Jun 10

In this case, ignorance is anything but bliss

I’m amazed at the number of resumes pouring in from recent college grads or students on SummerJobs vacation.

They’re hungry for jobs and have decided that, after some cursory research, Peppercom would be the ideal match for their talents, energy and aspirations.

That may be, but these college kids are a day late and a dollar short. Most, if not all, businesses finalized their Summer intern and junior hires months ago. We were all set in April.

I’m not sure why so many students and graduates continue to make this very basic mistake every year. It could be apathy on their part, poor guidance by their parents and professors, or some other combination of reasons.

Whatever the cause, the end result is the same. They find few, if any, job opportunities.

Job market ignorance sends a strong, subliminal message to prospective employers: we wonder how prepared these students are for the real world? If they don’t take the time and initiative to learn how and when most firms begin their interview process for Summer/full-time employment, how likely are they to hit the ground running?

So, here’s an assignment for next Spring’s graduating class: start your job research now. Narrow your employers’ list by the Fall. Schedule interviews over the Winter holidays and push hard for a commitment by Spring. Demonstrating knowledge of the hiring process is a small, but important, part of shaping your own image and ensuring a successful job search.

Jun 09

Variations on a theme

What would happen to a public relations firm if they kept providing the same solution over and over? For that matter, what would happen to any company that kept re-cycling the same old, same old?Comedy_2

Answer: they’d lose clients.

So, how do actors such as Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Steve Carell and Mike Myers keep getting away with it? And, how does Hollywood, in general, keep getting away with it?

Myers did breakthrough work with the first Austin Powers movie. But, since then? Ugh. Now, I’m seeing billboards for yet another 1960s-themed flick from Myers. This one is The Love Guru and is obviously based on the exploits of the late, and not-so-great, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Can’t these guys come up with something better?

Carell, meanwhile, is in a re-make of ‘Get Smart.‘ Gee, that sounds riveting. For his part, Ferrell re-cycles the same basic character in movies covering ice hockey, basketball, weddings and god knows what else. But, new? Original? Nope. Not from Ferrell. And, not from this group. And, yet, Myers, Stiller, et al, are the leading lights of the Hollywood comedy genre.

It’s sad that they consistently re-cycle mediocre content. It’s sadder still that Americans accept such mediocrity.

So, here’s my question: the business world won’t accept re-cycled drivel. And, Hollywood’s a big business. So, why are they the exception to the rule?

Jun 05

PR Pros may have access to C-suite, but their digital message isn’t getting through

USC’s Annenberg School for Communication’s GAP V survey is a timely and helpful measurementCsuite_2
substantiating PR’s rising importance within the corporate infrastructure. The main findings show that 64 percent of the 520 senior corporate communications respondents report directly to the C-suite. As a result, they are more likely to have more resources than those who don’t. OK, so far, so good.

Jerry Swerling, who heads the school’s PR studies program, says the question is no longer whether or not PR has a seat at the table, but what to do with it. No argument with that point either.

But, here’s where the Annenberg findings fall short. We’ve participated in two recent (and fairly extensive) surveys of PR pros. Both showed a huge ‘digital’ gap between the PR/communications function and the C-suite. In fact, PR pros are incredibly frustrated about the C-suite’s lack of understanding and support of digital. Respondents to our survey overwhelmingly ‘get’ digital’s importance, but cannot get the C-suite to get it. As a result, PR executives report little support to properly their fund digital initiatives.

I’m not suggesting there’s a gap in the Annenberg Gap V survey findings, but I’d love to see next year’s Gap VI probe more deeply into what I see as one of the biggest, and least well understood, pain points facing PR pros today.

Jun 04

Where’s Eliot Spitzer when you really need him?

Well, here’s another sure sign of a recession: Nevada’s legal bordello business is down 25 to 45 percent.Mustang
Talk about performance issues.

George Flint, director of the Nevada Brothel Owners’ Association (and how does one get that gig, this blogger would like to know?) credits skyrocketing diesel fuel prices for the ‘business interruptus’, if you will.

Truckers are the big (ouch!) customers of places like the Wild Horse Adult Spa and Mustang Ranch. But, you can’t get there from here with diesel going for $4.50 a gallon.

So, here’s my solution. Put Eliot Spitzer back to work. Send him to Nevada as a goodwill ambassador. Maybe he publishes a Zagat’s style guide for patrons? What brothel wouldn’t want a ‘five Spitz’ rating? Or, how about the gov making personal appearances tied in to his upcoming blockbuster book, ‘I was client nine.’? Worst case scenario, Eliot ‘injects’ some much needed capital into the state’s flaccid economy by paying his usual $450 per hour (instead of rural Nevada’s going rate of $175 per).

Mr. Flint, I KNOW Mr. Spitzer is the answer to your woes. Mr. Spitzer, why not put all that down time to good use? After all, idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

Jun 03

If it was easy, we’d win all the time

New business pitches can be just like dating. Sometimes, it’s love at first sight and other times, its hellEasy_2
on earth.

But, as Marketing Consultant Robb High correctly points out, a romance is more likely to flower if you avoid some obvious mistakes.

We’ve committed some of these gaffes, and many others as well.

Recently, we did everything right and won a competitive pitch against large agencies. Then, we turned right around, violated every rule in the book, and handed a ‘sure’ thing to a competitor.

We were prepared for the first meeting. We’d rehearsed three times, relied on a few visual supports (but, no powerpoint) and made sure we could hit our proposal’s high points in 20 minutes or less. The end result was magic. We knew we’d nailed it as soon as the meeting concluded.

We were unprepared for the second opportunity. We didn’t rehearse, relied on an endless powerpoint presentation, brought the wrong ‘team’ to the pitch and allowed the conversation to meander.

Our crack Strategy Consultant Darryl Salerno listened to these two tales and advised us to be more judicious in the future. He suggested that when we do commit to pitching a piece of new business, we should go all out: that means rehearsing, assigning a team leader, staying away from dull powerpoints and choosing the appropriate account team.

Darryl’s advice, like High’s, may sound academic. But, the best and the brightest agencies often fumble when it comes to new business fundamentals.

Hey, if it was easy, we’d win all the time. But, what fun would that be?