Blog Archives

DiGennaro Shares Secrets for Success at SXSW 2016  

South by Southwest Panel Picker is here again, and it’s another opportunity for great insights, learnings, and dynamic industry leaders to come together. We at DGC have submitted two topics for the PanelPicker and if selected, it would be our first time to appear on the SXSW stage. The sessions highlight our unique approach to business and how these ideas have helped us grow since our founding in 2006.

Over the years we’ve learned a lot about attracting and retaining the very best talent in the PR industry, especially how to keep pace with an evolving workforce and offer more flexible work schedules and environments. As such, our first session is “Conducting Business in a Flex World.”  will share best practices on how to retain talent when employees embark on major life events such as marriage, pregnancy, family-care issues or relocation that can potentially make them leave their jobs. Included in the session will be our CEO Sam DiGennaro and our President Howard Schacter, who will share insights on how to create a flexible work environment that allows for flexibility but still encourages growth and maintains your company culture.

Our second session, “Brand Me Please: Personal Branding 101,” looks at how executives can build their brands to align with personal values. DGCers will conduct a live demonstration of a branding session, taking members of the audience and teaching them the basic skills to sell themselves. The “jury” will be comprised of both DGC executives, those from other agencies as well as wardrobe and body language specialists. The winner will get a trip to NYC for a Personal Branding boot camp at DGC headquarters.

We appreciate your votes for these sessions, and your willingness to share thoughts in the comments section. Hope to see you in Austin!

Bruce Jenner:  A Person and a Dialogue in Transition  

There’s much the corporate world could learn from Bruce Jenner about public relations and how to take control of a difficult and potentially embarrassing situation.

For months, media speculation on what was really going on with him since his break up with Kris Jenner, the grand doyenne of the Kardashian media/business/gossip dynasty, was on overload – most of it trivial.  “Bruce Jenner Gets French Manicure, Wears Diamond Earrings on Outing,” said one headline.  Another publication photo-shopped lipstick, curled hair and a silk scarf on a picture of him.  Bruce’s story was something deep-rooted and real – not just for him but for many others who identified with his struggles.  Yet, the media portrayed his changing appearance as little more than a simple gossip item…no different than any number of small, unimportant nuggets emanating from the family’s reality empire.


Rather than remain silent, Jenner took control of his narrative and granted a two-hour interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer that aired on national television and was seen by more than 20 million viewers.   He talked of his personal struggles with gender identity in genuine and raw terms and in so doing he shifted the dialogue away from the sophomoric gossip that filled the tabloids for months into an adult conversation.  The national discussion was now about transgender issues that the mainstream media covered with thoughtful pieces on Jenner’s personal journey and its broader implication for others facing similar challenges.  His family came out in support of him.  He quashed speculation of this being a publicity stunt.  Even the rest of the Kardashian clan – typically known for empty, brain-candy nonsense – came out looking sympathetic, progressive and supportive.  That’s no mean feat.

Through honest, direct dialogue, Jenner changed his media narrative in a single interview.  He did it by being honest and transparent and answering tough questions truthfully and sincerely.  The business world would do well to take heed and act accordingly.

Super Bowl XLIV Preview: The Biggest Event of the Year

This year, the high holy day of American sports falls on Feb. 1, with kick off set for 6:30 p.m., ET as the Seattle Seahawks face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

An estimated television audience of 112 million will include a significant number of non-sports fans who are most interested in the commercials, for which NBC sold air time at a record $4.5 million per 30-second spot.

Here at DGC, we revel in all of it: The game, the parties, the commercials, the half-time show, the real-time marketing moments, social media, the second screen, the entire omni-channel experience and, of course, the PR opportunities that abound.

DGC staffers want all of our clients to win, but some have taken sides regarding the two teams that will actually play the game. Click on the video to find who they’re rooting for and why.

The future of China’s social media

China Social Media

This post comes from Jax Potter, an Account Manager at our sister agency Eulogy! London. Jax spent a week with DGC and attended Social Media Week in New York as part of our “Rising Star” exchange program. One of the seminars she attended was “The Social Media Future of China.”

The following post was originally shared on E!’s blog.

There are currently 618,000,000 internet users in China, making up 45.8% of the population. The access choice of these users is predominantly through a mobile device rather than on desktop. The user base is predicted to grow by a staggering 800,000,000 users by 2015, providing an even greater audience for brands to speak to.

Currently, Facebook and Twitter are both banned in China due to lack of content control and regulation by the government. There is a slight exception for this, in that businesses operating in Shanghai can have access to Facebook in order to sell and connect to international markets.

Obviously members of the public want to connect with each other in the social-sphere so local variations and amalgamations of multiple platforms are popping up all over China.

Probably the most well-known channel by brands internationally is Weibo, which offers users a similar experience to Twitter but with wider image sharing options. Government content regulation is beginning to be enforced on the platform and as a result, 28,000,000 people left the network last year.

Social Media Week speaker, Yuanbo Liu described emerging platform, YY as “Whatsapp meets Zynga, meets American Idol”. The network originally started as a way for gamers to share tips and talk to each other on level completion and what’s coming up next. It has now evolved to users uploading videos of themselves performing acts such as karaoke and spectators giving them virtual gifts as endorsement of their skills. Users can then cash in these virtual gifts for money and make a profit from their talents.

It doesn’t seem obvious what the brand opportunity is yet for selling to the Chinese audience through this network, but this is going to be one to watch.

One of the largest opportunities to brands wanting to attract and engage with a Chinese audience is capturing the interest of tourists. In Chinese culture, the act of giving and gifting is a very high family value and those going abroad are expected to bring back gifts and souvenirs as a token of their travels.

Carefully worded brand content can therefore have a big impact on companies looking to target Chinese tourists with British or international products.

The biggest local social media platforms in China at the moment are:

  • Tencent
  • Ren Ren
  • YY
  • Wechat

Interestingly, one of the biggest national days in China that provides opportunities for brands to sell in Singles Day. A day in which single people purchase gifts for themselves to ensure they receive something over Valentine’s Day.

This year, Single’s Day in China generated more money than Cyber Monday, demonstrating the huge opportunity for brands in China.

Looking towards the future, it seems content regulation is going to carry on being a big focus for the Chinese government so new social media platforms will continue to pop up.

Brands therefore, need to keep a constant eye on which networks are opening and look for ways to get their products in front of the Chinese audience.

Big Apple to Britain: A Jersey Girl’s Journey into London PR

After a dozen days in the UK, I’m back in NYC and trying to avoid jet lag by making up for lost time with a much missed Starbucks. Though I did enjoy my tea and biscuits while in London—so much so I brought some back for the DGC team—it’s good to be home and with an absurdly large cup of iced coffee in hand. My time in London was definitely well spent, a perfect mix of work and play (something we value here at DGC). The Eulogy! team did a great job of making sure I met everyone, especially those from various divisions: social media (aka Onlinefire), marketing services, professional services, in addition to the B2B and consumer PR teams.

The Eulogy! team was also careful to make sure I didn’t work TOO hard, so they sent me up on the London Eye (on a thankfully sunny night)…



…and hosted a lovely pizza party on my last day. One thing that is consistent across countries and cultures is the effect that copious free pizza has on an office: it’s mayhem, wherever you are.


Overall, it was an amazing trip and I’m so grateful to both DGC & Eulogy! for making it happen. I hope my first “real” trip to London isn’t my last.

As they say, Cheers! xx Meg

Talking the Talk: How to Speak PR in the UK

ImageEver chased a journalist? How many sell ins have you done this week? Chances are, the answers are yes and many, but that’s not how you would say it. A “sell in” is a pitch, and to “chase” means to follow up. While the general approaches and goals of PR are the same on both sides of the pond, the terminology is quite different. When scheduling a “sit down” (meeting) with someone, be sure to check your “diary” (calendar) first. What we call “hits” or “clips” are the more formal “pieces of coverage” in the Queen’s English, and a byline is known as a “comment piece.” A company’s revenue is referred to as “turnover” and where we’d call financials simply “numbers,” here they are “figures.” Though these phrases aren’t what I’m used to hearing, they’re all pretty logical terms (unlike when I learned that a “plaster” is actually a Band-Aid…) and it’s helpful to be able to talk to the talk across various countries—even other English speaking ones!

Beyond the vocab, there are a few other differences when it comes to PR and media relations in the UK and the US. England has a large variety of national papers (approximately 13) where the US of A has mainly regional papers, with a few national exceptions that are particularly competitive. It’s more of result of geography than anything else: compared to the UK, the United States is absolutely massive and there aren’t many national outlets, but there are loads of regional ones. To put it in perspective, the entire UK (including all of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) is roughly the size of the state of Oregon. The number of outlets aside, there is also some variation in what the media is interested in. There aren’t as many talk shows in Britain as there are in the US, and they are less likely to cover something purely consumer-facing with no strong news angle. While a hard news hook helps with securing coverage no matter where you are, it’s even more important to get in with the UK media. For this reason, surveys and research are used regularly—with some clients as often as 2 or 3 times a week.

Of course, everyone at Eulogy! has been very helpful in explaining all this to me and has been kind enough to not laugh directly at me when I ask what a particular word means. For the record, “jelly” refers to jell-o, a “biscuit” is actually a cookie, “chips” in the UK are French fries, and I still can’t figure out why Band-Aids are “plasters.”

Rising Star Report: How Eulogy! Uses Video

Welcome to London, where the traffic is on the left, the subway is called the “tube” and the outlets—and the outlets—are different. Referring to both the pubs and plugs, aside from a few glaring cultural differences (tea is preferred to coffee, and Starbucks is slightly frowned upon) life at Eulogy!, an independent PR agency in London, isn’t too different from being at home at DGC. The office has a similar look and feel, and is filled with a bright team of Brits trying to get the best possible coverage for both B2B and consumer clients.

A few years ago, Eulogy! teamed up with Onlinefire to enhance their social media and digital offerings. One excellent feature of the partnership is the use of video, which Eulogy! employs frequently to tell their story and get messages across concisely and creatively. Check out Eulogy’s Dave Macnamara, Senior Creative Account Executive, above with more on using video.

Jason Collins and the Power of Authenticity

Sports Illustrated Cover, May 1 2013

This week, NBA free-agent center Jason Collins made headlines, plus tweets, posts and heads, who talked about his announcement as the first male pro athlete in a major sport to publicly address his sexuality. It’s a landmark occasion for a previously unspoken topic  in sports, as the conversation continues to grow and become more open within our society.

We were particularly struck by the method of his announcement.  He called it out best in his Sports Illustrated piece: “The announcement should be mine to make, not TMZ’s,” Collins wrote.

In an age where news breaks in 140 characters rather than a 3,000-word magazine piece, where the news usually isn’t directly from the source, Jason Collins was able to control his message and explain it his way.  It was a brilliant strategy that all PR pros should recognize and try to achieve in executing plans on behalf of high-profile clients, who may be making controversial announcements.

The other part of Collins’s news that we appreciated was its authenticity, particularly coming from the world of sports. Collins didn’t “tell-all” to Oprah, reveal a “decision” on ESPN, or be behind an “uncovered scandal” on Deadspin.

His article was a personal, heartfelt piece written for one of the most respected sports publications in the country. There was no immediate video to re-watch. No one tweet that everyone can re-tweet; just a traditional well-written personal piece.

Collins expressed everything he wanted to say, and now he can move on to the next round of this PR initiative.  The article was posted online Monday, will be on newsstands Wednesday, and it’s already a topic of conversation everywhere else. The TV interviews, the online Q&A’s, and more, are all starting. Jason Collins already appeared on Good Morning America this morning.

Bravo Jason, for controlling your message, staying true to yourself, and for standing up on an important topic within our society.

A Jump Across The Pond

This post comes from Antonia Harrison, an Account Manager at our sister agency Eulogy! London. Antonia spent a week with DGC as part of our “Rising Star” exchange program. This post was originally shared on E!’s blog.

From the age of four months, travelling and living abroad has been an integral part of my life; when I was selected to take part in Eulogy!’s first exchange programme with our strategic partner, DiGennaro Communications (DGC), I was absolutely thrilled.

DGC office

After experiencing a brief stint working as a journalist in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, I have always found it immensely interesting to see how the various elements of culture and environment help determine how industries function in different parts of the world. I was particularly looking forward to finding out how the DGC team works and, most importantly, how they tackle and interact with the American media.

Located in the Flatiron District in New York, DGC is positioned right in the heart of Manhattan and is swathed in a noisy, fast-paced and buzzing vibe – just like London! From the first moment I walked into DGC’s office, I felt a bit like Alice taking her first steps through the looking glass. Eulogy! prides itself on being London’s best agency to work for and DGC mirrors this enormously friendly and welcoming atmosphere to a tee. Within a couple of minutes, I was made to feel like one of the team and even handed my very own plaque to hang alongside the rest of the staff plaques on the office wall.

Team wall

Aside from a handful of obvious cultural differences, such as a Starbucks obsession, a distinct lack of tea and amazing lunch breaks spent in fancy dress shops, it gradually became clear that the American team faces a whole host of challenging hurdles, which the UK industry arguably takes for granted. The significant lack of national USA papers compared to the UK’s royal flush for example, means that fighting for those much sought after national print slots becomes much, much harder. When you then take into account the size of America and the sheer number of competing PR agencies, you begin to realise just how tricky it is to make your voice the loudest and the complexity of the steps involved in ultimately securing those exceptional pieces of coverage for your client.

Despite these obstacles, the DGC team is flying high and by my second day I was already witnessing a stream of brilliant daily coverage pouring in from Bloomberg’s renowned Businessweek magazine, The New York Times and the Holy Grail of news – The Wall Street Journal.

Alongside taking part in reviews, pitch meetings and social media discussions, it was my time spent pitching ideas to a

client on how to make eating traditional American grub even more attractive to tourists, which I can truly say was the pinnacle of my all-American experience. Apparently the state has not one, not two, but four specialist barbecue sauces all designed to make your chicken wings, sticky ribs and pork chops even more tantalising! And this led to some very interesting and at times lively discussions.
Being part of a team that is more like a family than an office, cheering as DGC won yet more new business and watching as the coverage rolled in, was a unique experience and one I will never forget. Thank you once again to the whole team at DGC for these unforgettable memories.Although operationally DGC works slightly differently to Eulogy!, the same goal is still sought after and achieved – to be the best at communicating profitable messages for our clients and above all ensuring that our clients are highly visible in what are often crowded marketplaces.

Antonia & DGC Team

DGC welcomes Eulogy!’s Antonia Harrison as part of Rising Star Program

Last week, DGC welcomed Antonia Harrison, Account Manager with our sister agency Eulogy!. Antonia was E!’s winner of our inter-agency Rising Star program, a contest offering the opportunity for a DGC’er and a Eulogite to spend a week across the pond at their respective sister agency. The charge was twofold – for each winner to share how PR is handled in their homeland, as well as learning the differences in PR (and culture in general) in their weeklong home away from home.

Below, Antonia shares with us some of her insights on how to “PR” in the U.K.

After spending a week at DGC, Antonia talks through her top (surprising!) learnings of how PR works in the U.S.

There were some distinct differences and many similarities but across the board PR (in the U.K. or the U.S.) is all about understanding the news, finding those great story nuggets, maintaining stellar reporter relations and proactively securing placements.


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