A New York welcome - a different way to use the training budget!


Melanie writes............Feeling refreshed (after sleeping off the jet-lag) from my training and personal development trip to New York, I thought I would share some of my experiences from one of the most innovative and influential economies in the world. 

I was chosen to visit The City to experience and explore several different workplaces across varied industry sectors. As many of you know, my colleague Jamie Collis visited New York three years ago to bring back knowledge of emerging technologies and developing themes within the PR sector. 

During my time I went to a PR firm, similar to Recognition in its ways or working, but significantly larger and several businesses which mirrored my clients including The Brooklyn Brewery and New York Radio Festivals, plus renowned newspaper, The New York Post.

PR firm, Cooper Katz and Company was my first stop and it was really interesting to see an office similar to Recognition as I walked in. After a lengthy discussion about the current economic climate and its effect on business, which was surprisingly positive from both sides, we compared procedures applied throughout the firms. We both took a lot from the meeting including new ways of working, which I believe both parties will adopt. 

After an extremely long cab drive across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge I arrived at The Brooklyn Brewery and not to what I expected. I envisaged arriving at a thriving hub with beer enthusiast propping up the bar and keen tourists stocking up on Brewery memorabilia, what I found was quite different. The whole place was very quiet unlike my client, The Black Sheep Brewery, which runs a visitors centre which is an integral part of the Yorkshire tourism market. After being buzzed in through a locked door, I was led up to the Managing Director’s office where I met Eric Ottaway and the PR Manager for the Brewery. 

This was a great meeting for me as it gave me chance to get some inside information about the day to day running of the Brooklyn Brewery and who they recommend as distributers in the US market. I gained a great insight into how they interact with their customers and was advised their social media success was due to interaction, interaction and more interaction! A great PR initiative they are currently running includes all members of staff designing their own beers using any flavours they wish. The beer is then sold at the visitor’s bar, which is only open when the tours are on for two hours every afternoon.

I made a fleeting, but very exciting visit to see Elvis Duran and The Morning Show, who I first worked with at The Radio Academy’s Radio Festival in Manchester last year, when he delivered a master class on how to broadcast the best morning show. It was great to see the team again and see where they broadcast their award winning show from.

Next was a trip uptown to The New York Post offices to meet with Thomas Hinton, the Business and Social Media Manager for The Post. When asked what the main aspects of his role were he said a bit of everything! This seems more of a common theme within this climate as people are expected to do more, merging roles together. When discussing social media Thomas very much believed in the Obama Effect, where everyone who ‘follows’ President Obama on Twitter receives a follow back, he believes this is a sure fire and simple way to increase your followers. 

On the subject of emerging social media platforms, Thomas felt that Pinterest and Tumbler were at the top of their game in the States at the moment but Twitter was still the most influential and powerful social media tool and within six months both Tumbler and Pinterest would be more or less redundant.

Despite many publications readerships declining, The Post still registers a daily circulation of 555,327 and is ranked 8th in the world for number of unique visitors for an online newspaper. 

The New York Festivals organise the New York Radio Festival, which rewards and highlights the best of radio talent. I currently manage the PR for The UK Radio Academy’s annual Radio Festival, which similarly aims to commit to encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK radio broadcasting and audio production.

A main theme which emerged from the meeting was communication is key. During events and seminars, social media, in particular Twitter, should be used to gain maximum coverage for each key point made. 

The whole experience was more than a fact-finding mission, it was an inspiring and motivating adventure which has broadened my knowledge and expertise of how the industry I work in is progressing and evolving. Being a professional working in New York City was really exciting and a chance of a life-time, which I had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand (along with a few tourist attractions thrown in during my spare time of course!) 

I want to extend my thanks to Graham and the Partners for giving me this opportunity. I was able to bring back my findings and present to my colleagues in order to support the business’ knowledge in moving forward as a progressive PR firm.

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