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Contributed by Mitchell Vice

When someone tells you you need a mobile website, they’re right, but probably not in the way you think they are. You shouldn’t consider your need for a mobile website to be for mobile phones, but rather for a plethora of mobile devices, or, even better, multiple Internet-enabled devices.

Get ready for your head to explode . . . Long gone is the day when the two websites (one for desktops and one for smartphones) strategy was a winning one. And you’re saying to yourself, “Wait… What? I don’t even have an obsolete mobile site yet!”

Imagine creating one website for the BlackBerry, another for the iPhone, the iPad, netbook, Kindle, AppleTV, cable/satellite and gaming consoles and Internet-enabled TVs, refrigerators, vacuums, etc.—and you thought making your website look good in Internet Explorer 6 was a challenge.

With this in mind, website owners need to develop a strategy for providing information and services to their visitors across the many devices. However, mobile strategies can vary massively from website to website, depending the experience you want to offer your visitors. Catering your online experience to a specific device is a lot more in depth than simply tweaking your design or layout to accommodate varying screen resolutions and aspects.

 

The most significant mobile device screen sizesImage courtesy of Smashing Magazine.

The most common mistake website owners make is simply re-purposing their content to fit on a phone. With modern mobile browsers being capable of processing just about any technology available, and wireless bandwidth speeds making downloading a non-issue, it’s easy to do . . . but is it right? You need consider why visitors would be using your website on a mobile device. Are they just passing the time? Logging in to make a purchase or track an order? Are they trying to contact you for support? Is all of your website’s content preventing your visitors from accomplishing the very thing they came to your mobile site for?

Researching your visitors’ behavior through surveys, focus groups and analytics will help you determine what type of experience they expect to have when they use your website on a mobile device. Understanding those expectations will help you better strategize your approach to your mobile website experience. (You may even come away with a new strategy for your current website.)

Can you get away with a minor tweak? Maybe so. Do you need to redesign your current website to respond to various devices? (We did. Try pennapowers.com on a phone, tablet, netbook or refrigerator.) Do you need to provide an experience that would be better served with a device-specific website or perhaps an app? There are pros and cons to every approach, but ultimately your strategy needs to be guided by your content, objectives and visitors’ expectations. Once you have all of the data, you can make an informed decision about which approach will benefit you, and more importantly, your visitors.

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I think every advertising agency in the world would have loved to sit in a room with Steve Jobs as a client and spend a few minutes brainstorming with him. Based on Apple’s advertising campaigns over the years it’s clear that he knew how to get the best creative thinking from every agency he ever worked with.

Below are some of the best Steve Jobs quotes about creativity, focus and innovation from Michael Gass at Fuel Lines.

1. “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.” Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer

2. “For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Bloomberg Businessweek

3. “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.” Wired

4. “That’s been one of my mantras–focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” Bloomberg Businessweek

5. “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” CNNMoney

6. “When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.” Newsweek

7. “We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” Fortune

8. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me . . . Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful . . . that’s what matters to me.” The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993

9. “You’re missing it. This is not a one-man show. What’s reinvigorating this company is two things: One, there’s a lot of really talented people in this company who listened to the world tell them they were losers for a couple of years, and some of them were on the verge of starting to believe it themselves. But they’re not losers. What they didn’t have was a good set of coaches, a good plan. A good senior management team. But they have that now.” Bloomberg Businessweek

10. “The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient . . . But innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.” Bloomberg Businessweek

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There’s a great quote by a guy named Erasmus that goes, “When I have money, I buy books. If any money is left over, I buy food and clothes.” Well, we’re mostly hungry and naked over here at PPBH. We appreciate any donations you’d be willing to make at this time of year so our clients won’t be scared to visit us in 2012. Here are the books that impoverished us:

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson – as an advertising agency, we’re contractually obligated to include this book in our list. We’re pretty sure it’s good too.

Bossypants by Tina Fey – please judge this book by its cover

The Zigzag Principle by Rich Christiansen – we can reach our goals faster by zigzagging towards them than bulldozing a straight line.

A Dance With Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire – Book Five by George R.R. Martin – Epic!

Inside Pee-wee’s Playhouse: The Untold, Unauthorized, and Unpredictable Story of a Pop Phenomenon by Caseen Gaines – Do you need any more explanation?

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollack – not a biography of PPBH, by the way.

Switch by Dan and Chip Heath – we cheated on this one since it was published in 2010, but we keep re-reading it. For those PR professionals, also check out Made to Stick by the same authors! Insanely good.

Reamde: A Novel by Neal Stephenson – back in Cryptonomicom form!

Poke the Box  by Seth Godin – also check out We Are All Weird by the same author, both released in 2011.

A Simple Act of Violence by R.J. Ellory – some of us really love crime fiction.

Troop 142 by Mike Dawson – a graphic novel about boy scout camp in New Jersey. Enough said.

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So we’re headquartered in Salt Lake City, one of the top markets in movie theater attendance. Where were the top grossing theaters for the opening of Breaking Dawn? New York City or Los Angeles, you guess? Not even close. We’ll trade you an NYC for a SLC, as in the top three grossing movie theaters nationwide were The District, Jordan Commons and The Gateway, all Megaplex theaters. Not bad for an independent operation! And while we’re not necessarily Breaking Dawn fans (okay it did get a vote), we mirror our market as diehard cinephiles here at PPBH. So this is what we liked in 2011 (apologies to Mission Impossible 4 and Sherlock Holmes 2 which not enough of us have seen):

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2 – or as we like to affectionately call it, Harry Potter Part 7 Part 2.  Harry and the gang ended the series with an impressive ensemble extravaganza that gave every character its proper dramatic resolution and had only two endings compared with the eight endings of The Return of the King.

Bridesmaids – We’ve decided that female writers and comedians do gross-out comedy more affectionately, more honestly and more hilariously than their male Seth Rogen/Jonah Hill counterparts. This was a thoroughly entertaining journey through the muck of planning your best friend’s wedding when you’re totally broke and rudderless. And we want to reassure our friends who own local Brazilian Churrascaria joints that we still plan on patronizing their establishments even after seeing this film. But please give us time.

Crazy Stupid Love – It was crazy and stupid, but we still liked this one. It was a Rom-Com, but not really. All of the characters could have been stereotypes, but weren’t. And thankfully, the writing wasn’t lazy. And some of us liked Ryan Gosling’s abs too.

The Muppets – The Muppets are back! Their comeback movie was full of the wonder and humor from the very first Muppet Movie that we fell in love with. And writer/actor Jason Segel has definitely come full circle since going full monty in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. We give The Muppets extra points for using social media in a clever way and by executing a killer PR campaign that got them on the cover of nearly every magazine in print. What, you didn’t see them on the cover of Cat Fancy? They were there, trust us.

Incendies – This film may have come out in 2010, but its Utah release was in 2011. It’s the story of two Canadian sisters (twins) who set out to discover their roots in the violent corners of Lebanon. It’s gripping—you’ll be trying to pry its grasp off of you for days, but will be unsuccessful. It also proves that Canadians can still make great films besides Strange Brew.

X-Men: First Class – We’re not sure why this was the least successful of the many comic superhero movies this summer, but in our view, it was the best. It was a refreshing prequel consistent in tone to the earlier X-Men movies and a great cast headed up by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as younger versions of Professor X and Magneto respectively.

Immortals – Director Tarsem Singh certainly has a unique creative point of view that we’ve been checking out ever since his work on R.E.M’s Losing My Religion video. This time he transports his style to the swords and sandals genre and melds theater and film techniques with surprisingly good results. He remains a better visualist than a narratively coherent director, but sometimes we just need some good eye candy.

Arthur Christmas – Don’t judge this movie by the trailers/commercials alone. What looks like yet another tired animated retread of life at the North Pole is instead an original and hilarious comedy for all ages that teaches the very thing we try to promote in our industry: Always put the customer first! Or as David Olgivy would say, “The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife!”

Super 8 – The best summer movie of 2011 is the one that was least discussed at the water cooler. Probably the best group of child actors to be seen in a movie since Stand by Me. Director J.J. Abrams continues to impress by giving us both great visuals and great stories with characters we care about. Michael Bay, are you listening?

The Help – Our book club employees made sure that this one stuck in the top 10. This was a crowd-pleasing effort with especially strong performances by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. Critics are saying the movie whitewashes the complex racial history of the South, but it could have been much worse, like casting Oprah!

Honorable Mention: Tree of Life, Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, Thor, Fast Five, Conan the Barbarian, Horrible Bosses (an anonymous submission of course), Sarah’s Key, Ides of March, We Were Here, Soul Surfer, Cowboys vs. Aliens, Captain America

Watch out for our next installment where we list our top reads of 2011.

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It was difficult to get any consensus on music picks for 2011 since we all have pretty diversified tastes. But in the spirit of inter-disciplinary solidarity, we’ll try to get them all in:

Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues – we had a PPBH coalition show up for the Portlandia band’s show at the beautiful Red Butte Ampitheater.  We were blown away by the lush harmonies and unique arrangements that sound even better live than in the studio.

Adele: 21 – what an amazing voice. You just have to bow down and worship this kind of talent.

The Black Keys: El Camino  – you had us at Lonely Boy, but even way before that, like on all your other albums that will now no longer be unappreciated.

Pretty Lights: I Know the Truth – he has great albums in his back catalog, but this single released in 2011 will suffice—an amazing mix of dance, hip-hop and electronica coolness.

The Orb: C Batter C – epic double album of trippy ambient house music that keeps our developers happy and out of the criminal justice system.

Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes – Social D is back and they’re in fine form.

William Shatner: Seeking Major Tom – if you liked his incredible Has Been album that was produced by Ben Folds, this isn’t quite the same, but it’s still amazingly weird and good.

The Kooks: Junk of the Heart – Good, catchy pop goodness

M83: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – When the creative department is pumping out this double album of awesome sauce, it’s like turning their talent dial to 11. We’ll keep it playing.

Real Estate: Days – just try to resist the poppy beach charms of these Jersey boys. But thankfully, you won’t find them on the Jersey Shore soundtrack.

Mayer Hawthorne: How Do You Do – He’s a soulful white guy from Ann Arbor, Michigan singing Motown duets with Snoop Doggy Dogg. What’s not to like?

Like something that’s not on our list? Let us know! Give us your picks. And check out our favorite movies of the year here.

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We know what you’re thinking—if only PPBH would come out with its top entertainment picks of the year, you might finally get some closure on 2011. Well, consider your year closed. In 2011, some of us were able to leave the office occasionally to indulge a bit in pop culture. Those who couldn’t sneak away had to steal an hour or two on Pandora or Netflix before the IT department shut us down. Here is part one of our five-part series:

TELEVISION (or whatever you call it these days):

Modern Family – Perfect casting, timing, writing and a nice balance of comedy and warmth make this show compulsively watchable. And proud to have Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) as our fellow Salt Laker! So we have to ask—are you a Pritchett or a Dreamer?

The Good Wife – Many of our staff gravitated to the Elliot Spitzer-inspired plots and subplots of this character-driven law/politics hybrid drama starring Julianna Margulies.

Community – We’re sad to see this show on “hiatus” for the rest of the season. Even sadder that a new episode would lose big in the ratings to a CSI re-run, so we can’t blame NBC for the move. If you thought this was Friends set at SLCC, you thought wrong. Way wrong. Probably the most self-referential show on television, but in a good way!

The Walking Dead – This definitely isn’t your grandma’s zombie show, if they had any zombie shows back then. Season 2 traded the first season’s almost non-stop zombie action for a little rest on the farm. But the rest proved short-lived, and the farm not so idyllic. We’re still reeling over the season finale.

Parks & Recreation – Is there a better character on television than Ron Swanson? Or Tom Haverford? Or Leslie Knope? Didn’t think so. Shut up, Jerry!

Breaking Bad – Our favorite show about a high school chemistry teacher turned meth dealer! After watching Bryan Cranston’s Walter go off the rails so completely, it’s jarring to see him in reruns of Malcom in the Middle as Frankie Muniz’s goofy Dad.

American Horror Story – It’s become a required ritual to take a cold shower after every viewing of this not-so-beautiful dark twisted fantasy. The shower also helps to get the Jessica Lange scenery-chewing out of your hair as well. There really is nothing on television like it and we’re not quite sure if that’s a good thing yet. But we keep watching.

Honorable Mention: New Girl, Portlandia, 9 by Design, Dirty Jobs, Beavis & Butthead, The Misfits, Law & Order: SVU, SportsCenter

Television Shows on Uppity Paid Channels That Think They’re Too Good For Advertising

Game of Thrones – This was a particular favorite of our interactive folks (nerds). But who can blame them? And who can predict which main character is going to be killed next? And finally, who doesn’t love Peter Dinklage, our favorite dwarf actor from the South Pole?

Homeland – For those who have Showtime (elitists), this series was unputdownable. This was 24 for uppity smart people, with twists and turns and characters you can’t trust. But we’ve always trusted actor Mandy Patinkin ever since he killed the six-fingered man who killed his father.

Dexter – Our favorite TV show about a serial killer with a heart of gold who kills serial killers! And he had a serial killer showdown with Tom Hanks’s son, but we’ll let you find out who wins.

Honorable Mention: Boardwalk Empire

Be sure to tune in soon for part 2 when we discuss our favorite music!

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‘Tis the season to celebrate at the annual PPBH Christmas party!

This year we held our shindig at the Bohemian Brewery and Grill in Midvale. The restaurant let us take over and we packed 75 people into a cozy area for a wild night filled with good food, laughter and fun.

At the party, the partners recognized Christine Menges and Erico Bisquera, two outstanding employees who have been with PPBH for 15 years. They are both incredible assets to PPBH and are a significant part of our success. Fifteen years is a huge accomplishment, especially in this industry. Here’s to 15 more!

After dinner we watched our 2011 year in review video, and relived all of the fun, crazy and downright hilarious events and antics of 2011. The evening wrapped (yeah, pun intended) with the annual Christmas gift raffle! Every employee was a winner, but with prizes ranging from gift cards to an Amazon Kindle to a machete (for the looming zombie apocalypse?), “winning” was definitely a relative term.

Everyone at the party had a great time, and should that zombie apocalypse happen any time soon, you know where to come.

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Contributed by Lauren Soderberg

Every year, the PPBH creative team puts their heads together in order to concept the most brilliant holiday card in the history of the universe. Which is quite the task, as each year must top the previous year. Former cards have involved airplanes, rock bands, car racing and spaceships, but this year, PPBH decided to take a trip back to the wild west. Creating this card is not easy, especially because every employee is incorporated into the card in some fashion… some more recognizable than others. The photo shoot takes place over the course of a couple of days, and always proves to be a good time.

To see the process and creation of the 2011 PPBH holiday card, look no further than the video below:

Making of the 2011 PPBH Christmas Card from Penna Powers Brian Haynes on Vimeo.

From all of us at PPBH, we wish you a safe and happy holiday.

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Contributed by Jason Alleger

Generally speaking, we’re a money-conscious society. That statement is as true in marketing as it is in shopping for new shoes. We always want to know what something is going to cost us. And if you’ve ever tried to find out the cost of placing an ad on Google search, you may have ended up with a handful of aspirin and an icepack, because the the answer isn’t so simple. That’s where I come in—to help answer the age-old question, “How much does it cost my company if someone clicks on my search ad in Google?”

And the answer is . . . well, it depends. You didn’t expect the mysteries of the universe to be revealed all at once, did you? Stick with me for a minute and I’ll explain.

The price tag for Google search ads is based on industry/keyword categories. The most expensive category on Google is for insurance, which costs on average $54.91 per click. Yes that’s right, if you search “auto insurance price quotes” and click on an ad, you just cost someone $55. The next highest categories are mortgage ($47.12/click), attorney ($47.07/click) and loans ($44.28/click).

But don’t worry, most searches cost significantly less. In fact, if you have a well-built search campaign you can expect to pay around $1 to $2 per click. Advertising experts actually place bids on keywords that they predict will be typed in. An average company typically targets 50,000 keywords or more.

Ads are measured based on their click-through rate (CTR), which measures the average amount of times an ad is clicked, versus how many times it is seen. The average ad is clicked about 2% of the time. This may seem low, but considering that Americans conduct more than 18 billion searches per month, that’s a lot of clicked-on ads.

But do ads work? Yes! You wouldn’t click on an ad if it wasn’t what you were looking for.

Once you click on an ad, advertisers can see what pages you visit on their site, how long you stay there and if you buy anything. Both parties win in the exchange – consumers get their goods, and advertisers get relevant traffic to their site.

So the next time you do a search on Google, ponder on the majesty of Google’s wizardry to match your exact keyword query with the perfect ad. Then if you want to charge a company up to $55—click on it.

To help fuel your guilt the next time you search, below are the 20 most expensive categories on Google.

Infographic Source: TechCrunch.com

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I have pondered long and hard about what to write as my contribution to the PPBH blog. Okay, so that’s not true. I have been putting it off as long as I could stand the stares from the other contributors within the agency. I can’t take it anymore!

So, I did what any good communications professional would do in my situation–conducted research, prepared an outline, wrote and rewrote; then found someone else who actually knows how to write a blog to edit it.

As for choosing a topic, with the holiday season upon us, the only conclusion I had was to write something related to the public relations and advertising industries that contains the holiday spirit (please note that no other types of spirits were consumed in the writing of this blog). Thus, the list below is my interpretation of what an advertising and PR executive would want for their 12 days of Christmas:

Twelve Billable Months in 2012
All we want for Christmas is a recovering economy

Eleven Employees Who are Not Behind on Their Time Sheets
This is Christmas, right? We can dream!

Ten Winning Proposals
So smart, so creative, so good and as awesome as a good pair of stretchy pants.

Nine More Years of Seinfeld
While this may date some of us, nobody beats Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer for some brainless entertainment.

Eight Edible Lunches
No more salads from burger joints or sandwiches from gas stations on the way to the next client meeting.

Seven Weeks of Vacation
Wait, I’m behind on my time sheets!

Six Kids Who Want Their Dad Home Earlier
Well, at least three, as the teenagers don’t really care or even notice.

Five Golden Clients
Definition: appreciate smart strategy, recognize strong creative, understand budgets, are fun and hardworking and don’t approve logos by committee.

Four Key Messages
And four CEOs who don’t stray from those messages.

Three Great Partners
Santa Claus already came to town with this one.

Two Presidential Candidates
Enough already!

and

One Less New Business Proposal Due on Christmas Eve
May everyone have a safe and happy holiday season!

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