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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.”

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.

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

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.

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.

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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.

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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

From Across the Pond: Every Little Added Value Helps

Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear a PR person share her thoughts from a consumer perspective on what brands should be doing to improve shopper loyalty and marketing programs. Claudia_M at Eulogy recently shed light on the fact that today’s consumers – even across the pond – want the brands they use day-in and day-out to listen to their desires and reward them for their continued business.  Take a look below at her opinions on Tesco, BBC and Starbucks, and let us know your thoughts on the matter. For one…Many DGCers would welcome the chance to have an extra shot of coffee in our tall mocha every morning…

It’s common knowledge that the marketing services sector has never had to work harder to gain consumer trust and as a consumer and PR professional alike I feel that this is how it should be. I don’t want to be told what to do, I will make up my own mind whether I choose to buy a product or use one service over another. As consumers we’ve never been so powerful – we can pick and choose where we spend our hard-earned cash and have disloyal love affairs with different brands. “Customer is king” and all that jazz. But seriously, it’s one thing for a consumer to buy a product and a whole different matter for a brand to expect us to be their long term “friend.” Brands must adapt, particularly as we’re increasingly inclined to jump ship for better value. I have been working with marketing agency {united} who are keen to tease out the balance that brands provide in value but also in standing up for their values. This has got me thinking about how brands go beyond selling a product – it’s everything (and added extras) that comes with it. So beyond the cheap price tag, what brands are giving back a little more to the consumer?

Marketing services has a strong role to play in improving people’s lives and helping us to live them. Just a few weeks ago the senior vice-president of marketing at Unilever warned that the profession has become about “selling for selling’s sake” and that it needs to move beyond a pure commercial stance to promote products that “create progress and improve lives.” It was a bold argument which I wholeheartedly agree with. I question the marketing strategies of some of the most well-known behemoths. Take Tesco. Or should I say ‘Detestco.’ Tesco imposes itself on every one of our communities like a stranger that arrives uninvited. In return we receive a highly prized 2-4-1 offer! It has such a great strapline, ‘Every little helps.’ However, it doesn’t do anything in little proportions. Tesco marketing department should perhaps look more deeply into the meaning behind such a promise. Having been largely responsible for changing the look of retail, driving out independent stores by selling everything from clothes to irons, I’d like to see Tesco helping and educating customers to live a little better. Could it remove all plastic carrier bags from its stores perhaps? And the recent halving of Clubcard points awarded per pound of purchases was not such a good idea – it looks to many shoppers as if it is giving with one hand and taking with the other. It is its own fault for getting customers addicted to points in the first place.

Yet, there are some brands out there that are taking steps to listen to consumers’ needs. The beautiful BBC for one. It was no surprise that the world’s best known broadcasting brand made it to 5th place in the recent Consumer Superbrands index. What I admire about it is how it increasingly engages with and responds to consumers’ desires. Choosing to listen to social media groundswell when supporters of BBC 6 Music tried to save it from closure really sticks in my mind as an example of healthy brand-to-consumer friendship.

I have until recently been rather skeptical about Starbucks in terms of its brand values (although I am admittedly swayed by a skinny Frapa-dappa-ccino, or whatever they’re called). Starbucks hasn’t always been friendly to its customers in giving them a little extra to make them want to return, especially with the likes of Cafe Nero providing a good loyalty card scheme. But Starbucks is now providing such a scheme and even better news came last week that it will be pouring an extra shot of coffee into our cups at no extra cost. Amazing! And it’s all down to customer taunts that its coffee isn’t as good as Costa and Cafe Nero. Improving a service directly in response to their customers should keep them sweet and tempt others into the Starbucks fold.

These are just two random examples showing that brands can be aware and attentive to the consumer. As we move deeper into 2012, and with a raft of highly lauded marketing opportunities afoot for brands to capture the public’s attention, it’s time for venerable marketing to be woven into the fabric of the profession.

The ‘goody two shoes’ brand, that honors the consumer, has never looked so appealing.

My Field Trip to Eulogy!

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Eulogy!'s office space looks a lot like DGC's

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Eulogy!, our sister agency in London. Fresh off our partnership announcement, it provided the perfect opportunity to learn firsthand about the company and discuss the innovative ways in which we plan to work together in the months ahead.

Upon reaching Eulogy!’s offices in West London, I was greeted by Mark Barber, Director of Business Development, with a giant hug and tons of enthusiasm. As he took me on a brief tour of E!’s offices, I was immediately struck by the similarities between our two offices. DGC and E! both have open-floor plans, complemented by a few cozy nooks and conference rooms designed for brainstorms and meetings. Along the way, Mark pointed out the heaps of press they have garnered for themselves and for their clients—I love how proud they are of their work.

The next stop on my tour was CEO Adrian Brady’s office. Adrian couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming. We chatted about his days living in Chicago (like me), overlaps and opportunities to cross-pollinate our clients, and his excitement about our new partnership. Again, I was reminded of our similarities.

Mark Barber, Director of Business Development

An entrepreneur at heart, Adrian started Eulogy! in 1996, with Marketing Magazine recognizing it as one of the country’s fastest growing PR agencies in the late ‘90s. Industry awards success has included recognition from the prestigious PR Week, Business to Business Campaign of the Year and the International Public Relations Association Golden World accolade, as well as being voted one of the Top 40 independent PR agencies by PR Week.

Over the next few hours, Mark and I spent time brainstorming innovative ways to combine our business development efforts and–most importantly–learn from one another. E! has been around about twice as long as DGC, and has a very evolved consumer practice, something DGC is also making great inroads with.

One of the highlights of my day was lunch. Mark and Issie (Team MEC) were kind enough to pause their busy days and take me to lunch at Black and Blue–a real London power-lunch scene.

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The brainstorm room where Mark and I convened

In true European fashion, we toasted with a glass of wine and lingered over cappuccinos before heading back to the office. I hope to one day host the two of them in New York City.

The afternoon was a blur as Mark set up a work station for me and I touched base with DGC on a few client deliverables. I could get used to a cross-borders career! As the day wound down, the E! team gathered for their weekly staff meeting, which happens each Friday around 4:00 p.m. Similar to DGC’s Wino Friday tradition, we enjoyed snacks and cocktails while hearing agency updates, press hits of the week and even “grumbles.” I then took some quick snapshots of the team and the space, and was on my way.

Leaving E!’s office, I felt completely energized for the future. DGC and Eulogy! have the real makings of a global network–with much to offer our clients and employees. I’m thrilled to be part of it and can’t wait to see what’s in store.

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E!'s team goofs around during the weekly meeting

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Vicky Beaney leads Eulogy!'s weekly agency meeting

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Snacks and bevies to "wine" down the week

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DiGennaro Communications Forms Partnership with London-based Eulogy

DiGennaro opened its doors in Manhattan some six years ago, methodically building a practice that makes us the go-to B2B PR shop among advertising and marketing firms. This week, we took a leap across the pond, solidifying our strategic partnership with London-based PR shop Eulogy to offer best-in-class communications for the ad-marketing space, as PRWeek reported. The full announcement can be viewed here.

WPP companies MEC and The Brand Union are the foundation for this expansion because both are multinational marketing agencies with a London presence. We just want say thank you to all of our clients and to the dedicated staff on both sides of the Atlantic, who made this possible.

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