Why should the chillier months have all the rich-hued fun?

By Laura Touysinhthiphonexay

Pantone has released their crystal ball projections of Spring 2015’s colors. And they’re bright, bold, and a little dark and twisty. We at DeVries Global, are thrilled by this turn from more classic pastel palettes for spring. We confess, we took a peek into Pantone’s crystal, and wove many of these same fearless colors into our new website’s blue-centric theme. When collaborating with the incredible Asia Pietrzyk, we envisioned illustrations with a color scheme that captured the energy and brilliance of summer, but kept tones that could feel fresh and real in every season. Aquamarine, Custard, and Toasted Almond in the background of the site are reminiscent of the bright blue sky and sand from our favorite summer memories. Rich accents like Classic Blue ocean, Lucite Green sunglasses lenses, and Tangerine lanterns add a deeper fall vibe to the art. We can’t wait to see how this unique spring palette comes to life on the runway during Fashion Week. 

Click here to read more about the Spring 2015 Pantone palette. 

Cultural Thursdays at DeVRIES Global in Singapore

By Yu Ting Yeo

Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.

Josh Billings

In today’s digital age, the art of letter writing and the use of postage stamps have become almost archaic in nature. As part of the monthly Cultural Thursdays at DeVRIES Global, we decided to do a #ThrowbackThursday and revisit the postage stamp, with a trip down to the Singapore Philatelic Museum.

While the museum has been around for close to 20 years, none of us had sufficient knowledge or appreciation of stamps to ever warrant a visit before today.

Our first-ever trip to the museum was marked by initial apprehension and a reluctance to leave work behind during office hours (DeVRIES Singapore employees are extremely dedicated to their clients). :) 

All thoughts of work were eventually cast aside when we found out that there was a DC Super Heroes Exhibition. Saving the world and taking selfies were obviously more important.

 

It was pretty awesome to take time off work to learn about the history of stamps and their significance in history – representing timestamps of commemorative moments in history, such as the birth of Singapore, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and our first trip to the museum. Yes, that’s right, we made a stamp of ourselves.

Sharing the Love

We thought it’d be nice to bring something back for everyone else in the office to experience what we did. The timing was perfect as we were celebrating Singapore’s birthday – everyone received postcards and stamps and was encouraged to write to someone overseas on why they should visit this little island.

With the daily bustle of city life and a job in a PR agency, it’s not often that we can find time to take a break, catch a breather and reminisce about the past. It was inspirational to be out of the office, spending time with the team, enjoying the artistic beauty of stamps and the memories they celebrate.

 

The Art of How We Do It

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 Laura Pesin Eder

President & Chief Operating Officer

A guy in a bar once challenged Pablo Picasso to draw him a masterpiece on a cocktail napkin. Picasso whipped out a drawing, handed it to the guy and said “That’ll be one million dollars.” The guy said: “But it only took you 30 seconds.” Picasso responded:

“Yes, but it took me 50 years to learn to draw that in 30 seconds.”

Except for the million-dollars part, that’s pretty much the DeVRIES Global approach to everything we do.

OUR JOBS ARE A LITTLE WEIRD

At DeVRIES Global, it’s our job to turn out elegant, graceful, efficient and appealing communications programs that get people thinking and talking about our clients – and to make it look easy.

But, as Picasso pointed out, it takes a lot of elbow grease to produce something slick and sleek and beautiful.

And so we stay late. We bang our heads on our keyboards. We crunch numbers, gnaw on pencils, pick up our feet for the cleaning lady, churn through sticky notes, neglect our appearance (to a point) and even put boxes of Thai takeout with chopsticks poking out around the office to complete the scene.

We get our hands, faces, and everything else dirty, all in an effort to forge a single porcelain figurine of a communications plan. The next day, we do it again.

WE WERE BORN TO DO THIS 

So yes, there is artistry in the work we produce – but do we actually think of ourselves as being in the same league as Picasso? Not really. But we’ll go out on a limb and say that there is one trait that we share with real artists: we can’t imagine doing anything else.

WE’VE FOUND A HOME

One of the things that clients say they like best about us is our ability to keep people on staff while constantly drawing in new talent. It’s an environment that few others in the industry have been able to foster: a place where people stay put, yet continue to flourish.

Our long-term staffers provide the kind of continuity and experience that clients crave, while our new hires bring fresh perspectives along with awesome restaurant recommendations and offbeat (and occasionally dubious) dance mixes.

OUR CLIENTS STICK AROUND

All of this adds up to a Public Relations jambalaya that clients keep lining up for; some of them have been with us since our founding in the ’80s, while our new clients report that they feel like we’ve known them for years. 

There’s a lot about DeVRIES Global that we’re eager to tout, but among all our accomplishments, the longevity of our people and our clients is the “completed-a-triathlon” achievement we like to brag about the most.

297 Shades of DeVries Global


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I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing more than ten spectacular years here at DeVries Global and it’s a privilege to watch the magic that happens when artistry, alchemy, hard work and team chemistry come together.  

But I do confess, that like many of our marketing and communications colleagues,  we can at times,  lack the discipline with ourselves that we practice on behalf of our clients.  Case in point was our dereliction of the evolution of our own branding to best reflect our growth as an agency. When I joined the team,  we were a very different stripe of PR family.  A NYC-only based PR agency with an extraordinarily talented team of locals doing amazing work for our client partners.  Today, we are nearly 300 team members strong — all practicing the various hues of our ever-changing craft.  We are a group of professionals that speak different languages, span every time zone and service a growing constellation of client partners that make it interesting,rewarding  and fun coming to work every day.  Our DNA remains the same — there are just so many more of us to like, respect and work with around the world.  

We recently hired a new global creative director who was dazzled by our client work.  Her candor and lack of filter at first took me by surprise when she politely questioned why we’re not applying the same discipline when it came to some of the work we did on behalf of ourselves. She was right though, because as good as we are in our pursuit of the highest of communications standards for our client partners — lack of time, and our knee-jerk default to always put our clients first—begot a few obvious “holes” when it came to holding ourselves to the same highest of criterions.  And so we changed that.

Today you will see the beginning of our own natural, and real adaptation.  One that better reflects who we are today — and gives us wiggle room to become even more and better in the future.  I hope you like our new website.

Jim

The Otherhood - who’s that?

Who exactly is the Otherhood, and why is this powerful and influential consumer segment so important to brands and marketers?

To answer these questions, we teamed up with author Melanie Notkin to produce a groundbreaking new study — Shades of Otherhood — that puts its finger on the pulse of the non-mom demographic.

Defined as single and never married, living with a partner, or married, separated, divorced or widowed with no children, the non-mom now accounts for 47% of women of childbearing age in the US.

The Shades of Otherhood study brings to life the behaviors and beliefs that drive this important group. It also highlights just why marketers and brands should be paying more attention to this growing block of consumers.

So what did we learn? Six cool trends stood out:

1. She is a savvy and connected woman

Women of the Otherhood are thriving career-wise, and have extensive social networks, with on average 1500 friends across social media platforms.

2. She has big time purse power

The Otherhood is outspending moms per person, per household. But her spending is still discerning – just like moms, she looks for value and is financially responsible.

3. She has time for leisure

Travel is a passion point for the Otherhood, and her independent status means she able to travel further way from home and for more time, compared to moms.

4. Her top priorities are career and love

But love does not necessarily mean getting married. The Otherhood ranked marriage and having kinds well behind finding love.

5. She loves kids

Even though she does not want her own, the Otherhood embraces children. In fact, we found that children play an active part in the lives of 80% of non-moms.

6. She is happy

It may look different from what they had expected themselves or what society expects of them, but a combination of love, friendship, career, adventure and more makes the Otherhood very happy indeed.

Want to learn more? Click here to see our infographic of the study 

Click the icons below to read about how the Shades of Otherhood study started a conversation across top-tier media

    

 

#DEVRIESDOESAUSTIN: ‘24 Hours’ in Austin by @RobinsonTimothy

I’m going to go ahead and put the “24 hours” part of this post in quotation marks, because I am taking some serious liberties with the timeline here. But I think it’s appropriate since the concept of time when you are at SXSW doesn’t work the same way as it does back in the rest of the world – the days slip by in a blur of tech talk and queso, and before you know it the experience is over. 

But the time that you DO have on the ground is spent meeting some amazing people from the seemingly disparate worlds of tech startups, venture capital, digital production, non-profit, and entertainment – all of whom are plugged in and constantly on the go throughout the week. Here’s a quick snapshot of what I found to be the most memorable and relevant moments from my time in Austin:

Media Plaforms and Publishers

On Monday I attended an awesome session about the shift that’s happening within media companies from simply publishing content, to serving as a community platform for crowd-sourcing info. Led by Zach Seward, Senior Editor at Quartz, the open discussion was a great reminder that we, as PR pros, need to start thinking about new “ways in” when pitching outlets. There are more and more opportunities to enlist influencers to create content on our behalf, i.e. the HuffPo model.

GIRLS!

As I mentioned, there are a million people at SXSW from different industries, and maybe attending a keynote address by Lena Dunham seems like a waste of time, but you guys – GIRLS is amazing!!! The interesting thing about her talk though was that the message truly translates. The thing I took away is that the story you are telling (whatever that story may be) needs to be authentic in order to resonate with an audience. I especially took these words to heart as our agency continues to develop social content on behalf of brands.

 

Bribery is an Effective Tool

Also, outside the media and tech conversation in Austin, SXSW is a great place to check out the latest in big branded activations and do a bit of competitive research. And I can tell you this: if you want to get people to interact with your brand, give them something more than just free product. A free ride from a branded Chevy Impala when the city is choked with people and there isn’t a cab in sight – helpful. A coupon for $1.00 that I need to go online to redeem – not interested.

 

Also, (and I know I’ve been skirting the issue a bit) there are plenty of chances to drink during SXSW. And guess what? An open bar and a Biz Markie performance is a GREAT way to get people in the door.

#DEVRIESDOESAUSTIN: From Content to Kimchi Fries, Everything is “Snackable” at SxSW @BrianaRedman

SXSW was a whirlwind of a week. One of those trips where you alternate the following: learn, eat, meet, sleep, learn, eat, meet, sleep…and you don’t even know what day of the week it is – but all along, it’s totally worth it.

Going into SXSW, I wanted to learn more about content creation, so it was key to arrive an hour early to sessions like “The Compelling Image in the Age of Social Media” and “Social Media: Strategies That Work & Future Trends.” I think most of us at DeVries would be millionaires if we had a dime for every time someone told us that “content is king.” But SXSW took that idea to a new level. According to Yahoo, 880 billion images were shared last year, so it has become even more important to have compelling content that stands out and grabs someone’s attention. After all, the attention span of the average person is 4.3 seconds. PS…I Made This recommends creating attention-grabbing content that’s “recognizable but with a twist,” whether it’s kimchi fries, neon dipped mason jars or Austin’s spicy guava pork ribs.  However, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. We’ve all seen companies blow thousands of dollars on a large-scale production which, in the end, can have a very short life span. I was shocked to learn that only true fans (less than 20% of website/social media visitors) watch exclusive, BTS content.  So next time you’re working on client planning, maybe suggest a content creation day where you can produce a year’s worth of evergreen images rather than one large-scale video production. And in terms of timing, think about when you should post it on your social channels. Post short “snackable” content during the day when people are working, but looking for a quick distraction. For videos that are longer, post them after the workday when people have more time on their hands.

 

Besides geeking out over the various content sessions, my other SXSW obsession was the various branded activations and booths. From A&E’s recreation of the Bates Motel to The Price is Right wheel, every big company was there to make an impression on these digital influencers. With SXSW attendees taking naps in corners and recharging alongside their phones, I’m convinced that Sleepys or DeVries’ fabricare clients should set up a nap station next year. Because with the whirlwind of a week, grabbing someone’s attention among all the distractions is the way to win at SXSW. 

#DEVRIESDOESAUSTIN: A SXSW Top Five “What I’ve Learned” Listicle by @ricebird

Austin is ahhh-mazing, but #hotdamn it can be stressful if you don’t walk in with some #hottips! To help give you an idea of how to tackle SXSW (and these could be applied to almost any conference) here’s my top five #keylearnings listicle. Now go forth and conquer.

Put your panel on a pedestal. If you have a session that’s a must-see, either get in line a full HOUR in advance or be a creeper and stake a seat in the room the session before. This is how I guaranteed entrance to my favorite sessions, such as “Brands Driven by Artistic Communities” where I learned that Instagram is the only major social network that isn’t banned in any country #funfact

Learn to lunch alone. And by alone I mean go somewhere solo and strategically strike up conversations with people around you. Ask them their thoughts on the conference. Find out who they are. Gain some insights from your fellow conference attendees, but always keep it genuine because who doesn’t want a new friend and potential Twitter follower #networkhard

Over-RSVP. As the official party planner for our group, the minute I found out I was headed to Austin I made the world’s longest list of parties, events and links. Planning in advance helped us cut panel lines and guarantee killer nights out.  There are some sites out there I discovered that can even auto-rsvp you to everything happening so you don’t have to #brilliantlylazy

Explore more.  It’s easy to get caught up in the panels, but there are so many creative events happening around the conference that some people argued with me that you don’t even need a badge to gain value. I definitely rounded out my experience by chowing down at Fast Company Grill for free, snuggling with puppies at a #PuppyHour and enjoying a free massage from American Express. So while I’d argue back that the panels are key and as a professional seeking value you need that darn badge, I would also say that escaping the conference center helped inspire me for future client programs #puppystrategy

Be different, yah be different. As Ann Marie mentioned in her SXSW post, we created these amazing custom anti-hangover patch handouts. Thanks to our “gimmick,” I was a total savior to the many people I met – and we even gained some Twitter traction around the #DeVriesDoesAustin hashtag. Having something cool to offer people helped me strike up conversations and make myself and the agency memorable #standupstandout

#DEVRIESDOESAUSTIN: The Great Adventure of Digital Marketers by @amalmariei

When SXSW Interactive started back in 1994, it was a couple hundred people and a few panelists. Twenty years later, it’s now 30,000 registrants and thousands of sessions and meet-ups. I can see why it’s been coined the ‘geek spring break’ as the streets fill with digital professions who have vowed to help do their part to keep Austin weird. As a first timer, the experience for me was akin to a kid visiting a theme park for the first time. So many choices, so little time - and lines that would make a wait for the ‘scream machine’ seem like child’s play.

Upon arriving at the convention center mid-day Friday, I scurried off toward my first session: ’The Secret Sauce of Real Time Marketing’. When I arrived, there was a line spanning around the corner and the room was already at capacity. I quickly realized that showing up at a session a few minutes before start time was not going to cut it. So unlike ‘Great Adventure,’ waiting in line for an hour didn’t guarantee me a spot. I needed a game plan so I sought refuge in the PayPal lounge to plot out my next few days of sessions. Sadly, a lot of the really good workshops required pre-registration, but hey, now I know for next time! I did manage to get into a few really great sessions like the talk with Humans of New York photographer, Brandon Stanton and ‘Surviving A Social Media Crisis.’

One of the best parts of SXSW was the people. Within 10 minutes of stepping foot in Austin, I was already running into friends and past colleagues; it felt like a ‘digital class reunion.’ It’s one thing to troll everyone on LinkedIn to see what they’re doing now - but running into them after 5 or more years and hearing about the new start-up they’re working on or a new book they’ve written was a great way to reconnect and gave me lots of ideas for future collaborations.

Despite my naivety as a SXSW neophyte, there was one thing I was fully prepared for while in Austin: the drinking! We created DeVries Global SXSW cards with all natural Zaca hangover patches attached. Not only did they add value to the SXSW experience for anyone who got their hands on one, but they also probably got people through a few early morning sessions. Talk about a conversation starter!

So SXSW 2015? I think I’ll start planning now…

#DEVRIESDOESAUSTIN: #MeatUps & StartUps, 24Hours in Austin with @adriannagiuls

My trip to Austin started off with a bang when my work wife Ann Marie and I pulled out of the Avis car rental. After being instructed to stop at the booth and hand in our paperwork and licenses, we escaped the parking lot labyrinth without providing our credentials. Sure, later I saw they charged my credit card but at the moment we were Thelma & Louise.

Moving right along, the afternoon was filled with checking out interesting panels and scouting brand activations. My favorite? Subway’s Mind Wars where the task was to mind battle for a slice of pizza on a screen using a wearable that measured concentration. Applause to a brand for tapping one of the most relevant trends in technology and using it in a way that was contextually relevant and valuable to the user—I got a gift certificate for a free slice of pizza when I won.

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Next up #how2focus: a panel that shared insights in trends in the field of organizational psychology and design. There, panelists shared insight around our culture of interruption. One frightening stat: people spend 3 minutes on any task before being interrupted. As an antidote, an interesting trend is bubbling up where offices create “Shhh… Zones” for deep focus and concentration. I love that idea and I am sure my team is somewhere cringing.

Lastly the day encored with Mindy Kaling’s panel “Queen of Comedy.” Among a multitude of truths she shared one that resonated sharply: women are painfully compared to one another. “Women are constantly put into these pageants they don’t even want to be in,” she quipped. Wisely pointing out that while she is constantly compared to Lena and Tina, when male comedians and actors breakthrough no one ever says… “well, he’s like Steve Carrel meets Seth Rogen,” they are celebrated for their individual accomplishments. Her solution? While we can’t conquer all gender issues at once, women triumph when we support one another and show the world that being a strong professionals is not at odds with being funny, sensitive or even girly.

After a hungry afternoon it was time for a #meatup with the team. No that’s not a typo, we literally had a #meatup at Freedman’s BBQ where we ate and talked “family style” about our days’ adventure. The conversation and spare ribs were intoxicating.

Key learning of the day: #ABC (always be charging). Hat tip to Katharine Ricci for teaching me that.