Ad-Ventures with Instagram Video


I’m pretty sure you’ve heard by now that Instagram now supports video clips…if not, well, they do, update your app. Of course when the news broke I was at work – but, plus side of working in social media at a super fun company? You immediately spend an hour making silly videos and then writing a blog post about it…

Just a few weeks ago Vine announced their move to Android and witnessed the sharing of its videos on Twitter surpass shares of tweets linking to Instagram (2.86 million vs. 2.17 million)…Read more over at Red Door Interactive.

IG video

Book Review: The Power of Habit


Since starting grad school, I haven’t read for pleasure much, but this summer had granted me some much appreciated free time and my boyfriend recommended I read “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg. After he shared a bit of what it was about, I knew he was right.

etc_stack12__01inline__202The book somehow blends marketing, sociology and self-help seamlessly into a series of interconnected stories and anecdotes that make this book impossible to put down. Duhigg discusses habits of individuals, organizations and societies. He explains where habits come from, the components of a habit and how to reform them. While the book itself is easy to read, my academic side was satisfied with the abundance of citations! I feel like Duhigg really did his research and if I questioned any of his statements, I could easily flip back and see where he got his information.

Understanding habits isn’t only useful on a personal level (and trust me, you will see habits in every part of your life after this book), but it is also useful for communicators. Duhigg provides helpful insights about how people make decisions, and shares several case studies about how companies use this information.

Staying Motivated at Work


Get Back To Work

Nobody likes to admit it, but there are sometimes moments in an office job when you just aren’t motivated. I’m not talking about days on end (because then maybe you should look for a new job), I’m talking about that afternoon lull where you just don’t feel like working or you are in the middle of a project that doesn’t particularly interest you. It doesn’t mean that you are a horrible employee or hate your job, it just means you need a little boost to help you feel refreshed, motivated and inspired. Here’s what we came up with or have learned from others to help us get the work churning out again:

  1. Mix it up. If you have more than one project you are working on, try going back and forth between things to keep it fresh and to avoid getting bored filling out that content calendar. But, don’t go too crazy switching around, remember that your output needs some consistency.
  2. Change scenery. Sometimes a change of location is just what you need for inspiration. If your work allows it, try working from the coffee shop down the street, outside, or even the conference room. It might help jolt you out of that “blah” you’re feeling.
  3. Take a break. It probably depends on your office rules and culture, but there’s nothing wrong with getting up to stretch, taking a walk to grab coffee or even distracting yourself for a few minutes with some personal Facebook time, online shopping, or my personal favorite, BuzzFeed.
  4. Chat with a coworker/peer. We’ve all hit the afternoon hum-drum so talk it out with someone! Turn to the person next to you or even open up an IM system and (depending on the work at hand) ask for a bit of help, talk about different strategies, or simply ask about their weekend plans. Sometimes, us communicators need to remember to communicate!
  5. Challenge yourself. Maybe this won’t work for all tasks, but for a lot of things we do on a regular basis, we get used to the status quo. Press releases, social media posts, media pitches, etc. can all become formulaic if you let them. Challenge yourself to try something new, be creative and try to make the best _______ you ever have.

I feel like these apply to writing lit reviews or grading papers, too. Any other tricks we should know about?

The Hiring Scale…


So, numero UNO on a lot of New Year’s resolutions lists is: FIND A NEW JOB! Right? It’s not that we don’t all like the jobs we’re at, but everyone wants “big-girl-jobs.” No, a “big-girl-job” has nothing to do with the teeeeny bit of blubber we added over the holiday season, instead a “big-girl-job” is one that has CAREER potential. Somewhere that we love working at and in return they give us health bennies (I mean as of last week, Nicole and I are BOTH in the 25-club, which means 1 more year – or less – until we’re flying solo with healthcare).

Anyway, after that long segue, right around Jan. 1st, I saw a Tweet touting the “Hiring Scale” by WANTEDAnalytics. As it was a slow night Internet-stalking people, I decided to give it a go. The tool immediately calls itself “the fastest way to fill or find a job.” Yes, I am sure there is some puffery afloat, but obviously I’m now expecting results and I will be CMO somewhere quite soon. If you’re expecting some rigorous application process, never fear, you’re only a measly seven steps away from the perfect career.

Hiring Scale

Step 1: Fill in your Keyword (MARKETING for me) and your ideal location (SAN DIEGO)

Step 2: The Hiring Scale will tell you if you should expect your job search to be harder or easier than the national average (suck it, I’m on the easy-street to CMO – told ya!)Hiring Scale 2

Step 3: Find out your competition and opportunities

Step 4: Review your options (basically all those jobs you’ve seen out there already)Hiring Scale 3

Step 5: See your proposed salary expectations vs. the National average (so, I shouldn’t be expecting anything less than $63,000 – HA)

Step 6: See all the companies that have just hired somebody for the position you’re looking for. Awesome, Qualcomm just hired someone – why are you rubbing it in my face?Hiring Scale 4

Step 7: Go to all those places you were already looking for jobs an apply to something

Yup. This is what happens when you’re desperate to get ahead and LOVE online surveys….you get nada…nada damn thing. I’ll end this post with a hearty, GOOD LUCK to all you job searchers out there and please share any job seeking pitfalls that you have run into!

Giving Back to Your Profession


The holidays are supposed to be a season of giving and that is something we really saw at Minglebells San Diego. Minglebells is a huge networking event/holiday party where all types of communication professionals in San Diego get together and have a good time, and yes, we had a great time. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones, but one new friend really stood out. Her name is Carmella and she is the president of the San Diego Ad Club.

Nicole's big raffle win.

Nicole’s big raffle win.

Carmella likely knew 75 percent of the people in the room (or so we’re guessing), but she took the time to connect with us in a very genuine and helpful manner. She recognized us as young professionals and asked us something that any new professional would want to hear, but may be afraid to ask. “Is there anyone you want to meet?” Sure the chance to be introduced to any of the well-connected professionals that were mingling out there in the abyss was nice, but the fact that she asked was nicer.

We talked about that simple gesture on the way home and how we hope that later in our careers we remember how much something small like that means to a new professional, or someone changing careers, or new to town.

We both have amazing mentors that have helped us throughout our careers, but mentorship doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. It can be a simple word of advice, a strategy sesh over coffee, or an introduction. Is there anyone that has made an impact on your career that you would like to recognize this holiday season? Leave us a comment or connect with us on Twitter (our handles are over there, on the right, see ’em?)!

From the Field to Social Media, Chargers Fans Can’t Win


As if losing to the Broncos on the field wasn’t bad enough this past Sunday, Facebook has been particularly insensitive to Chargers fans this week. Fans of a particular sports team may seem like a great audience for brands to tap into (being known to be intensely brand-loyal), but like any group, it is vitally important to know what is important to them and be aware of what is going on in that subculture. A few brands failed miserably at this in the past week while trying to market to Chargers fans.

The first example comes from Sprinkles Cupcakes La Jolla (which I hate calling out because I love their cupcakes). Sprinkles often posts specials on Facebook where customers are given a certain password to say at checkout and they will receive a BOGO deal. You can see how that worked out for them this time…

Friday before a devastating loss on Sunday:

Monday after the devastating loss:

Now I was lucky enough to catch this “epic fail” before they deleted it. Yes, they simply deleted the post along with these scathing comments. And no, they didn’t do anything to right their wrong. A simple Google search would have told whomever runs their Facebook that the Chargers lost and that this post would upset fans, but even after the mistake, they had the opportunity to give away consolation cupcakes or SOMETHING (even one of the upset commenters had an idea of a new “password”)! But no, they just pretended that you can erase things from the Internet. Wrong.

The next example illustrates once again how stupid it is to schedule posts. The people over at Funky Garcia’s got lucky because apparently their fans have had enough margaritas to ignore the fact that this post popped up a day AFTER the big game. “Even if the Chargers lose” huh? Yea, we’d have no idea how that’d feel.

The final OOPSIE of the week goes straight to the Chargers fan page and their team store who is having a 15% off Black Friday sale. Now, if these people were remotely in-tune with their frustrated fans, it would be clear that this could have some negative backlash. It did. Enough so that UT San Diego covered it.

For sports fans, the successes and failures of their teams are a very real and important part of their lives. So, social media types, don’t be stupid. Know who you are talking to, and please, know what you are talking about.

Blake’s hacking note on Nicole’s post: Yes, this post had us reliving horrible Chargers game-day memories. But we have a love for our hometown-team. Even though Nicole is a Niners fan (if an NFL fan at all) we both enjoy game-day fun. Especially if it involves painting our faces! If you’re a diehard fan and will still be supporting the bolts this weekend at the Q, Tweet me at @blakedelhoyo, I’ll be there! #BoltUp

A Recap of Be Business Awesome


Despite being busy and poor, we’ve been trying to get out on the town to attend fun and informative events and expand our networks. Last week, we attended A Night at the Cotton Club at the San Diego Symphony and on Tuesday, we attended Be Business Awesome: An Evening With Scott Stratten (aka @Unmarketing). The Be Business Awesome Event was put on by Social Media Club San Diego and hosted by San Diego REP.

Going into the event, Blake had an idea of what to expect since she had listened to a couple of Scott’s webinars ( “The Business of UnAwesome: How to Avoid the Flipside of Awesome Business” &  “The Business of Awesome: How to Make Your Business Boom”) and already had his book,  The Book of Business Awesome sitting on her coffee table (even if it was unread). Nicole, on the other hand, was following Blake’s demand that we attend this event and had no idea what to expect.

After getting our complimentary drink, signed books, and forced Scott to get up and take a photo with us, we headed into the event. It was at this point that we noticed Scott was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and mandals that clearly said, “IDGAF” – we even had an intense Twitter debate about the mandals (see the Tweets below).

Here’s a few of our favorite takeaways, in both text and Tweet form:

  • Passion + Knowledge=Profit
  • The best way to improve your bottom line is through your frontline
  • Twitter is a conversation, not a dictation
  • Viral=unconditional sharing
  • Marketing is not a task
  • We don’t define our brand – our customers do
  • Hire based on personality, not only the “experience” on a resume (REJOICE fellow new professionals! Scott’s out there spreading the word!)
  • Ask customers & clients what your business should “Start, Stop, and Continue”
  • It would take 4,500,000 “pigeon craps” to damage a Smart Car’s tridion safety cell*

*Info taken from one of the webinars, see the infographic here

All in all it was a great night and we even got to see our good bud, Katie Rowland!

Must-Haves for New Pros


So, you are embarking on your journey as a PR or marketing professional. You have your education and business attire, but there are a few other things that every new professional must have. While none of these things are particularly expensive, if you don’t have the extra cash, tell mom and dad you’d like a new pro starter kit for Christmas. It’s one gift they’d probably be happy to give!

My handy dandy padfolio containing my generic business cards!

  1. Business cards. When you are first starting your career, there is a good chance you will move from internship to internship for a while. During this time, the organizations you work for probably won’t make business cards for you and if they do, they will be outdated as soon as you are on to your next position. Until you are settled with a company that you know you will stay with for a while, I suggest having some generic business cards made with your name, industry and contact information. There are plenty of online printers that make it cheap and easy like Vistaprint.
  2. A padfolio. These things are great for conferences, interviews and on the job. Great for keeping your resume, business cards, a pen and whatever else you may need all in one spot. Mine is similar to this one at Staples and it has had a ton of use in the last few years.
  3. Thank-you cards and stamps. Never under-estimate the power of a handwritten thank you. Always send a thank you note after an interview, informational interview, the end of an internship, or sometime someone just helps you out. Don’t wait until after one of these events to go buy thank you cards and stamps, keep them on hand (perhaps in your padfolio)! For interviews it is especially important to get your thank you delivered as soon as possible. Write that note in that in the car, stamp it and stick it in the mail before even going home. For the actual cards, you don’t have to spend a lot on them, it’s about the content, not how fancy the card is. I’ve even bought some at the Dollar Tree. My one suggestion is to buy ones that look professional and appropriate regardless of gender.

I’m sure there are other things, but I think these three are biggies. What is your favorite career accessory?

Random Business Acronyms


So, out and about in our semi-professional lives we have heard people spewing out random letters. We believe that most of these acronyms are made up by professionals in order to sound cool and important, rather than to actually serve a purpose. Regardless, when those around you are speaking what seems to be a different language, it can cause some confusion or the feeling that you are being left out.

Initially, when we heard or saw these random letters, our faces looked something like this:

Curiosity rather than necessity has driven us to look up some of these silly acronyms and others we figured out on our own. Here are some we’ve heard over the last few years that may help you out:

  • MOU – We’ve looked this up 5 times to remember while writing this blog…short and sweet it stands for Memorandum of Understanding. Still lost? So are we. Let’s dumb it down further. Wikipedia enlightens us with this description: “a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties.” Glad we cleared that up.
  • EOD – “The delivery is expected by EOD.” Hhmmm, does this indicate a time or location? Not to worry, we’re here to help, your package will get to you by the End of Day.
  • COB – Kind of like EOD, you can tell this is a point in time because when you see COB, it is usually in an email that says, “I need this by COB” (yummmm, corn?). Those context clues should help you out, but just in case, COB=close of business.
  • Random “J” in emails – Oh yes, finally, that perfect employee made a typo on their email! Nope, yet again she’s perfect and sending you a smiley-face to “emphasize” her point (some email systems would turn the smileys into this awkward J so many people have simply reverted to inserting the letter)…damn her 🙂   J
  • TB – Oh, here’s one that sounds familiar! I’ve definitely heard TB before… Oh wait, they couldn’t possibly mean tuberculosis. Nope, TB is not the disease. So, if your manager says she wants to “TB” you have nothing to fear. She just means she wants to have a chat or get an update on something, but likes to say it in a cooler biz jargon way therefore she uses “touch base”.
  • KPI – “Let’s get those KPIs up or we may lose that client!” WTF?!?!? I’m going to lose a client based on something I don’t even understand! Well, they’re Key Performance Indicators, so get those metrics up and keep your new-professional job!
  • OOO – You will see this in an email or automatic reply that says something like, “I’ll be OOO Friday.” Sounds like a good time right? It could be, but it just means out of office.
  • V/R – This one is a formal email signature meaning “very respectfully”. They may respect you, but you aren’t tight enough to get a “thanks”, “take care” or even the semi-stuffy, “best”. They couldn’t at least write it out?

Now that we’re all on the same page we’ll TTYL!

Getting Your MBA


My cap (and yes, I’m still available for hire)!

Some of the first feedback I recieved when I started telling people that I was trying to go back to school to get my MBA was: “You won’t get in”… “You need real-world experience”… “Without work experience more schooling is pointless”… “That’ll be a lot of money.”

When first trying to put pen to paper (or keys to online medium) regarding the topic “why go back to business school” I couldn’t think of anything. I knew my reasons but I know people have different reasons for going back to get their MBA at different points in their lives. So, to ensure I got the full spectrum I decided to ask a few of my fellow classmates.

Our reasons span the following for pursuing our MBAs

  • Hiding out from the recession
  • Networking
  • Opening up employment opportunities
  • Because we intrinsically wanted it

Below is some of the feedback I received from my fellow MBAers:

“I had finished my degree in psychology and realized I did not want to go into counseling or research. I decided that the best way to apply the skills from psychology to the real world was to go into business and that an MBA would be the best way to break into the field.” – Jason Hebert

Bret Fredrickson was the victim of company downsizing and had found himself unemployed. He saw his options as, “Spend[ing] my time writing countless cover letters or study for a test that to this day still makes me nauseous to think about (the GMAT).” Asking Bret about how he felt about his SDSU MBA program, he responded that it has, “opened a lot of doors that otherwise would have been shut… I met a lot of great people and heard a lot of inspiring stories that lit a fire under me. I gained a deeper understanding of the gray areas in business, and acquired the confidence needed to be direct, open, and to lead successfully. An MBA isn’t for everyone, and in no way is it more advantageous than actually running a business, but for me, it was a segue that launched an array of opportunities.” Bret gained an entrepreneurial attitude and Co-Founded SoftSkate a skateboard grip tape alternative company. Follow Bret’s upcoming endeavors on Twitter!

John McMillan, known lovingly as ‘Johnny Mac’ in our program (and as the kid that doesn’t wear shoes) thought that gaining an MBA would give his resume a competitive edge and land him a killer job. What he found was “the drive to start [his] own business, because who likes making money for someone else?” John also credits the program with expanding his professional network through his, “excessive involvement with competitions and business organizations that will truly help [him] succeed in the field of entrepreneurship. In the end it’s not what you know, it’s who you know that will make you successful!” – Seriously peeps, Johnny’s on the road to greatness with his enthusiasm so watch this kid!

Courtney Koscheka was also downsized out of a job and decided to seriously act on her lingering idea of heading back to get an MBA. When asked about how she felt about her situation she replied, “They seriously did me the biggest favor. I packed up my desk, called my mom on the way home, and went straight to the post office to get my application packets in the mail. Fast forward a few years later, and I’m now in a tremendous amount of debt and feel like I’m starting at square one in the work force, but I’ve made some of the most amazing friends a girl could ever ask for. In addition, not only have I made friends, I’ve added some amazingly talented and helpful people to my ‘network.'” Courtney is also a stellar blogger like Nicole and me, so make sure you check out her blog! To boot she has some interesting news about an emerging company!

Tara Taylor, Richa Saxena, Adrienne White, Meghann Reist Boyd, and Katie Lyons all indicated a mixture of a crappy economy, wanting to bolster their resumes, open new doors, explore new opportunities, and to meet new people as the reason they decided to get an MBA. (Be sure to follow what Meghann, Katie, and Courtney are collaborating on here!)

“I swore I’d never go back to school when I finished my undergrad. My 4 year undergrad degree was the most unguided 6 years of my life. I was fortunate to have good connections and landed a career building job and started working early, so I knew I could build on my work experience. . .Later on though I began to think differently. I realized I was fortunate enough to have good work experience, but it was difficult to “legitimize” that work experience. . . So I figured the MBA would help me meet new people, get exposure to other industries and skills, and add credibility to the skills I had already developed, plus work paid for some of it. So far I have been right; I have learned some stuff in classes, but the best value I have gotten out of my MBA is the people I have met and the exposure to new things that I would not have seen otherwise.” – Ross Bundy

“I did it…[for] the accomplishment of doing it for yourself. Everything else falls into place with determination, hard work and execution.” – Alex Henry 

“My mom got her master’s at SDSU when I was little; She had her diploma framed beautifully in her office and I always wanted the same thing. After working for about 5 years, I decided it was finally time to go back to school. It was a lot of long hours and hard work, but looking back it was a great experience and I now have the same beautiful diploma frame as my mom.” – Kari Evans

What we all got out of our experience was much of the same:

  • Meeting great and influential people. Not only each other (and we know we’ll all end up somewhere amazing) but incredible professors that inspired us.
  • Real world applications – our program was not just theoretical, and that’s essential for us trying to break into the different realms of businesses – we received a lot of applied instruction.
  • Finding our passion. Whether it be to create our own company (like Bret with SoftSkate or Courney, Katie , and Meghann with CKM Events) or discovering a facet in which you’re interested in (like me with marketing!).
  • Confidence. I tossed a post up on Facebook asking for help with this topic. I really expected some of these joksters to only write about the incredible debt we are in (which WAS mentioned) but the majority of the information was serious and EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. of them exuded the confidence that we will all become successful due to our obtaining our MBAs.

As a wrap-up. Every person I spoke with believes they received invaluable training in the 2 (often longer) years they spent (or are still spending) obtaining their MBAs. Besides the debt we are in, none of us would trade a second of our experience and education (well, I will say our capstone BA 795 was a bitch – more on that next week!).

Many of my classmates when we finally finished our MBAs! Obviously it was a tough road – illustrated by our glowing eyes.