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Loyalty in the Workplace: Can Going All in Help You from Missing Out?

by Melissa Rieger, vice president, Red Havas

With its charming way of parodying workplace culture, it’s no surprise that The Office is one of the highest-rated television sitcoms of all time. As a long-time fan, I’ve heard quite a bit of chatter about the show over the years. (Admit it—you’ve quoted it yourself once or twice.) The reason is quite possibly because, while the characters are exaggerated, they’re relatable. When it comes to a real-life office setting, though, how many people would say that Michael Scott truly is the “World’s Best Boss?” Craziness. It may be more common to hear something like, “He’s absolutely ridiculous—lovable, but ridiculous.”

While that wouldn’t be inaccurate, this clip from Season 5—in which Michael renegotiates his way back into Dunder Mifflin after parting ways to start his own paper company—begins to answer the question that so many fans have probably asked: “How the heck did he get a leadership position anyway?” While there are certainly still grounds for asking that question, my belief is that his rise to leadership had something to do with three core traits (that I dare anyone to deny he has): passion, dedication and—above else—loyalty. In three short minutes, Michael reinforces to senior leadership that he is a visionary with drive. He’s not backing down. What’s more, he reinforces to his team that he is not only thinking about his own success, but also has their best interest at heart.

Loyalty is a trait that does not go unnoticed by me—and it’s something I value significantly in both my personal and professional relationships. To quote the character Harvey Specter from Suits, “Loyalty is a two-way street. If I’m asking for it from you, then you’re getting it from me.”

But who deserves loyalty? Not everyone. There are people in our lives who may simply come and go, hardly making an impact—and there are also people who will earn our trust and loyalty, but will never reciprocate. (That’s another blog for another time.) The bottom line, though, is that if you want to get anywhere—anywhere—in life, you have to be willing to put into relationships what you want to get out of them. That means taking chances—making gut decisions—and deciding who and what you want to stand behind.

Sometimes the decisions are easy. For me, above all else, I have undying loyalty to my family—from my husband and kids, to my parents and brother, and just about everyone else who shares a good chunk of my DNA. They’ve got my loyalty no matter what. This loyalty also translates to good friendships—because if you don’t have each other’s backs, why even bother?

My daughters, Cece and Alice

On a professional level, though, it can take a bit more time to make sure everything feels comfortable (or comfortably uncomfortable, for those who work in an unpredictable field). I can honestly say that I feel immense loyalty to my company—and the colleagues and clients who come along with it. I wouldn’t have stayed with Red Havas for 13.5 years if I didn’t feel that loyalty reciprocated. I know others feel the same, because there are team members in the Pittsburgh office alone who have been with the company for 20+ years—and clients who have stayed by our side for a similar timespan. While losing team members from time to time is inevitable for any company, we had a zero turnover rate in our Pittsburgh office from March 2017 through August 2019. That’s pretty incredible for an agency.

Some of our Pittsburgh team members, at our Red Havas rebrand party

A good team of colleagues and respectable clients are two of the main reasons I believe so many people want to work for—and stay at—companies like Red Havas. Another reason is that I’m not sure how many companies out there are quite like Red Havas. Work is always a priority—but our people come first. From senior leadership down, we reinforce that being a part of our team means stepping in to help others when they need it—and knowing that they’ll do the same in return. The logic is: If you’re going to spend virtually as much time with your team members as you do your family, shouldn’t you feel good about them?

If you’ve stayed with me through the end, I ask you to take some time to think about the concept of loyalty. Do you have it? Are you getting it? If the answer is no, then it just may be time to make a choice. Are you all in—or will you be missing out?

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Top-Of-Mind Tuesday with Audrey Arbogast

Welcome to Red Havas’ Top-of-Mind Tuesday blog series. Some weeks you’ll find a crowdsourced list of assorted stuff our staff is pondering and learning and falling in love with, and other times our top-of-mind list will fit into a single theme or come from one particular Redster. This week, Audrey Arbogast, a senior account executive in our Phoenix office, told us what she’s been into lately.

Book I’m Reading

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark – Michelle McNamara

I have just a few chapters left of this book which is comprised of Michelle McNamara’s investigative research on the Golden State Killer. I’m a true crime junkie and being from Southern California, I’ve always been interested in the case. Unfortunately McNamara passed away in 2016, so she didn’t get to see the GSK’s capture in 2018. But the book was published posthumously with the help of her husband (Patton Oswalt!).

Podcast I’m Listening To

Anything and everything true crime… but I’ll spare the details on those given my last answer! I am also just now getting into How I Built This, even though it’s been around for years. I’m a huge David Chang (of Momofuku, Milk Bar, etc.) fan, so I’m an avid listener of The Dave Chang Show. He just had on Chris Bianco – James Beard winner and Phoenix legend – his background is super interesting so he made for a fun guest.

Shows I’m Watching

Big Little Lies and Chernobyl on HBO, Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, and probably too many to name on Netflix.

Favorite App

I downloaded the Headspace app about a year ago, and in January, as part of my resolution to meditate regularly, I subscribed to the premium version which is a total game changer! They have guided meditations for anything you can think of (stress, prioritizing, listening, training in sports, managing pressure… the list goes on) and you can set it for any amount of time which is nice if you only have a few minutes.

What I’m Eating/Drinking

I’ve been really into experimenting with cocktails lately! My favorite cocktail is a Bee’s Knees (gin, lemon juice, and honey) but I also love a good tequila drink. I’ve been trying out different cocktail bars around town and during my summer travels which has been fun. I document my food and beverage adventures on Instagram (I would call myself a nano, nano influencer!) at @onaudsplate.

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Antonio Brown Controversy Reveals the Power—and Ethical Gray Areas—of Social Media

by Pattie Sullivan, senior vice president, Red Havas 

Like many of us, I’m immersed in media from the time I roll out of bed in the morning until I shut off the lights and call it a day. However, because I work in PR, I tend to see things through a dual lens. For instance, my teenagers talking about TikTok interests me as a mom who is concerned about online privacy and other issues. But as a communicator, this same conversation becomes a mini, non-scientific focus group about teens’ changing social media habits.

As a lifelong fan of football—and the Pittsburgh Steelers in particular—I’ve lately been fascinated personally and professionally by the drama unfolding around former Steeler wide receiver Antonio Brown (aka AB, Mr. Big Chest). Of course, it’s hard for me to be objective, given the much-documented circumstances around his trade from the Steelers to the Los Angeles Raiders. Like many members of Steeler Nation, I was sorry to lose his talent, but just as happy to say buh-bye to the constant drama.

So, I watched closely (on Twitter) his arrival via hot air balloon to Raiders training camp this past July (even commenting about the irony of him taking such a method of transportation). Next, I watched, along with the rest of the sports world, as AB seemingly started to very publicly self-destruct not long after that hot air balloon landed. Practically every day there was news about his absence from training camp. He became (even more) vocal on Twitter, calling out Raider coaches and owners, posting a highly produced video that included private conversations with coach Jon Gruden, publicly posting the letter the team sent him detailing the fine for his absence, and then openly asking for his release. The Raiders, like the Steelers before them, were faced with an extremely talented player who did not appear to want to play for them. So, they did what they thought they needed to do and released him (which was soon followed by a staged video posted on Twitter of him celebrating his freedom from the Raiders).

Just hours later, AB’s very public bad behavior was rewarded … with a contract from the New England Patriots. And so, the conspiracy theories began. Were his outrageous antics—including his social media barrage—part of something more? Apparently so. It didn’t take long for the news to emerge that, to accelerate his release from the Raiders, AB had sought the advice of social media consultants. It all started to make sense. Then, the implications of this really started to settle in.

This is a perfect case study for demonstrating the immense power that social media wields—how one person can use it to manipulate public opinion to such an extent that he can manufacture the outcome he wants—in this case, a trade to a superior team with a lauded coach and quarterback.

Personally, I’m steamed, of course, that AB is going to a Steelers rival. But it’s also deeply troubling to me, professionally, that social media consultants appear to have been behind the scenes pulling the strings all along. Sure, no laws were broken, and no one was hurt (unless you consider the many Raiders fans who shelled out big bucks for their new AB jerseys, only to be seen burning them just days later). But I can’t help but feel that this has given my profession a black eye.

It’s no secret that the public relations profession has been criticized over the years (some of it deserved). We’re sometimes painted as little more than spin doctors, flacks who mislead the public so we can protect the interests of the organizations who pay us. Since moving over to PR from journalism a number of years ago, I’ve learned that 99 percent of the time, this just isn’t so. My colleagues and peers take pride in being ethical and communicating honestly. It is a commitment we take very seriously.

That is what disturbs me about the actions taken by the social media consultants who advised AB. Were the objectives achieved? Obviously, yes. But it sure wouldn’t be work I’d ever be proud of. Just the opposite, in fact, as this type of subterfuge invites skepticism and perpetuates the spin-doctor narrative. And we’re better than that.

Postscript: Since drafting this, Antonio Brown:

  • Was released from the Patriots after only 11 days, following accusations from two women;
  • Re-enrolled in Central Michigan University (his alma mater) presumably to complete his education;
  • Began a Twitter campaign to get back into football.

Will he find another NFL team willing to roll the dice on a very gifted athlete, albeit one with a lot of baggage? It’s unclear at the moment, but I know I’ll be watching this soap opera continue to unfold in my Twitter feed.

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Listen to James Wright on PR Council’s ‘Agencies of the Future’ Podcast

As an agency, how do we help clients navigate the modern media landscape?

Borderless ideas are key, says Red Havas Global CEO James Wright, whose episode of the PR Council’s “Agencies of the Future” podcast aired today. James told host Kim Sample that the people at an agency are critical to executing these ideas flawlessly—and here at Red Havas, everyone is given the opportunity to maximize their own potential.

“The future is promised to no one type of agency,” James told PR Council. “It’s no longer about earned, owned, shared and paid—but about looking at how all of those come together.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

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What I Learned at My Red Havas Internship

by Julia Baird

After I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, I was looking for my next adventure, and a month-and-a-half later I started my PR journey with an internship at Red Havas’ Pittsburgh office.

My first day I was given a tour, a laptop and lunch with my mentors; then began the meetings and projects.

Here are a few of the many things I’ve learned as a summer intern with the agency:

A whole new skill set

As an intern, I was able to work on projects for clients in different industries. I learned to monitor social media and how to audit, which bettered my research skills. I was also taught how to use media monitoring tools such as Cision and Brandwatch. I was excited to delve into the work, but there was a learning curve, and my coworkers were understanding and helpful. Their guidance was key in helping me grow and refine my skills.

How to work in a fast-paced environment

Redsters move at a fast pace; I was never bored at my desk. I was utilized, put onto teams and thrown onto projects. Even when I created a to-do list, it was never predictable. Often, more urgent projects would arise. Through this experience, I refined my time management skills and became agile about organizing my workload. Having a calendar and notebook ready was the best way to manage my time and organize my tasks so nothing got left behind.

The joy of teamwork

Teamwork is a large part of working in this office. Throughout my internship, I saw the camaraderie of the Red Havas Pittsburgh team and experienced a healthy and enjoyable work environment. My coworkers gave me professional advice and industry tips that will help my career. Not only seeing, but being part of, the project brainstorms and drafting stages helped improve my communication skills and teamwork abilities.

Interning with Red Havas was an amazing opportunity. I was given a hands-on learning experience, invited to office events and to sit in on client calls. I felt very much like I was part of the team. Now, I’m thrilled to continue my PR journey as an official Redster Fellow.

Welcome to the team, Julia!

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Red Havas Reinforces Global Expansion With Three Senior Leadership Appointments Across U.S. And U.K.

Today, we announced three senior appointments to our global leadership team: In the U.K., Rachael Sansom has been appointed managing director of Red Havas London; Mark Campbell as global head of content; and Natasha Carroll as senior vice president, global clients and business director, based in New York.

The three appointments follow the launch of Red Havas earlier this year, which saw strategic leadership shifts across the network including Davitha Ghiassi, who joined our New York office as executive vice president of social & integration and Grant Richmond-Coggan who was elevated to APAC new business director. The diverse experience of these leadership appointments reflects our strategic Merged Media model that brings together traditional and digital publishing, content, social media and data within a single infrastructure.

James Wright, global CEO of Red Havas and global chairman of the Havas PR Global Collective, comments on the new appointments: “I’m delighted to welcome Rachael and Mark to the team. As we build the Red Havas brand globally, we have big ambitions for growth in the U.K. and across EMEA, and this is the perfect team for the job ahead, bringing diverse integrated media experience to our leadership bench. Both the calibre and combined depth and breadth of Mark and Rachael’s experience will help us fulfil our Merged Media vision, and will further add to our strong offering across those target regions and beyond.”

Adds Wright, “Natasha has been in the Havas network for over a decade and uniquely understands both the opportunities and challenges of our global PR offering and the group’s Village model, so she was a natural fit for this role. With experience managing global clients and teams across APAC and North America, she is a brilliant operator, and I’m looking forward to working with her on the next phase of Red Havas.”

At Red Havas, Sansom will be responsible for driving growth in the U.K. region, with a focus on the newly launched London office. She was previously managing director of the brand team at MHP/Engine, which she founded, leading the team to win multiple industry awards, including a Cannes Gold Lion for the U.K.’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant’s ‘Missing Type’ campaign. She was later managing director of Huntsworth-owned Red Consultancy’s largest division. Prior to this, she held senior in-house roles at Motorola Mobility and The Random House Group.

A leader in content and partnership marketing, Campbell will be responsible for developing multi-channel content solutions for clients and driving growth of this offering at Red Havas. Prior to this role, Campbell was head of content and partnerships for Havas Australia, where he previously worked with Wright. During his 18-plus year career, Campbell has dedicated himself to innovations in the content and commercial partnerships space, having devised the world’s first brand owned digital-only TV channel, Go Beyond TV, for Land Rover. He also created Australia’s first interactive music and entertainment series for Sony Music and Commonwealth Bank that was powered by audiences across social media and broadcast.

In her new role, Natasha is responsible for managing global clients and driving collaboration amongst agencies in the Red Havas network. Most recently, Natasha was vice president of the corporate and consumer division at sister agency Havas Formula, where she oversaw key accounts, including Jaguar Land Rover and ADP. Prior to moving to the U.S., Natasha was account director at Red Agency (Red Havas Australia), also working with Wright. There, she managed integrated communications campaigns for some of the agency’s largest and longest-standing accounts, including Moët Hennessy, Mondelēz International, Yahoo and Capgemini.

Our Merged Media model represents excellence across earned, social, experiential and storytelling, with content sitting at the heart. Our global micro network currently encompasses 15 offices across APAC, UK and North America, this is supported further through sister agencies within Havas PR Global Collective.

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Our Red Hot Summer Days

To maximize our fun in the sun, Redsters get up to four extra days of PTO to unwind and adventure between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Here’s how we spent our Summer Days this year. As you’ll see from the looks on our faces, it’s a VERY cherished agency benefit.

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3 Simple Tricks for Staying Sharp in the Social Media Space

by Stacey Simon, account supervisor, Red Havas

In social media, things change by the day, even the minute. Think a feature that Twitter or Facebook has rolled out overnight, a bombshell announcement about an acquisition or IPO, or a new must-have tool poised to revolutionize social measurement. Not to mention, staying on top of the Instagram influencers du jour can be quite the task.

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