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Mid-Size Agency of the Year!

Filed Under (company culture, integratePR, IPR Events) by integratePR on 26-06-2014

In case you didn’t see our massive explosion of photos on Instagram, Integrate won PRSA Mid-Size Agency of the Year! We are so honored and truly grateful to have received such an award and we want to thank our wonderful clients and employees for making this happen!

Receiving this award means so much to us. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun: doesn’t it seem like just yesterday when our president and founder, Allie, started Integrate in Houston? What an amazing FIVE years of ups and downs it has been! Looking back now and seeing how much we’ve grown and accomplished in such a small amount of time, we couldn’t feel more blessed and excited for what’s in store for us! Stay tuned for some exciting news in the coming weeks as we approach this milestone anniversary.

With this exciting news, we thought it would be appropriate to tell y’all a little more of what Integrate is about!

History

Integrate Public Relations started as a dream of a young account executive living in Manhattan and turned into a reality in 2009 when everything fell into place; she was in the right place at the right time and on to something with this whole “social media thing” that was just emerging. Within a few months of what started as public relations and social media freelance consulting gigs around the country, Allie was able to transition them into retainers and into what was becoming a booming agency in Houston. Starting with one client based in Los Angeles (We will be eternally grateful to our first client, Handstand Kids Cookbook Company and Yvette for taking a chance on us!), Integrate has come a long way with now nearly 30 local and national clients in a handful of growing industries.

Our Focus

Integrate works with each client to create a dynamic online and offline presence.  We take a proactive approach to communicate our clients’ messages by connecting with influencers appropriate to their individual needs and share the brand’s message accordingly. Through this method, Integrate produces measurable results and deliver our clients with business growth they can see.

We strive to stand out by integrating online communication tactics with traditional public relations tools. We start with the proper analytics to monitor each of our clients’ audiences so we can reach their targets, where it matters.

Clients

Integrate is strategically, not industry, specific. Allie’s career started in New York City in the real estate industry; it was a roller coaster – a blast when real estate was booming but a shocking dose of reality during the crash. Seeing how this affected the agency she was working at, as well as the morale of the staff, Integrate has always made sure to develop specialties in a variety of different industries. We currently are focused in the restaurant/hospitality industry as well as real estate, retail and nonprofit.

Our emphasis on “Integrate”

Integrate isn’t just the company name, it’s also meaningful to how the agency works as a whole. We strive to make sure clients feel “integrated” with their account team and involved in every part of the process. This means constantly providing information to our clients so they are apart of every process and understand where their investment is going.

Of course this is just an overview of who we are, so for more information go ahead and check us out on our website!

We are so honored to have received the “Mid-Size Agency of the Year” award from the Public Relations Society of America and we can’t wait to see what happens next! To stay up to date with all of our IPR adventures, be sure to follow us on our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

 

Tips for Successful Job Hunting

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, Houston, integratePR, Public Relations) by integratePR on 08-04-2014

Integrate Public Relations is growing and currently has two job openings – one for a Senior Social Media Account Executive and the other for a Graphic Designer.  Since Integrate Public Relations is hiring, we thought it’d be great to share some job search and interview tips.

In general, searching for a job can be very stressful and overwhelming.  When applying for specific positions, be sure your resume is up-to-date and all information is correct. For tips on building a memorable resume, check out our three part resume guide from Mary! 

Remember to search for jobs and companies that truly interest you, and look for a company culture you think you’ll mesh with. Want to know if you’ll fit with the IPR team? Check out our Instagram where we showcase what we’re up to, behind the scenes. Everyone performs better when he or she is happy and comfortable so be sure to do your research and only accept a position that is right for you.

Writing is a large component of public relations and agency work.  Picking the perfect writing samples to send to a potential employer is important, and a great opportunity to show off your talent, and your knowledge in AP Style. In the public relations world, AP style is everything; we are admittedly AP Style junkies! We reach out to journalists at various media outlets every day, which means AP style must be used correctly on a daily basis. As PR pros, our goal is to have our client’s announcements covered by targeted media, so everything sent to media must be newsworthy, and we strive to make it as easy as possible to help reporters write stories about our clients.

Landing an interview means the light at the end of this job search tunnel is getting brighter.  Whether it’s over the phone, via Skype or in person, an interview can be simultaneously exciting and frightening. So study up! Do some research on the business before the actual interview to ensure you understand the work and company’s overall goals. It is also helpful to be able to reference previous projects or clients the company has worked with, so they know you are truly interested and have been staying up-to-date with what they’re doing.

When asked questions during an interview, use this as an opportunity to tell them everything you possibly can about the topic at hand. Elaborate (not exaggerate!) on your experience and skills; this is the time to sell yourself and your capabilities.  It’s best to relate your skills or past experience to the position you are interviewing for, or how your unique set of skills will help you ultimately benefit the company. Be sure you articulate and speak using correct grammar. As PR professionals, it’s our job to speak on behalf of clients, and grammar is of the upmost importance. Being able to communicate to and craft messages for different audiences is something our talented team has mastered, and any company will want to know that potential new additions to the team can speak eloquently on behalf of its clients and represent the company well.

To all you job seekers out there, we hope the search goes well and these tips provide useful insight. We wish you the best of luck and happy job hunting! Those interested in applying for open positions with Integrate Public Relations can send resumes to jobs@integratePR.com.  Be sure to stay up-to-date with our company’s growth through Facebook and Twitter, we have a lot of exciting stuff going on!  

Don’t Be Fooled: Debunking 6 Myths about the Life of the PR Pro

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, Houston, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Public Relations) by integratePR on 01-04-2014

I’ve never been one to appreciate falling for April Fools Day pranks and you’ll certainly never know me as the mastermind behind an epic holiday prank.  While I recognize that April Fools Day can be a fun way to take a load off, relax and just have a good laugh, I’m not big on acting the part of the fool…or subjecting someone else to that role. 

With that being said, I think I’ve adequately fooled most of my friends, family and peers into thinking they have a basic understanding of what my colleagues and I, as PR and Social Media professionals, do for a living.  It certainly wasn’t intentional; I never meant to fool you…it just seemed to happen by default.  Read below as I debunk the six myths of the day-to-day life of PR professionals, because….not everything you hear is true. 

Myth 1: Doing PR is glamorous. As a PR pro, you have access to lots of free things, most of them shiny, expensive and new, and even more access to the glitziest and glamorous parties.

Truth: While some of our client accounts come with perks (read: working with a bakery can mean lots of delicious sweets around the office), as a PR pro, we have to pay for access to the city’s best parties, concerts, and events just like you do.  That’s right, I don’t have access to that Fleetwood Mac concert you’re DYING to attend this summer or to the Grammy’s next year. We also understand boundaries, which means, even if given the opportunity to accept lots of free goodies, we wouldn’t necessarily ask our clients, because we respect their needs to grow their businesses (and we hope to HELP them with this, instead of constantly asking for free swag). 

Myth 2: Public Relations is the same thing as event planning, and by default, if you do PR, you’ll be a great at planning my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, my wedding, or my charity event.

Truth: While we do find ourselves brainstorming awesome event ideas for clients, and sometimes even planning and implementing events (like this awesome one for our client, West Point Lincoln), this just so happens to be an added benefit of a PR firm with event experience.  For the most part, when you hire a PR pro, you’re hiring the professional to promote your event before and/or after, not to plan it from start to finish.

Myth 3: PR is advertising, so as a PR professional, you must know how to create ads, place ads and find me the best pricing on ads. You were responsible for the Budweiser Clydesdale horse Superbowl commercials, right?

Truth: Again, some PR pros have super-skills surrounding advertising and/or have experience with advertising, but your typical PR pro is not handling advertising campaigns or dollars on a day-to-day basis.  Some agencies, like ours, have the expertise in-house and offer the services through what we call  “media buying.”

Myth 4: PR is an easy job for my ditzy friends who have bigger dreams of finding the perfect husband than they do of attaining meaningful career goals.

Truth: Insulting for obvious reasons, this myth couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Not only are PR pros stacked with amazing skills like impeccable writing and mastery of the English language (that’s right, we have grammar and spelling on lockdown), we’re also problem solvers who are quick on our feet, creative thinkers, excellent communicators and relationship builders, and then some. PR is not for the light-hearted.  Those in the profession understand that they can, at times, take a beating from media personalities, clients and partners, alike, but it’s these skills (and infinite more that I didn’t mention above) that mean PR pros are just that: professionals. Plus, we can have our gorgeous hubby and our dream PR job, at the same time…and many of us do! 

Myth 5: PR pros have tons of extra time on their hands to help me or my business (or my dad’s business, or my baby sister’s business or my golden retriever’s business…you get the point) with its PR…for free.

Truth: While we do LOVE the that work we do, and we are appreciative of your vote of confidence in our experience and ability to hopefully do right by you and your business, we typically don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. PR pros do not work a typical 9 – 5 job…we’re always on the clock. We work until 9 PM to make sure that every client email is answered, that tomorrow’s press release is perfect and that fires are put out…or that they don’t start at all. We’re on email all hours of the day in case a news anchor emails us with a last minute, and often times, timely request. We’re waking up early on a Saturday morning to check media in at your festival or race. We’re attending networking events with industry professionals, potential partners for our clients, media and more.  You get the point: our hours are long.  With that being said, while we’d love to help you, our time is valuable and precious, and after work, we want to take a load off…not necessarily give away our secrets for free.  

Myth 6: All PR pros look, dress and act like Samantha from Sex and the City. 

Truth: While homegirl is certainly a hottie, once again, it’s just not true.  First, most PR professionals represent companies and brands, not individual personalities and famous people (although, many of my colleagues would love to get their hands on Amanda Bynes’ and Lindsey Lohan’s business). Second, we wouldn’t dare enter a meeting or attend an event in a strapless dress or a skin-tight number.  Finally, PR pros do what we do for a living so we can stay behind the scenes and let our clients shine, not to collect attention like Samantha did so often. 

While the list could go on and on for the types of myths that are out there and the truths PR professionals live and work by, I’ll spare you.  Instead, you tell me – what do you think we do for a living? Share it on our Facebook page and we’ll let you know if you “get it” or if you need a little extra education.   

 

-Written by Jenny Selber

Time Management – As learned at SXSW

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Public Relations) by integratePR on 18-03-2014

In today’s increasingly busy work environment where (admittedly) more is expected and (unfortunately) we have the same number of hours, Scott Hanselman has some great suggestions for scaling yourself. I saw him speak in a quick and efficient 15-minute session on productivity at SXSW last week. If you were following our tweets and SXSW blog, you may have seen our team geeking out over him and his session. It was a little difficult at times to keep up with every word he was saying, but for those of you that missed his insightful words of wisdom, the gist of it was that the interruptions in our life are useless, and it is important to only focus on what is necessary and moves us towards our goals.

Essentially, with every activity we do in our workday, Hanselman wants us to consider if that task is helping us advance to what we need to be achieving. Now, for myself, I do find that a 5-minute Buzzfeed quiz is actually very helpful; I know that to take a break between editing a document the 14th and 15th time is actually essential to making sure that I clear my mind between versions, and I am then able to completely refocus a few moments later when I come back to it. However, I know that I can get totally lost in Pinterest; it is all consuming and can capture my attention for hours at a time without me realizing it. So knowing this, I have to stay away during the workday. I think this realization would make Hanselman proud.

Another recommendation that Hanselman made, one that I am not 100% sure I can get behind, was to wait until lunch to reply to any morning emails. He says that if we can achieve three things that we set out to do each day before lunch, we will feel more successful in our lives overall. And by responding to emails, we immediately get sucked into the grind and get away from our goals for the day. I can completely see where he is coming from with this piece of advice, but cannot imagine that feeling of seeing my inbox pile up and not responding. That’s definitely my own anxiety to overcome.

Overall, I enjoyed Hanselman’s talk: his reminder that there is really no such thing as a busy season, that re-stacking the pile doesn’t actually help you remember to do it on time, and while it sounds obvious, a great reminder: the less you do, the more of it you can do.

SXSW is an awesome experience for inspiration, education and a chance to work ON the business versus IN the business. This opportunity for personal development, networking, fascinating conversations with industry leaders, and of course, team bonding, comes once a year and we are already counting down the days until SXSW 2015. 

Written by: Allie Danziger

Another Saved Valentine’s Day

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, Events, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, women) by integratePR on 18-02-2014

Valentine’s Day has completely turned into a holiday, and restaurants, Hallmark and flower shops are taking full advantage.  The weeks leading up to February 14th were annoying and somewhat miserable because I could not walk into a supermarket or Target without being reminded of this “holiday” and subsequently, my non-existent relationship.

Luckily, I had another saved V-Day this year.  The amazing Integrate Public Relations ladies planned an office valentine exchange (elementary style with paper valentines and candy).  As an office, we celebrated a day early, but nonetheless it was a blast.  Integrate PR’s culture is second to none and I couldn’t have asked for any better valentines!

Additionally, February 14th actually turned out to not be a disaster either.  My sweet dad had Tiff’s Treats delivered to the Integrate Public Relations’ office for me. For all the men out there, chocolate is the way to a woman’s heart.  My night was spent with my best friend watching the second season of House of Cards on Netflix, and although we didn’t accomplish every step on Cafe Adobe’s Single Girls Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day, we did enjoy some delicious margaritas.  Needless to say, this past Valentine’s Day was one for the books. 

Make sure you follow Integrate Public Relations on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook to see what fun things we’re doing in the office!    

 

Written by: Julia Parsons

Staying Inspired

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Social Media) by integratePR on 04-02-2014

We do a lot of very strange things in our office. I really can’t count the number of times a day I think, “Man, my job is weird.” But that’s what makes it so awesome! We are constantly on our toes and working to stay ahead on the latest trends and tools, so we can remain cutting-edge and innovative.

That creativity is really the most difficult part of my job. Being inspired and creating fresh, fun content on a daily basis is tough. Maybe it’s not hard for Ashley who is constantly coming up with ridiculously cute graphics or for Laura who always has new ideas to make just about anything exciting, but some days it is for me. So to help me stay inspired I’ve come up with a few tricks:

1. Stick with creative people.

If you keep up with us on Facebook, or now even on Snapchat, you know we have moved into a new office. Allie has previously talked about the new office and how she arranged the desks strategically so we can be an integrated team. This is seriously the best way for me to stay creative. I am never out of shouting distance of help. If I get stuck, I just turn to my left and ask (or annoy, depending on how you look at it) Ahna for help. Stick with people who can and will help you out. 

2. Have an outlet.

Buzzfeed. Seriously, Buzzfeed. Our office would probably collapse into chaos if Buzzfeed went down. Sometimes you just have to take a break and not think for a while. 15 minutes of “What Kind of Dog are You?” quizzes recharges my brain (Allison and I are both corgis, in case you were wondering). Taking a few minutes of the day to not think about Twitter or Facebook or Yelp is one of the easiest ways for me to not get stuck.  If you feel bogged down, take a step back for a second and look at pictures of adorable animals, trust me on this. 

3. Never stop learning.

I’m a big believer in free resources. Did you know that you can download lectures from Harvard, Princeton and more awesome universities for free? Why would you not take advantage of that? There are so many great resources out there to keep you inspired.  Personally I love TED talks. They’re like bite-size classes in the form of a 20-minute video by someone who is passionate and knowledgeable about their topic. Spend some time on TED.com and I guarantee you will feel creative at the end of it. I have a few favorites but I highly recommend, “If I should have a daughter” by Sarah Kay. It doesn’t have anything to do with Public Relations or Social Media, but it is about story telling and it always leaves me inspired.

And if all else fails, just think…

Written by: Kaitlyn DuBose

 

New Space, Same Great Face

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, easter seals greater houston, Houston, integratePR, IPR Staff Blog, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 23-01-2014

Over the holidays, we moved into what I have been calling our “grown up office.” Silly as it sounds, our new space on Kirby is a major upgrade from our home for four years at Vine Street Studios and something I am extremely excited about and proud of. While our former building was a perfect place to build and establish our base as a growing public relations agency (fellow entrepreneurs looking for office space, I do recommend it!), it was time to move to a space that did not have loose wires all over the place, a conference room that echoes or smelly pipes after it rains.

There was some debate as I was looking for new space whether we should keep the open desk environment or go more “old school” with cubes and offices. After reading this article in the New Yorker about “The Open Office Trap” I was really questioning myself, which said that “though open offices often fostered a symbolic sense of organizational mission, making employees feel like part of a more laid-back, innovative enterprise, they were damaging to the workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction.”  YIKES. That is the complete opposite of what I always believed about the open office environment. That is completely contradicting everything we are striving for at this progressive, creative agency!

Ultimately, I decided that keeping our account execs in an open environment was the best way to make sure that our Integrate culture continued. We pride ourselves on our ability to cohesively work together, seamlessly “integrating” public relations strategies with social media tactics. Managers do have their own offices so that we can have private conversations as needed with our teams, and sometimes we do need to close the door to be able to focus on a proposal, editing a press release or creating a strategy document for a client. But the open environment continues at Integrate, for now.

My hands-down, favorite story that happened at IPR a few years ago couldn’t have taken place if we were separated in offices. 

Excuse me if you’ve heard it before…

A YouTube video about a nine-year-old girl at New Caney ISD whose mother was fighting for her right to use a walker at school, made its way to the desk of an Integrate Public Relations social media account executive who works on a client that helps kids and adults with developmental disabilities – Easter Seals Greater Houston. With less than 500 views on YouTube, the Integrate Public Relations employee posted the video to the Easter Seals Facebook page with the intention of bringing some awareness to this injustice, as well as sharing an example of where Easter Seals Greater Houston might be able to intervene. Within minutes, there were over 50 comments.

Integrate Public Relations is intentionally laid out in an open working environment, so the rest of the team immediately heard the buzz about this quick response on Facebook. The Public Relations team – working across the room from the Social Media team – saw the story garnering an unprecedented amount of attention in the community, and thought it would be a good idea to reach out to the local news desks to tell them about the emerging story and see if they were interested in talking with the staff at Easter Seals Greater Houston. 

Within two hours, Easter Seals Greater Houston CEO, Elise Hough, and Development Director, Kelly Klein, were on separate sides of town filming interviews with Fox 26 and KPRC Local 2 regarding this issue. In addition to both news stations covering the story during their primetime evening news broadcasts, KHOU 11 also picked up the segment and aired the story. The next day, the segments were posted on the Easter Seals Greater Houston Facebook wall, enticing residents of the Greater Houston area to proactively reach out to Easter Seals as a source for developing news on the story. The story was then covered nationally on the Huffington Post, which ultimately resulted in an online petition for rights for this child, as well as a stronger Easter Seals brand as a national advocate for those with disabilities.

This collaborative environment and integrated approach to today’s communication environment is truly the essence of Integrate Public Relations.

Our new building, located at 3801 Kirby, is under construction for the next 6 months as they upgrade the exterior and amenity spaces. We’re going to wait for this project to be complete before having a real open house and inviting everyone over for a party but that being said, we would love to have you come by and visit us, anytime! 

Written by: Allie Danziger

WestJet Brings Holiday Joy

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, integratePR, marketing, News, Uncategorized, youtube) by integratePR on 12-12-2013

Over the last few days, there is one video our office has been watching, sharing and watching again. WestJet’s Christmas Miracle video is a treat that fills us with the holiday spirit from head to toe. We don’t want to spoil it for you, so you’ll have to watch it yourself (which, if you have been on the internet at all the last few days, you probably already have). 

Before you saw this video, did you have any idea who WestJet was? We didn’t, but its Christmas Miracle stunt has bumped it up to our favorite Canadian airline. So how did this campaign turn an airline into an over-night sensation?

For starters, with unpredictable weather and cranky passengers, we tend to hear only about terrible experiences, rude people, lost luggage and endless flight delays. But here we have a wonderful story about how an airline wanted to give its passengers a holiday to remember.

Secondly, there is an element of surprise for the passengers. We know what’s going on and can’t wait to see the real, emotional reactions of every person on that flight, especially the children as they realize that Santa was able to find them, even at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

From a more strategic standpoint, SocialMediaToday points out that WestJet could have done something much smaller for far more passengers, like given out cards and candy canes, and people would have appreciated it. Instead, it chose an out-of-the box, surprising campaign that reached a smaller audience, but on a bigger scale, and required way more effort than candy canes. The reach is achieved through the video, which, given that the video has been viewed 13 million times, has probably resulted in a just few loyal customers for the airline.

An incredibly original and well-executed campaign, WestJet not only touched the lives of its passengers, but also spread the love to millions of others. The Grinch’s heart even grew a few sizes.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the WestJet Christmas Miracle video. How have you seen the holiday sprit come alive? Share your comments and stories with us on Twitter and Facebook

 

 

De-Mess the Stress

Filed Under (blogs, company culture, Health, integratePR, Uncategorized) by integratePR on 14-11-2013

Here at Integrate Public Relations, we are coming off of the whirlwind that is our “busy season.” We love busy season – that means we are having fun, making connections and doing A LOT of what we love to do. But, a lot of times it can also mean heightened stress levels. The team could not be more grateful for our fearless leader, Allie, who treated us to massages to help us unwind and re-focus last week.

So with the hustle and bustle of the holidays barreling towards us, we have a few tips for you to help manage your stress at work. 

Scrolling through Facebook, we found a genius solution that will only cost you a piece of paper and some ink. It may even get a laugh, too!

We are lucky enough to have a couch in our office, which has been offered up, but seldom used, for a nap. But catching a 10-minute power nap during the day can be hugely beneficial, for your mind, body and overall health. It will help you return to your desk feeling fresh, with the creative juices flowing.

We are all familiar with the terrible term, “stress-eating”. The solution? Bring or suggest healthy alternatives for in-office snacks. We are an office of food-lovers, so this way, at least the extra eating is healthy!

Finally, pets, particularly dogs, are known to help their humans cope emotionally, and their presence in an office can be therapeutic and relieve stress. It’s no secret we love our dogs, and cats, here at IPR, and our furry friends would make an entertaining addition to the staff.

So, if you are feeling the extra holiday stress and strain, take a second to breathe, find a friend with a pet, have a healthy snack or nap, and don’t forget to laugh!

How well do you know our office? Who do these furry friends belong to? Share your thoughts, pet pics and stress-relieving tips with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Women’s Equality Day – August 26th

Filed Under (community, company culture, women) by integratePR on 27-08-2012

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Women’s Equality Day is a commemoration of the 19th Amendment, which granted universal suffrage rights to women in America. The bill took a total of 72 years to pass into legislation and since 1971, each president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day after the idea was introduced by Bella Abzug, social activist and Women’s Right’s Movement leader. As a woman owned business, we thought it would we would celebrate this historic day by taking a moment to reflect upon great women leaders in our generation. The following five women have all made impressive strides for women and are great role models for the women of our generation.

Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook

Previously the Vice President of Online Sales and Operations at Google, Sandberg currently reigns as the COO of Facebook, a position that she has held since 2008. Sandberg’s impressive resume also includes serving as the United States Department of Treasury’s Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton’s term.

Marissa Mayer – Yahoo

Longtime executive and key spokesperson for Google, Mayer is now the president and CEO of Yahoo!. At age 37, Marissa is the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Indra K. Nooyi – PepsiCo

This Indian-American businesswoman is the CEO and executive chairman of the second largest food and beverage business in the world when ranked by net revenue. She has directed the company’s global strategy for over a decade and has helped the 44-year-old company grow net revenues by 72 percent.

Jill Abramson –New York Times Co.

Ranked Number 5 on the FORBES list of 100 Most Powerful women, Abramson is the Executive Editor of the daily paper that was founded over 160 years ago. The website is the most popular American online newspaper.

Michelle Obama – First Lady of the United States

Michelle actually enjoys a more positive approval rating than her husband this election year. Her goals while serving in this position are to end childhood obesity, as well as encourage support for military families.

If you’re interested in learning more about women-owned businesses, women entrepreneurs or women in power, you can check out the FORBES list of the 100 Most Powerful Women or the  American Express’ OPEN Forum on Women in Business.