Author Archives: Amelia Vereb

10 Ways To De-Stress The 7th Most Stressful Job In America

Recent reports show that being a public relations professional is the seventh most stressful job in America. It makes a lot of sense. We are connected to our mobile phones 24/7, we have to be prepared to handle all possible interpretations of every word that leaves our mouths and no day is the same as the one before.

PR attracts people who thrive on being busy, but it also attracts professionals who fit in time for things that make the job seem less stressful—even when it is not. For anyone with stressful days, you may find these DGC de-stressing tips helpful:

  1. Make a to-do list. It can be daunting, but crossing stuff off your list let’s you see the fruits of your labor…even when that list keeps growing.
  2. Take lunch. If you run out to pick up lunch, eat it there and enjoy your break. Or if you bring your lunch to the office, make it a point to step away from your desk to eat and disconnect. Your work will still be waiting for you when you get back.
  3. Laugh out loud. Ever seen “The Office?” They have workplace humor down to a science.
  4. Listen to music. Having a tough day? Put on your favorite song and see how much more productive you become.
  5. Go for a quick walk. Getting up and moving around will break up your day and give you more energy.
  6. Get a massage. Long or short, full body or shoulders, it’s sure to give you a few moments of stressless bliss.
  7. Make plans for later. If you know you want to meet a friend for dinner, you’re more likely to manage your time effectively throughout the day to make it happen.
  8. Drink (in moderation, of course). At DGC we unwind from the week by having a glass of wine together. We like to call it “Wino Friday.”
  9. Keep chocolate handy. Enough said.
  10. Set long-term goals. Having something to strive for at work gives you a way to channel your stress and makes you more likely to stay motivated over time.

Do you have other tips for de-stressing in this stressful world? Share them in the comments section below!

Not Sure What To Expect In 2012? Don’t Worry—There’s A Resolution For That.

With every New Year comes a new set of resolutions. “My diet starts January 1.” “I’m going to ride my bike to work.” “No more checking my Blackberry at the dinner table.”

Although those of us in the PR world probably wouldn’t last a week resolving to do the latter, the DGC team has resolutions of its own that it intends to keep this year:

  • Get rid of the garbage. PR would be the perfect profession for a hoarder—we are terrified to throw away anything that might be remotely important. But, our projects change on a daily basis, so it’s crucial to keep a clean desk and orderly files.
  • Print less paper. Half the battle of keeping yourself organized is killing fewer trees. If you’re running into a client call and need an agenda, skip the printer and read it off your iPhone. This is the digital age, after all.
  • Add it to the list. The only thing better than the power of creating a to-do list is the satisfaction of getting to cross those items off once they’re finished.
  • Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. By now we all know not to underestimate the power of spell-check, but more importantly, if you’re sending a mail-merge, make sure you’re not a mass message to the same reporter who you grabbed drinks with last week.
  • Eliminate industry jargon. If you cringe every time your clients describe their work as “innovative,” then you shouldn’t use that word either. Cleanses are all the rage right now—why not try one for your vocabulary?

Unnecessary abbreviations and heightened green practices aside, the unanimous theme of 2012 seems to be a shift toward embracing the human element of the business.  That means more face-to-face interaction, picking up the phone instead of emailing and improving work efficiency to drive more meaningful results. Business is not just about making money—it’s about building relationships.

Do you have a New Year’s PR resolution? Let us know in the comments section below!

On The First Day Of Christmas My Agency Gave To Me…

By the time the DGCers discovered the Forever Lazy, it was too late to order and brand them in time for our office holiday card photo shoot. Instead, we opted for something we were even more comfortable with: our tried and true media outlets. Whether laughing at a particularly amusing Ad Age article, peering creepily up from between the pages of Direct Marketing News or admiring an interview with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Hollywood Reporter, we wanted to wish our DGC network the best headlines in 2012. In addition, we’ve also spearheaded a new philanthropy effort at DGC this holiday season, participating in Toys for Tots and the New York Cares Annual Coat Drive.

Holiday cards and philanthropic efforts have become a tradition within the advertising industry, with agencies annually raising the bar for creativity. Here’s a look at what we’ve seen so far this year:

  • Arnell Group: The Arnell Group wishes all a happy holiday season with its digital snowflake card—a modern take on the paper snowflake.
  • Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide: Blue Chip, in a clever nod to Conan O’Brien’s “If They Mated” segment, morphs its employees faces together to showcase the beauty of being “united” this holiday season.
  • Ignited: Ignited proves that–no matter what—“there’s an app for that,” as its digital choir of iPhones sings “Deck The Halls.” Ignited will donate five cents to the Los Angeles Mission every time the video is viewed.
  • MKTG INC: There’s nothing like some good holiday snark, and for that we can count on MKTG INC. MKTG INC’s video card infomercial advertises the “Holiday Sock”…for that special someone who complained about the brand new iPad that you gifted them last year.
  • Modea: Modea’s Wisdom Tree of Wishful Wonders app ties with Facebook, where you can select the friend for whom you need a gift suggestion. After answering a series of questions, the app will serve up a gift recommendation for that friend. But watch out: this tree has a warped sense of humor.
  • Wing: Wing emphasizes charity, urging people to give back to children in need this holiday season through an interactive holiday graphic. If you don’t want to get this kid a present…Wing will literally keep asking you questions until he cries.

Have you seen any other great industry holiday cards this year? Please spread the cheer and share in the comments section below!

Tweet It Like It Is

As we head into 2012, it’s clear that social media shows no signs of slowing down—in fact, it’s more likely that existing social networks will continue to evolve and serve users in new ways. With the Facebook “Timeline” feature rolling out and companies exploring the benefits of rewarding Foursquare followers, 2012 is going to be a year of stalker-ish connectivity…and instant updates.

One platform that is playing an increasingly important role in the media industry is Twitter. Our client was quoted in Ad Age? Tweet it! The CEO’s byline was placed in Business Insider? Tweet it! You heard a great insight at that reporter panel last night? Tweet it! But there’s a catch: not all Tweets are created equal.

This week, we tapped the DGC team to get their thoughts on effective Tweeting, and here’s what they came up with:

  • First, do no harm. This is the #1 thing you must remember when Tweeting. We saw a number of celebrities lose their endorsement deals this year due to distasteful Tweets. Don’t become one of them.
  • Keep it short and sweet. If you keep your Tweets succinct, your followers have enough room to re-Tweet (RT) and provide commentary.
  • Up your Klout. The latest development in the Twitter-sphere is owning an impressive Klout score. Push newsworthy content and start dialogues with other users to become an influential member of the community.
  • Be unique. If your Twitter feed is part of a more comprehensive social media strategy, make an effort to share creative content–not just repurposed information.  This adds value to your Twitter feed and establishes it as a unique source for your followers.
  • Cite your sources. If you’re mentioning a client or event, make sure to include the company’s and/or writer’s handles, as well as relevant #hashtags.

We once thought of Twitter as another invasive tool aiming to take over the world, but it’s hard to deny that it has become an integral part of our industry. So keep these tips in mind when building your Klout—and always remember to triple check your spelling.

Occupy Wall Street Is Occupying Everything

Occupy Wall Street began on September 17, 2011, in what I thought was going to be—at most—a week-long demonstration of discontent with the current state of the economy. It is now entering its third month of protest.

For years the U.S. has been struggling financially, and the jobless finally hit their breaking point. It’s understandable. As the gap between the affluent 1% and the neglected 99% continues to grow, so does the anger inherent in this majority that has been born into a system muddled by greed, corruption and inequality.

But, lately, it appears that Occupy Wall Street has forgotten what it’s fighting for.

We suspected foul play when reports circulated that Occupy Wall Street supporters    were eating better than most entry-level employees, and it didn’t help when Jay-Z tried to capitalize on the “Occupy [Insert Town Here]” events by launching a line of Occupy Wall Street themed t-shirts, but things were taken to a new level earlier this month when protesters graffiti-ed an Oakland Whole Foods and were consequently evicted with the use of riot gear and tear gas. Last week even, the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zuccotti Park was evacuated, inciting a “Day of Action” for protestors, who traveled around the city occupying subways, bridges and streets, sometimes resulting in further violence…or at least inconveniencing daily commuters like myself.

I am all for the First Amendment—I’m acting on it right now—but as a PR professional, I recognize that this is one campaign without a clear strategy. In our line of work, we see a lot of confusing programs make it into the public eye—half of the time I can’t tell if Axe is trying to sell body spray or sex toys—but Occupy Wall Street is a movement that cannot afford to jumble its message or tactics and still expect results.

The message since day one has been to create more jobs and find a way to balance the dichotomous economy, right? So it’s time for the 99% to remember what it stands for and reassess its strategy – that is if they want to do more than be a nuisance and actually make a difference.

Moustache + November = Movember

I am not a man (hopefully that goes without saying), but I imagine that shaving one’s facial hair isn’t necessarily a favorite pastime. So what could be better than having a legitimate reason to go “au naturel” for a whole month? I know that for some baby-faced men out there it may not be the most exciting way to celebrate November, but for seasoned veterans like Tom Selleck there really couldn’t be a better way to stand up for one’s fellow man.

For those who don’t know, Movember is a month-long awareness and fundraising campaign for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression. The program originated in Australia, and now has its own web sites across the globe, with a strict set of rules for participants:

  1. Once registered at each “Mo Bro” must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face.
  2. For the entire month of Movember each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache.
  3. There is to be no joining of the moustache to your side burns. (That’s considered a beard.)
  4. There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin. (That’s considered a goatee.)
  5. Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true country gentleman.

Since its inception, many have reinterpreted and expanded Movember to include “No Shave November” and “Novembeard,” but no matter how men choose to show their pride and support the cause, it’s hard to deny that Movember is one health campaign that has truly gone viral (see what I did there?). In 2010, Movember’s numbers nearly doubled across the board, with more than 440,000 new registrants (men and women—Mo Sistas) and raised funds of more than $80.7 million. Overall, the campaign has raised $174 million and has 1.1 million registrants since it was officially established in 2004. As we near the end of 2011, and the middle of Movember, the brotherhood shows no signs of slowing down.

Movember is proof that campaigns infused with humor—despite the circumstances—can help make the word a better place. So Mo Bros, get out there and flaunt your finest facial hair. Or if you can’t grow your own, there are always these Mo Sista favorites.

Have A Holly, Jolly Christmas…But Please Wait Until After Thanksgiving

I personally love the holidays. I get time to spend with friends and family, the opportunity to exchange gifts, and have the ultimate excuse to eat dessert for pretty much every meal of the day. But as much as I love all of these things, holiday marketing often makes me feel like I’m stuck in the “It’s A Small World” ride at Disney World. As soon as one holiday ends, another begins. And the cycle starts earlier every year.

Even though we know how important this time of year is to brands and agencies alike, I couldn’t help but ask the DGC team to share its biggest holiday marketing pet peeves. Drum roll please…

Black Friday. The majority of us will never understand the ferocious need to camp outside Walmart overnight in the cold, but there are people who do it every year. We tend to think that the holidays should be about relaxing and being with family, not cramming hundreds of over-caffeinated shoppers into a room to instigate mayhem. Plus, there are better deals to be found online anyway – thank you, Cyber Monday.

Premature Holiday Cheer. Everyone knows that it snowed on Halloween weekend this year—and yes, the team reported seeing at least three people dressed up as Santa as a result—but that does not make it okay for Duane Reade to put Halloween candy and Chanukah/Christmas decorations on the store shelves at the same time. Halloween is in October. The holidays are in December. Let’s get excited for the holidays in December.

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells. Look—We love Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” just as much as the next person, but unless we’re watching Love Actually, we do not want to hear that song until November 25 at the earliest. Can you imagine the people who have to work in retail around the holidays, listening to this stuff on loop every day? And this year it’s going to be Justin Bieber’s Christmas album. The horror.

Holiday marketing can be overwhelming, but it’s hard to stay a Grinch for long. Besides, who can say “bah humbug” to those holiday Gap commercials?

Think Pink

While most people associate October with pumpkins, back-to-back airings of “Casper” and “Hocus Pocus,” and clever Halloween costumes, October also happens to be National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).

The American Cancer Society, and what is now part of AstraZeneca, established NBCAM in 1985 in an effort to increase breast cancer awareness and promote research funding. Although The Susan G. Komen Foundation Race for the Cure held its first race in 1983, it did not hand out pink ribbons to participants until 1991, and it was not until 1993 that Estee Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, introducing the Pink Ribbon as its official symbol.

Today, the Pink Ribbon means many things. Hope. Remembrance. Courage. Survival. It has become the common thread weaving its way through a number of breast cancer awareness initiatives. Here are a few campaigns that the DGC team thinks have been most effective:

  • One in eight. In 2006, Avon promoted the fight against breast cancer overseas in Romania, highlighting the fact that one in eight women is at risk of developing breast cancer. In movie theaters, subways, buses and other public seating areas, one in every eight seats was painted pink and left empty to show the significance of the statistic.
  • Takeout gets a makeover. Last year, KFC launched its controversial “Buckets for the Cure,” serving up fried chicken in pink buckets. Although the public was confused by the fast food restaurant’s connection to breast cancer awareness, KFC donated 50 cents to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for each bucket sold.
  • Real men wear pink. During NBCAM, the NFL supports breast cancer awareness by incorporating pink into its advertising and online presence. Players also sport pink apparel, showing fans that pink isn’t just for powder-puff.

There are many ways to promote breast cancer awareness successfully, but recent patient Giuliana Rancic said it best: “I had a friend call me yesterday, and she said, ‘I’m so sorry, can I do anything for you?’ And I said, ‘Just call your doctor tomorrow and make an appointment [for a mammogram]. That’s what you could do for me.’”

“All The World’s A Stage, And All The Men And Women Merely Players…”

When it comes to PR, one of the best ways to secure coverage is to capitalize on news as it happens. Recently, we’ve seen expert sources included in articles from such high-profile outlets as Reuters and the New York Times, discussing everything from Steve Jobs to Occupy Wall Street. Not only are these great hits, but they also show direct engagement with the real world—something that proves to existing and potential clients that these experts have their heads in the game.

But advertising and branding executives are not the only ones who use world issues, current events and “accidental” celebrities to their advantage. Last year on Halloween I saw a BP oil spill, two Chilean miners and a ton of lazy guys who donned suits and claimed to be from “Boardwalk Empire”—all things that hit headlines in 2010. On Halloween, the Average Joe becomes a pop culture icon for a night, instead of just commenting on one.

So what should you expect to encounter next weekend? Here are the DGC team’s top ten predictions for culturally relevant costumes this year:

10. NBA Lockout. Perfect excuse to resurrect your throw-back jerseys.
9. Occupy Wall Street Protestors. I wonder if they will be handing out candy down there–I hear the food is pretty good.
8. Lindsay Lohan in handcuffs.
Too easy.
7. Any of the GOP candidates. You can never go wrong with a good political parody.
6. Bridesmaids. Who said you’d never wear that bridesmaid’s dress again?
5. Prince William and Kate Middleton. But let’s not forget that Harry is still single.
4. Hurricane Irene. I am calling it right now: this is the dark horse for most creative.
3. Charlie Sheen and the Goddesses. #winning.
2. Steve Jobs/Apple products. iTrickorTreat?
1. Zombie Bin Laden.

Regardless of who or what you decide to be for Halloween, the important thing is that you have fun. And remember to drink more responsibly than our #8.

Remembering Steve Jobs

This week brought with it the sad news of the death of Apple’s legendary and visionary co-founder, Steve Jobs. Jobs was—and will always be remembered as—a highly innovative and compassionate person, whose work and words will continue to motivate people for years to come. We think President Obama said it best when he said: “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”

In memoriam, the DGC team wants to share some of their favorite inspirational Steve Jobs quotes:

·         “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

·         “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

·         “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

·         “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

·         “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and every one should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

·         “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

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