn your sights to February.
1. Galentine’s Day Gift Guides – yes a ton of pubs will be creating the traditional Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, with candles, chocolates and slinky what-nots, February 13 marks that Parks & Recreation gaff turned actual thing – Galentine’s Day – to the forefront. This is a great opp to pitch great gift ideas for Bffs, lady getaways, brunch spots, spa treatments, cheeky slogan tees and all manner of empowered girl boss-style products and services.
2. Heart on your sleeve – February is American Heart Month, which is a great tie-in if you can find an authentic cause message to incorporate into your pitching. Check in with the marketing team and see what kind of promotion could be on the table.
3. White T-Shirt Day is February 11 and a fun social play – invite your team to style a white t-shirt and hold an improptu fashion shoot – have your community vote on “who wore it best.”
4. Romantic-partner owned companies – if you’re clients also happen to be a married, in a relationship, or even partners who once dated, this can be a great entry-point for a behind the scenes feature on how to lucky in love, and business.
5. Non-traditional/anti V-day gifts – not everyone dreams of flowers at her desk. What are some non-traditional, unexpected or trending gifts for modern couples? Or how about a gothy gift guide for those protesting the holiday?! For a social spin, ask employees what they really want for Valentine’s Day in an IG stories. Want a best boss award (and a story to pitch)? BUY THEM THE THING.
6. How to look cute when it’s freezing outside – I hear that in most parts of the world, February is all icicles and puffy coats. Whether you pitch sweaters, scarves, thermal leggings or waterproof booties, or simply pitch client’s as fashion advisors, try this angle for a refreshing take on the Winter Fashion story.
7. Ultra Violet Color Story – sure, February is all about red errything, but what about Pantone’s color of the year? There’s still time to pitch an “Ultra-violet is the new red” color story – whether it’s beauty, fashion or something else entirely. Not everyone has covered full covered this color yet.
8. How to make the most of a short month – With just 28-days, invite your most productive clients to send over their secret productivity hacks
9. Make up your own awards – with award season in full swing (shout out to the PR Couture BCAs), why not create your own mini award program at your agency, or drum up a red carpet inspired award campaign recognizing your favorite influencers? The best way to get into the news is to do something newsworthy, why not share a bit of love and then talk about it?
10. Self Love Showdown – in a month all about love, why not highlight the fact that relationship with self is really what’s most important. Fresh off the focus on resolutions, introduce ways that everyone – partnered or single – can put themselves first this month.
Newton O’Neill Communications and Patterns of Movement Public Relations (POM PR) have united to form a new lifestyle public relations agency, Breakaway Public Relations. The new company delivers more than 40 combined years of communications experience and creativity spearheaded by Lisa O’Neill, founder of Newton O’Neill Communications and Kristen Chin, founder of POM Public Relations. The agency is based in Austin.
Last year marked the inaugural Bespoke Communication Awards, a global program we developed to celebrate excellence within the field of fashion and lifestyle communication. We were thrilled to find out that an award program for our little corner of the industry felt as necessary to you as it did us!
I’m a firm believer that carving out opportunities to be recognized for your greatness is critical to staying motivated in your career. Recognition is a powerful took not only to advance your own career, but to foster all the feel-goods among your team, reinforce to clients why they choose YOU, and attract new opportunities.
A few highlights from last years BCAs include:
More than 70 award applications from multiple countries – how fun!
An powerhouse 10-person judging team with more than 100 collective years of experience working for top brands and agencies including Ogilvy, L’Oreal, Prada, Coach and Lululemon, just to name a few!
Thirteen wonderful partners and sponsors including Tribe Dynamics, Mariposa Communications and Durrah Jewelry
Wildly inspiring winning entries from the likes of Rue La La, J Public Relations, Be Social and EvolveMKD
Today marks the 14 day countdown to the launch of our 2018 Program. We’ve refined our award options, and optimized every step of the way to make this year even better for our applicants, judges and partners. Plus, this year comes with some extra goodies we can’t talk about just yet!
I’d love for you to SAVE THE DATE – our early award pricing starts January 23. Click that link to add a reminder to your calendar. Easy!
Shall we dance – sponsorships available!
We are also opening up the 2018 BCAs to a few like-minded companies who want to show their support for the strategic thinking and creativity that powers our industry forward. Please consider if you or any clients might be interested in coming on as a partner to help us put on an even bigger show this time around. Take a look at why sponsoring the BCAs made sense for White Book Agency.
Today’s employees are looking for more than just a paycheck and health insurance. Many employees – particularly millennials and younger – strive for a fun environment and work-life balance in addition to their income; these perks, in turn, can lead to a high retention rate and loyal employees. And even better, they’re usually low cost or, in some cases, free!
While yes, the paycheck will always remain a “must,” and health insurance/ benefits are vital, 2018 is a wonderful time to rethink your own employee cultivation strategies, and the following for tried-and-true tips (at LPR, we’ve tried them – and stand by them!) are a great way to start!
1. Special hours/ early close times
Flexibility is one of the greatest perks you can offer your employees. Whether it’s switching up schedules or having special days off, you can give your employees that sense of freedom while simultaneously ensuring you get their best work. For example, here at LPR, we offer employees summer Friday hours (9am – 1pm on Fridays during the summer, starting after Memorial Day up until Labor Day). Being located in the Northeast where the warm weather only lasts a few months, this allows employees to take advantage of the nice weather and a longer weekend. We also offer flexible work hours so early birds can get a start on their day at 8:00 and be out the office door by 5:00 or work the more traditional 9:00 to 6:00 PM.
2. Host happy hours
Employees value the chance to unwind and let loose after a long day at work. Give them something to look forward to by hosting your own company happy hour at a local bar or restaurant. It’s a simple idea that can bring employees, who might not have the opportunity during a busy day, together for a few laughs (and a few drinks). If you’re particularly fond of cost savings, you can also try to work with a new bar or restaurant in your neighborhood to collaborate and see if they have any local biz discounts. (We love taking our employees to new spots in the Hoboken community!)
Treat the office to lunch
Who doesn’t love a free meal? The answer, at least in our office, is no one! Offer to buy lunch for the whole office or, if it’s a not a busy time and employees can more easily take the time away from their desk, take the lunch outside to a local restaurant, or even for a company-wide picnic. Spending time away from the office and chatting over lunch is a refreshing change-up during the week.
Give Extra time off during the holidays
Give your employees peace of mind around the holidays with an extra day off, either before or after the day of the holiday, to help ease any stress and provide more opportunities for family time. At LPR, we typically close the office the day before a holiday, whether it’s Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, allowing employees that extra day for travel or simply to relax!
Show your gratitude
I promised you a free cultivation trick – and here you have it! The cheapest and perhaps most effective way to retain your employees is to show them just how valued they are. This can be a simple pat on the back after a big win, an office-wide note congratulating an employee on a job well done after completed project, or a call-out at the agency-wide meeting so employees going above and beyond get their moment in the spotlight.
I make it a priority to tell my employees day in, day out, just how proud they make me – because they do!! Why shouldn’t they know it? Our low turnover rate tells me that this tactic works!
Sure, the paycheck is essential, but money alone doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to go above and beyond to show why your best employees should stay with your agency, and these simple tricks will have you well on your way in 2018!
Most employers are not only looking for candidates with a wide range of skill sets and a solid understanding of the industry, but also an active social media and online presence as well. Additionally, having a portfolio available online gives prospective employers a better understanding of your experience and expertise. Even if you are just getting started in the industry, you can put together a compelling set of writing samples – when in doubt, just create materials for an imaginary client or your favorite brand to show what you can do.
Transfer Your Portfolio Online
First up, if you’re still lugging around a clip book, it’s time to get everything digitized. Think of it like an online pressroom – but all about you! Save docs as PDFs, create photo collages of event work, scan in newspaper clippings, etc.
If you haven’t already, grab your own domain name, and take advantage of all the various platforms that now make it ultra easy to create a clean, sophisticated and fun layout that speaks to your personal brand. From WordPress to Squarespace or event Weebly, you can modify a template with your own personal touches, no html required. We rely heavily on the WordPress add-on Elementor here at PR Couture for designing beautiful landing pages.
Include Social Media Work
Be sure to include screen grabs of past social media work that you’ve done for clients, professional or personal blogs, websites, or internships. Dunked makes it easy to upload images of your past work as well as embed audio and video from Youtube, SoundCloud, Flickr, etc. Being able to showcase that you know how to operate different social media platforms and communicate with the target audience is a huge plus. Don’t forget to include the analytics of the work you’ve done as well.
Showcase Your Work on LinkedIn
If the idea of a personal website just isn’t in the cards for you right now, build out your Linkedin. The platform offers a “professional portfolio” feature that allows you to showcase presentations, blog posts, videos and any other relevant work that you took part in or created at any previous job or internship. This way when your employer takes a look at your LinkedIn profile, he or she can not only read about what you have done but can also see your work directly on your LinkedIn profile.
SlideShare is also integrated with LinkedIn. Upload the presentation deck from your last sponsorship outreach or keynote speech. If you have a powerful presentation on hand frnd allows users to display their work as a PowerPoint on their
Letters of Recommendation, Testimonials and Awards
While a bit old school, having a letter of recommendation at the ready, or simply including testimonials as part of your portfolio can go far in establishing that third-party credibility we are all seeking. Demonstrating involvement in relevant clubs or professional organizations can also be a great way to add additional content to your portfolio. And of course, if you’ve won any PR industry awards, or press mentions, these are great to include as well.
Make it a habit to keep your online portfolio updated with press hits, contributed articles and volunteer activities to ensure that an online search for your name reveals more fodder to speak to your greatness.
Equal parts strategic and creative, agency Vice President and Partner Lexi Pathak, tackles every project with inimitable savoir-faire.
With a background in journalism and a decade of experience in communications, Lexi brings a natural storytelling and 360 degree approach to building brands. In her vital role focused on leading client experience and delivery, Lexi leads the diverse and talented Faulhaber team and delivers polished perfection in the form of new business wins, strategy and branding. Lexi is passionate about mentoring new talent and delivering results for the agency’s impressive roster of lifestyle clients. She has deep expertise driving and innovating North American and international programs that deliver for prestige beauty and fashion brands like Charlotte Tilbury & Ted Baker.
Prior to Faulhaber, Lexi worked in entertainment publicity, including CBC’s award-winning The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos, PeaceArch Entertainment in Toronto and Muse Entertainment in Montreal.
A true culture junkie, Lexi has appeared as an expert on Global, CBC News and Fashion Television and has been featured in the Toronto Star, LOULOU, Globe and Mail and The National Post.
I was running a TIFF celebrity gifting lounge and reached out to Faulhaber as I wanted to include one of the brands the agency represented in my Made in Canada theme. Through this I met Lindsay Singer, who recommended I meet with Christine Faulhaber, our president. We hit it off and it was a seamless organic start.
In my role as VP I am heavily involved in overall agency strategy and growth plans, including new business development and HR. On the client side, I oversee our beauty and fashion division and work closely with our account teams to ensure we are delivering best in class service combined with creative, sales-driving campaigns. I also oversee our FSHOPPE showroom, where we host Canada’s top editors, journalists, influencers and celebrities to highlight our clients’ stunning products. We have an open door policy and always have stylists and editors popping by to do a pull.
How is Faulhaber structured?
Our agency is structured into account teams that are run by directors and account managers, with executives and coordinators supporting. We have two VP’s who split the client roster in terms of high-level support and guidance.
Although we have some team members who specialize in sectors like beauty, we encourage everyone to work on a variety of industries. Working this way provides different perspectives and amazing organic opportunities for cross-pollination.
We also have a digital and creative services team, which helps us deliver amazing content to our clients. On a whole, we encourage integration and spend a lot of time collectively in brainstorms and learning new skills to create the most dynamic team.
What is the mood like in the office?
It’s the end of the year so we are heavy into planning 2018, as well as wrapping up 2017. The mood is pretty festive, as the holidays are approaching. But we always work super hard to keep the mood in a positive place. We know the PR world can be stressful at times, even though we aren’t saving lives or doing rocket-science, so we have invested heavily in culture.
We have a culture club that runs fun social events, everything from bar carts, to yoga classes, to monthly pot-lucks. This holiday party we are doing an in-office pajama party – voted in by popular demand!
What is a recent job success story that makes you especially proud?
We recently wrapped up a project called EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology, a not-for-profit partnership between Canada’s design museum Design Exchange and the United Nation’s Development Programme. It was a 10-day fair showcasing how design and technology can be used to tackle and solve the world’s greatest sustainability challenges in areas including shelter, food, education and healthcare. The fair has hosted in an abandoned factory of four floors, had over 30 exhibits, 40 workshops and 125 speakers. The scale was very large, programming ambitious, the subject matter not in our regular wheelhouse, and yet our team hit it out of the park. We are very proud of them.
What are three current favorite tools, apps or products that you love and why?
Headspace APP for a quick mind refresh.
Texture app – to download a wide variety of magazines to read on the go.
Podcasts including Marketing Over Coffee.
Share a few of the most memorable moments for you thus far:
There are so many memorable moments in my career its hard to choose just one. That said, I think the most meaningful would be becoming partner this year.
When I started with Faulhaber over seven years ago, we were only five people and a handful of accounts. Today, we have 30 people spread in multiple offices across the country. It’s been quite the evolution! I feel incredibly proud of the time I’ve spent working closely with our President and CEO Christine Faulhaber to help build the agency. We’ve had too many laughs to count, a lot of incredible celebrations, and a few tears along the way.
Becoming partner and being recognized for my efforts feels pretty wonderful. Not to mention that I have loved working at Faulhaber since day one, and now I get to officially call it my forever home.
What has been the most glamorous moment in your career thus far?
One of my favorite PR perks is definitely travel and experiencing top five star hotels and restaurants while entertaining media around the world. Some of the places I’ve been include Amsterdam, Paris, London, New York, and LA. Travel definitely shakes my soul.
I am not sure if this counts as glamorous to everyone, but it is a fond memory for me and showcases some of the great access to talented and creative minds we get in our job. During IDS (Interior Design Show) one year, Tom Dixon was our International Guest of Honour. We spent some time chatting about the best places to buy vintage furs around the world. Tom is such an iconic designer and was so chill and fun. I have this amazing picture of him holding my then six-month-old daughter, India under his copper pendants in the IDS pop-up shop.
Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?
Inventory days in the storage unit. Period.
PR can be stressful and full of rejection – how do you handle the pressure?
I am a naturally calm person. People in the office always comment that I never get too stressed or that I seem relaxed. I guess it’s because I know that there is always a solution to any problem if you just think hard and long enough. But I do love to unwind. My tricks include keeping very active with a balance of Crossfit to expel my energy and shut my mind off, and yoga to bring on the zen. I also love scented candles, bubble baths and reading a good fiction novel. Currently I’m obsessed with Byredo’s loose lips, which smells like soft rose petals and was apparently inspired by the scent of the founder’s mother’s 80’s lipstick.
One of my favorite PR perks is definitely travel and experiencing top five star hotels and restaurants while entertaining media around the world.
What do you wish more people understood about your job?
That it is a lot of hard work and that it is important work. A lot of times we have to justify what we do or people think it is fluff work. Our teams work extremely hard, and are extremely intelligent, driven and talented young professionals.
What are you excited about right now in terms of industry trends?
I’m excited about the move towards more data and analytics. I love the trend away from vanity metrics to more concrete measurements that highlights the value of what we offer to our clients, and showcases that we deliver campaigns that link to sales. I also think there is a lot of interested brand partnerships happening right now. I love combining compelling like-minded brands to come up with super power partnerships.
I know that there is always a solution to any problem if you just think hard and long enough.
What’s the biggest challenge facing lifestyle communicators right now?
In Canada especially we are witnessing a shrinking media landscape. With less options to place our clients’ products, and more media brands looking for content partnerships and advertising dollars, we have to be super creative in our approach. I think influencer marketing is another challenge. It’s definitely a trend that clients are excited about and there are some very talented content producers out there who definitely deserve to be paid for the work they do, but as marketers with a goal in mind, we really need to find a smart way to ensure that the programs are actually driving sales. We are currently exploring and investing in tools to help us determine ROI.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
Do exactly what you did but don’t beat yourself quite as hard when you make mistakes. Those are the best learning opportunities and everything will work out in the end.
Anything else we should know?
In my spare time I am a mama to my amazing daughter India Clare and am the co-founder of a jewellery brand called Haathi House. Check it out 🙂
Viet’s career reads like a PR bucket list. As the youngest SVP in the history of Edelman (the largest independent PR firm in the world), Viet led major campaigns during her tenure to promote global issues around the world. Highlights included a CSR campaign for Tiffany & Co., Maserati’s “Seven Notes” Tour with Bowers & Wilkins in seven countries, and spearheading PR for the iconic Empire State Building (including the award-winning sustainability campaign with President Clinton and other key players), which was heralded by former President Obama as a pioneer for leadership in sustainability.
She also launched the world’s first LED light show on top of the Empire State Building with Alicia Keys. Other career milestones included launching Volkswagen’s 21st Century Beetle with MTV, Heineken’s campaigns at Tribeca Film Festival and Coachella, and helping with the award-winning Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.
Two years ago, Viet set up Issa PR, a luxury brand strategy and public relations company. George Wayne from Vanity Fair named Viet as one of the “most inspired and relevant people who define Downtown Manhattan” alongside notables such as Alexander Wang, Rihanna, James Franco and Madonna on his “Downtown 100” list when the agency first launched.
With this CV we can wholeheartedly claim Viet as one of our PR Mavens We Love and our last interview of 2017 – wooho!
Name: Viet N’Guyen Title: Founder Location: New York, New York
How did you know it was the right time to go out on your own?
Following my passion to create innovative campaigns for clients all over the world, as well as philanthropy and social good – I decided to take a risk and set up Issa PR. I also wanted to create a specialist luxury and lifestyle agency to fill a gap in the market, and quickly expanded from New York to London to Los Angeles. In the first two years, every client came through word-of-mouth, recommendations and referrals
Within six months, the agency worked on some of the most influential brands and companies in the world including a Fashion Week campaign with Vogue Italia (and the late Franca Sozzani), and Def Jam Records.
Tell us a little bit more about Issa PR
Since Issa PR’s inception, it has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world from Absolut vodka (Elyx, their luxury offering, as well as Absolut’s iconic master brand) to Def Jam Records – who represent Kanye West, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara among others. Vogue Italia and Davidoff Cool Water with National Geographic and actor, Scott Eastwood are other clients.
We consider ourselves one of the most selfless and compassionate agencies in the world. As such we do pro bono work for NGO’s and non-profits every year to give back. Most recently, we spearheaded Absolut’s global art campaign “A Night For Change” – the short film was directed by visionary Aaron Rose (who inspired Spike Jones, Terry Richardson and Sofia Coppola). Working with seven artists in seven countries around the world, the campaign helped to shine a light on communities in disrepair.
Agency responsibilities include brand strategy, oversight and creation of innovative campaigns for clients, digital and social media, content creation, influencer engagement, strategic partnerships and collaborations, even curation and management, brand repositioning, sponsorship, and issues and crisis management.
How is Issa structured and what do you focus the majority of your time on these days?
The agency is a combination of matrix and linear. All team members work across PR and social media, digital and content creation, given the importance of 360 campaigns today.
We consider ourselves one of the most selfless and compassionate agencies in the world.
My focus is on growing, expanding and scaling the agency across regions and territories and creating award-winning work for clients.
What is the mood like in the office and what are you currently working on?
We foster an open and collaborative office, in some ways European in style, based on my heritage and background. We listen to music while we work every day and have regular Happy Hours (Peroni sponsors our office). The balance of work and play is important, and we maintain a lively and creative environment.
We are currently working on an exciting art and culture project for BMW, which we’re excited to launch in Europe and the US.
We foster an open and collaborative office…We listen to music while we work every day and have regular Happy Hours (Peroni sponsors our office).
What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?
In addition to the innovative work we do, I’m especially proud of the team for their commitment to our pro bono work – which we do every year. In the first year, we worked for START, an NGO that rescues orphans displaced by the war in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, the UAE and India. We created a World Refugee Day campaign in collaboration with Paddle8 and 20 artists from around the world (US and Middle East) to donate works of art to raise money to create workshops for children, who are socially and politically oppressed but can be “free” in their hearts and imagination.
In the second year, we worked with Many Hopes, an NGO that helps to protect Kenyan children from abuse and corruption. Through a fundraising gala in New York co-hosted by supermodel Karen Elson, “Thor” actor, Zachary Levi and Tracy Anderson, we raised money to build a school for 900 children. This year, we launched the New York premiere of “NANA” an award-winning documentary about a Holocaust survivor who was the forced translator of Doctor Mengele, the “Angel of Death.” Critically received by numerous film festivals from Mexico to Palm Beach and Fargo, Amnesty International gave it an audience award for humanitarianism. I’m so proud the team wants to give back in any way we can.
What are a few favorite tools, apps or products that you love and why?
Vogue and The Washington Post apps for news and trends
Clarins Beauty Flash Balm after working for 24 hours.
A Smythson journal is great for keeping notes
My new AWAY suitcase has an in-built iPhone charger, which is perfect for international travel.
What has been the most glamorous moment in your career thus far?
Working with Franca Sozzani, the late editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. She flew in from Milan to host our NY Fashion Week even with designer Johan Lindeberg. We were inundated with celebrities and notables who wanted to attend our event. Numerous supermodels, fashion designers, director Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash”), art visionary – Dustin Yellin, musicians such as J Cole and many others came. Also, meeting Jon Snow from Channel 4 News in the UK, who is truly a powerhouse anchor, was huge for me.
WHAT ABOUT THE LEAST GLAMOROUS?
Staying awake for 24 hours during the launch of Eos Airlines – the world’s first luxury all business class airline to handle the launch, press conference, inaugural flight (including 1:1 interviews on the plane with The FT, GQ, Vogue, Esquire, Daily Telegraph and many others), media welcome dinner at the Mandarin Oriental, launch party, then helicopter rides over Manhattan the next day. And being stuck in an elevator with Pierce Brosnan during a press junket.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST MEMORABLE CAREER MOMENTS FOR YOU?
Pre-Issa PR, working on the Empire State Building’s sustainability campaign with President Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. President Obama lauded it as a pioneer in sustainability and the United Nations recognized it as a blueprint for buildings around the world to follow suit – it was very special to be a part of something that will truly make a difference around the world today.
Receiving a high-five from Richard Edelman during Volkswagen’s global press conference with 300 media for the launch of the 21st Century Beetle was a career highlight, since Richard is an icon in PR, and incredible person and leader. Also, working with UN AIDS for the G8 Summit to raise awareness and visibility of the HIV pandemic was important.
At the agency – in addition to the philanthropy work we do, the groundbreaking campaigns for clients from Vogue Italia to Def Jam to Absolut Vodka and soon BMW. And expanding into multiple territories is meaningful and exciting to spearhead more pan-regional and global work.
Working in PR requires tenacity, perseverance, hard work and dedication. There is a lot of rejection in the industry.
What are you excited about right now in terms of industry trends?
We are seeing a real nexus between philanthropy and luxury (and lifestyle brands), which is growing everyday. It’s so important to give back. Consumers believe in brands, their heritage and story/DNA needs to be there in order to make a real connection. Obviously there is a huge trend in using social influencers now. However, brands should be aware that pay-for-play, while fine for visibility, is often not as effective as a powerful or profound campaign that makes a difference.
What’s the biggest challenge facing lifestyle communicators right now?
The growth of social influencers and traditional media shuttering and contracting in power (and size). Also blurred lines between advertising and other marketing disciplines.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
Be bold, take risks, learn from your mistakes and most importantly – do what you’re most passionate about.
Anything else we should know?
We are always looking for great people to join the agency in New York, Los Angeles and London specifically.
This article is part of the Influencer Marketing Series, written and sponsored by Shopping Links, an online marketplace designed to make it easier for Bloggers and Brands to connect and collaborate. For $100 off your first collaboration, use code PROFF100.
As influencer collaborations become an increasingly common part of the job for publicists, so too has finding ways to maximize the return for clients. Leveraging influencer content beyond a collaboration is one of the most impactful, yet under-utilized ways that PR pros can boost the value to a client’s bottom line. And comes with the added benefit of bolstering agency case studies and program extension services. Likewise, if you’re a marketing manager or creative director, influencer content can help ease the burden of original content creation with imagery that remains on-brand and can be an effective selling tool.
Here are four ways to get the most out of influencer content for clients or your own brand:
1. Secure Image Rights for Ongoing Marketing Use
In order to be able to use images or video from an influencer collaboration, you need to secure appropriate image rights.
Ideally this takes place at the beginning stages of the partnership. If you manage influencer contracts, being mindful of securing the right image rights can go a long way toward adding long-term value to future marketing projects. Our experiences have shown that utilizing influencer content rather than in-house imagery or stock can increase engagement, order values and even sales. Through A/B tests of two recent email campaigns, for example, our client MARKS & SPENCER found influencer content to increase click-through rates, click-to-order rates and revenues, suggesting that the value of influencer imagery doesn’t stop at the aesthetic; it has the power to convert. Securing the rights to use imagery in digital ads can also add more value to your Instagram and Facebook ads by adding a familiar face to this content, something psychology tells us makes imagery more persuasive.
2. Post influencer content multiple times across owned social media channels
A more immediate way to leverage influencer content, particularly if you manage social media for a client, is using collaboration imagery to increase followers. It sounds simple, but posting campaign content and tagging the influencer in your post has many benefits. Basically, the tag attracts new followers searching for that influencer, which introduces new potential customers to the brand (or simply reinforces the brand’s ‘cool factor’), while creating increased interest and familiarity in the campaign itself. Keeping influencer content in your library for future “tbt” posts can help you get even more mileage – don’t be afraid to reuse previously published photos multiple times (or crop the hi-res at a different angle for a different visual emphasis).
If you manage influencer contracts, being mindful of securing the right image rights can go a long way toward adding long-term value to future marketing projects.
If you don’t manage the social media for clients, provide these recommendations in your post-campaign report. A recent study by L2 found that 70% of brands are using influencers to promote their products, but only 10% are leveraging the content created. Creating a seamless visual experience from an influencer’s blog to a brand’s eCommerce site can help take viewers through to the shopping cart.
3. Build your own content library
Although in many cases you’ll be able to leverage existing content from traditional influencer collaborations, where your primary goal is reach, sometimes, it’s valuable to collaborate with the primary purpose of creating content that positions a brand as a helpful resource. Influencers are particularly valuable for creating content that might otherwise be expensive to produce in-house, like video, while establishing a real relationship between the influencer and brand.
A recent study by L2 found that 70% of brands are using influencers to promote their products, but only 10% are leveraging the content created.
A hotel, for example, might commission a series of influencer-led packing tips or destination guides. A beauty brand might commission a series of tutorials for their own YouTube channel featuring high-influence vloggers. A fashion brand might use an influencer to take viewers behind the scenes during Fashion Week, as MARKS & SPENCER did recently in London with influencers like Emily Johnston of Fashion Fois Gras. You can repackage this content across different channels by including snippets on your client’s Instagram channel, or pitching to editors as ready-to-use content.
Meanwhile, imagery can prove just as valuable. Brands can boost their own blog and eCommerce content, from product pages to living and stye sections, by commissioning influencer imagery for that exact purpose.
4. Complement your press outreach
Whether you’re promoting a new fashion line or a creative travel package for a hotel, incorporating influencer content into your press outreach can help capture editor interest to land top-tier coverage. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Air Canada demonstrated the value of influencer content last year with a video featuring Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Promoting a package called Après in the Air, the brands shared a 30-second video starring Bristowe within their press release, helping them land mentions in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Maxim.
Influencer content can be a powerful tool for publicists looking to create more engaging pitches, bolster a client’s social media presence, or increase customer engagement. Becoming mindful of this value can help you negotiate more effective influencer collaboration contracts and make recommendations that directly impact a brand’s bottom line, adding even more to your value as an agency or manager.
Now that your own gift guide pitches are starting to pop up all over the web (congratulations!), behold 18 different gift ideas, organized by those most important of categories – your team, your partners and duh, yourself. We kept pretty much everything under $100 so ho ahead and gift those loverly people who keep the crazy PR carousel turning in your world.
What's not to love? The Misti portable diffuser from Gurunanda comes in rose gold, smells delicious and is the perfect desk accessory. The Misti uses silent, ultrasonic waves to surround your stressed out co-workers with aromatherapy.
Our favorite thing about Tervis is that you can customize anything. Stainless steel coffee mugs are a PR essential, so why not customize with your agency logo, individual social handles, or that hilarious inside joke you're still laughing about. Instant solidarity. If you're too exhausted to be creative, we love this studded travel mug.
From smoothing down that gosh darn lapel to saving the day during those inevitable on-set wardrobe mishaps, the Style Stick is on call to answer all outfit woes (and then some). They'll wonder how they got along without it, and have only you to thank.
These days, teeth whitening just comes with the territory, so why not make it easy (and a little hilarious) with Novashine, which allows whitening via smartphone. This is a PR Girl must - how else to make use of the never-ending conference call hold music?
It's way too easy to subsist on coffee and pretzels during the week, instead of nutritious you know, actual meals. Your coworker will be overjoyed with a gift subscription to Green Blender, a premium smoothie delivery service she can blend up at the office.
Código 1530 Rosa Tequila's infusion of award-winning red wine interacts with the agave in the tequila, resulting in a natural pink hue, soft finish and floral notes. Bring a bottle by to toast your favorite client.
Turn the agency holiday card on its head and send a Greetabl - we love the idea of including client Instagram posts, key wins from the year, and of course, a heartfelt thank you. If you need to add in a little something, it's easy to add some candy or a candle to the package.
For a one-of-a-kind gift they'll be talking about for years, enlist the support of Surprisily to put together a custom gift box filled with social good brands. All you have to do is take a quiz about your giftee and choose your budget then Surprisily takes it from there by picking out the perfect gift, wrapping it up, and sending it out. Starts at just $25.
There are a ton of subscription boxes out there, and we love the idea of keeping the gift going with recurring reminders throughout the year. Designed to :give you the tools to thrive", the brand new Boss Box is a great option for the stylish business owner in your life.
Sure there's that whole signature scent thing, but isn't it far more fun to have multiple options for your mood. Gift scents by Scentbird are great for men (we like the Secret Agent one as a dapper gift) and women, and the packaging is aces.
Pop a bottle of champagne into one of these insulated Brino wine sleeves and you've got an instant gift for "what do I get the person with everything" quandary. We're partial to the snow white crox, but the silver glitter is a close second.
Calm your mind, soothe your soul and get ready for the best sleep of your life (in prep to do it all again tomorrow!). This set from Goodnight Darling Co includes a Deep Detox Bath Soak, Fade to Black Herbal Tea, Black Lavender Wooden Wick Candle, and Black Lavender Body & Room Spray with infusions of soothing eucalyptus and lavender essential oils and melodic pink rose petals. Don't you already feel more relaxed?
While there is nothing technically wrong with sleeping in yoga pants from 2 years ago (or let's face it, what you wore today), there's something empowering about getting yourself a nice set of sleepwear. Everything at Raven & Crow is Raven and Crow is made with eco-friendly bamboo fabric that helps to regulate your temperature. We love this soft gray pair, but there's also a bright yellow
option I'd snatch up in a moment, if I was the kind of lady who would wear yellow. Sigh.
You're a wordsmith. Don't your words deserve to be plunked out, letter by letter, on the most glamorous keyboard out there? The AZIO Retro Classic is the first retro luxury typewriter that's actually a keyboard, with mechanical keys are are tuned to be tactile and "clicky", reminiscent of the vintage typewriter.We're officially obsessed.
The Ultimate Guide to Crystal Grids covers everything you need to know about the process from the basics of sacred geometry to construct crystal grids to create, heal, and manifest goals and intentions. Pre-order it now, and start your first grid on New Year's Day.
Looking good gets expensive. One of the best ways to stick to your budget next year (and actually take that damn vacation) is this: pluck your own eyebrows and do your own nails. Achi tweezers are fit for royalty and their strawberry-scented gel nail polish will keep your hands model-ready, no matter what you need to awkwardly Instagram yourself doing that day.
Working on a daily basis with beauty brands, beauty media, and beauty influencers gives my agency ongoing insight into the latest developments and trends within the beauty and skincare industries. As a special holiday gift to you, we’ve rounded up a few story themes we know editors are currently exploring. We think these angles will be even more prevalent in 2018. If you’re in need of fresh idea for pitches for your beauty or skincare brands (or just curious as to what’s hot in the beauty industry!) read below some of the story trends that are truly piquing editors’ interest!
Giving Back Year-Round
Partnering with a charity can be a great way to boost brand awareness and create good will amongst consumers (as long as the partnership is authentic and makes sense for the brand), but one trend my agency has both been seeing from brands and editors is partnering with a charity year-round, as opposed to select times during the year. While breast cancer awareness charitable contributions and holiday gifts that give back are always great, editors are looking more and more for brands that have incorporated giving back on an ongoing basis as opposed to a one-off. Understandably not all brands have the bandwidth to donate throughout the year, but if you have a way to partner with a charity/non-profit in a way that makes sense for your brand, stress that when reaching out to editors.
Superfoods in Beauty Products
If it goes in your green smoothie, there’s a chance it might have great benefits for your skin (in addition to being healthy for you!) – and editors will want to hear about it! Spinach, kale, quinoa, turmeric, ginger…all buzzy superfood items that we constantly read about in health and wellness publications as being good for you also might have surprising skincare benefits. If you have a product that contains any of these trendy food ingredients, and can speak to the exact results it can help deliver (no exaggerating please…editors can see through that!) then send over a concise pitch. Even better if you have multiple products/clients that have these foodie ingredients!
While breast cancer awareness charitable contributions and holiday gifts that give back are always great, editors are looking more and more for brands that have incorporated giving back on an ongoing basis as opposed to a one-off.
We’ve all become pretty dependent on Amazon (where else can you get coffee filters, PR Couture’s fabulous Ready to Launch book, and travel packing cubes all in the same place?) and that includes the audiences reading top websites, magazines, and blogs! Editors (particularly in the digital space) frequently have round-ups of products with Amazon availability – whether the story is for a one-stop shop where you can get all your last minute holiday gifts or travel friendly beauty sets you can shop on your Amazon Prime account, the ease and convenience of Amazon is often highlighted by writers. If you are carried on Amazon, make sure to let writers know that to increase your chances of placement!
Inclusive Beauty Products
From the Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty line to Mented Cosmetics range of nude polishes, beauty companies are creating products to cater to a much wider audience than ever before. Editors are looking for much more than the traditional five shades of foundation that only work for a limited group of people or the one shade of nude nail polish – truly diverse color selections that can work for a variety of both skin shades and tones are something beauty media is very interested in hearing about. Additionally, any marketing or advertising campaigns that showcase diversity and inclusivity, from CoverGirl’s first “CoverBoy” James Charles to Sephora’s “Reach Out and Gift” commercial featuring their own employees that celebrate a broad range of beauty are of interest to editors. As with charitable gifting, make sure any such campaigns are authentic and organic to the brand, and not just jumping on a bandwagon for the sake of exposure. Editors and media are very smart – make sure the branding is meaningful and sensitive so as not to be labeled as tone deaf.
And there you have it. Keep these story angles and trending topics in mind as you draft up client story opportunities in the New Year.