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.

The Importance of Taking Time Off

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Recently, we’ve read a few interesting pieces about “vacation shaming” in the workplace. As publicists, we understand the hesitation to travel when you have a demanding job. It’s hard to take a break from work that you’re passionate about and many people worry that they don’t have enough vacation time or that their company will not approve time off. At the same time, getting outside of your comfort zone is necessary to stay inspired which in turn makes you better at your job. Our advice? TRAVEL. NOW. DO IT! Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Good for your health: Studies show that vacations are just as important as exercise. They help cure burnout and chronic stress that’s epidemic in today’s 24-7 culture. The catch, it takes two weeks to take full advantage of these recuperative benefits. If two weeks away sounds like crazy talk, consider traveling during slow periods. Our boss lady Dyan likes to travel during Thanksgiving when things tend to slow down in the media world. It’s also the perfect time to travel to Paris and Italy if you like to avoid crowds and travel on a budget like we do.

2. Refuels your work: For us, this is reason enough to travel. Our jobs depend on us staying fresh and creative. Visiting cities like Paris, Florence, or Rome and truly immersing ourselves in the culture of these cities – touring the Louvre, seeing the David and St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time, spending the day learning more about The Roman Forum and Colosseum, eating gelato, pasta and drinking wine daily – inspires us and provides a jolt of creative thinking.

3. Personal Growth: There is a saying that you can be comfortable or you can grow but you cannot do both at once. Travel forces you to get out of your comfort zone and appreciate the world through other people’s eyes. When you experience other cultures, you learn new ways of doing things and deepen your empathy for the individuals you meet. Expanding your worldview through firsthand experience strengthens decision making and interpersonal skills which are an asset in any industry, as well as your personal life.

4. You’re not alone: Don’t be a “work martyr.” It can be unnerving to let coworkers and clients know you’ll be away. You may experience (or imagine) some surprise or even resentment. But setting boundaries for your time off and trusting your team members to help you while you’re gone gets easier with time. At SPPR, it helps to build vacations into our plans at least three months in advance to be extra prepared. In the end, your teams and clients will benefit from your renewed energy and perspective post-break.

Safe travels,

Team SPPR

The Secret Sauce: Five Easy Ways to Up Your Company Culture Game

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Photo Credit: New Zealand Festival

The fun perks of Silicon Valley startups have been glorified and imitated by agencies looking to attract younger talent but for small companies, the idea of a “fun company culture” can seem out of reach. If you ask anyone on the SPPR team why they work here, the culture always comes up first but it isn’t because we have a conference table that doubles as a ping pong table (Respect Ban.do). While we don’t agree that work culture is overrated we do agree that there’s more to a happy workplace than free beer and game rooms. Here are five ways to add some fizz to your company culture without a balling “perks” budget.

1.  Applaud Time Off: Work/Life Balance” is the phrase that today’s young professionals live and die by and it’s a hard one to achieve in the PR industry. Publicists are notorious for being constantly on e-mail so it may come as a surprise that at SPPR we observe summer Fridays (out of the office at 1 p.m.) and take phone-free vacations. While 32% of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day in 2015, every member of SPPR took at least two weeks off to relax and recharge.

2. Offer Flexibility: One of the advantages of small company culture is the opportunity to be treated as an individual. Allowing employees to work remotely a few days a month and accommodating schedule changes for doctors’ appointments, family/friend visits and day care pickups goes a long way in reducing stress.

3. Boost Wellness: As a company with less than 10 people, SPPR makes the most of a limited perks budget by focusing on what employees really want. Our company wellness plan provides team members with a stipend toward the fitness plan of their choice as well as healthy weekly lunches and office snacks. Not that it’s all kale and post-work hikes on the SPPR team. We do have some pretty sweet clients, not to mention a shared love of donuts.

4. Have fun together: No matter how well you work with someone, you haven’t truly bonded until you’re laughing over a cocktail. The SPPR team makes it a priority to get out of the office for some much needed team bonding at happy hours, events and yearly company retreat. There’s also the occasional in-office tasting or Instagram photo shoot. Appointing a “Social Secretary” to make sure your team gets together for a fun activity at least once a quarter is an easy way to strengthen personal bounds within a small team.

5. Be Thoughtful: The most important way that companies maintain a fun and positive company culture is with small everyday decisions to do so. At SPPR our company culture is built on the thoughtful gesture of a flower delivery to a sick team member or a favorite book that gets passed around. It is a funny YouTube video email to fight the afternoon slump and a text to a late coworker prompted by genuine concern for their safety. These are the examples that come to mind when we hear the words “company culture.” Well that, and wondering if our next office upgrade should include a cold brew coffee tap.

SPPR Retreat: Celebrating 5 Years!

Every summer, the Soda Pop PR team heads out of the office for a little bit of relaxation and inspiration at our company retreat. These days are filled with good food and fun activities as we revisit the year’s highlights and our goals for the future. This year, the SPPR team was excited to celebrate five years with a Malibu getaway.

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The Malibu Beach Inn spoiled us with endless ocean views and proved the perfect escape from the hustle of Hollywood. Equipped with swag bags and custom Milk Jar Cookies we settled in to talk leadership, strengths and company growth.

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Retreat activities included a wild time at Malibu Wine Safari, complete with flower crowns and the famous celebrity giraffe Stanley as well as a photoshoot on the pier with photographer Courtney Paige.

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It’s not an SPPR trip without some amazing food! With locally sourced food and Pacific Ocean views, Malibu Farm became a mainstay for the team while in the ‘bu. We’re still talking about their quinoa oatmeal and many laughs were had over their yummy cocktails at our team dinner.

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Five years is a milestone for a small business and we are proud to be doing thoughtful, inspired work for a roster of incredible clients. We’d like to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported us along the way, and continues to support us as we grow. Looking forward to another five years of fun, creative work and all of the exciting milestones yet to come. We’ve only just begun!

Cheers to the next 5!

Team Soda Pop PR

We’re Hiring: Intern (Paid)

We’re hiring again! SPPR is looking for a rock star intern to join our team. Candidates must be hard-working, creative and quick-learning college students/recent grads with a passion for the food & beverage industry. If that sounds like you, read on.

Responsibilities include:

  • Assisting with general daily office and administrative duties
  • Creating media lists and event/campaign recaps
  • Researching, writing, editing and distributing press materials
  • Working as part of an account team to implement media plans
  • Tracking print, online, broadcast and social media for ideas and coverage
  • Preparing client bios, fact sheets, press clips and images
  • Drafting social media content and managing a content calendar

What we are looking for…

  • Organized, self-starter, takes initiative, is resourceful and likes a challenge
  • Strong interest in public relations
  • Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills
  • PC proficient, particularly in the Microsoft Suite, including Word, Excel,  PPT and Outlook
  • Internet research and 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 culinary, wine or travel industries
  • Someone who wants to learn a lot, have fun and grow with us!

Please send résumé, cover letter, 2-3 writing samples & a brief overview of why you want to join the SPPR team to sayhi@sodapop-pr.com.

This is a full-time (35-40 hours per week) paid internship. Candidate must be based in Los Angeles.

5 Questions with SPPR Featuring Deidre Weight

This week, we are excited to introduce our newest addition to the Soda Pop PR family: Account Executive Deidre Weight. With years of PR experience and event planning chops, Deidre is smart, media savvy and rarely without sunglasses.

Check out our interview with Deidre below to learn more about her networking tips and most embarrassing work moment.

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1. There are many types of industries to focus on in PR – beauty, entertainment, fashion, etc. What made you choose hospitality & lifestyle PR?

Growing up in LA, it was hard not to be exposed to this industry – especially hospitality and tourism.  It wasn’t until I moved to San Diego and began my coursework that I really understood the different industries I can pursue. You know, the realization that “PR” isn’t all red carpets and glamour! I’ve always been interested in entertainment and hospitality, and my first internship in college was at a hospitality group, naturally. I LOVED it!

As a senior at SDSU, I was required to take a PR occupation course which hosted a professional across different industries each week, and I was so fascinated by this field. I later worked with several lifestyle, food and hospitality brands during my time in San Diego. The path I took prepared me for SPPR where I’m able to showcase my expertise with hospitality and lifestyle brands, while still ‘biting’ into the food space.

2. You’re a natural at networking. What advice or tips do you have to share for young professionals looking to up their networking game?

  • Sign up for internships. Many of my post-college job opportunities have been referrals from prior jobs or internships in college. If you’re unable to take part in an internship, set up an informative interview with a local agency or in-house company to get your questions answered and learn about a “day in the life.”
  • Attend local networking events in your area. Whether it is through school or the community, it’s important (and useful) to meet people in your field.
  • Get involved. PRSSA is a great program for undergrads!
  • Don’t miss an opportunity to network on your free time. You never know who you might run into, or better yet who they might know!
  • Social media is your friend. If you’re not on LinkedIn, sign up today. If you don’t utilize Twitter to seek new media relationships, get tweeting!

3. If you could eat any meal in the world right now, what and where would it be?

Tortilla Soup from La Cocina, a family-owned restaurant in Santa Clarita. The restaurant is walking distance from my childhood home. It’s so good, my family still eats there every Friday night!

4. What are three things you can’t live without?

  • Hair-ties – I always end my day with a good messy bun.
  • Sunglasses  – you’ll rarely see me out without them!
  • Hot sauce – I self-admittedly collect hot sauces, but they never stay on the shelf for long!

5. Can you share an embarrassing work moment? 

During my first week as an intern I called the Food Network and asked to speak to Bobby Flay, in which I hoped to pitch a segment idea for a new product. He was listed in our database as a producer, and I was still green when it came to knowing the big names in food. I’ll never forget the look on my colleagues’ faces or the confusion in the receptionist’s voice. I’ve come a long way since.

The Secret Sauce: Are you ready for PR?

Business is growing and you’re ready to kick things up a notch but how do you know when it’s time to invest in PR? Here are 8 signs you’re ready to take the plunge.

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  1. You’re prepared to expand the team: We encourage our clients to consider Soda Pop PR as an extension of their team. Hiring a PR firm means more people on your side. More people with fresh ideas, valuable experience and a passion for your brand.
  2. You know who you are: A good PR firm will take the time to get to know your brand to help tell your story to media and consumers in an authentic way. Having a clear brand identity and an ability to explain your mission will help us do this.
  3. You’re rebranding, launching a new product or location: It’s important to work with a PR team to create awareness and manage the messaging around big brand news such as a new look, product or launch. Media and influencers like to cover what’s new and it’s a perfect ice breaker to introduce your brand to the masses.
  4. Your inbox is overwhelmed: If emails are piling up with requests for photos, interviews, sponsorships and events, it’s time to bring on a PR firm. We’re experienced at evaluating opportunities and helping you make the most of those that are beneficial toward raising awareness for your brand.
  5. You want to build stronger relationships: Connecting with your community, likeminded brands and media is crucial for creating and maintaining a base of loyal customers. We’ve spent years cultivating these relationships and can help build them on your behalf in a strategic and authentic way.
  6. You have insight to share: If you’ve built a successful business, you have valuable input to contribute to your field. A PR firm helps you find opportunities to share this experience at speaking engagements and conferences to connect with your consumers and other likeminded business owners.
  7. You want to get people talking: Want to host a pop-up or throw the party of the year? We know what will get people talking, tweeting, snapping, and gramming and can help brainstorm, plan and execute a unique event or attention grabbing campaign so you can focus on your business.
  8. You want to invest in the long term: Securing the best coverage for your business is a marathon, not a sprint. Help with a project like a launch or opening is important, but PR works hardest when you’re ready to commit to the long term benefits of sustained media attention.