Fifteen Minutes With Bread and Butter PR’s Samantha Luthra

ImageRecently, I had the opportunity to speak with Samantha Luthra from Bread and Butter PR, a boutique hospitality firm in Los Angeles. Samantha, who graduated from the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication, began working at the firm only a week after graduation. She let me in on a few industry secrets and tips for breaking into the fast-paced world of hospitality PR. Check out these three highlights from our chat.

1. Bigger isn’t always better.

Originally, Samantha had hopes to work in a larger PR agency. However, when she received a job at Bread and Butter, which employs six people out of its Los Angeles office, she realized the benefits of a small firm. Although she often collaborates with coworkers, Samantha makes many decisions on her own and does not deal with the bureaucracy that can come with working at a big agency. While this leaves more room for error, it also allows for greater personal success.

“I have friends who are working at big agencies, and they’re doing work that I would have my interns do,” she explained. “I get to secure press hits and take credit for them, which is nice.”

2. Be interested and have a digital footprint that proves it.

When breaking into any area of public relations, Samantha advises that aspiring professionals establish an online presence. Employers want to hire candidates who care about the work they do, and a digital footprint that demonstrates interest can help job seekers get a foot in the door. If you’re interested in food, for example, you should be tweeting about it. Otherwise, your application seems inauthentic.

At the same time, don’t only focus on the industry you want to break into – showcase your personality as well. “I have to hang out with our interns all day,” says Samantha. “I don’t want to hire someone unless they seem like a genuine person.”

3. When in doubt, network.

Samantha doesn’t spend as much time at her desk as one might think. Instead of pitching clients through email, she often takes them out to lunch or happy hour to establish a personal connection. She finds that working with media and clients face-to-face is fun for both parties involved and creates an effective partnership.

It isn’t hard to see that Samantha Luthra enjoys what she does. Hospitality PR has allowed her to take creative initiative and work with exciting clients. “It’s not like tech PR,” she said. “There’s only so much you can do with a microchip, but the clients I work with leave me a lot of room to have fun.”


5 Personal Branding Tips for an Undergraduate Student

In elementary school, the essays that we wrote were scored on the following 4 categories: organization, spelling/grammar, content, and voice. I never failed to take advantage of the “voice” category, incorporating dry sarcasm and sassy commentary into every paragraph to show off my personality. When I think of personal branding now, I am reminded of the voice category of that 4-part rubric. Like successful elementary school essays, much of establishing who we are has to do with simply presenting information about ourselves in a certain light and doing so without grammatical errors. As a college student, especially within the communications field, personal branding is absolutely critical and all too easy to get wrong. If you’re looking to establish or clean up your image, start with the tips below.

    Obviously this isn’t something Generation Y hears all too often, as we have no problem getting on the web. However, just being online isn’t enough. It’s crucial to not only have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, but also to be active on LinkedIn, WordPress (yes-everyone should be blogging!), and Youtube if possible. Vlogging (video blogging) paired with blogging creates an immense social network that could come in handy later, and it provides a way for potential employers and clients to get a sense of who you are without ever talking to you. Be connected everywhere, and post often. Unless you have reason to be concerned for your safety, keep everything public. Keep your name, face, and brand fresh in every online community.
    Now that you’re on a number of platforms, you need to decide what topics you plan to cover. The more specific, the better. People like reading about things that interest them, and maintaining a uniform theme throughout all of your sites makes it easy for an audience to identify what you’re all about and whether they’re interested. Pick a topic that you enjoy-something that you wouldn’t mind writing about, speaking about, and researching. If you’re not sure what inspires you, ask your friends! You’d be surprised at how easily they can identify interests that you never realized you had.
    Become an expert in your chosen field. No one will seek you out unless you can provide a fresh perspective. Research before you write, and reread before you post. Stay on the lookout for trends or controversies, and always offer your perspective. Be the wise sage of your industry, and people can’t ignore you.
    This is where many 20-somethings fail miserably. It is important to show who you are-that’s the whole point of personal branding. If you’re witty, be witty. If you’re pessimistic, be pessimistic. If you’re overdramatic, great! Show it! However, there is a fine line between showing your true colors and oversharing. I think this can best be explained with examples, and has a few hilarious ones. Check them out here and then never repeat them. When in doubt, follow the “grandmother” rule-if you wouldn’t want your sweet, innocent grandmother (or your boss) to read it…don’t post it. It’s as simple as that.
    Don’t forget that others are trying to establish their brand as well, and everyone appreciates an encouraging comment or two. Follow others in your industry and make friends with those that have established a strong presence as well as other up-and-comers. Insightful comments are always appreciated and usually reciprocated, so don’t forget to scratch your neighbor’s backs. They’ll scratch yours!

Now, check out this clip from personal branding guru, William Arruda. Clearly, he knows a thing or two.

“Effective branding is based on authenticity…Your brand is based on who you really are-your best self.”

“Do you leave your mark on everything you do?…And if you don’t, how can you?”

Asiatage: Chopstick Dragon

AdPitch Blog

Consumer interaction to create an art advertisement for a new cafe using chopsticks given out during the Chinese Dragon Festival. A board with 11,000 holes in it appeared near a newly opened cafe, consumers were told to split the chopsticks, pushing one into the board and keep the one with the logo on to receive a discount at the cafe. This resulted in a huge dragon billboard made by more than 10.000 chopsticks. I like the mix of the culture in the art work and doing it on the day of the Chinese Dragon Festival: a day when wishes come true.

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