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December 14, 2016

Team Member Renee Spurling

Renee Spurlin


Executive Vice President

Transformative. That’s the adjective that was used as the theme of ARPR’s annual team retreat, which took place last month when our team traveled to San Francisco for two and half jam-packed days of professional development and fun.

As we approach our fifth anniversary in August 2017, ARPR is currently experiencing our most transformative era of existence. Our team is expanding in size and geography and our client roster is accelerating in maturity and credibility – meanwhile, we work diligently to stay ahead of the ever-changing marketing communications landscape, which continues to constantly transform how and why businesses achieve ROI.

As a result, this period of company growth calls for each team member to personally aim higher, our team to march forward intrepidly together, and our company to further its enterprising mission as we endeavor to become one of the world’s most trusted tech PR and marcomm firms. But before we set forth into the transformative year ahead, we devoted two days to step back, reflect and prepare for the exciting challenges to come.

The Uncommon Crew in SFO

We kicked off the retreat with some exploration of the Bay Area, which will soon be home to Alloy's third office! We took a sunset cruise on the San Francisco Bay,  followed by our annual holiday team dinner where we celebrated some much deserved promotions and team successes.

Day 2: Visiting Silicon Valley’s Hot Spots

We began day two with lunch at Bucks of Woodside, a fixture of Silicon Valley where many notable deals have been made. In fact, we sat between the two tables where Tesla & PayPal were founded. Needless to say, this was a very cool moment for a bunch of tech nerds like us.

From there we made our way to Google Headquarters in Mountain View. Not only did we explore the Android Garden and hit up the Google Store, but we also were lucky enough to sit down with two of Google’s top communications pros.

During our private Q&A, we discussed the ins and outs of internal communications, how to message to internal stakeholders, the crossover between internal & external comms departments, and more. And on our way out we even sneaked a peak at their nap pods. #officegoals

Next stop: 1 Hacker Way for a sneak peek at Mark Zuckerberg’s digs. Tim Neunzig, growth manager of internationalization (i18n) at Facebook gave us a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to be a Facebooker.

Disneyland is the closest thing I can think of to describe Facebook’s 6,000-person campus – except the food is free!

We ended the day with happy hour at Rosewood Sand Hill, where we talked shop with media analyst and ally, Sam Whitmore.

Day 3: Learnin’ & reflectin’

Day three started with an in-house communicators roundtable at Yelp’s HQ. The Uncoomon Crew sat down with internal comms pros from Yelp, Hired, Yik Yak and PowWow Mobile to learn more about just what clients are really up against. From interacting with the board of directors, to developing annual budgets, to managing crisis situations and working with vendors, these in-house communicators gave us a sneak peek of what it’s like behind the curtain at a tech company.

Our final special guest of the trip was Salvador Rodriguez, a staff reporter covering technology and entrepreneurship at Inc. We got to hear firsthand what it’s like to be a West Coast-based tech journalists, how he deals with so many pitches, plus his take on the evolving media landscape and tech media projections for 2017. Sorry to tell you, but he doesn’t see coverage of the election going away anytime soon.

What to Expect in 2017

This trip wasn’t all play and no work though; we spent the rest of the final afternoon reflecting on our 2016 marketing efforts and wins, plus setting goals and talking strategy for 2017. This part of our retreat has always been my favorite, not just because of the information shared, but primarily because of the inspiration exposed.

For example, we learned that in 2016 we welcomed 15 new clients to our firm’s practice groups and won 20 client and agency awards, including PR News Best Place to Work in PR. Not to mention we added lead generation and marketing automation services to our 360 approach and now have five team members with multiple inbound marketing certifications.

So what can you expect from us in 2017? Growth, transformation and a continued commitment to helping our tech clients #MakeNews and #DriveLeads.