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Eulogy’s Ann Wiltshire Spends a Week at DGC

The first time Ann Wiltshire visited New York from her native England, she was 13, and it was the dead of winter.

In April 2015, she returned to the city to work for a week here at DiGennaro Communications in the Flatiron District as part of an exchange program with the shop’s sister agency, Eulogy, in London. Ann is an account manager there.

Ann saw lots of similarities between the working cultures of New York and London and could definitely imagine herself living in the Big Apple, especially after the celebrity encounter she had in an elevator, which she reveals in the video.

Advertising Week: NYC vs. London Town

This post was written by DGC’s International ACE Award winner, Senior Account Executive Megan Sweat. Recognizing her stellar work and contributions to the agency, DGC sent her to London to spend time at Advertising Week Europe and to meet with our strategic partner Eulogy!

 

Many people in the U.S. ad market are oblivious to Advertising Week in London, and vice versa. This year Advertising Week Europe ran from March 23-27, and compared to past ones in New York (which take place in the fall) the programming had a unique edge.

Many of the players were the same, including Publicis Groupe, Google and the IAB but the gorgeous historic venues such as St. James’s Church and outdoor settings (pictured below) gave Advertising Week Europe an entirely different feel from the New York edition.

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Outdoor seating outside of the ADARA Stage

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St. James’s Church in Piccadilly

Collaboration, creativity and inspiration were recurring themes throughout the week, and here are some of the highlights that stuck with us:

  • When asked to leave the audience with one “astounding nugget that would blow their minds,” Steve Hatch, Director of EMEA from Facebook replied that everything in our industry “starts and ends with people.” To be successful, we as an industry need to follow people’s trends, and the customer is truly always right, he said.
  • Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe, predicted that marketing will become more and more about the “omnichannel” experience. With a few exceptions, he said this is still a complicated world to clients, and it hasn’t yet been mastered.
  • Inter-agency collaboration and how to foster it was also top of mind. One possible solution that came out of MEC UK’s session was having a shared workspace, where a client’s different agencies could meet and work together as opposed to working in silos and trying to come together at the end.

As one panelist put it, “We tell our clients they need to co-own their brand with their customers… Now, we need to co-own our ideas with others.”

A handful of other memorable declarations over heard during the week made us laugh: (Since these are not exact quotes,  I’ve removed the attribution—which didn’t include people’s titles and affiliations either)

  • “Pitches are the crack cocaine of our industry – we’re all addicted to them.”
  • “Is it better to follow your dreams and not make it, or make it and betray yourself along the way?”
  • “Stupid people think complicated is clever. If you can’t explain it to an 11-year-old, you have failed.”
  • “Be uncool. Coolness is a form of orthodoxy. Being uncool is actually a powerful creative force.”

Paris Smog Is Breathtaking. Really. Breathtaking.

This post was written by DGC’s 2015 Rising Star, Account Director Kelsey Merkel. Recognizing her stellar work and contriubtions to the agency, Kelsey was sent by DGC to London to spend time with our strategic partner Eulogy!

Paris is known as the City of Lights but these days it’s hard to see anything through the smog of pollution.

The weather apps on our phones told us it was sunny, but we couldn’t see the sun. The view from atop the Eiffel Tower was limited to say the least. On Saturday, the city’s pollution index hit seven (out of a possible 10), a number considered dangerous, according to AirParis, which monitors smog levels for the French government.

My colleague, Megan Sweat, and I were in Paris this past weekend, before heading to London to spend a work week at our sister agency, Eulogy! and attend Advertising Week Europe.

Exploring all the sights, sounds and smells that Paris had to offer was amazing. Reality hit when we tried to board the Paris metro from the Champs Elysees and couldn’t figure out how to use our cards (despite having done so multiple times before). After several attempts to pay to ride the metro, we learned that underground transportation was free for all passengers for the weekend.

Why? Pollution.

On Friday afternoon, French officials declared an emergency ban on most cars to curb heavy pollution and the overwhelming gray smog that covered the city for days. By Monday, cars carrying three or more passengers, those with odd-number license plates, and “clean” or hybrid cars were permitted, and all had to observe a 20km speed limit.  Public transit became the best alternative.

Social media played a roll in the decision as the ban sparked a political debate between the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo and the socialist ecology minister – much of it carried out on social networks. While the ecology minister did end up agreeing to a ban, he made sure to accuse Hidalgo of failing to have a “real transport policy” to deal with the pollution problem.

After the ban was implemented, Hidalgo tweeted on Monday that traffic already was down by around 40 percent. This was only the third time since 1997 the city authorities have resorted to such emergency measures.

Needless to say it was an interesting few days to be in Paris for the first time, but Megan and I didn’t particularly mind saving on our metro fare this weekend.

Stay tuned for highlights from our week in London!

London Town in Review: From Advertising Week to Lessons in PR Best Practices

Having enjoyed everything from Big Ben to the Tower Bridge, it’s crazy to believe that my unforgettable trip to London has now come to a close. The week flew by in the blink of an eye and brought me plenty of insights along the way to share with the team at home.

In addition to attending Advertising Week Europe and learning how a leader’s body language can make or break a career, I had the chance to participate in engaging brainstorms and daily “paper” meetings (discussing daily news) with the Eulogy! team. I also learned the inside scoop on the agency’s approach to working with reporters and packaging case studies for its clients in a unique and visually appealing video format.

Check out this video to see what else I took away from this memorable week –

All in all, the week satisfied a life-long dream to briefly work abroad and immerse myself in another country’s culture. I look forward to seeing what next year’s DGCer will take away from the trip and hope that they will love it as much as I did.

From Across the Pond – DGC Welcomes Eulogy’s ‘Rising Star’ to New York

Last week, DGC welcomed Jax Potter, Account Manager at Onlinefire, the social arm of our London-based sister agency, Eulogy. Jax was her agency’s recipient of the second annual intra-agency Rising Star program, in which staffers compete for the chance to to spend a week at the other’s shop.

Last year, DGC welcomed Eulogy’s Antonia Harrison who filled us in on how PR is handled over in the U.K. This year, Jax shared social media best practices with us through a presentation that provided insight throughout about content marketing in social media on behalf of consumer-facing brands. Jax also attended New York’s Social Media Week.

We touched base with Jax toward the beginning of her trip to get to know her better as well as see how she was enjoying her time in the Big Apple:

From dinners, happy hours and “Wino Friday” with our team, to Top of the Rock and the Statue of Liberty, Jax had a busy week seeing the sights and trying out all the delicious food that New York’s international cuisines can offer.

And speaking of food, DGC hosted its first-ever Olympics-themed potluck lunch – where participants brought in food from their favorite competing country. We had quite the spread of everything from ratatouille, to grape leaves, to a special Australian dessert called Pavlova.

Click here to check out all the pics from the fun-filled week!

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.

Facebook follows the trend and launches clickable hashtag

This Post comes from Melanie Seasons, Community Innovation Director at our sister agency Eulogy! London. Melanie covered the news of Facebook introducing the #hashtag, and how it can benefit brands. This post was originally shared via E!’s blog.

Facebook announced that it will launch a hashtag functionality, allowing users and brands to join in wider conversations and see trending topics around the globe.

Adding the “#” symbol in front of a word or phrase, will turn the text in to a hyperlink and bring up a separate feed of what other users are saying about the same topic.

This will be visible for all Facebook users and brands, even those that are not connected to a user or following a certain brand. There will be an option for users to opt out of the trending activity in the privacy settings, if they do not wish to join wider conversations.

The hashtag was originally launched on micro site, Twitter and is also present on Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.

Unlike Twitter, the Facebook hashtag will not be available for brands to use as an advertising tool and pay for promoted trends or tweets. This could however, roll out in the future after users and brands become familiar with the new tool.

What are the plus points?

We think this could be a great opportunity for brands to join in natural conversations such as #Father’s Day or #Christmas and have their products seen by new customers. It could also open the doors for people to ‘like’ new brand pages while increasing engagement on statuses as people have a shared interest in the topics being discussed, so are more likely to interact. And from a storytelling point of view (so important for brands), it will hopefully keep users inside Facebook for longer as they explore trending topics and read news articles relating to their shared conversations.

What are the drawbacks?

There are potentially a few. Generally, any changes to Facebook are often met with scepticism. While it’s not a totally alien process, users do not associate the function with the platform. If promoted trends do launch on Facebook in the future, brands could face further criticism on their content appearing in personal news feeds and trending lists.

What do we think?

Criticisms aside, we think this is a great function for Facebook to introduce. Hashtags have become centric to social behaviour. Once the initial launch negativity wears off and users become more familiar with the action, it will be largely accepted and a great opportunity for brands to be seen organically and not hidden outside the main newsfeed.

What’s next? With Facebook finally joining the hashtag club, it can’t be too far away to see an aggregator that measures the volume of hashtags being used on all social platforms at any given time.

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)…

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…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.

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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.”

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.

Shopping
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

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