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.
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.
Outdoor seating outside of the ADARA Stage
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.”
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.
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
Ever 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.”
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.
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.
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.