Chris Harihar Named Partner at Crenshaw Communications

NEW YORK, NY (September 19, 2017) – Crenshaw Communications Inc., a public relations and content agency serving consumer and technology clients all over the globe, has named Chris Harihar, Technology Practice Director, as company partner.

Harihar joined Crenshaw in 2012 as Account Supervisor. He manages a diverse group of accounts ranging from startups to established media and technology brands across categories including adtech, marketing technology, security, ecommerce, IoT, artificial intelligence, and SaaS. As an agency partner he will continue to manage high-profile programs for B2B technology clients while supporting Crenshaw’s own brand marketing in the tech sector.

“Chris is an enormously talented PR and communications professional, and his contribution to the quality of our work and the success of our agency has been dramatic,” commented Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO. “His strategic smarts, versatility, and leadership qualities have made a consistent impression on his clients, peers, and staff.”

Harihar previously held positions at M Booth and Morris + King. He earned a Masters in Communications from the University of Washington before starting his public relations career.

 

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Trends That Will Shape PR in 2018

What can PR  professionals expect in 2018? Despite the acceleration of change, new directions don’t always announce themselves. Yet in 2017 we’ve seen specific trends that might reasonably be expected to continue through next year. Here are some we’ve noticed.

Brand advocacy will grow

Shortly before the inauguration of the new president, some brands  went against convention and waded into political territory. We saw the Coca-Cola company air a Super Bowl ad featuring a stream of attractive, multiethnic people set against “America the Beautiful,” sung in various languages. Anheuser Busch seemed to take on immigration policy in another Super Bowl spot. Corporate CEOs rallied to aid those affected by the administration’s suddenly announced travel ban.
Nearly a year later, those moves seem almost like baby steps. Mainstream marketers are gradually losing their reluctance to advocate for politically and socially charged issues in their paid content and corporate social responsibility positions. Get ready for more of the same in 2018.

Visual storytelling will be better and easier

If you’ve any doubt about the power of visual storytelling, check out these superb examples by brands large and small. In 2018 we’re likely to experience more technology-assisted visual storytelling and experimentation by brands. A study of 1478 professionals by Wibbitz shows that 80 percent use automation tools for visual content creation, and that more than three quarters say they will expand visual content creation in the coming year. PR and marketing pros will  increasingly look to automation and data technology tools to ramp up efficiency and output of compelling and highly searchable content.

Paid and earned media will come together

Earned media has kept its value as a public relations outcome. In an era plagued by charges of “fake news,” the influence of trusted brand domains and recognizable journalism is more important than ever. However, earned media alone may not be enough in today’s competitive social content landscape. PR professionals will need to understand how to use content tools and paid techniques to amplify the earned and shared content that results from their efforts. In 2018 we’ll see a continuation of the branded content trend as major companies adopt traditional journalistic techniques, along with technology-assisted storytelling, to create engaging content.

Ad dollars will move to influencer marketing

The competition for consumer mindshare has meant that marketers realize the value of engagement created by influencer relationships. We’ve also seen an expansion of those we call influencers, from academic experts, authors, and analysts, to political pundits, creators, and youthful YouTubers. Marketers have been shifting budgets into influencer marketing for the past few years, as paid advertising has declined and the definition of influence has broadened and changed. Over the past few years, so-called micro-influencers have been popular as a cost-effective and relatively automated tool as well. But 2018 will likely see a move to deeper, more long-term, more organic influencer partnerships. It may also set up a tussle between PR and marketing for ownership of the influencer budget and relationship.

Public relations will emerge as a strategic management function

Many would say that public relations has already fulfilled its potential as a management discipline, but this is true largely within multinational corporations, and even there, the corporate communications function does not always report into the CEO. Nor has PR embedded itself into academic community and its thought leadership and alumni networks. But the commitment of professional organizations like The PR Council and CIPR, which is working toward greater academic involvement by PR leadership, is changing the equation. So is the work of individual mega-agencies who support the inclusion of a robust PR curriculum at business schools. And the decades-long effort to create a true methodology for evaluating outcomes has placed PR on a track to come into its own.

2017 Crisis Management That (Mostly) Worked

Armchair PR experts get lots of mileage from critiquing crisis management by major brands and businesses this time of year. But what about the crisis situations that are handled well? Those instances are less clear, presumably because we don’t hear about the bad news that never hit the press. But in the spirit of fair play, here are some examples of reputation management that succeeded in 2017.

Pepsi’s graceful mea culpa

Remember the short-lived Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner? It seems almost quaint now, given the explosion of reputation-killing headlines that have followed the brand “scandal.” Yet Pepsi’s fast action helped stanch the outpouring of criticism that the commercial was tone-deaf and trivialized true social activism. The ad itself fizzled, but Pepsi’s apology was a win. It was well-crafted, on-target, and even included Jenner in the mea culpa. Most importantly, the brand took full responsibility for the misfire and backed up its words by pulling the ad. It will be remembered primarily by marketing and PR professionals. Well handled.

Southwest Airlines’ soft landing

Everyone recalls the PR fiasco United Airlines experienced when footage of a dazed and bloodied passenger being dragged from his seat went viral. But consider how Southwest Airlines handled a tricky passenger situation in September. A woman who noticed two dogs on her flight claimed to have a life-threatening pet allergy, yet wouldn’t leave the plane. Police were called, and when she couldn’t produce necessary medical documentation for her claim, the airline had her taken off the flight. Her exit was captured on other passengers’ cell phones and enjoyed a brief viral moment on social media. Even though it was within its rights to deny boarding to a passenger who couldn’t travel safely with animals, Southwest acted swiftly to contain the damage. It issued a formal apology to the passenger the very next day and reached out to her directly to make things right. Fast action and a sincere statement of regret helped resolve a situation that could have grounded its reputation.

NBC’s live Lauer reckoning

The speed whereby the #metoo movement has toppled boldface names in journalism, politics, and entertainment is breathtaking, and major media companies have not been spared. In the wake of Matt Lauer’s firing for sexual misconduct, NBC will be scrutinized for what it knew and when, but it’s hard to fault the network’s handling of the announcement itself. Lauer’s visibly shaken co-hosts Samantha Guthrie and Hoda Kotb faced a live television audience within hours of learning about Lauer’s ouster.  Guthrie eloquently conveyed her conflicting personal emotions while being respectful to those who had come forward to end her colleague’s career. The “Today” Show’s ratings are up sharply since Lauer’s departure, ironically. The sincerity and honesty of the on-air disclosure may be why; it humanized the network talent and drew viewers into their experience in real time.

SoFi is spared major scandal

One company that may have escaped the brunt of the cultural shift on workplace harassment – at least for now – is online lending startup Social Finance, or SoFi.  A fintech darling, SoFi has grown rapidly, exceeding $4 billion in student loan and mortgage refinancing and building a reputation among millennials by hosting local-market social events for customers. So when a wrongful dismissal suit brought to light allegations of sexual harassment and faulty loan application cancellations, SoFi faced a dangerous situation. It responded aggressively to the allegations, pointing to an internal investigation that cleared the company on its loan cancellation policies. Yet as the drip-drip-drip about sexual misconduct by founder Mike Cagney grew, the board pressed Cagney to resign, and he ultimately did. SoFi may have gotten lucky with the timing of its crisis, and its troubles could have been overshadowed by those at better-known companies like Uber. But Cagney’s resignation removed a lightning rod from a situation that could have been far worse.

Uber’s reputation work gains speed….then stalls again

And then there’s Uber. It was beset with not one, but many reputation scandals this year, and the crisis isn’t over. But like SoFi, Uber accomplished one important thing during 2017; it replaced controversial founder and CEO Travis Kalanick with respected technology executive Dara Khosrowshahi. With Kalanick’s exit, some of Uber’s negative baggage departed also. But unfortunately the new CEO was immediately confronted with a fresh crisis – the disclosure of a 2016 security breach resulting in the theft of data from 57 million customers. What’s more, Uber covered up the breach after paying a six-figure ransom to the hackers to delete the stolen data and disguised the payout as a “bug bounty” for testing software. Khosrowshahi’s blog post detailing the situation and the planned fixes represents a good first step in managing the situation. But there’s no doubt about it; he has a long way to go before full confidence in the Uber brand will be restored.

PR Goal-Setting For 2018

 

Where is your company in its public relations planning for 2018? Whether a brand needs B2B or B2C PR next year, the steps to manage the process are similar.

It’s best to begin by looking at the big picture to see where PR fits in the overall marketing scheme of things and then take a look at the following steps to help put together a successful 2018 PR plan.

How To Plan PR in 2018

Audit the past year

A good plan starts with a full accounting of the past year’s PR initiatives and their success when measured by established KPIs. These “key performance indicators” can include the following:

Media mentions – The quantity of coverage generated on behalf of the brand

Media impressions – The “eyeballs” reached with the coverage. Some still use Advertising Equivalency to evaluate coverage, but the industry deems AVE a less than substantive measurement in most cases.

Website traffic driven by earned media generated from the PR campaign

Content quality, including a sentiment analysis

Share of voice – This can be a valuable metric in comparison to a key competitor

Review the mission statement

We’ve addressed the importance of a solid mission statement before. Ideally, the organization’s statement of its mission is still relevant to the business environment as well as internal audiences. It should outline the company’s purpose, measures of success, how its offering is valued, and by whom. A mission statement may not need to be rewritten, but it does need to be revisited. Each year the team will want to make sure the statement is still viable and the company is still living up to it. And, on occasion, changes will be warranted if there have been significant shifts within the organization, its goals, or the industry.

What is the PR budget?

Again, a good place to start is by comparing budgets from past campaigns and looking at what’s viable for the coming year, as informed by business conditions, company performance, and goals. Another way to plan for the coming year is to prioritize certain PR-driven initiatives or tactics and write the budget around those key elements. Does the program require earned media to support a new product, or is executive thought leadership a key driver of business? Most likely, it will be a combination of both, but it’s important to review the time and out-of-pocket costs needed to meet goals.

Determine the best resource mix for success

CMOs and other decision-makers will determine how to invest in the communications talent needed to get the job done. Considerations include current staffing, available budget and the company’s proclivity for outside consultants and agencies. The first PR option is to retain an agency and to determine the right size and makeup for a team that will fit brand needs. Another option is to build the PR function in-house, or plan to supplement the internal team with contractors for specialist functions like content or special events.

Do a deep dive into internal resources

Now is the time to review everything the company and brand have at their disposal for a fresh new PR push. Interview up and down the organization to see what innovative things may be afoot, and what’s worth talking about. Speak to HR and other departments about CSR and other interesting or unusual company efforts. See if any individuals have personally compelling stories that are worth sharing. Tap research staffers or others involved in data to see about culling noteworthy stats and other numbers that can tell a cool company story. The best PR resources may be internal and just require a little digging to suss out.

Set realistic (and “reach”) PR goals

A good exercise to help set some realistic PR goals is to start at the end of the coming year and ask where leadership would like to be at that point. Talk through these goals first. These can include anything from “total category domination” to the more modest “20% increase in sales.” Codify all of them, even the lofty ones to work back to what will constitute actual, achievable goals for the coming year. It’s important in this exercise to also invite others outside of the marketing department for some different POV that will help the team create a well-rounded set of PR goals that everyone can work toward in the coming year.

Top PR Takeaways For The Year

Each December public relations agencies spend time crafting pitches and byline articles capturing clients’ takeaways for their particular industry.
It’s the season for recaps, forecasts, and lessons learned, so it makes sense for PR professionals, too, to look back and ruminate on the year that’s coming to an end and share a few observations from the year in PR.

 2017 PR Takeaways

Reputation management – more 24/7 than ever

Good news, bad news, fake news – it never stops. And PR teams have had to be more vigilant than ever to provide guidance that will keep a brand in good stead. This means creating and adhering to policies that dictate how employees use social media and particularly how they respond. The days are long gone when a social manager could let some time go by without addressing a negative tweet or post. Preparation is the byword here, PR teams need to look for potential risks and notify management so crises can be avoided instead of managed. Part of that work also includes having templates and statements crafted in advance that can be customized for the occasion. It’s also very important to tap and train media spokespeople at the beginning of an engagement. Finally, something we’ve observed is the value of responding to positive as well as negative comments. We know they are rare in comparison and that is what makes them so important to acknowledge.

Video is never, ever going away

The research continues to reinforce that video is king and smart marketers will continue to find innovative ways to incorporate it into their programming. We found more use of “explainers” and “behind the scenes” or “day in the life” videos particularly useful when introducing a new product or company. If you don’t believe that video is the predominant medium for communicating today – check out just these five stats:

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
  • YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of total internet users.
  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.
  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day.
  • More video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.

And, just for fun, this interview with Dawn Ostroff, the president of Condé Nast Entertainment, offers cool insights as to how the formidable print company has morphed into a digital media company.

Data continues to drive coverage

Interesting statistic: According to a recent survey, over 80% of journalists said they are more likely to open an email that contains statistical information from a study as a subject line. Not that we needed any more evidence, but the hunger for hard data and statistics hasn’t waned. It remains key for companies seeking enhanced PR exposure to invest in studies, surveys and other evidence-based data as a fairly surefire way to interest journalists in a particular field. We have been consistently successful securing media coverage of compelling company-generated data such as a recent study by client Media Radar which tracked a drop in alt-right site Breitbart’s ad sales. As well, we conduct quarterly consumer surveys that look at everything from millennial housing fears to consumer shopping habits.

PR firms expand service offerings

There’s virtually no such thing as a traditional PR company anymore. Firms blur lines across advertising, marketing, social media, event planning, content creation and more. The key is in fostering smart, productive partnerships that allow for client companies to trust their PR firm to bring additional, results-producing ideas to the table. We are convinced that our clients value a firm with experts in multi-media content creation,  brilliant social media strategists and who can knock a media event out of the park. The PR partner that demonstrates innovation, smart budget stewardship and consistent ROI can expand service offerings and provide so much more than media relations. The PR business has always been about relationships, and elevating a good client relationship to a great one can reap tremendous rewards for both parties.

Technology means continuous learning

The world of tech tools changes with lightning speed. And each new app, platform, or innovation can enhance what we do in PR. This year we were especially psyched to take advantage of free online courses that really upped our game. These include old standbys like Hubspot Academy, dedicated to helping PR pros make better use of content marketing, social media marketing and SEO. Then there’s Lynda.com from the creators of LinkedIn, an online library of video courses offering tutorials on everything from software development to Adobe Suite to mobile marketing. Another contender is Hootsuite Academy, which offers two online training courses, although users pay for certification. Then there’s our favorite, Google Analytics training, which if offered by a variety of providers and is always worth a refresher.

Watch For These Red Flags When Hiring A PR Firm

As brands set plans and budgets for 2018, engaging a public relations firm may be at the top of the list. Finding the right agency partner can begin with an online search to narrow the field to a short list of agencies invited to share capabilities. Next steps include a face-to-face meeting, a formal proposal and substantive follow-up conversations. Here are some of the possible signs of trouble that should give a decision-maker pause.

Note PR agency “red flags”

A poorly designed website

An agency with a disappointing website seems unlikely to make anyone’s short list. But maybe the website looks good at first glance, and it isn’t until a few clicks in that shortcomings appear. Site design can be an individual choice, but there are some things a PR website should NOT have. They include: poor navigation, a cumbersome contact page, little or no shareable content, out-of-date blog posts, or media hits with broken links.
The canned proposal

A good PR firm will demonstrate relevant experience through a customized proposal rather than an off-the-shelf document with vague or boilerplate information. Most qualified agency teams will want to stand out with a tailored response that makes a strong case for demonstrable success in similar work, a team well-suited for the assignment and scrupulous attention to detail. Most of all, the proposal should be customized to the client’s goals and needs.

Staff turnover

Continuity is important in any client-agency relationship. Clients have a right to expect that the staff on the pitch team are the same players they’ll be working with once the deal is sealed. Warning signs during the wooing process include evidence of recent staff turnover, a poor Glassdoor rating or persistent employee complaints about the company. Another red flag occurs when the meetings are run solely by a senior executive with a business development or marketing title. It’s always a good idea to press the agency about its staff turnover rate and to make sure there’s good chemistry with the entire team, not just the head sales guy who will disappear once the contract is signed.

Scheduling difficulties

We consider this a major red flag. If a prospective agency partner continually changes the time for a conference call or asks for an extension on preparing its capabilities, count on the fact that they won’t have time for your business. Unfailing punctuality and adherence to deadlines are signs of a buttoned-up shop. Once again, some conflicts are unavoidable. But if an agency wants the account badly enough, it will move heaven and earth to make sure all scheduled meetings take place and all deadlines are met.

Inattention/lack of preparation

Whether on an information-gathering phone call or in a face-to-face meeting, prospective agencies need to be present, pay attention and ask smart questions. We find it helpful to draft a list of solid questions ahead of time and assign roles. Of course, for any in-person presentation, we allow time for a rehearsal which helps the team master their parts and eliminate redundancies. It also helps participants achieve a level of confidence and fluency in the presentation — offering an edge on reading the room and focusing on what’s important to the client.

Consultant overload

When creating the perfect team for a potential engagement, an agency might need to use a consultant with specialized experience. This could be anyone from an investor relations pro to someone who can expertly navigate local politics, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But the prospective client should make sure that the consultant is committed to the process, and that the team’s expertise doesn’t hinge on a single individual. The savvy client can usually determine this and will want to consider how much faith they will have in such a construct.

No attention to outcomes measurement

No brand wants to enter into a PR engagement without a clear understanding of how the work will be measured against goals and metrics should be included in a PR proposal. Today’s PR firms can usually customize a measurement program for a particular campaign. We have many tools at our disposal, including basic media monitoring services, social listening and tagging services, Google analytics and sentiment analysis engines. But most importantly, the outcomes should be evaluated by their relevance to the client’s business goals.

No client references

Once a decision is imminent, a prospective client may ask an agency for references. Most agencies will offer two or even three, and a mix of current and past clients is good. But if a PR firm can’t recommend any current clients, it could mean it’s not on sure enough footing with any of them to make the ask. On the other hand, no agency wants to wear out its references, so many will wait until the field has been narrowed or the agreement is being negotiated before they agree to share client references. That’s not reluctance;  it’s just good business.

The smell test

Sometimes there’s no obvious reason why an agency fails with a prospective client. It can be a general lack of chemistry or just a sense that there isn’t a great personality fit. In discussions with clients past and present, we’ve heard about an offhand remark, a glance at a cellphone, or a question out of left field that turned off a client decision-maker. When your gut tells you something’s not right, there’s usually a reason for it.

7 Ways PR People Can Support Journalism

There are now five PR people for every working journalist. This may seem like a good thing for the PR business as companies increasingly tell their stories through social media and branded content. But as stark evidence that sources of objective news are shrinking, it’s not a healthy sign for either industry.

What may be more alarming are indications that journalism is under siege. On any given day the president is deriding “fake news” reports, calling CNN “dishonest,” or attacking the “failing” @nytimes. And for their part, media do sometimes fail; just look at ABC’s recent suspension of Brian Ross over inaccuracies in a sensitive political story.

But the news about news isn’t all bad. Although a partisan divide sharpens how we view the press, overall trust in journalism has actually increased in the past year, according to the just-released Poynter Institute study. A large majority of respondents (69 percent) believe that the media “tend to favor one side,” yet the same percentage believe that news organizations “keep political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done.”

Many blame Mr. Trump for the loss of confidence in the MSM, but the erosion probably started decades ago, with the rise of conservative radio. As right-of-center radio host Charlie Sykes puts it, “we’ve done such a good job of discrediting (the mainstream media), that there’s almost no place to go to be able to fact check.” But what’s interesting is how the mainstream press has weathered the attacks against it. Attacks by the president and his allies have sparked a new appreciation for the media by those who used to take it for granted, and that’s a good thing.

So, what’s a responsible PR person – or informed citizen – to do? The recent “credibility crisis” in the mainstream press, as well as various reactions to media criticism, offer some suggestions.

Step up support for “real” news outlets

Time to up those subscriptions, PR pros. Beyond our own consumption, now is a great time to support the types of journalism that are under the most pressure — local news reporting and investigative journalism. If you have enough subscriptions, donate. Jay Rosen tweeted this NewsMatch list of news and journalism organizations for last week’s #givingTuesday; these groups probably deserve as much consideration as your favorite charity, and all donations through December 31 will be matched.

Think twice about ad-blocking

I know, digital ads can be annoying and irrelevant. But they’re getting better, and they are what pays for journalism. Do we really want to have it both ways when we know the price of a weakened news media industry?

Don’t tweet or post without reading it

Headlines can be deceiving. Before we share that infuriating tweet about Congress or the latest “tips” post on content marketing, maybe give it a look, because it may just be a sign-up page for someone’s seminar, or paywalled, or even a hoax. It’s not always what we think.

Be scrupulous about attribution

It’s easy to get sloppy, or worse, in the rush to meet deadlines and client expectations. But no one can afford to be lazy or hasty about attributing quotes properly or noting proper sources. And journalist Anna Clark has the right idea when she advises bloggers and social sharers to attribute to the original source, not a secondary story that aggregates or summarizes. Yes, it may take an extra step to find the link, but it’s worth it. Aggregated news is not original journalism.

Get out of your media bubble

This is a tough one. But I agree with Josh Stearns of The Democracy Fund when he advises a “diverse media diet with a good mix of indie and alternative news, local, national and international coverage, niche and countervailing points of view.” The news-source tunnel vision that we’ve adopted is not contributing to better journalism.

Shut down phony stories

Fake stories and rumors can bubble up from a misperception or mistake that was never corrected, leading to further distortion. It’s incumbent upon PR professionals to be scrupulous about the facts of any story we promote or share, and to hold both clients and journalists accountable when it comes to storytelling and fact-checking, even down to the tiniest details.

Follow the money

That study that shows ice cream enhances mental performance – who funded it? As PR pros, many of us have deep experience promoting health news, often funded by large companies, and usually supporting the organization’s brand or bottom line. There’s nothing wrong with this. But we do need to be both scrupulous with the facts and transparent about the funding and sourcing. All news consumers should note who’s offering the information, who benefits, and most of all, who’s paying.

A Public Relations Mixtape For The Season

There’s a certain rhythm to working in public relations – agencies tackle new business opportunities, work closely with client teams and do the day-to-day work of media relations and thought leadership. In the ebb and flow of work, we like to incorporate music. The right songs help elevate the mood when the work is stressful, or celebrate great achievements when peaks are attained. Here are seven songs – both old and new – that can help PR people strike the right mood for whatever assignments are keeping them busy this season.

“Patience”

PR professionals are always juggling deadlines for new business proposals, PR plans, and other deliverables. However, our close attention to deadline detail isn’t always important to those on the receiving end. Whether it’s a potential client, media contact, or potential business partner promising the quick answer, it doesn’t always happen. So, the byword and first song of the PR Mixtape for the season is a gorgeous acoustic love song called “Patience” by one of the all-time greatest hard rock bands, Guns N’ Roses. “Said woman take it slow and things will be just fine, you and I’ll just use a little patience / Said sugar take the time ‘cause the lights are shining bright, you and I’ve got what it takes to make it.”

“Humble”

One of the most gratifying experiences for a PR team is the collective win. This can be something obvious like winning a new client, scoring press coverage or getting an industry award. Or it can be a more subtle “win” – convincing a client to move on a bold PR initiative or salvaging an interview that went bad.  Being humble will help you earn the respect of your peers. This year, one of the most well-received songs was “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar, arguably the biggest rapper on the planet. The chorus, one of the year’s catchiest, repeats the refrain: “Sit down, be humble.”

“Come Together”

The most successful PR is rooted in teamwork. Ideally, account teams have a strong leader guiding strategy and keeping the big picture in mind. As members of the same team, we thrive on rallying around a project and pulling together to accomplish it. So, while the verses to the Beatles classic “Come Together” are mainly nonsense, the chorus’s message of unity is resonant. “Come together, right now, over me.”

“Lose Yourself” 

Having trouble psyching the team to set 2018 business goals? Blast Eminem’s enduring anthem to hard work. Scientists agree that one of music’s energizing effects comes from its ability to engage the body’s sympathetic nervous system. The activation of this system readies the body for action whenever we face a challenge in our environment. Once motivated, it’s helpful to break a group into smaller teams and focus on specific challenges or opportunities. “Look/ If you had One shot Or one opportunity /To seize everything you ever wanted In one moment/Would you capture Or just let it slip?”

“Weightless”

PR ranks as the 8th most stressful job in the new Job Stress report from CareerCast. While our profession, thankfully, isn’t life and death the way many of the top-ranked stressful gigs are, 21st century PR pros can find themselves on the hook for reputation management and damage control. It’s good to know that when the stress reaches a boiling point, we can listen to “Weightless” by Marconi Union. According to a study, listening to the song results in a striking 65 percent reduction in overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in physiological resting rates. What we like best though, is that the song has its own PR twist. It was written in collaboration with sound therapists and covered by pubs like Inc.

“Don’t Look Back in Anger”

From the warm kumbaya feeling of a company win to the frustrations of losing – that is PR agency life. Despite crack research, novel creativity, tight strategy and a perfect blend of team members with dynamite chemistry, when we’re voted off the island, it hurts. That’s okay, don’t dwell on it. Learn from it. In PR – as with many aspects of life – size up the key learnings and harness the negative energy to do something positive. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” by 90s British rock band Oasis features an uplifting chorus that’s guaranteed to boost your spirits: “My soul slides away, but don’t look back in anger, I heard you say”

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

The holidays can bring out the best in PR teams, clients and media. Take advantage of holiday parties, celebrations, and events to spend social time with close business associates and media contacts. Of course, end of year is also a great business-seeding and reinforcing time. We put together visually appealing end-of-year reports to go over at holiday lunches and plan creative sessions to get a jump on next year’s first quarter. There are countless holiday songs played everywhere this time of year, but one classic that’s the epitome of the holiday season is Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year / There’ll be much mistletoeing and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near / It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”