Posts Tagged ‘clients’


K.I.S.S. Unplugged

Friday, November 12th, 2010

by Rich Gallitelli*

Although it would be interesting to hear songs from the album “Destroyer” acoustically, I am talking about the acronym, not the band:  K.I.S.S., “Keep It Simple Stupid” or “Keep It Short and Simple.” My BurrellesLuce colleague, Cathy Del Colle recommends this principal to our team and clients each day. However, K.I.S.S. hasn’t quite effectively crept into all parts of our everyday lives…

Flickr Image Source: ryantron

Flickr Image Source: ryantron

I attended a luncheon, this past September, hosted by the Publicity Club of New York. The panel consisted of five senior TV producers/reporters who cover business news, all providing insight for PR professionals on effectively pitching their ideas.  All five panelists essentially preached the same mantra “You have to get your pitch across within the first three sentences of your email; otherwise, the email is deleted.”  Yes, three sentences. For a novice like me, that was an eye opener.

Afterwards, I began to realize that the essence of that statement has pretty much defined how we now interact as a society. Real time news – or more precisely, “today’s news yesterday” – TV shows with 45 second scenes, initialisms and acronyms, and our inner most thoughts in 140 characters or less are just a few of many examples. We also have a host of devices and websites such as Twitter, Facebook, video games, Droids, iPods, and iPad all designed to help keep connecting simple. When was the last time you went to a conference or even a coffee shop without seeing people typing away on their BlackBerries? Even the world of sports, once the cradle for colorful nicknames, has also fallen victim to our need for “simplicity.” The Yankee Clipper, Earl the Pearl, Larry Legend, and Magic, have given way to the mundane A-Rod¸ D-Wade, and T.O.  And we won’t even begin to discuss what our teachers have to deal with, while grading papers in the advent of the texting era.

Has our appetite for instant access and gratification been borne out of a lack of creativity or are we so plugged into technology that we simply do not have the time to use our creativity? In other words, has our need to “Keep it Simple” gone to the extreme and become counter-intuitive? (If you need any more evidence, I have two words: Speed Dating!) So where is the balance?

A group of researchers from the University of Stanford performed a study that found “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”

After putting about 100 students through a series of three tests, the researchers realized the heavy multitaskers are paying a big mental price.

“’They’re suckers for irrelevancy, said communication Professor Clifford Nass, one of the researchers whose findings are published in the Aug. 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ‘Everything distracts them.’” 

In each test, the light multitaskers out performed the heavy multitaskers. “’When they’re in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they’re not able to filter out what’s not relevant to their current goal,’ said Anthony Wagner, an associate professor of psychology. ‘That failure to filter means they’re slowed down by that irrelevant information.’”

In short, the human brain is not designed to multitask and hold all that information. When interviewed for this BurrellesLuce newsletter, Carol Schiro Greenwald of Greenwald Consulting, who was not involved in the study, explained: “We can’t multitask because the brain isn’t set up that way. It is set up to think in logical order, from general to specific. If you stop doing something in the middle — Think about when you start doing it again. You have to go back to the beginning.”

So while I am not advocating we become inefficient while on the job, I am advocating a re-evaluation of “Simple.” Perhaps it is a matter of unplugging from the world and our “need for now” while at home. In essence, apply the K.I.S.S. method at times when we are not on vacation, even if it is only for just an evening or a weekend. This Saturday, do not tweet that you are brushing your teeth, even if your dentist is following you on Twitter. Take a drive or a walk. Visit your parents, or a relative you haven’t seen in awhile. They will thank you for it and so will your eyes and brain. (Just don’t use the word decompress, it sounds so decompressing.) After all, life goes by in a blink and it’s much sadder if you haven’t noticed a tree until you are 65.

We may need information now and have the technology to get it; but, let’s face it, sometimes what we think will simplify things only makes it more complicated. But don’t worry. Monday morning, it’ll all come flooding back to you – the LOLing, the the multitasking, real-time news, etc – the moment you walk out the front door, or more precisely when you begin your morning commute. 

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*Bio: Richard Gallitelli brought a wealth of sales and customer-service experience when he came to BurrellesLuce in 2007. His outstanding performance as a sales associate and personalized shopper for Neiman Marcus (he also has worked for Nordstrom) earned him a nomination by Boston magazine as “Best of Boston” sales associate for high-end retail fashion stores. Rich’s talents also won him praise and a profile in the book, “What Customers Like About You: Adding Emotional Value for Service Excellence and Competitive Advantage,” written by best-selling business author Dr. David Freemantle. Rich majored in English Literature at William Paterson University, and is a published poet and short-story writer. Facebook: BurrellesLuce Twitter: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce

Tips for Improving Your Office Attitude!

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

by Jennifer Shtutman*

Smiling business people standing togetherWith the weather drawing colder and the days turning darker, it is clear the yearly phenomenon of the winter doldrums are setting in. People seem to be grouchier and the coffee isn’t working as well as it seemed to just two warm months ago.  With the layering of clothing, there also seems to be a layering of “attitude.” Like yawning, negative attitudes are certainly contagious. Personally, I have noticed that when I have a positive attitude it changes the attitudes of those around me.  

With these thoughts in mind, I have devised several ways that you too can be as “cheery” as possible through the next cold months:  

1. Bring in a box of goodies or a reasonably “healthy” sweet treat. This is one happiness inducer I always found that works on my team. Picking up some munchkins from Dunkin Donuts, for example, is inexpensive and low-maintenance; while at the same time can be a happy surprise for unexpected colleagues.  The treats are sweet enough to give a sugar boost, yet small enough not to cause guilt on our waistlines. 

2. Share positive feedback from clients. When someone gets a really great kudos, or congratulations on a good job, it is nice to show others that our hard work does not go unappreciated day in and day out. Sharing these feelings of good sentiment from our clients can be a great esteem boost for those around us. 

3. Develop an office support system. Whether you’re working in marketing, advertising, public relations or some other industry, developing relationships with team members can minimize stress and lets you know that those around you understand what you are going through.

4. Re-decorate!  Adding new flare and panache to your personal office space can help lift your spirits on those down and out days. Include photos of friends, family, and those people close to you who make you feel great inside. 

5. Place a candy bowl on your desk. This is one of my favorite ways to let my co-workers know I am  approachable, and that they can take snack break when needed. 

6. Keep your personal space organized and clean. You’ll feel as though you are more in control. Employees can gain an easy sense of satisfaction by keeping their things in order. Enhanced confidence and motivation will also stem from this simple change. 

7. Make friends at the office. It has been proven that the happiest people are those who can count on their colleagues as their friends. Finding people at the workplace, who you have a connection with, can really make a difference in your day to day experiences. Ask coworkers about their evenings and weekend plans, also about their families and life outside the office. Catching up on everyday life can lift spirits and help you look forward to coming to work.  Support through your coworkers can make anyone feel better!

As the winter months approach, what things do you do that enhance your day to day activities at the office?  How do you keep from layering on the attitude?  Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

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*Bio: Jennifer Shtutman has been an Account Manager with the BurrellesLuce client services team since 2007.  She is passionate about all things media and enjoys hearing about the latest trends and technologies in our business.  Jenn is an avid writer and editor for the Fordham University academic journal, Perspectives, and is currently working towards her master’s from Fordham University. What she most enjoys about her profession is that she is in the business of keeping people happy. “I am all about maintaining a positive relationship with my clients, and helping them gain the most out of what BurrellesLuce has to offer.” Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Jennifer Shtutman Twitter: @BurrellesLuce

The PR Intern Who Pitched the Media

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Kion Sanders is a recent communications and public relations graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the former Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) national vice president of chapter development and a current member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Recently, he officially started his career in Cleveland, OH as an account associate for Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations.

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As a student, I was fortunate to have internships that provided me with pitching responsibilities. One of the major roles of entry-level PR professionals is building and maintaining relationships with media representatives. My relevant experience made the transition from student to professional that much smoother because I was properly prepared for future responsibilities.

A model from the Nicholas Lindsey Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show

A model from the Nicholas Lindsey Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Show. (Image Rights: Nicholas Lindsey Brand)

 A few weeks ago, I concluded my post-graduation internship with Weber Shandwick – a global public relations agency. As a consumer brands intern, one of my major responsibilities was pitching the media on behalf of clients I represented. I was able to practice everything from writing and distributing pitch e-mails, using social media tools to engage my targeted journalists, the proper way to pitch bloggers and of course, jumping on the phones to tell my client’s story.

This experience prepared me for one of my most challenging roles to date – serving as a PR manager for a Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show. Nicholas Lindsey, a brand designer and one of my fellow PRSSA graduates, was in need of last-minute PR support for one of the biggest shows of his life. Immediately, I jumped at the opportunity; it was a great way to help a friend in need and a way to practice what I learned from my internship.

As PR manager for the show, my main responsibility was media relations. On show day, I had journalists present from Essence Magazine, NBC Universal and fashion bloggers from around the country, including an NYC Fashion Examiner. To solidify these high profile media representatives, I used everything I learned from my internship, especially social media for media relations purposes. My wonderful PR agency allowing me to pitch as an intern led to something I am very proud of – my first national magazine placement: NYFW Designer Q/A: Nicholas Clements-Lindsey.

To answer Tressa Robbins’ question, posted on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog, “Should PR Interns Pitch the Media?” … YES, they should – I am a living example of how it can prepare interns for the “real world.” In fact, I recently accepted a full-time position with Fahlgren Mortine Public Relations where I … pitch the media on behalf of clients.

Giving the valuable experience interns can learn from pitching, can you think of any reasons why they shouldn’t? 

Email Etiquette: 4 Quick Tips for Keeping Your Cool

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Denise Giacin*

Email_Frustration: Tips We’ve all had moments of frustration when emailing back and forth with clients and colleagues. You know the situation… You’re working diligently at your desk when into your inbox comes an email that drives you up the wall. You want to throw your computer out the window but instead you grunt, maybe even bang your mouse on the table. Then you start typing an email with such ferocity that your co-worker down the hall can hear your keyboard clacking.

(Are your emails sending the wrong message? Check out this post from my BurrellesLuce colleague Lauren Shapiro.)

Before you send a message you’ll regret, here are 4 Quick Tips for coming across nicely in your emails:

Avoid using phrases such as “I told you this already but” or “I thought my email was clear” when you are going back and forth with someone in an email. This may seem harmless enough at first glance, but you’re basically saying “Hey dummy, don’t you get it?” In my opinion, if you feel like saying this in your email, it’s time to pick up the phone. There is obviously a disconnect in your email conversation and a quick phone call could help clear things up.  

Do not set up your emails so the other person feels like they have to be defensive when they respond to you.  Even if your client or colleague has asked you the same question 100 times, keep in mind that you might not be explaining yourself as clearly as you think. Again, this is where a phone call to the person could prove more beneficial than an email exchange.

Avoid over-punctuation (e.g., “!!!!!!!!!!!” or “???????????”) in your emails. This absolutely conveys irritability. Unless you’re using it to show excitement in a positive way such as, “Great article in the New York Times today!!!!!!” over use of punctuation isn’t necessary and comes across as rude.

Limit the use of emoticons. I think one of the misconceptions with emoticons is that they erase any negativity or sarcasm in an email. My rule of thumb: unless the message is positive, don’t use a happy face.

  • Appropriate: “I know this can be very confusing, but I’m happy to help. [smiley face]”
  • Inappropriate: “I don’t know why you’re having issues with the system. It takes my other clients a lot less instruction to learn!!!! [smiley face]”

The “inappropriate” example is a culmination of everything I’ve advised against. This is definitely NOT how you want to respond.

What are some ways you convey niceness in an email when all you want to do is scream? Have you ever received a nasty email and if so, how did you react? 

*Bio: Prior to joining the BurrellesLuce Client Service team in 2008, Denise worked in the marketing industry for three years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Connecticut, where she gained experience interning in PR and working for student organizations. By engaging readers on the Fresh Ideas blog Denise hopes to further her understanding of client needs. In her spare time, she is passionate about Team in Training (The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s charity sports training program) and baking cupcakes. Her claim to fame: red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. LinkedIn: dgiacin Twitter: @denise10283 Facebook: BurrellesLuce

Sales + Everyone = Success

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Valerie Simon

How do you get everyone – from your maintenance team to your CEO – participating in the sales process? During a special Twitter chat last Wednesday evening, Heather Whaling and Justin Goldsborough, co-moderators of Twitter’s #PR20Chat, and Beth Harte and Anna Barcelos, leaders of #imcchat asked this question to more than 100 participants. 

Here are a few takeaways every business should consider.Teamwork

Top down and bottom up, goals must be aligned.

AdamSuffolkU:  First step, make sure goals are aligned and input is asked/received from all-bottom on up

SuperDu:  It starts w/ CEO creating top-line strategic plan. ALL divisional plans & emp. objectives feed into that one plan

 jeffespo:  It should be the trickle up effect. Everyone knows the brand and wants to sell it and make more money.

Create a customer-centric team environment

BethHarte: If all employees understand the customer is #1, they will all work to make sure they work hard from top to bottom

LoisMarketing:  Communicate successes and celebrate at all levels. Make all staff aware of “wins,” new clients. Sincere appreciation. 

Transform employees into evangelists

kimbrater:  It’s more than the sales process, everyone has to internalize +evangelize the brand in order to sell it.

CASUDI:  everyone has to be in love with, believe in the product ~ everyone will have the desire to sell

IABCDetroit: Engage employees thru educational, relevant communications so they’re empowered to relay company message, align w/ company goals

Everyone can have an impact on sales

BethHarte: Sales starts the minute someone walks through the front door. Better hope the receptionist isn’t cranky/mean

rpulvino:  Everyone in the company is involved in sales in some way. Employees are the most important spokespeople for an organization.

And my respond: ValerieSimon: Education. When you take pride in, and understand your organizations strengths, you’re compelled to share the story!

Beyond 140 characters, I’d also emphasize that a strong and positive corporate culture is an investment that will not only pay off in increased productivity but sales. As I’ve mentioned before, I am a firm believer that everyone in an organization, regardless of title or department, should consider themselves a part of the sales team. Here are some ways organization can provides the training and follow-through to make the most of this extended sales force:

  • Make certain that ALL employees are educated on your products or services and the benefits of these services to your clients and customers.
  • Keep employees updated with a daily report of news for and about your organization, the competitors and the marketplace.
  • Create a simple process whereby all employees can easily submit referrals through to the sales team to close.
  • Share success stories. Recognize and reward those who are referring business, as well as the teamwork with sales that helped to win the new business.

Do you consider yourself a part of your organization’s sales efforts? What does your company do to harness the sales power of all your employees? Please share your thought with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.