NYWICI Must Reads June 24, 2016

Are You Suffering From Decision Fatigue?

June 20, 2016

Does this sound anything like your morning? Wake up, hit snooze, scramble to shower. Pick an outfit, check the weather to find that your outfit isn’t ideal for a 75-degree sunny day; pick a new one. Decide what to eat for breakfast (or maybe skip it?); ponder if you have time to stop for coffee.

By the time you’re on your way, you’ve expended a lot of mental energy in making a series of tiny decisions. In fact, the average adult makes 35,000 decisions each day. According to a Cornell University study, 200 of those are just about food.

At work, you may not have the right mindset to tackle big projects and solve problems, leading to more stress. It is a vicious cycle, and it has a name: Decision Fatigue. The more decisions you make each day, their quality will deteriorate as the day goes on.

The author of a recent Fast Company article explains decision fatigue as “the mental equivalent of hanger, that dreaded combination of hunger and anger.” When we’re “hangry”, we’re more likely to act impulsively. When we’re low on mental energy, it’s more difficult to think critically and solve problems.

Aloud YoProA few simple adjustments to planning your day can reduce decision fatigue and improve productivity. Here’s how you can save energy and creativity when it matters most.

  1. Consider a work uniform. If you dread picking an outfit every day, a “work uniform” might be the solution. Take it from Matilda Kahl, who wrote for Harper’s Bazaar about crafting her perfect work uniform. She realized how many hours she was spending on choosing an outfit, so she simplified the process by buying 15 silk white blouses and a few pairs of black pants. Not only is she saving time and making one less decision each morning, she’s also saving money on new clothes. Another successful person with a work uniform? Mark Zuckerberg. His famous gray t-shirt and jeans outfit was the subject of an April Fools’ Day joke this year.
  1. Embrace the magic of batch cooking. Cooking three meals a day can be time-consuming, and eating out gets expensive. Plus, none of us want to worry about cooking after getting home at 10 p.m. By that point, our decision-making skills are depleted, and all we want to do is order take-out. This is where batch cooking comes in handy. Planning and prepping meals each Sunday takes the guesswork out of what to eat for the week and consolidates your decision-making into one afternoon. If you want to give this a try, check out BuzzFeed’s guide for a week of healthy lunches and Pepperplate: a meal-planning tool, recipe book and shopping list all in one.
  1. Build a schedule at work. When we’re juggling projects, breaking up our day can help optimize our mental energy to the tasks that require it. That might mean powering through emails from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and then focusing on a major task from 10 a.m. to noon. Planning to tackle difficult tasks early in the day when our minds are fresh is another strategy to consider.
  1. Treat your downtime and relaxation as a non-negotiable. To perform our best at work, we need time to refresh our minds and bodies. As Bridget Thoreson noted in her recent Aloud post, finding an anti-stressor and committing to it will help us reset. An easy way to avoid decision fatigue? Put your morning yoga class on your calendar, or schedule whatever other activity you need to reset.

By cutting down on the more basic decisions in our lives, like what to eat and what to wear, we can apply our mental energy in the smartest way. When we face the day with a clear mind, it shows in our work and attitude and increases our energy for what really matters.

Posted by: 
Chelsea Orcutt

Storytelling as a Marketing Tool

June 14, 2016

storytellingWith so many online voices, it is important that brands find imaginative ways to connect with their customers. Creative storytelling allows brands the opportunity to take consumers on a visual journey.

How is storytelling evolving in this age of technology? To answer this question, we invited Julie Livingston to share insight during our May 31, 2016, Twitter chat. As President of Livingston, PR, Julie advises clients on how to effectively use storytelling as a PR strategy.

Storytelling as a marketing tool

  • Social media and content marketing provide perfect platform to tell stories as part of brand marketing.
  • Stories contribute to a brand's persona, a powerful mechanism for connecting with consumers.
  • Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand.
  • Storytelling helps to differentiate your brand from the competition.
  • Consumers form a personal connection with your brand thru stories that are authentic, creative and inspirational.
  • New social media platforms are influencing brand storytelling such as snapchat.

Changes that Impact Storytelling

  • Because of social media, attention spans are shorter. Stories must be brief, yet compelling.
  • Audiences have become more fragmented, specialized. Stories that appeal to Millennials may not to Boomers.
  • The advent of mobile has also influenced brand storytelling. Must be brief and highly visual.
  • Real-time storytelling is on the rise. Snapchat is a great example of real-time storytelling.
  • The brand's audience demographic will often dictate the kind of ‪#storytelling theme.

Examples of Great Brand Storytelling

  • @Progressive has done remarkably well through ‘Flo,’ a character created to tell its brand story.
  • @KennethCole used his fashion brand’s advertising to raise awareness of various social causes through powerful storytelling.
  • @TOMSshoes helped pioneer a type of disruptive storytelling.
  • @warbyparker has used storytelling to make consumers care about buying eyeglasses and helping others.

User-Generated Content

  • Brands are shifting gears from content creation to content curation and getting their fans to contribute.
  • User-generated content (UGC) can come in the form of Instagram photos, Facebook posts, Snapchat,Twitpics and more.
  • Sometimes, user-generated content is requested by a brand in exchange for a contest entry.

Popular Storytelling Platforms

  • Mobile technology and pervasive use of smart phones has contributed to the state of marketing and storytelling.
  • Think Snapchats, Vines, YouTube videos, influencers, long/short-form content.
  • Social media distribution and even made-for-TV content is evolving, changing the face of storytelling. Great example of this would be @Dicks film, “We Could Be King.” They won an Emmy in 2015 for its effective storytelling.

Brands have a story to tell and every effort should be made to identify what best resonates with consumers. Julie’s final thoughts on storytelling: “I think great brands actually tell the story of the customer getting what they want within their own brand story.”

Posted by: 
Rodeena Stephens

Behind the Scenes with Weber Shandwick

June 6, 2016

On April 27, 2016, a group of 13 High School students visited the Weber Shandwick headquarters in New York for a Behind-The-Scenes career exploration event. The students were in for a treat.  It's not every day you get the opportunity to hear from and meet working professionals from the number 2 top global PR agency. Weber Shandwick has distinguished itself by racking up 1000+ industry awards and securing an enviable client portfolio of world notable brands such as Nike, Disneyland, Oreo and more.  

The event began with meet-and-greet introductions with Fanni Gabor, recruiter; Melissa Robinson, human resources director; and Tameka Green, their recently appointed director of diversity and inclusion.  As an ice-breaker, the students were asked to introduce themselves and state their favorite leisure and hobby activities. The students then watched a video that gave them an agency overview history and scope of business. 

Over a pizza and salad lunch, students were treated to a panel presentation from several young Weber Shandwick employees, ranging from interns to senior executives: Kwanza Johnson- director, Digital, Lauren Hudson- AE, Corporate, Julian Vasquez- account supervisor, Corporate, Khadijah Davis- assistant account executive, Healthcare, Parmida Schahhosseini, AAE- Technology, and Damilare Oyefeso- intern, Technology.  All of them outlined the day to day activities of a PR agency and the responsibilities, challenges and rewards of various PR roles.

Student Blog PostSome of the students were unsure about their college majors. They were reassured by Parmida Schahhosseini, who shared her story of having 11 majors before finding her passion in PR. She gave invaluable insight on how to make the best out of an internship experience and also how to strengthen their writing skills. Lauren Hudson had a great way of describing PR as “…being at the pulse of everything that is happening in the world.”

The high school students were invited to ask questions to get a clearer understanding of PR operations and the range of current and emerging opportunities that are available in the industry. PR is one of the few sectors that touch every business industry. The students learned that regardless of what career they are interested in pursuing, there is a place for them in PR. Tameka Green summarized the wide scope of PR career opportunities when she said, "Twenty years ago it wasn't common to have a scientist working in the PR field, but with the growing demands of technology and healthcare system, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) has become part of the storytelling process, and who better to connect and tell that story than a doctor, dietitian or scientist."

The students were clearly engaged by the experience and were asking lots of questions. “Before this experience, I had a lot of confusion over the difference

between Public Relations and Advertising. Through my engagement with the staff at Weber & Shadwick, I not only have found clarity, but with that clarity, I have increased my interest in pursuing a prospective career in Public Relations,” said 11th grade student Je’Jae Daniels.

The visit closed out on an inspirational high note when Tameka Green advised students to "…take chances; don't live the rest of your lives wishing you could've done something you were scared to pursue. Listen to your parents but most importantly follow your heart." 

Our deepest thanks to the Weber Shandwick team, and Judith Harrison, for being such gracious hosts.


— Nathalie Cazeau & Jacqueline Dolly, High School Outreach Committee​