A Look Back on 2011

As the end of the year approaches, it seems that most of the articles are reflecting on the last year. Journalists write about the best campaigns of the year, and the worst campaigns of the year.  They write about the most memorable parts of the year, and the most painful moments of the year.  Last year I wrote a post called the Final Post of the Year that went month by month through the best parts of 2010.  I really enjoyed writing that post and looking back on my past year so I figured I would do the same thing for 2011.

January

In January, I went to the Dolphins/Patriots game in Foxboro which is something I have wanted to do since I moved to Boston.  The Dolphins obviously got killed, but it was still a great time.

I also started my last semester of college at Boston University.  They had a few celebrations for seniors.

With Dean Elmore and John Battaglino

February

I had some exciting trips in February.  First, I went to Chicago for the first time.  I went to DePaul University’s PRSSA conference.  I wrote about it on an older blog post.  Then I spent the rest of the weekend exploring the city with my awesome tour guide, Nick Lucido!

Sky Deck!

The Bean

Deep dish pizza!

A week later I went skiing for the first time at Mont Tremblant.  It was definitely scary learning how to ski at first, but by the end of the weekend I was getting the hang of it.  But I have heard that your first time skiing should not be on this mountain.

March

In March I did something I had been looking forward to since I heard it opened.  HARRY POTTER WORLD!

April

This month started off bittersweet.  I went to Seattle for the PRSSA National Assembly.  I always looked forward to my PRSSA trips, and this one was my last.  The next committee was elected, and I was so excited and proud of them.  But it was also (potentially) the last time I was with everyone in my committee at the same time.  PRSSA continues to mean the world to me and truly made a huge difference in my life and my career.  I was also awarded with the Elaine Averick Outstanding National Committee Member Award.  Oh, and I caught a fish in the Seattle fish market!

The 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 PRSSA National Committees

The 2010-2011 PRSSA National Committee Saying Goodbye

Elaine Averick Outstanding National Committee Member Award

May

In May, I graduated from Boston University with a degree in Public Relations from the College of Communication and a degree in Business Administration from the School of Management.  I also received the Gerald Powers PR Scholarship, Blue Chip Award and Scarlet Key.

Scarlet Key

Blue Chip Ceremony

June

Even though I officially starting working on May 31, my new hire training at HubSpot started on June 6.  After six months of working, I can still say I love my job!

July

In July I spent a lot of time working and a lot of time enjoying Boston and getting together with friends.

BSMA Brunch

August

In mid-August, I co-founded a Young Professionals Network for the Public Relations Society of America in Boston.  Then at the end of August, Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s annual conference that included 45,000 people this year, began.  My responsibilities at HubSpot all summer consisted of working on our presence at Dreamforce and planning for our HubSpot User Group Summit.  David Kirkpatrick of MarketingSherpa wrote a case study about our presence there.  It was memorable, exciting and turned out very well despite Hurricane Irene’s attempt to keep the HubSpot team in Massachusetts.

September

September was the HubSpot User Group Summit (HUGS) in Boston with 1,000 customers.  It was inspiring hearing many of the HubSpot customer stories and seeing how excited the customers and HubSpotters were to meet each other and learn from one another.  And I cannot leave out the balloon sprocket at the opening reception.  I had honestly wanted to do this since my first day at HubSpot!

October

October started off by going to Maine for the first time!  I have wanted to see more of New England since I decided to stay in Boston after graduation, and this was the first step.  I also had lobster for the first time.

Then all my dreams came true, and I FINALLY got the Verizon iPhone!

And I, of course, had to highlight it on my Facebook Timeline:

November

This month was busy, but at the end of the month, I went with HubSpot to Cloudforce.  It was great to see everyone who I had worked closely with all summer for Dreamforce.  And it is always fun to meet HubSpot customers and talk to other people about the company!


December

At HubSpot, not only are we around some of the greatest marketing professionals in the industry, but they constantly take the opportunity to teach us as well.  HubSpot, therefore, set up a program called HubSpot Fellows.  The CEO and co-founder of HubSpot, Brian Halligan, teaches a bunch of classes on leadership and helps us become better leaders at HubSpot.  It is an awesome chance to learn from Brian but also interact with other HubSpotters who are part of the program.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Complain Online Lately?

It is pretty much a known fact that I am brand loyal.  Whether it is VerizonPoland SpringsStaplesJetBluePantene Pro-v,FedEx (I’m literally looking around my room and naming off brands), I stick to what I like and feel comfortable with.  No, this isn’t a blog post about brand loyalty again, but it is a post about what goes happens with some of the other brands that I haven’t had the greatest experiences with.

It is known that negative feedback about a company has a larger impact than positive feedback.  People want to know the bad things that are happening in the world.  The good news is not always as interesting, and the public tends to ignore it.

Within the last year, I have come into a habit of complaining about brands over the Internet when I have a bad experience.  My first instinct is to immediately pull out my phone or computer and tweet about the bad experience, update my Facebook status or even write a blog post about it.  When did this sudden change come?  Why do we all of a sudden feel the need to complain publicly instead of dealing with the problem by ourselves and moving on.  I guarantee there are much worse things in life than UPS not delivering a package on time (see, there I go again with my “not so subtle” complaints).

I remember when I was younger, my family was going on a trip to Florida.  When we got to the airport, our flight was canceled and I swore that we should never fly with that airline again.  I started telling everyone (who would listen at least) that we should always fly Continental, and it became an ongoing joke with my family.  (This was the pre-JetBlue days).  But when did it become necessary to tell as many people as possible and in real time when a company drives me crazy?

Honestly, I want to be the one to tell one of those amazing stories that I complained about a company on Twitter, they DMed me and fixed all of my problems.  I would LOVE to write a blog post about how my flight was canceled (even though JetBlue would never do that), but they came to the rescue and fixed it!  That is actually 95% of the reason that I tweeted a lot when I was stuck in Dallas in March (the other 5% was because I was very angry).

Advertising Age just wrote an article called “Are Major Marketers Training John Q. Public to Whine on Web?” This article was exactly what I was planning to write my blog post about.  There are so many stories published about companies virtually “coming to the rescue” to fix a problem.  As more and more companies invest in digital to increase revenue via Twitter and other social media outlets, more and more consumers take advantage of the possibility that their problems may be solved quicker than they think.

So what does this teach us?  To complain about our problems publicly?  To take word of mouth communication to the next level?  To target companies that have departments to handle virtual complaints?  Will the companies really be able to handle the massive amounts of complaints they receive?  Sure we hear some of the solutions to the problems, but how many issues do they really resolve?

And to end my blog post, I need to give a special shout out to Verizon for the the launch of their new campaign Rule the Air.  Check it out on the website!

 

Jersey Shore: Our Life is Your Vacation

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As Bruce Springsteen put it “’Cause down the shore everything’s all right, You and your baby on a Saturday night…Nothing matters in this whole wide world, When you’re in love with a Jersey girl.”  Even Billy Joel referred to people who “Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore.”  Despite the common misconception that the Jersey Shore is disgusting – dirty water, unclean beaches, etc., people that live at the “shore” know better.  And yes, to us locals, it is not the “beach” or the “ocean,” it is the shore.

Yes, the shore may not be as pristine as the Bahamas or Florida, but in recent years, it has been revitalized to a pre-New York pollution scene (in 1987, waste from the Fresh Kills Landfill in NYC floated down to our beloved shore).  However, Long Branch (more specifically, Pier Village as shown above), is a perfect example of the beautification projects at the shore.  Once a place with average beaches, Long Branch is now home to some of the most admired beaches.  Situated next to the boardwalk, these beaches are home to many beach clubs, lifeguard competitions, special occasions including weddings, and a nightlife comparable to Atlantic City.  Special events are always occurring, whether with the restaurants located on the beaches or at the different beach clubs.  In particular, the 4th of July is home to Oceanfest, a festival attracting thousands, ending with fireworks on the beach.  It is the perfect family-oriented atmosphere that attracts people from all over the state and even the surrounding states.  Oh, and Bruce Springsteen (who grew up in Long Branch) can always be found running on the boardwalk, at the local restaurants, or at the beach with his family.

It is commonly thought that when you walk on a Jersey beach, you will be stepping around people’s trash and swimming in green water.  I can honestly say that I have never been in that position.  The majority of people only know New Jersey because of Newark Airport or the New Jersey Turnpike, which are not the best representations of a state full of beautiful attractions.  Also, people from out of town commonly think that the Jersey Shore locals have this thick accent, when really the accent comes from the New Yorkers who come down to the Shore for the summer.  These people are frequently referred to as BENNYs, an acronym for Brooklyn, Elizabeth, Newark, New York, the 4 places that are known as the hometown to people who travel down to the Shore for the entire summer.  But their story is a story for another blog post.

To me, the Jersey Shore is the place I grew up.  It is the place where I played at my grandparent’s beach club as a child, the place I went to camp growing up, the place I lifeguarded at in high school, and the place I always went to when I needed a break from life – just to relax.  It is the place I return to as a college student and truly miss when I am away from home.  It is the place where I have more memories than you could imagine, and the place I will always have a connection with.

The Lure of Florida

I just came back from a vacation to Delray Beach Florida, which is about an hour outside of Miami.  I have gone with my family every year since I was 5 months old to visit my grandparents with the rest of my family.  As soon as I tell anyone that I am going to florida, they are immediately jealous.  Warm weather, nice beaches, beautiful landscapes – what more could one want?

When did it become the ideal vacation to go to Florida?  Why not Texas or Alabama or even Central America?  All of these places have the same warm weather, beaches, and landscapes as Florida.  Why is FLORIDA the perfect place to go?

Yes, you may think Florida has Disney, and there is a lot of publicity connected to this part of Florida, but you never hear any other type of PR for the other parts of Florida.  There are never commercials saying, “Come to Florida!  Our beaches are beautiful and wonderous!”  People just KNOW.  It is UNDERSTOOD.  But why?  Why isn’t it understood for many other states or countries?

Does it have anything to do with Florida escaping the “southern” stereotype?  On our way back, we had a stop over in Charlotte, North Carolina.  In the airport, all of the workers had a southern accent, but why does this accent not reach Florida?  Yes, the majority of florida consists of older people who have not always lived in Florida, but there are still many people who have grown up in this southern state.  BUT, it does not have the “southern” characteristics.  WHY?

In my opinion, Florida has the “unspoken” publicity that many other places, companies, and products have.  Because it it such a popular destination, there are limits on how much its attractions have to be publicized.  The beaches are known by everyone to be magnificant, so why does it have to be promoted?  Disney only promotes new attractions.  They have enough families visiting, but they still have to inform others of new activities that can be visited.  Florida does not have the competition that many other places have – it just IS a place to visit.  Understood.