Young Professional Series: Anton Perreau


For this young professional interview, we’ve added a little twist. Anton lives and works in London, so this is our international edition! I met Anton as an undergrad at San Diego State where he completed part of his degree. We met at a PRSSA event and became friends immediately. Following his time at SDSU, Anton continued living in Southern California to to fulfill an internship with LEWIS PR in San Diego, after which he returned to London Photo 01-12-2012 03 50 31 PMto finish his degree while working for a British PR agency. Personally, I’m hoping that some American will sweep him off his feet so he comes back to the U.S. and I’ll have my friend back 🙂

Now, to the interview:

Tell me a little about your current position?

I currently work as a Senior Account Executive for Battenhall – we’re a Brand Communications agency consisting of around eight people, founded as a start-up by Drew Benvie, former UK CEO of Hotwire and founder of 33 Digital. I work with emerging and global brands to help them engage with influencers and journalists alike.

What drew you to a career in public relations?

I enjoy bringing my own ideas to life, and I have some pretty whacky ideas – PR enables me to work whilst channeling all these ideas into creative projects. I’m a big fan of reading and writing, two very important elements of the communications world.

I also love connecting people – not like a matchmaker, but to show people amazing companies, doing cool stuff and, in turn, to learn what people really want from that lovemark brand. I guess to add to all this stuff, I’ve developed a knack of accurately and concisely getting a point across, the way we use words, connotations, sentences and grammar is the most important way to communicate, that actually excites me. What a dork I am…whatever.

How did your time in the US help your career?

Most basically, it’s a conversation starter – it gets a foot in the door and international companies like the idea that someone knows colourful new things about the world around them.

Working and studying in different countries evidently shows that you’ve been exposed to cultural differences as well as the complex bureaucratic procedures around the world – this matters in the world of work. It’s also character building, I know I developed a lot as a person since I moved to the USA with no perspective, local friends or definite plan.

Being a well-rounded individual shows potential employers and clients that you have the ability to ‘make do’ in difficult situations, independently, and come back with solutions not problems.

What are some of the differences between working in the UK and US?

The first thing is the media: It turns out that many verticals are much more over-saturated in the US than the UK – this doesn’t mean they’re more receptive to your pitch though.

America is very geo-centric, what i mean is that in the UK all or most of our work is based around national campaigns and projects, after all our population is barely 63 million – a fifth the size of the USA. In the US however, much of the work we did focused on Southern California.

The last, and most important difference is general hours, American’s work long hours and take short vacations, in the UK our working day usually starts around 9:00am and finishes around 5:30pm. it’s also perfectly normal for people in the UK to take two or three weeks off work to go abroad each year.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to fellow new pros?

Be that kid in the office or classroom that DOES stuff – small or big, it doesn’t matter if you fail, they’re not called ‘challenges’ for nothing. Failure is the best ingredient for your greatest success. Turn every ‘what if’ into something you actually DID and if it takes under two minutes, do it now.

Keep up with Anton on Twitter or learn more about him here!

PRSA Interview


UnknownEach month PRSA San Diego interviews one of its members to be featured on its website and share about their professional experience. This month, I was lucky enough to be asked to participate and had the opportunity to share more about my experience with the research side of public relations.

Check out my interview here.

My Jet-Setting Wallet


On March 10, I was flying home from Miami where I attended the International Public Relations Research Conference. I was tired and hungry, so I decided to order some food. I gave the American Airlines flight attendant my credit card and then put it back in my wallet when she returned it. At that point, I believe I left my wallet on my lap, unable to maneuver around my food, drink and tray table to return it safely to my purse. After my sandwich, I took a nap and woke up in San Diego. I didn’t think about my wallet until the next morning when I was getting ready for work and panic set in. I knew exactly what happened.

Over the next few weeks I made a lot of calls and online requests to the lost and found and baggage claim at Lindbergh Field and Dallas Fort Worth (where my plane had headed back to). Also, like any PR practitioner I know, I tweeted about it and included American Airlines’ handle. Now, let me tell you, the social media team at AA is awesome (or they were to me). They responded immediately and made me feel like someone was doing something to help.

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 11.32.23 AM

And then the DM conversation went like this…

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 11.22.15 AM

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 11.22.27 AM

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 11.22.41 AM

Weeks passed by and I replaced my credit cards and driver’s license and lost hope of ever seeing my wallet again. But, I felt like my concerns were heard and I didn’t harbor any feelings of ill will toward AA. I mean, it wasn’t their fault I left my wallet behind and they did try to locate it. Then, on Tuesday (as in 50 days later), I received a package in the mail from AA. It was my wallet and a handwritten note from Mac in baggage claim at DFW: “Please call me when you get this.” My gift cards were stolen, but most everything else was intact. I let Mac know and of course, I tweeted about it. And of course, AA replied.

Screen shot 2013-05-01 at 11.38.02 AM

I’m moving…to Texas


Some of you may already know, but I have decided to pursue a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. They have a great mass communications program that I’m confident will prepare me for a career in academia. My ultimate goal is to teach and do research in public relations at a four-year university, and I think I’ve always known I’d be Dr. Lee someday.

I'll be a Red Raider for a few years, but you know I'm an Aztec for life :)

I’ll be a Red Raider for a few years, but you know I’m an Aztec for life 🙂

Choosing a doctoral program was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and my huge spreadsheet of pros and cons wasn’t much help. All of the programs I looked at are great and someone else with the same options I had may have chosen differently. I went with what was best for me in terms of faculty, resources, research and teaching opportunities. However, on top of the practical considerations, the people that I will spend the next three years with really sealed the deal.

Tech had me come visit a few weeks ago and every single person that I have interacted with, student, faculty or staff, was incredibly helpful and welcoming. Plus, their facilities are amazing. I probably won’t use the eye tracking machines or physiology lab, but the high-tech focus group room and office with a view got my attention. However, Blake and I have been joking around about the crazy research projects we can do in the labs when she visits. Any suggestions on that?

College of Media and Communication building

College of Media and Communication building

While the program is a great fit, Lubbock will be harder to get used to. There is more there than I realized and university towns tend to foster creativity and forward thinking, but it still isn’t San Diego. There’s no ocean or city-wide recycling program, the shopping isn’t great, and everyone drives big trucks while talking on cell phones. I’ll be leaving my family, Blake and Whitney, and other friends, but luckily, I have an amazing partner by my side to navigate this adventure with. My boyfriend, Paul, and I, and our cocker spaniel, Tiger, will be moving in August. Trust me, we’ll only be in Texas for three years.

A Recap of IPRRC


Last week, I ventured to Miami for the second year in a row to present research at the International Public Relations Research Conference. IPRRC brings practitioners and academics together in order to share and advance the latest PR research. Unlike other conferences, IPRRC is made up of informal roundtable sessions where the presenters can share their research, then discuss it with a fairly small group of people. This facilitates conversation among practitioners, faculty and grad students and often leads to new ideas and collaborations.

SDSU had a great group of representatives in Miami!

SDSU had a great group of representatives in Miami!

With three very full days of presentations, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got to my own presentation (the very last session!). Luckily, it’s a very positive environment and there didn’t seem to be any judgment as I tripped over my words a few times. In fact, everyone was very kind and encouraging, just like they were last year.

IPRRC really has something for everyone in PR, as you can see in the program. If you are a practitioner, you are sure to find presentations relevant to your practice. If you are an academic, you are sure to find presentations relevant to your research interests. Right now, I’m both, and I found both.

Social media was one of the most popular research topics. From best practices to ethics to creating dialogue to measurement, there was a ton of discussion about social media. My paper was also related to social media, but focused on new PR professionals and why they are often the ones to take on social media tasks. If the topic interests you, go read my thesis! Haha… I know that won’t happen, but if you want a shortened version, I’d be happy to chat about it!

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

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!