Sounds From the Open Mic:
What true crime can teach communicators about storytelling

As a society, we’re hooked on true crime. Books, TV series, documentaries, podcasts, movies – we’re not too picky about the medium. In fact, as we’re writing this blog post, 13 of the top 25 Apple podcasts are of the... Keep reading

That call is coming…and it doesn’t care what time it is

Five actions that make late night crisis calls easier to handle

Ever notice when the phone rings at 2 a.m. it’s never good news? All the fun stuff (birthday greetings, winning lottery... Keep reading

Four steps to effective digital content

We all know that establishing a consistent social media presence is healthy for brand awareness, but only when content is produced with purpose will it do more than earn empty impressions in the news feed. A digital... Keep reading

How to give your customers the content they want

Slicing through the social media lingo of likes, shares and reach to measure the effectiveness of your digital communication efforts comes down to this: Are you giving your audience the content they want?

To... Keep reading

Dream and achieve with the help of a vision board

Think back to when you were in kindergarten — what did you want to be when you grew up? Maybe you became the teacher, firefighter or marine biologist your 5-year-old-self dreamt of becoming, but maybe you didn’t. The... Keep reading

Getting personal with target audiences

To ensure your digital content reaches the right people, prompts engagements and drives awareness, data-driven target audiences must guide your strategy. As part of our overall strategy for clients, we often use these... Keep reading

Event success is in the details

Brands that deliver memorable experiences for their customers engender trust and loyalty. We often work with clients on creating hospitality events that help them strengthen connections with current and prospective... Keep reading

How The Enneagram personality test can benefit your workplace

Each workplace is made up of many personalities. We each work differently, come from different places and have different strengths and weaknesses. This type of variety is vital for any workplace to be successful. The... Keep reading

Recognizing and overcoming self-limiting fears in the workplace

What if make mistake?

What if say the wrong thing?

What if I disappoint my boss? 

If you’ve experienced these thoughts in the workplace, then, first and foremost, this post is a reminder that you’re not alone. When left unchecked, fear surrounding professional performance can become one of the biggest challenges many people face in their careers.

It’s no secret that fear and anxiety can be tough to talk about. Especially when it seems like there is so much pressure placed on the idea that confidence is key for succeeding at work. But it’s more than common to experience times in your career (and beyond) where you feel less than confident, allowing fear and worry to voice themselves much more loudly than they deserve.

Since it can be hard (read: often impossible) to simply check our anxieties at the door, recognizing the thought patterns that contribute to self-limiting fears can be an important first step in moving forward both personally and professionally.

Common thinking errors are sometimes responsible for developing patterns of negative self-talk. A few examples that present in the workplace include:

1. Black-and-white thinking: Identifying everything as either good or bad – there is no in between.

2. Underestimation: Not recognizing or acknowledging your ability to manage situations.

3. Unfair to compare: Comparing yourself to people or situations that have a specific advantage. 

4. Catastrophizing: Exaggerating the consequences if something were to go wrong. 

With each of these thinking errors, it’s easy to fall into traps. I’m not good enough. I’ll never accomplish as much as [insert colleague]. If I mess up, I’ll never recover.

The good news? There are strategies to avoid these traps altogether – or at the very least, help us find our way out.

1. Rainbow thinking. Contrary to black and white thinking, this approach supports thinking less often in extremes, and allowing yourself to acknowledge the other possible outcomes. 

2. Using fear as storytelling. Novelist Karen Thompson Walker’s Ted Talk focuses on how she views fear as unintentional storytelling, with characters, a plot, suspense and often vivid imagery. As a result, she encourages her audience to think of themselves as the authors/readers of the story, with control over the way the events play out and how they react to them.

3. Fear-setting. In another Ted Talk, technology investor and author Tim Ferris details the writing exercise of fear-setting, which includes defining your fears, listing ways to prevent them and identifying solutions for repair if your fears do come to pass.

4. De-catastrophizing. This involves putting the situation into perspective by asking yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? What’s most likely to happen? Will this matter in five years? What are the ways to fix this?

Tim Ferris’s Ted Talk also includes a reference to a powerful quote: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” So many of the things we’re afraid of, don’t actually happen. While, in the moment, this can be an easy reality to forget, it’s an important one to remember.

The next time you feel your fear making an unwanted appearance, consider trying out some of the strategies listed here, and see if you can identify the thinking patterns that might be contributing to your anxiety. At the end of the day, it’s about finding what works for you, and building the tools that will ultimately enrich your life in and out of the office.

For more on this topic, listen to episode two of The Branigan Communications Podcast.

... Keep reading

5 tips for building a successful influencer program

Social media influencer culture is everywhere. As more people learn of products and services from influencers, industry professionals are rushing to create marketing campaigns that connect with customers through these... Keep reading

Creating content in the age of immediacy

As communicators, content is a primary vehicle to support business and communications goals and reach target audiences. But how we package and transmit content today is not the same as it was in yesteryear … or... Keep reading

Organization – it’s personal

We’re living at a time when organization has suddenly become very en vogue. Thanks to Netflix, we have Marie Kondo in our homes to teach us how to tidy up; Khloe Kardashian has brought us her Khlo-CD segments... Keep reading

The four rules of improv and how they relate to your career

The concepts of active listening, creative thinking and professional confidence should be constant areas of focus when it comes to progressing as communications professionals. Of course growing, and internalizing,... Keep reading

Trending topics: social listening, micro-influencers and metrics, oh my!

As the New Year starts to pick up speed, communications and PR pros may be hustling to fine-tune their approach to 2019 objectives. Last year’s strategic execution needs a review, and likely a refresh. To... Keep reading

The value of influencers to hospitality and destination brands is social gold

Working as an influencer in the hospitality and destination industries might be the quintessential job for a social media enthusiast. Travel, pretty pictures, the facade of the aspirational yet unattainable life,... Keep reading

3 tips for boosting your brand’s social media personality

If a potential client or employee is trying to learn more about your organization, chances are they’re going to turn to social media for the answers. An estimated 77 percent of Americans currently have a... Keep reading

Mentors, sponsors and your career

If you ask any successful person, most of them will say they had a mentor at some point during their career. Nikolai Tesla, Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg all credit some amount of their success to a colleague who... Keep reading

Why B2B brands should include influencers in their digital strategy

As organic reach ebbs and flows on social media channels, it is no longer enough for business-to-business (B2B) brands to simply post content to their platforms. There’s no guarantee that the intended target... Keep reading

4 simple ways to boost your website’s SEO

So, you’ve published a website. Integral to establishing your brand’s online presence, this is a big step, but if your business isn’t driving measurable results, it may be time for a boost in search engine... Keep reading

Kathleen Dohearty named president of Branigan Communications

Kathleen Dohearty has been promoted to president of Branigan Communications. She assumes the title of president from Tom Branigan, who will continue as CEO for the strategic communications firm.

In her role as... Keep reading

What’s your relationship status? Why good public relations is built on rock-solid relationships

Think about all of your relationships in life. Parents, siblings, significant others, friends, neighbors, co-workers. All of these relationships are wonderfully different, yet they have an essential common thread –... Keep reading

How we do Thanksgiving

Before preparing to host, cook or hit the road this Thanksgiving, we asked Branigonians to provide their go-to strategies, traditions or tips for getting the most out of (or just getting through) the holiday. How does... Keep reading

From diplomas to deadlines, the leap from college to the real world

There comes a time in life when the days of late-night study sessions ending in a trip to Real Chili get traded in for the demands... Keep reading

Give your social media metrics a purpose

How are we doing on social? It’s an easy question that can lead to easy answers.

Have a few more likes? Must mean more people enjoy what you're posting. Impressions up month over month? Looks like we’re... Keep reading

Other duties as assigned

You know that line in a job description — Other duties as assigned — I truly know what that means. As office manager for a busy communications firm, the best part about my job is that every day is different... Keep reading

How I spent my summer vacation

All my life I’ve been living in the middle of nowhere. Cornfields have always been my closest neighbors. As a senior marketing major at a tiny university in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I’ve got a nice view of Canada... Keep reading

So many (summer) hours, so much fun

One of the (many) perks of working at Branigan Communications is summer hours. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we wake up with the sun and get in a little earlier every day for the chance to knock off early each... Keep reading

School of thought from Branigan's new girl

Remember the first day of school? The excitement you felt as you stepped into a new classroom, armed with stylish school supplies and ready to take on the year ahead? Well, as the new girl at Branigan Communications,... Keep reading

Leading by example is the best kind of leadership

At the end of the semester in his PR Principles Class at Marquette University, Tom Branigan shares a list of best practices with his students on managing their personal brands. It’s a collection of... Keep reading

Go ahead, think small

The elusive big idea. The phrase itself is a misnomer that all great ideas are big. Facebook is actually a fairly small idea: connect online with the people in your life. Uber. Small idea: order and pay for... Keep reading

Blessed to be Irish

Being as Irish as we are, you’d probably expect that we sit around all day tossing about Irish sayings like they were lucky charms.

Things like: “If you're enough lucky to be Irish … You're lucky... Keep reading

How volunteering changed my life

About seven years ago my best friends and I worked at a summer day camp as counselors in training. During the last week of summer, the campgrounds were reserved for a special program called Children’s Hospital... Keep reading

The softer side of Branigan

At Branigan Communications, it’s not all work, work, work. Of course, there is plenty of work — it is a job, after all. (We’re not exactly sunning ourselves on white sandy beaches all day with umbrella drinks in our... Keep reading

In defense of working millennials

Why are millennials buying tiny houses? Why are they so obsessed with kale? What is kale — and when did it become a popular kid's name?

Anyone 35 and older is trying desperately to find the answers to these and... Keep reading

Run social media trends through your business filter

Whoa. Whoa. And whoa.

Before you run out and start live streaming every aspect of your business — predicted to be one of the biggest social media trends for 2016 — here’s an important question: What’s your... Keep reading

Belief-based branding

Trends in the business world are a lot like many a New Year’s resolution: top of mind in December and January, too far-fetched to attain and almost certainly forgotten by year's end... Keep reading

Breaking down the big stuff

I love New Year’s. The news is full of year-in-review montages; we reflect on what was while thinking about the promise of what can be. We all sing Auld Lang Syne — no one knows the words or what the song... Keep reading

The gift of time

Pulling into the driveway on a dark December night, the warm glow of family radiates from the house. Christmas lights sparkle on the tree; I see my daughter through the window and the dog wagging in greeting... Keep reading

Harness the force of Star Wars

This week, the world will get its first glimpse of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you throw a rock, chances are you'll hit something Star Wars-related. It's everywhere, and I love it.

I was... Keep reading

The value of soft skills

Cultivating and maintaining strong relationships is fundamental to the success of any business. As an intern at Branigan Communications this fall, I've seen how the BC team invests in client relationships and how that... Keep reading

Would you like a side of fries with that press release?

Waiting tables is excellent training for a career in communications. A college degree is valuable, too, of course, but you won't learn the nuances that can make or break a client relationship sitting in a classroom... Keep reading

Counting our blessings

At Branigan Communications we talk a lot about thankfulness. It often comes up in our discussions about client work; occasionally even when clients are in the room.

As we pause today for our national holiday to... Keep reading

3 ways B2B marketers can own social media

When it comes to social media, content and creativity win.

Many B2C companies push social limits to differentiate themselves from the overcrowded playing field of brands trying to break free. After all, it's... Keep reading

7 rules of communications from the office pup

As a professional communicator, it's easy to classify yourself as a people person. At Branigan, we not only specialize in communicating with people, we're excellent with dogs. Bear Branigan, the spunky black lab puppy... Keep reading

A portal to the future

We made it to the future … now what?

On Oct. 21, 2015, the date Marty McFly and Doc Brown dropped into the future in their DeLorean time machine in the 1989 movie "Back to the Future Part II," we had... Keep reading

5 things B2B marketers should know about research

Leaves are falling; there is a chill in the air. Q4 is officially here, which means marketers are pouring over 2016 strategic plans, jostling for more budget and excitedly exploring new initiatives and tactics... Keep reading

An experience fit for a queen

In 1851 in London the mother of all trade shows was born — the World's Fair — embodying in a glass palace all the inventions of the modern world. With more than 14,000 exhibitors, new product launches, live demos,... Keep reading

Live at the BC: Experiential marketing in action

What do you get when 150 of our closest FOBCs* show up to help us officially open our new offices? A rockin' good time.

Riffing off our Live at the BC rock 'n' roll theme, we didn't just throw a party,... Keep reading

Integrated communications: The plot thickens

Companies spend millions to ensure a consistent brand experience. Universities have created full curriculums and higher education degrees to teach the next generation of marketers how to develop smart, integrated... Keep reading

Hitting the sweet spot

Just say the word doughnut and you've got our attention. When some members of the BC team recently attended an engaging breakfast seminar on coaching, we didn't even get sidetracked with the Great Branigan Doughnut... Keep reading

Q&A with website designer Jay Beckman

The trend in website design is bigger, simpler and more colorful, according to Jay Beckman, co-founder and creative director of Northern Ground, a BC creative partner. "It's interesting to see how much pairing back... Keep reading

Going big has its rewards

As a communications company, we love the big idea. After all, we’ve delivered plenty of them to clients. So when our web partner, Northern Ground, presented us with a creative concept for a revamp of our Branigan... Keep reading

Breaking new ground at camp

“Welcome to the camp. I guess we all know why we’re here.” That’s the first line in the Branigan Communications employee handbook and may or may not be a line from a ’70s mega hit by the world's greatest rock band.... Keep reading