WE CONTINUE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

In our latest one-minute and nine-second video, DEVENEY showcases some of our latest and greatest work within the our award-winning LifeStyle practice area.

Whether it be for travel and tourism, hotel and hospitality, food and beverage, we strive to make our clients top of mind across the nation.

DEVENEY has continued to shine against the odds – targeting the highly sought-after millennials into the conversation, incorporating social media influencers, Snapchat filters and ads while continuing to foster our traditional media connections along the way.

In the world of overinfluence, we have been charged with standing out, but not losing the authenticity of our clients through our efforts. For example, Windsor Court is a local New Orleans luxury hotel, and offered a Royal Wedding Weekend Getaway for those who couldn’t make it across the pond to Windsor Castle for the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials. Additionally, since the hotel is pet-friendly, we coordinated and hosted a local New Orleans mini pig influencer (that’s right – I said pig) My Best Friend Hank to enjoy the amenities at Windsor Court. You can even see the cute snapchat filter we designed and implemented for a meet and greet with the pig around :55 in the video.

We’ve talked about this until we’re blue in the face – this is the age of experiences. Searching for the best photo-op to post on Insta-stories or feeds. How can my trip to Iceland be better than my millennial friend or blogger/influencer? DEVENEY strives for just that by curating top-notch creative content that tells stories here in New Orleans and beyond. And we want to do it for you.

Like what you see and want to learn more? Ask us anything on Twitter using #DEVchat or @DEVENEYMKTG.

5 STUPIDLY COMMON MISTAKES THAT INTERNS KEEP MAKING; ANOTHER INTERN’S PERSPECTIVE

Here at DEVENEY, our team has had some truly wonderful people work in our Associate program over the years. Naturally, some people are challenged with the transition from college into an internship. As a recent graduate, I’ve seen a lot of friends head to internships. Let me tell you, some have gone well; some not so much. Here are the most common mistakes, courtesy of a recent alumnus:

 

Showing Up Hungover

Yes, this one sounds obvious, but it happens. People discover a new city, make new friends and hit the town. After being on their best behavior for the first few weeks, they go out on a Thursday night, just like they did in school, and they wake up Friday morning with a splitting headache.

They struggle on into work at 9:12 a.m., thinking that no one can tell. Trust me, they know. And they’re not impressed. Oh yeah, and if you do go out, make sure to scrub the bar stamp off your hand before you get to the office the next day; it’s not a good look.

 

Thinking You Know Everything

You’ve learned a lot in your classes. Maybe (hopefully!) you’ve had some leadership experience and some prior work experience. You feel like you get it. You made good grades in school, after all. It’s one thing to feel confident; it’s another to be ignorantly proud. I’ve learned so much in my internships and work that I was never taught in the classroom. The same will happen to you. Embrace it. Take every opportunity to ask for feedback and to learn along the way.

 

Not Admitting Your Mistakes

So you messed up. It happens, especially for interns. Yeah, I’m sure you’ve got a great reason for it. Maybe you showed up late because of traffic. Maybe you didn’t really understand how the copier works. Maybe you forgot to do that assignment your boss casually mentioned last week.

Whatever happened, own up to it. Acknowledge that you should have done a better job and follow up by pointing out how you’ll make sure to correct that error in the future.

Example: “I’m so sorry; I completely forgot to send out the media advisory yesterday. That’s completely on me. I went ahead and distributed it first thing this morning and called the media to ensure they’d received it. In the future, I’ll add all of my assignments in my planner to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” Don’t be afraid to fail; you are an intern after all. It’s expected. Just show your character and demonstrate how you’ll grow from your mistakes. And then please don’t forget to actually do that.

 

Taking Constructive Criticism Personally

As an intern, you’re going to receive some negative feedback. Maybe your press release was poorly written, or perhaps your boss was unsatisfied with your spreadsheets and wants you to redo them. It hurts a little. Nobody likes to feel like they’re bad at something they’re passionate about. But, it happens. And when it does, use the opportunity to learn instead of getting defensive.

You’re not expected to be perfect. But you are expected to learn from your mistakes. Maybe you need to practice your skills a little off the clock to keep up with the office’s pace. Whatever it is, be humble, patient and be willing to grow. Take every piece of feedback as a way for you to showcase your talents in the future.

 

Not Knowing Why You’re There

Are you trying to get a sweet letter of recommendation? A full-time job? The money? Consider that; and consider how hard you’re working. If you want to succeed in this field, you’ll need to outwork not only the other interns but also your fellow employees. Follow the company’s policies. Find out what your boss cares about; make that your pet project. This is, essentially, an audition. And you’ll need to work hard to stand out in this field. Good luck.

 

Interested in the DEVENEY Associate Program? Tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG

Perfecting Your Beach Instagram Post

Summer (DEVENEY Image)

Ah, summer – welcome back! This is the time we all start thinking about beach getaways and our next long vacation.

Lucky for us, with an office in West Palm Beach, Fla., we get those beach days more frequently than many. Not long ago we posted about how to take better iPhone photos and today we’re going to map out how to get the perfect beach ‘gram.

First things first, let’s talk about what kind of photo you’re going to post. When sharing your picture-perfect moments on Instagram, it’s important to think about what you’re trying to showcase. We’ve come up with six different types of perfect instagrammable beach moments.

  1. Drink in The Air
  2. Casual Lounging
  3. Floatie Fun
  4. Hot Dog Legs
  5. Beach Experience
  6. Scenic Surroundings

Each one of these moments has essential elements to ensure you get the very best beach ‘gram possible. We’ve sifted through some of our favorite Florida ‘grammers (and a few others, too) and come up with key essentials to ensure you’re sharing the very best picture-perfect moment.

Drink in The Air

This is a personal favorite Instagram style. I am a huge fan of the Drink In The Air/Food In The Air movement. The whole purpose of these kinds of photos is to show off the freshness, fancy-ness or beauty of whatever you’re drinking so obviously the most critical of essential elements for this photo is the drink itself. Some of our top suggestions: drinks inside fresh fruit (pineapple or coconut), cute cup (something monogrammed or a fun shape), or a cocktail with floral accents (like an orchid garnish). Another essential for the Drink in The Air shot is a fresh manicure – sorry, but it’s true. Your hand is part of the image, so make sure it’s lookin’ good.

Some tips for taking the perfect Drink in The Air style photo:

  • Use your dominant hand for taking the photo. I’m right handed so I generally do the holding with my left hand. (Pro-tip: this is where popsockets really come in handy!)
  • The background is everything, in our case the background is always Florida’s sandy shores and crashing waves. Palm trees and beautiful skies work, too.
  • Hold your drink strategically – if there is writing on the cup, make sure you can read it!
  • Take multiple photos from different angles to really capture the drink the way you want it to be captured.

Casual Lounging

This is for those of us who visit Florida beaches (or any beaches) with an “Instagram Husband” (or wife, or friend – whatever!) who can lend a hand in snapping those perfect pics. The essentials for this ‘gram are: trendy sunglasses, cute towel or beach blanket, straw hat and the perfect bathing suit.

There are lots of different ways this kind of photo could go so we encourage you to play around with the angles and the subjects.

Floatie Fun

For what feels like the billionth year in a row, ridiculously shaped and sized floaties are *the* beach and pool-side essential and I’m not complaining! Obviously, for this shot, the essential element is the floatie itself. Pizza, unicorn, pineapple – whatever – just jump aboard and float around.

Floatie fun by Nick Mele on Instagram

Hot Dog Legs

Another oldie but goodie, the hot dog leg photo. This is probably the most popular and most common of the beach ‘grams but, if I am being honest, it’s my least favorite so I’m not going to spend a lot of time covering it. You’ll simply need a pretty background and your legs as props to make this one work.

Hotdog Legs instagram image from Stephanie Matlock

Beach Experience

The goal of this photo is to capture the essence of the Florida beach experience. This means your “beach experience” photo may look different than mine. This kind of image is going to change depending on what your experience looks like. For me, the experience is about relaxation and tranquility so my beach experience image may include a book laying on my towel with the waves in the background. For others, the perfect experience may be walking the shoreline and collecting shells.

Scenic Surroundings

For this shot, we recommend using Florida’s greatest asset – its beaches. Add a sunrise or a sunset and basically, you’re creating nothing but FOMO for all of your followers.

Scenic Florida shot by Jupiter Photo Girl on Instagram

With these tips you will be sure to create the best beach posts this summer. Share yours with us by tagging @DEVENEYMKTG on Instagram.

A CREATIVE SWEEP

Photo of Handwritten "Let's Make it Happen"

In the marketing agency world, we sometimes forget to savor creative success. Instead, we hurry from project to project prodded by ever-looming deadlines and our desire to tackle the next challenge.

Recently, DEVENEY’s Creative Division’s sweep of the 24th Annual AIVA Communicator Awards gave us an opportunity look back on a year’s worth of truly inspiring design work.

DEVENEY’s thoughtful, conceptual design goes deeper than a polished logo or catchy ad. Our work begins with insights gleaned from research and planning. Whether we are helping a healthcare client talk to people who are new to the neighborhood or inspiring leisure travelers to choose a  summer destination, our insights, ideation, and creative executions create engaging communications that turn heads and get results.

Peruse a few pieces from our recent award show success, and if you’re feeling especially inspired, partner with DEVENEY for your own creative results!

Direct mail piece for Touro welcoming new residents to the area
Medical brochure, business to business for client Arxcel
Logo and branding for the Windsor Court’s Cafe Anglais
Out of home advertisement for Octoberfest and client Deutsches Haus

12 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR iPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

iphone (DEVENEY Image)

In today’s fast-paced, social media-driven world, being able to take high-quality photos is a must for any brand. And, it doesn’t have to be hard. There is no need for expensive equipment, lighting kits, editing software or staging areas – you can create killer photos with just some know-how and your iPhone (or Android). Here are some quick tips on how to create the very best iPhotos for boosting your brand on social media.

Lighting is Everything
When taking photos on your phone, try to use natural light whenever you can. If you’re shooting outside, the best outdoor lighting happens really early in the day and right before the sun sets in the evening. Depending on your subject, shadows can be something to play with or avoid. If you can’t find good, natural light – use the resources you have. Lighting resources may be candles, lamps, bar lighting or even the flashlight on another phone (I have had plenty of “stage hands” provide lighting for me). Whatever you do, try to avoid using the flash on your iPhone, especially for food and drink in a dark space.

 


Devil is in the Details  
Don’t be afraid of showing close-up detail shots, especially if what you’re showcasing is something textured. But, think about what you’re trying to convey with detail shots. This works great with clothing, like the example below, to really showcase and convey how something will feel – people can see the image and immediately be brought to the feeling of touch.

 


Think about Color Scheme 
Color is especially important in food and drink shots – no one wants to see a plate full of brown mush or a drink with weird chunks floating around. Gross. Think about how the colors of your subject are going to work together. If it is cocktail like the example below, think about the color of the garnish and how it will interact with the color of the drink. Also, think about how lighting and backgrounds will impact the color of what you’re photographing.

 


Think About the Background 
While we’re on colors, it’s extremely important to consider your background options. If you’re photographing food or drink, think about the background (walls, tables, etc.) and how they are going to impact the overall look and feel of your shot. Try to choose neutral backgrounds if your subject is bright and colorful like the example below.

 


On the other hand, there is something to be said about power patterns – if your subject isn’t too ornate, a powerfully bold background may be the key to making your photo really pop. The example below works well because the subject is fairly simple – burger and fries – so a bold background works. Extra points for the human element.

 


Arrange/Stage Your Shot 
We all know that social media is less about “real” experiences and more about perfect experiences (I know that I am generalizing here and that plenty of people share the REAL REAL on social media, but we all know that the people #DoItForTheGram and that a lot of us share perfect versions of our experiences, but that’s a whole other post for a different day).

If you’re going to create the most beautiful cocktail on the menu or the most stunning dish in the house, then you better try to take the most beautiful photo of it. Don’t be afraid to stage and arrange your shot to get exactly what you’re looking for. Food and drink shots do well when shot from above – provided that the lighting is good – as you can see in the example below.

 


Keep it Simple 
Like the old saying goes, Keep it Simple, Stupid. When it comes to taking photos for social, try to keep it as simple as possible. People spend hours mindlessly scrolling through their Instagram feed so your photos need to stand out. That doesn’t mean that every one of your photos needs to be single-subject, but if you’re looking at the image and can’t pinpoint what the focal point should be, there’s too much going on. The example below really highlights how you can have multiple subjects but still have a clear focus.

 


The More, The Merrier 
When I was younger, I had ambitions of being a photographer for National Geographic – until someone told me that for every photo that gets published there are thousands that go unused. That seemed tedious to me and there went that dream…sort of. I may not be shooting for NatGeo but I still hold with me the importance of taking multiple shots, from multiple angles before picking the perfect one to share. Sometimes it will take 10-15 or more shots before you get your subject *perfectly* situated. Be patient.


Don't be afraid to take a lot of the same photos to ensure you really get the one you want!

Use Grids & Modes
iPhones come with a handy-dandy grid to help ensure you’re meeting the rule of thirds. Using your grids can help ensure your images are level and aligned. To turn them on go into iPhone Settings > Camera > Grid. Moreover, more recent versions of the iPhone have different camera settings – hello, Portrait Mode! Play around with the different settings on your phones camera *before* you start shooting.

Add a Human Element 
Human elements will make your images more relatable and realistic. I am a big fan of the Food In The Air/ Drink In The Air shot – and you can clearly see that throughout my personal accounts as well as the ones I have a hand in. This works particularly well for food and drink like in the example below, but can also be used in other areas like hotel beds, flowers/plants/farming, etc.

 


Be Strategic 
Before you start shooting willy-nilly, think about the strategy behind the photo you’re shooting – especially if you’re doing this for a brand. What is the message you’re trying to share? What emotions do you want people to feel? Think about why you’re shooting the image before you waste the memory space.

Be Realistic 
This is the most important thing for brands to keep in mind. Don’t make something to share on social media if it cannot be similarly recreated. Once you share that perfect photo of a new dish, cocktail, outfit, flower arrangement – whatever – customers are going to expect to be able to recreate it (and share their own images of it). I once visited a coffee shop because I saw this GORGEOUS image of a lavender latte on their Instagram channel and, duh, I wanted a similar photo for my own experience share. Wouldn’t you know, they didn’t serve it at all the way that it had been captured. Like, not even close. If you are going to create something that is a one-off or something special, make sure you clarify that in your caption.

Edit Your Images (But, Don’t Over Edit!)  
Using iPhone and Android apps like VSCO, SnapSeed or Aviary can help you edit images prior to posting. Editing images can give them more depth, provide lighting and color correction and sharpen an image, among other things. Be careful, though, not to over edit your images. Again, everything should look and feel realistic (even if it’s staged)


So there are my tips and tricks for taking better photos on the go. Whether you’re managing the social media for a brand or trying to build your own personal brand, these 12 tips will help you take better photos. That said, once you do get the perfect shot, try to enjoy the experience. Have something to add? Tweet at us @DEVENEYMKTG and let us know!

BIG IDEAS AND THE EMERGENCE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Artificial Intelligence (DEVENEY Image)

Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard of the term “artificial intelligence.” A concept that dates back to 1300 CE, a modern-day definition of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), simply put, is getting machines to do tasks that would require intelligence if done by a human. Artificial intelligence tasks include learning, seeing, talking, socializing, reasoning, the list goes on. But have you considered how Artificial Intelligence can make you a better marketing resource for clients? A.I. is empowering us to not only change how we see the world but as marketers, how our audience sees our product.

We live in the age of artificial intelligence. With software developed to flow seamlessly into the tools, we already use, 63% of us are already using some form of Artificial Intelligence without even realizing it. Siri, Spotify, and TacoBot are a few of the countless apps, software and plugins users interact with daily that are making the lives of marketers easier and more efficient. Consumers are coming to expect A.I in their brand experiences, whether they realize it or not.

As thought-leaders, we need to identify the features and opportunities our clients can utilize to enhance their marketing efforts. But short of hiring a whole tech department, what steps can an agency or marketing department take to provide its audience with a first-class experience?

In this case, knowledge truly is power. It is essential to continually integrate new data sources and new platforms into our tool belts. We must guide clients to either a) perform projects addressing these changes in technology or b) facilitate these efforts through a third party.

Our first dive into A.I. in marketing is voice search optimization. Twenty percent of mobile searches are done by voice and experts predict that number to increase to 50% by 2020. However, it is important to keep in mind that most people don’t speak the same way they write. For this reason, it is important to consider the ways that optimizing your website for voice search could be extremely beneficial to your clients. By considering this difference, marketers can drastically change the visibility of their product to users.

Equally important to optimizing web pages for voice search is considering how people use voice search. If the target audience isn’t likely to use voice search for your product, then voice search optimization shouldn’t be a priority. Also, consider what kind of mobile device your audience is using: if the target audience is mostly Android users, optimizing for Bing isn’t going to the best use of your time. Ensure that your website is mobile friendly and present on the networks used for voice search, and the returns will be great.

There are nearly 2 billion Facebook users globally, 200 billion tweets shared on Twitter every year, and Google processes 40,000+ searches every second. Marketers have a wealth of data at their fingertips to target consumers and get in front of them with their products. We now have the ability to assess the entirety of a consumer’s social activity: every word, every picture, every emoji. Add to that location-based data from mobile phones, transactional data from credit cards and adjacent data sets like news and weather. Machine learning and advanced algorithms are applied to these oceans of digital information, and we can intimately understand the motivations of almost every consumer. A.I. software can take this data and do the media buying for you. It allows agencies to go beyond programmatic marketing, utilizing technology to provide a cross-channel approach (both paid and unpaid) and provides an ongoing repository of fresh insights and meaningful campaign recommendations.

Amped marketing automation processes use pathways to decide when it is appropriate for a user to receive certain marketing prompts. Tools like these drive personalized marketing experiences that are invaluable to marketers attempting to reach and develop brand relationships with consumers. These features use A.I. technology, like machine learning to compose the best subject lines and suggest just the right image to show to the right person who opens a marketing email. Using data like demographics and geo-location to personalize the user’s experience and allow for them to see themselves with the product.

The greatest benefit to digital marketing is that it has the ability for exponential growth – technological advances are making leaps and bounds every day. Staying in front of new concepts and technologies will enable any agency or marketing department to develop better, stronger and faster than their competition, and inevitably win over their audience.

Is you brand implementing artificial intelligence to improve how it reaches a target audience? Join us in the conversation and tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG.

INFLUENCER MARKETING CAMPAIGNS- WHY ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL

influencer campaign (DEVENEY Image)

DEVENEY is well-known for its public relations and crisis capabilities, with roots in the industry spanning the past two decades. But in recent years, as the company evolved into a fully integrated engagement agency, our services have expanded to include creative and digital. Within our digital division, influencer marketing is just one tactic offered to clients to elevate their marketing campaigns.

According to TapInfluence, 84 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations over brand advertising, and a consumer’s peer set continues to expand. Social media has democratized relationships and led to a greater ability to influence others. The equalizing nature of social media has led brands to pursue relationships with those doing it “well” – those building relationships with their followers in ways that influence their behavior on a daily basis.

DEVENEY utilizes research to identify the right influencers for each project as there is no “one size fits all” influencer campaign. Each influencer campaign is developed to reach the client’s goals. For example, there are FAM trips, social media takeovers, special event invitations as well as national campaigns that have a wide reach.

Furthermore, there is a common misconception that audience equals influence. This confuses the very principles of influencer marketing – influence isn’t the number of eyeballs that a brand’s message sees, but rather the amount of people who subsequently act on that message.

DEVENEY is constantly identifying, vetting and building relationships with influencers who are well-suited to our clients’ goals. Each campaign is unique, and each client has different goals and objectives for their campaigns.

Our LifeStyle team just wrapped a six-month influencer campaign with Louisiana Tourism Association (LTA). DEVENEY identified and managed two themed trips with four influencers to eight parishes across the state. The goal of the campaign was to position Louisiana as a destination for quick weekend trips by highlighting unique experiences and activities.

DEVENEY managed all aspects of the campaign including researching, identifying and vetting influencers; securing deliverables and signed agreements; coordinating customized itineraries with convention and visitors bureau partners; and monitoring and reporting coverage.

The campaign proved to be successful for the client, and as the numbers and coverage continue to roll in, we are already discussing how to incorporate another influencer campaign into LTA’s 2018 marketing plan.

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” influencer campaign, DEVENEY sits down with each client to discuss your marketing goals and develop a customized approach. In the meantime, think about what influencer campaigns resonated with you and the audience you are trying to reach. Review your social channels to see if there are any influencers you are already following who might be the right fit for your brand.

Are you considering incorporating an influencer campaign into your marketing plan? For more information about influencer campaigns, tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG.

 

BEST PRACTICES TO OVERCOME CREATIVE BLOCK

We’ve all been there before. You have a big, exciting project to prepare for. There’s a due date, and an allotted time frame to get it done, but nothing. You can’t think of where to begin, you’re stuck somewhere in the middle or maybe you’re down to the final detail but can’t get past that last hurdle. The ideas you usually have are just not coming to you. This is called creative block, and it can happen to anyone at any time. It’s extremely common, and as  designers, we experience it often. The best thing to do is not to panic, take a deep breath and try some of the techniques below.

You can apply these tips to all types of work, not just design. Do you have a proposal to put together, but can’t find the strategy? Is there a term paper, or even an email, to write but don’t know where to begin? Do you have a meeting, but can’t seem to collect your thoughts? You just might have creative block.

Here are some of the best practices to overcome your creative block:

Change Your Surroundings

Sometimes, all we might need is a little change of scenery to get a spark of inspiration. Try bringing your work to another area of your house or office. Coffee shops can be great place to work and serve as an excuse to get out of the house. If you’re able to, try working outside for a bit.

Disconnect & Unplug

In this day and age, it can be hard to spend time away from our devices. Let’s admit it, a lot of us are hooked to our phones and the sweet pull of social media is just a few clicks away. These tools are amazing, but can be a big distraction, especially if an assignment is due. Try plugging your phone in another room or not logging in until your work is done. This one could be tough, but we could all use some time away from our screens.

Listen to Music

Other art forms may be inspiring for the projects we are working on. Music has the ability to convey many emotions, but it also can be a great motivator. It can also help distract from the noise, or lack thereof, in the office. Pandora and Spotify are great tools for listening to music and creating playlists. If lyrics are too distracting, try instrumental or classical music.

Bring in Another Person

You might feel stuck, but it’s possible you are finished and you don’t know it. Try showing a friend or colleague what you’re working on. Their feedback might lead you to the idea you have been waiting for, or their comments might help you realize that you’re done and overthinking things. Another set of eyes can be very beneficial.

Get Some Rest

If your brain is feeling foggy, maybe all you need is to catch up on some rest. Our time is important and there is only so much in a day to get something done, but be careful not to overwork yourself. It’s important to take care of your mind. If possible, try taking a nap or even a long break. A well-rested individual will be more effective than a tired one.

How do you overcome your creative block? Tweet us @DEVENEYMKTG and let us know.

 

WHY MEDIA TRAINING IS IMPORTANT

As public relations professionals, we have a number of tools at our disposal- these items make our business lives easier as we strive to deliver on the objectives set forth for our brands each year. One tool that is often overlooked and sometimes considered unnecessary is media training.  Often, media training is not something that comes to mind for a business until absolutely necessary.

Media training IS necessary. Today, business leaders are expected to have the ability to easily navigate a media encounter- at times it is even considered a job requisite. But speaking to the media is not a skill that comes natural to most people, it’s a skill that needs to be practiced and honed.

DEVENEY offers a media training that is best-in-class and covers a variety of methodology including interview simulations with a journalist and film crew. The DEVENEY method teaches attendees how to control an interview, stay on message, utilize body language effectively and avoid the pitfalls of an overly inquisitive reporter. Our training sessions are uniquely tailored to your business needs and we work in conjunction with your team to specifically target each spokesperson’s strengths and weaknesses in communicating key messages to the media.

Other distinctive DEVENEY techniques include methods of messaging recall, weak language to avoid and tips for live interviews. After working through several media encounter simulations, trainees leave with a comprehensive binder of best-practices and tips, to encourage continued practice and improvement. We like to say that POISE comes with PRACTICE and our ultimate goal is to make training effective and efficient for you and your team.

Think that media training might be right for your business or organization? Get in touch with us at @DEVENEYMKTG