5 Questions with SPPR featuring Ashley Hudson

This week we’re excited to welcome SPPR’s newest Senior Account Executive, Ashley Hudson, to the blog. Ashley joins Soda Pop PR with experience in design, architecture, and real estate public relations, and with a passion for strategic communication and how it can be applied to every industry.

Continue reading to learn more about Ashley’s advice to new PR professionals, what her perfect 24-hour food day would look like and where she would go on her dream vacation.

Ashley Hudson

1. In your opinion, what’s the best kept secret about LA?

LA’s food scene is slowly gaining greater recognition on a national and global scale, which typically includes our city’s Mexican, Korean and iconic American staples. However, access to consistent and locally-sourced farmer’s market ingredients has allowed for the recent burgeoning of fresh and thoughtful Italian eateries in Los Angeles and surprisingly, this has been flying under the radar.

I’ve been doing my best to eat my way through the Italian spots in my neighborhood on the Westside, so here are a few must-trys for the next time you’re out that way. Definitely book a reservation at Evan Funke’s, Felix, in Venice Beach and watch the master himself twist and roll fresh handmade pasta for dishes inspired by Italy’s various regions. Also, do not miss the house focaccia. Another great pasta eatery is the quaint, Forma, in Santa Monica. Forma specializes in their impressive cheese offering and charcuterie, but they have a few great pasta dishes that stay on the menu including the tortellini bathed in mushrooms, light cream, truffle oil then tossed in Bella Lodi cheese. Last but not least, make sure to check out Pizzana in Brentwood for a cozy #neoneopolitan pizza as they call it. It hits the spot for your true wood-fired pizza craving.

2. Describe your perfect food day from start to finish.

This is challenging to answer as there are so many great cuisines and it would depend entirely on my mood. I’ll go with an ideal food day in LA.

Although I’m not a morning person, I would have to wake up extra early so I could make sure to fit in all the must-haves in a 24-hour period. First, I would start the day off with a nutrition-packed smoothie to get my fruits and greens in right away. A couple hours later for breakfast part two, I would head to DTLA for an almond milk cappuccino from nice coffee and a croissant from Pitchoun. For lunch, I would go to my favorite empanada spot in West LA, Empanadas Place for their two empanada and salad special – I love empanadas. For dinner, it would be a toss-up between Korean BBQ in K-Town, Argentinean at Malbec in Santa Monica, or market-driven fare at MB Post in Manhattan Beach. I would finish this perfect day with the monkey bread dessert at Salt Air in Venice Beach. I’m full and happy just thinking about it.

3. If you had unlimited funds and two-weeks off, where would you go?

I would book the first flight to Oslo in October. I would spend the two weeks road-tripping through Norway, stopping to hike the Fjords, riding on dog sleds and staying in a bubble/igloo resort to see the majestic Northern Lights. If I had a couple extra days, I’d hop over to Iceland to dive the Silfra fissure where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and are drifting apart at about 2cm per year.

4. What advice do you have for college students hoping to have a career in public relations?

Stay curious and value relationships.

A career in PR requires an inherent curiosity, but as our field continues to evolve, PR professionals must stay curious in non-traditional ways. As digital continues to take command of the way we practice public relations, we must be curious and informed of the latest tactics and tools that build brand equity and meet the bottom line. We should also be curious outside the silo of public relations practice. Companies are starting to consolidate public relations, marketing, and advertising into teams of well-rounded generalists. If PR is where you want to specialize, it’s still important to understand the fundamentals and best practices of these different disciplines to be nimble and forward-thinking in your career.

At this stage in my own career, the most important lesson I have learned is the value of relationships. Every person you will come in contact with over the course of your career is important, especially when the success of our daily work as PR practitioners depends on the strength of our relationships with the media, the public, our colleagues, clients, influencers, etc. The more connected our world is, the more important it is to nurture authentic connections. I have found that to date, my most meaningful work has been done in partnership with those I have spent the time to build quality relationships with.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing publicists today?

I would say the biggest challenge facing publicists today is in educating clients about public relations practice and defining how it applies to them as the PR field steadily transforms. When clients understand the purpose and central value PR adds to their business, they are more inclined to work symbiotically with their publicists and provide essential resources to create something special.

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SPPR’s hiring! Account Executive

Soda Pop Public Relations, a boutique public relations shop specializing in the hospitality industry, is seeking an Account Executive who is interested in working as part of a team in a dynamic, growing company. Candidates need to be hard-working, creative, confident, and have a love for food and beverage brands. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assist account team in client management
  • Assist account team in day-to-day client work
  • Assist account team on client events, openings, launches, etc.
  • Co-manage influencer campaigns and reporting
  • Prepare agendas, briefs, and event recaps
  • Research trends, pitching
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Building and cultivating relationships with media and influencers
  • General office duties – we’re a small but might team and all pitch in!

What we are looking for…

  • Candidates should have 1-3 years at a PR agency or in-house
  • Candidate must enjoy working as part of (an awesome!) team
  • Strong relationships with media and influencers
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Social media savvy
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Experience in handling routine office tasks
  • Excellent people skills, attention to detail and amazing follow through
  • Preferably some experience working in the food, culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.

Links of the Week: Workplace Hacks You Didn’t Know You Needed

Company Culture. Positive Workplace. Healthy Snacks. These are just a few of our favorite things here at Soda Pop PR. We’ve done a lot of growing in 2017 and many different things have contributed to our growth (like the ones outlined above), but what really moved the needle for us was finding the balance of what our team needs to maintain creative momentum in the office. We swear by these five workplace habits that we adapted to improve the way we work and engage with each other. Give them a try! You’ll be thanking us later.

 

Devil Wears Prada photo.JPG(Image via Let’s Go to the Movies)

 

Work on Your Attitude. The way you express yourself or share your thoughts can affect those around you. How do your words and actions impact others in the workplace? Take this self-awareness quiz to find out!

Improve Your Wellness Routine. We’re a team that lives, breathes and dreams of healthy snacks – so we are really digging these employee wellness ideas you can incorporate into the workplace!

Make Time for Fun. We love this. Check out this ten-point plan for making your job a more creative, productive and fun place to be.

Practice Leadership Skills. Think you’re ready for the leap into a managerial role? It’s going to take more than a few big wins. We suggest practicing these steps before considering a leadership position.

Stay Productive. Our team is trying this simple, yet effective email rule.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Monica Wang

You’ve seen Monica Wang’s work before. Her bright, light filled photos have appeared on The Every Girl, Rue Magazine, Glitter Guide and even the Soda Pop PR blog. As an interior and lifestyle photographer popping up on all our favorite Insta feeds, Monica is one of our go-to ladies for photo magic and style inspiration. This week, we asked her to give us a little insight into balance, creativity and why it’s all about the lighting.

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1. You’re an amazing photographer but it’s actually your side hustle. What’s the biggest struggle in balancing photography with your finance career?

I would have to say that my biggest struggle is to maintain a normal personal life with two jobs and it isn’t balancing between a photography and a finance job. I am a workaholic! I can work hours on end and I love the feeling of achieving something and feeling proud of the work I have put together. So after juggling all my work responsibilities the thing that I spend the least amount of time on is with family and friends. I have to remind myself that I can’t complain because I have been given so many amazing opportunities.  However, now I only say yes to the gigs that I really want to do vs saying yes to everything.  Work/life balance is the real struggle for me.

2. Do you have a favorite, or particularly memorable, photo shoot?

My recent favorite shoot was with my dear friend, Anne Sage of City Sage (a previous 5 Questions with SPPR guest). She is a styling genius and I always love working with her so it doesn’t matter what we are shooting together. When you find the right creative partner, that is when you are able to produce the type of work that you are most proud of.  Work doesn’t feel like “work” and it is quite a milestone to find that within your career!  I always have to take a step back to reflect and be thankful that I am able to do what I do and call it my job.

3. Where do you look for inspiration?

I am constantly influenced by what is around me in LA. There are always new shops and restaurants popping up all the time so I try to keep my radar out for all the good ones I want to check out.

The IG accounts that I follow religiously are @garypeppergirl, @lucywilliams02, and @haleboyd for fashion and lifestyle related things.  I try not to look at other photo work so much because when you do that, your work starts to look like theirs instead of your own. I try to do my own thing as much as possible.

4. What would be your dream photo shoot?

My dream photo shoot would be traveling to Anguilla, Morocco or some other magical destination to photograph beautiful homes or hotels for Architectural Digest or Elle Decor. That would truly be a dream!

5. What is your number one tip for amateurs who want to take better pictures?

Find good lighting. It doesn’t even matter if you are shooting with your iPhone or a super high-end DSLR, as long as you have good natural lighting you can always take a good photo! My favorite kind is soft window light in the early morning.

SPPR Retreat: Six Years and Ojai Vibes

The Soda Pop PR retreat is a summer highlight and this year’s festivities might be our favorite yet! To celebrate six years, our team spent a few days soaking in the laidback & creative energy of Ojai. The uber cool airstream hotel Caravan Outpost served as the perfect backdrop to help us unwind and open up.

 

We kicked off an inspiring discussion on connection, growth and getting out of our comfort zones with this fantastic Ted Talk. Our retreats are a great time to think big as a company but also, to bond on a personal level as we delve into the dreams and challenges that shape each of us individually.

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DaybreakandDusk

It’s not a Soda Pop PR retreat without some custom Wylie West Creative swag! Our friend Boo put her talents to work on a custom “Troop SPPR” logo for us and gift bag goodies from Shop Summer Camp brought the Ojai vibes home with lavender, sage and rose quartz. We may have been partial to the rose quartz for the pink but its heart-opening abilities paired perfectly with copies of Daring Greatly, a bedside reminder about the strength of vulnerability and importance of staying connected.

If there’s one thing you can say about a Soda Pop PR retreat, we know how to have FUN. We brought in a personal bartender to mix up local orange and lime margaritas for a magic-hour photo shoot. For dinner, our private chef prepared a campfire grilled steak, chicken, salmon fajita bar followed by cast iron peach cobbler.

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As the stars came out at the end of the night, Troop SPPR sat around the fire to connect over music, each of us sharing songs that have shaped us and soundtracked our memories over the years.

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At Soda Pop PR we are grateful to work with such smart, creative and kind people both on our team, and on the teams of our wonderful clients. As we reflect back on our year, we’d like to take a moment to thank all of our clients, partners, friends and family for their continued support. You inspire us and we are happy to know you.

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Cheers to year six and many more,

Team Soda Pop PR

 

* Special thanks to photographer Daybreak and Dusk for all of our beautiful retreat photos.

 

 

Going Viral: The “Canbassador”

When Union Wine Company shared plans to hire a “canbassador” to drive their wine tasting truck across the United States for pop-up events and music festivals serving the brand’s famous Underwood wine in a can, we recognized all the ingredients for a viral moment. We immediately drafted a pitch with a shareable subject line, crafted a strategic list of writers and editors on the forefront of topical news and assembled assets to fulfill any image or interview requests.

Within 48 hours, we secured 327 million media impressions. Notable coverage included Good Morning America, Time, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Thrillist, Food & Wine, Brit + Co, Mashable, HelloGiggles, Travel + Leisure and more than 50 other digital and broadcast outlets, leading to 1,200 applications for the job. While the position was only open for one week, the viral canbassador coverage created a lasting increase in brand awareness. Union Wine Co. saw a 3,000% increase to their website, 73.4% of which were first time visitors, as well as over 600 new Instagram followers.