Posts tagged pr
#TeamHype Spotlight: Nelli Tokleh
Nelli T.jpg

Here at #TeamHype, we're all about celebrating our peers! In today's #TeamHype Spotlight, we are highlighting a CultureHype OG, Nelli Tokleh, our first ever employee -- besides co-founders Amber & Jarrod, of course.

After jumpstarting her PR career at CultureHype back in 2012, Nelli has had the opportunity to work at some amazing companies. With some persistence & dedication, she's been able to reach her career #GOALS. The CultureHype fam is super proud to show her off!

How has working at CultureHype helped you in your career so far?

“In grad school, I was working for Amber to gain PR experience while finishing my MBA program. I was trying to stay ahead of the curve in the PR industry while in school. So when Amber offered me a gig at CultureHype, I snagged it quick! I was actually Amber’s first hire for the agency. My role was to work with several consumer brands & find them editorial opportunities. So gaining these skills early on in my PR career was very valuable!”

How was the transition from college into the workforce?

"It was an emotional roller coaster. From moving back into my parent’s house from my college apartment to looking for a full-time PR job, there was a lot of stress. But the hard work & all of those internships paid off when I landed my first job about a month after graduation. Then adulthood happened...working an 8-5 job, paying bills, (& student loans!), etc. Most new grads will agree that it’s not an easy transition but having supportive friends & family around you can make all the difference as you ease into a new routine."

What is your day-to-day life now working at Dala Communications?

"I’m a Senior Account Executive at Dala, & I do a lot of traditional PR work, which I love. I’m working with several clients from the B2B to B2C space, as well as nonprofit."

What do you love the most about working at Dala Communications?

"In PR, every day can be different, so it keeps things exciting. The clients I get to work with have such great stories, & I love being the storyteller for their audiences and the press."

What are some tips you can give readers to help them find the job of their dreams?

"If you’re in college get internships in whatever field you're majoring in because it’s a valuable experience to put on your resume, & it’s a great way to get portfolio samples. It makes you more marketable for a job when you graduate. Also, don’t be shy to connect with someone who you would be interested in working for one day. So if you’re interested in sports, for example, contact the PR manager for that team. Send them a Linkedin request, follow them on Twitter, reach out online to ask for opportunities.

How do you think persistence is important in this industry?

"Persistency allows you to grow & develop. You press on, even when the situation can be tough. As a result, you can achieve that goal you're going for & become a stronger, successful person in your career." 

What has been your biggest accomplishment within your career in Public Relations?

"It's hard to name just one. I love working with nonprofits and getting to tell their story to the public. The best feeling is knowing you've made a difference for an organization who may not always have the help & resources available. Whether it's increasing their Facebook likes or getting them an article in a local community paper, the small things can have a huge impact on an organization." 


As part of our #TeamHype Spotlight series, we introduce the incomparable Sarah Badran. From CultureHype intern to founder of Creative Currency, Sarah has truly hustled her way to the top and created a name for herself throughout the Dallas scene. Sarah Badran is the true epitome of a go-getter and a great story to boot!

We interviewed Sarah and got to touch base on what the creative mastermind is up to, how CultureHype helped hone her talent, obstacles she overcame, and how she engraves self-care into her hectic routine.

What skills did you acquire or build upon while working at CultureHype?

"Amber is the ultimate girl boss & she instilled a lot of knowledge & confidence in me. She allowed me to learn by asking an infinite amount of questions & getting to see the world of PR first-hand. She taught me how to be relentless in going after what you want & how not to get discouraged by this business. A degree can give you a fundamental knowledge of what you need to know but experience is everything. She always encouraged me to get creative & empowered my ideas; it truly gave me the confidence to branch out on my own & create my own company."

What was your greatest hardship as you transitioned from college to a post-grad lifestyle? How did you overcome it?

"Figuring out how to channel my talents & skills was probably the toughest part. I had so much ambition & passion that I felt I could do anything but it was tough to focus on one thing and project & start to build from there. Also letting go of the stigma that I needed to get a job right out of college or I was a failure. I interned with CultureHype my last semester of college and I continued to learn & build with the company after graduating. I always find joy in forever being a student of life."

As a founder of Creative Currency, has this new journey changed your perspective of the world of public relations at all?

"It was hard and scary to branch out at first. My strength had always been in events & that’s what I chose to focus on. I also wanted to work with an underrepresented sector of the music industry & try to be as innovative as possible with how to brand an artist. It has definitely made me realize that you have to wear many hats & that the industry is constantly evolving. You need to stay on your toes & not get stuck or complacent in how you view PR strategy."

What has been your most rewarding moment in life, thus far?

"One of my most memorable events is getting to work with the local hip-hop community to plan a red carpet event at The Bomb Factory to honor it. Getting to learn how rich Dallas's history is & being in the forefront of getting to showcase it was such a dope experience. I got to work with Erykah Badu, The DOC & even Micheal Finley from the Dallas Mavericks. I think the most rewarding aspect is getting to see an idea come to life & become successful. I love getting to inspire and help people through it all."

What are three things you’d like to improve on this year?

"Improvement is always key. I always take every downfall as an opportunity to learn & grow. The main thing I seek to improve on is balance. I tend to take a lot on & sometimes I may disregard my personal relationships or taking time to work on myself in the midst of it. I'd also like to get a better understanding of the direction I'd like to take my company in & not fear that change. I also hope to empower women & mentor as many as possible."

Public relations tends to take a lot of energy out of one. Do you implement any self-care practices into your weekly routine, if so what are they?

"When I take the time to take care of myself it usually is in the form of massages or getting my hair or nails done. It's still important to take care of yourself & continue to be confident inside & out. I also love to go to concerts. It helps reaffirm why I love this business so much and helps to keep my creative juices flowing! I also love to travel, eat good food and experience as much culture as possible.

If you had the opportunity, what would you tell the 18-year-old Sarah Badran from the past?

"I would tell her to start early if you can to get as much experience as possible. To not be so hard on herself & to learn to enjoy the journey. Trust in the process & her ability to do anything she puts her mind to. Never doubt yourself & learn to appreciate all the special moments that life throws at you."

What are a couple of your favorite tracks, currently?

"Everything Cardi B, she is my spirit animal."

Current On Repeat: 

"Kings Dead" Kendrick Lamar
"The Weekend" SZA
"Say Something" Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton
"Stir Fry" Migos
"Icon" Jaden Smith
"The Middle" Zedd and Maren Morris
"Mine" Bazzi
"All Night" Steve Aoki

The CultureHype Collective: Meet Kali Ah Yuen

EVERY FRIDAY we'll be rolling out a little something called The CultureHype Collective. What is that? One could call it a dream team, our crew of preferred vendors who are killing it in the Big D & beyond. Meet The Collective.

Kali Ah Yuen is a senior PR Executive here on the Culture Hype team. Starting as an intern while attending the University of North Texas, Kali has graduated & grown into a pitching maven. She is artistically rounded with a background in writing, singing, dancing, design & fashion. The music scene is where she thrives. 

What is your biggest goal/dream for your career?

It was to own my own public relations firm or at least make it to work for People’s Revolution, which is a huge fashion PR firm in New York/LA/Paris. However, getting my music going to the point where I can inspire & motivate others around the world would be amazing.

What is your random special talent?

I’m a singer-songwriter, but I’m not sure if that’s very random. If we’re talking more along the lines of a party trick...then I can mimick Lil Jon’s infamous “yay yeah” to a T.

What is your favorite perk of being in the PR business?

Gaining more knowledge & a unique experience that I wouldn’t get doing anything else. I really love learning the ‘behind-the-scenes’ work that goes into a project. You also get to meet a lot of cool people along the way.

If you had to choose three words to  describe yourself, what would they be?

Intellectual, free spirit.

When you find yourself in a creative rut, where do you seek inspiration?

Anything compositional. I’ll go to a scenic area, listen to some good tunes & let my mind wander. It usually sparks something inside & gets my creative juices flowing.

If you had to pick one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?

As an avid music enthusiast, this is tough. It’s a tie between “Dangerous Woman” by Ariana Grande & “In The Lonely Hour” by Sam Smith.


What do you bring to the DFW creative scene? Why are you proud of it?

Being from Hawaii, I think I bring the island vibes to Dallas’ creative scene. I’m all about supporting artistry & just hanging loose. I think sometimes it’s hard to be in the entertainment industry, but being kind & friendly never hurts.

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Any Beyoncé song.

Who is your celebrity crush?

As heartbreaking as it is, Paul Walker was my biggest celebrity crush. So, I’m gonna go with Justin Bieber.

What is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?

My distressed jeans jacket because it goes with everything.

What is unique to you about living/working in Dallas?

Just like the West & East coast, Dallas has it’s own creative scene & I’m here for it. The city is full of amazing talent & a little something everyone can take away from.


How did you come about being involved in the business you’re in? When did youknow that’s what you wanted to do?

I watched this reality show on MTV when I was growing up called ‘The Hills’ & loved Lauren Conrad’s lifestyle. So, when it was time to go to college I looked up what she majored in & went with what was closest: Public Relations. I graduated from UNT & ended up getting a job at the place I interned for. Now, two years later I’m officially in Dallas’ creative scene!

Who is your fashion icon?

Rihanna. I also  tend to look around for fashion inspiration everywhere from the streets to Instagram.


One right now, but more to come. It says ‘faith’ on my forearm to always remind me to stay strong throughout this journey.


Things to Know When Dating a PR Girl

So you found yourself hanging out with this girl who works in public relations, but what does that even mean? She’s organized and outgoing but she can be so demanding sometimes! There are a few things you need to know before dating a girl who works in the competitive PR world. We warned you first. 


She is determined

Working from her laptop on the weekend or taking conference calls is part of her work. When it comes to her clients she puts in the time to get them the credit they deserve. Expect this to be one of the most challenging but rewarding relationships you will ever have.

Communication is Key

If you mix up you’re and your in texts to her. She will most definitely correct you. The way to over this communication girl is to always be up front and say what you really mean. 

She knows news

Don’t be surprised when she brings up breaking news you haven’t even heard about yet. It's her job to be on top of how her clients can utilize breaking headlines. For example, if a story about texting and driving goes viral she will craft a story for her cellphone client. She may excitedly tell you "x client can write a blog post on how to best stop teens from texting and driving". Her mind is always analyzing what people are talking about. 

She could be a lawyer

Don’t start an argument with this girl unless you have facts to back it up. Be prepared to face a strategic communicator with a sharp memory. If you only started a fight to blow off steam than you're with the wrong gal. 

She thinks about photos & social media more than most people

“Which hashtag should I use on this post?” or “What would be the best time to post this on Instagram?” are typical phrases you will hear. Along with "Can you believe Martha posted that?". If she offers advice for your social media image she's only trying to help. It's nothing personal. Oh, and don’t you DARE touch that calamari appetizer before she snaps a pic of it!

She knows EVERYONE

You could be at the grocery store near midnight on a Tuesday and she will still manage to run into someone she knows. After awhile it will just become the usual. Sorry, everyone knows everyone in the biz.

Expect to Plan Ahead

Last minute plans to visit your grandparents this weekend? Don’t think so. This girl most likely has her planner full of to-dos and meetings for weeks. This doesn’t mean she can’t have fun. But spontaneous trips can be the biggest source of anxiety… or finding out how to kindly cancel.

She finds it hard to relax

A publicist doesn't earn national media coverage for clients by sitting on the couch. Since she works so hard during the week it will probably spill over on the weekend. t’s a type A, communication, perfection obsession thing. Don’t make her explain it. Just understand it’s a thing. 

She expects the best

This girl is going to expect the best from you. In return, you will have the most thoughtful, hardworking and loyal partner. Us PR girls can be a lot to handle but there are a lot of things that make us great girlfriends. At the end of the day, what matters the most to us are relationships. Whether it's regarding our client or significant other that is what fulfills our lives. If you can win her over, that PR girl will give you her best.

Image 1 courtesy of Huffington Post, Image 2 courtesy of 

PR 101: How to understand your publicist

Publicists (aka press agents) have a unique job on their hands, one that’s often hard to understand. Our jobs are to highlight your best “newsworthy” assets, build relationships and interest about your brand in the media, & of course have FUN placing album reviews, interviews, pre- & post-event coverage, and photos in various media outlets. In a nutshell, we’re here to get you in the news, some may say make you famous. Today, we’re talking common misconceptions & clearing up confusing elements of what it means to be a publicist & have PR for your brand. If you understand the process, you’re more likely to have a better working relationship with your PR rep & ultimately the media.

We have big ideas, we believe in your brand, but we’re only one piece of the branding/marketing puzzle. We’re walking advertisements for your brand, literally, because when our 9-to-5 grind is over we’re talking about you at parties, dinners, & happy hours to every writer in sight.

It’s Hard to Measure

Publicity is hard to measure, but it’s invaluable & priceless. You want to get signed to a label or find an agent or gallery to rep you? A publicist can help you garner initial attention from the media, which you can later leverage when pitching yourself to future tours, galleries, agents, booking companies, etc. We can pick out the newsy bits of your life & highlight them in ways that make you seem worth writing about. Having a PR rep means you don’t have to constantly sell yourself, we’re doing it for you.

One way to measure PR efforts is putting together an advertising to editorial value chart, using ad prices & impressions to measure the success of your campaign. PR is often more affordable than a big advertising campaign, so you often get more for your money. PR campaigns work in peaks and valleys. Building media attention & a strong brand presence takes time, so be patient and come up with realistic goals with your rep before the campaign begins. No matter how much we want you in Rolling Stone, you may not be ready for that at this point in your career.

PR Magic

We can’t do everything. With indie musicians and visual artists, we often serve as a manager, booker, event planner, personal assistant & PR team. Sometimes, no matter how much we pitch you to someone, they’re just not interested. Doing PR is like riding a fine line between being aggressive & pleasant to work with.

Hiring a publicist doesn’t mean that you’ll get you nominated for a Grammy immediately, but it could be a future goal for your team. Working closely with your PR rep on story angles, creative event concepts, media outlet goals is the key to success. It’s a two-way street. Successful PR campaigns are a collaborative effort because, after all, we don’t know everything about you! Be open and honest about your story & what you do and don’t want to highlight. Don’t hire a PR rep who blows smoke, hire someone who is going to be realistic about the long road ahead & has the same long-term goals. PR is not a race, it’s a marathon.

We’re Friends With Everyone

Publicists are constantly looking for new connections, whether it’s a new magazine starting, buzzing blog, or writer who just moved to town. After pitching all day, most of us spend our nights networking at events & trying to meet people in person. Some writers get 2,000 emails a day, so we need them to cherry-pick our emails out of their crazy inboxes.

Don’t hire a party animal. Do we take writers to drinks, yes. Do we sometimes shut down the bar with them, yes. A good PR rep maintains a professional demeanor, even if it’s in a casual environment. No matter how close you think you are to a writer, you should be careful of what you say about your client when speaking to them. That being said, just because someone is our close contact, they may still decline coverage if they’re not into your story.

It’s Not All Glitz And Glam

Of course, we get invited to a lot of parties - if we stop getting invites something is wrong! There are a lot of perks while living the PR life like free concert tickets, access to exclusive events & so on…but it’s not all glitz and glam. One of the main reasons why we haven’t hired someone on after their internship (think of it as a trial period) is because they’ve acted entitled & it’s clear to us that they’re not in it to work. We work hard & we play hard, but working hard comes first.

Being a publicist is not a 9-to-5 job, it’s a 24-7 job. If we’re out at your album release party until 2 a.m. mingling with writers, we’re up by 6 a.m. checking our emails to make sure the morning TV interview is still on. Publicists who are on top of things get opportunities that others don’t. I can’t tell you how many times someone’s emailed me with a last minute cancellation because they knew I could make it happen within the hour.

We’re always on, so we need our down time. If you don’t need to talk to us at 12 a.m. wait to text or email us in the morning. Your PR rep should be responsive & proactive, we live and breathe your projects, but no one wants a demanding client. Being a publicist is a lot of work, but if you have a good working relationship with your rep & respect their time your campaign will benefit from it.

See also: 8 Misconceptions About Music Publicity (and Why You Need it Regardless)