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Words of advice to the class of 2012 and other graduates

Contributed by Jane Putnam

Many of our staffers are involved in various mentoring programs throughout the area with different universities and colleges. One of the most-often asked questions is along the lines of advice—what do soon-to-be graduates (or graduates trying to break into the communications world) need to know? What do we wish we had known?

We took this question to some of our team and had them share what they wish they had known, or what piece of crucial advice or guidance they are so glad they were told years and years ago. So, to the class of 2012 and others looking for career advice, this blog post goes out to you.

“If you can afford to get to a big market, do. Learn everything you can. Then move back to be by family and bring your wisdom with you. We can always use great talent locally and there is nothing like living by family, especially as your parents begin to age. If you can’t afford to get to a big market, learn more than anyone else in your market about what it is you do and become the best there is in that field. Then there will always be someone willing to pay you more than anyone else in your area of expertise and you will never hurt for employment opportunities.
–        John Haynes, Managing Partner

“It’s 30 percent what you know, and 70 percent who you know.”
–        Mike Brian, Partner

“When I told a professor that I was going into media, he said, ‘Agency or sales? There’s more money in sales.’ If I had just chased the money, I might be richer, but not happier. Some people like sales and that’s great. Do what you’re interested in and where you can best make an impact, not what your dad expects you to do. One of my internship supervisors told me that my first job in advertising was going to be a sweatshop but not to complain, just sweat harder than everyone else. Eventually you’ll get an office with air-conditioning and a window.”
–        Marc Stryker, Media Director

“You need to be prepared to be creative and figure out solutions among a lot of barriers. Be a problem solver. Stay curious. Listen and then recommend.”
–        Stephanie Miller, Public Relations Director

“Be good to everyone. Life is too short to let position, promotion or power get in the way of forming lasting relationships. Be genuine. Trying to be someone or something you’re not will eventually catch up with you. And people will probably like you the way you are anyway!”
–        Justin Smart, Public Involvement Director

“Save your money for your old age. You’ll need it after being in this industry.”
–        Traci Houghton, Finance Director

“The most important thing I have learned is the balance between work and career. Do your job well, love what you do, but don’t let your job be your life. Find a company/organization to work for that suits your talents, personality and culture… and make the best of it.”
–        Frank Harnden, Production Manager

“A positive attitude, proactivity and willingness to do anything with your full effort, including the menial tasks, will show that you are capable of success in any capacity.”
–        Lora Hudson, Outreach Coordinator

“Gravitate toward what you are genuinely interested in. If you’re sitting in an office checking sports scores all day, you have the wrong job. If you can’t stop checking AdAge and Mashable, even on the weekends, you have found your niche in communications.”
–        Jason Alleger, Assistant Media Planner

“Take golf lessons. Business is done on the golf course. It’s where people network, develop relationships and gain trust in their business partner. The game has a way of revealing integrity, personality and tempers. How a person acts and reacts in a round of golf can often be compared with how they act and react in the business world. “
–        Brent Wilhite, Account Supervisor

“Cross the line, but in a good way. Each company draws functional lines between employees, teams and departments. Excel in your role, but also make an effort to get into what happens outside of your assigned seat. Really try to see the big picture better than others and learn a broad set of industry skills. If you consistently work in this way, you will develop into a more successful problem solver, a more effective communicator and a more valuable employee no matter where you work.”
–        Clayton Carter, Senior Account Manager

My two cents: You really need to love what you do. If you don’t, the long hours and really hard work will be just that—long hours and hard work; if you love what you do, every long hour you put in and all of that hard work adds up and helps you in the long run.

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Best Practices for Facebook Marketing

Contributed by Jason Alleger

Running Facebook ads seems easy, right? Just choose the targeting and upload a picture, and now you have an ad. If this is how your company does it, pause everything and read this article.

Building a Facebook campaign is a deliberate and painstaking process. As a full-service ad agency that manages Facebook advertising for dozens of clients, we have developed some best practices:

1. Segment by age. Break out your ads by age group, typically in five-year increments. Different age groups have a varying propensity to click and seem to gravitate toward the same types of ads. We have used a variety of Facebook management tools, such as Marin Software and Clickable, and the platforms are made to do this. We now use Facebook’s new Power Editor, which streamlines ad creation and optimization.

2. Rotate your pictures. Have you been using the same ad for the last year? Odds are the click-through rate (CTR) is terrible and is hurting your brand. We recommend having at least four to six photos per targeting group and rotating in new photos every three weeks.

3. Optimize. Facebook does a great job of auto-optimizing your ads, but you should step in and pause anything below a .03 percent CTR. Then write MORE ads like the ones that are doing well. This will keep costs down and let your best ads shine.

4. Vary your bids. Facebook uses a bidding model for its ads, wherein the ads with higher bids are shown more often than those with lower bids. We have actually seen higher CTRs when we increase bids, although our average cost-per-click does not rise substantially. Facebook rewards those who bid high (and they will even approve your ads faster).

Facebook marketing is one of the most efficient ways to reach your target audience, and we recommend running Facebook ads as part of most media plans. As a marketing professional, you can save a lot of money by building a thorough Facebook campaign. Are we missing anything? Let us know in the comments.

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Contributed by John Haynes

Smart phones and iPads may actually help increase TV viewing. In a recently released white paper, JWT discusses this point in great detail—the second screen phenomenon. (For the purposes of this concept, the TV is referred to as your first screen; smartphones, tablets and computers as your second.)

JWT and advertisers around the globe, including PPBH, are beginning to see the “second screen” complement and enhance the “first screen” (TV viewing) experience. While still in the early stages, advertisers are turning TV viewing into an interactive experience. Viewers can now respond easily to an advertiser’s promotional offer. No longer does the advertising message have to be limited to 30 or 60 seconds. Viewers can now see what others think and feel about the content being delivered on the first screen. I know from personal experience that on multiple occasions, after seeing a commercial, I’ve pulled out my iPhone to look further into something mentioned in the spot, or even the offer itself.

It’s not just advertisers leveraging engagement between the first and second screens, either. Just last week, KSL’s evening news asked viewers to answer a question—whether a Twinkie, two Krispy Cream doughnuts or a Lunchable kids snack had the highest sugar content—via Twitter. The responding tweets were shown live on the right-hand side of the screen as viewers weighed in on the subject while the news broadcast continued on the left-hand side. In case you are wondering, the Lunchable contained the most sugar because of the elevated sugar in the serving of applesauce.

Whether it’s the news or an advertiser (or anyone and anything in between), it’s clear that TV viewing is becoming a shared viewing experience, allowing viewers to go deeper into its content and getting involved. PPBH expects to see the second screen offering viewers a more interactive TV viewing experience in the future and helping TV keep and even grow its audience numbers in the future.

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Full-service advertising, public relations, interactive and public involvement agency Penna Powers Brian Haynes (PPBH) is marking another first as the first agency in Utah to adopt Rentrak as a television audience measurement service.

Contributed by Jasmine Borla

The sexy world of television measurement services just got sexier! Finally, a worthy competitor has emerged to take on the monopoly of Nielsen. For years, Nielsen has dominated the TV ratings space and its data continues to be the buying currency used for TV campaigns today.

Now, enter Rentrak, a measurement service that was traditionally the go-to source for music sales data. If you subscribe to the DISH Network in the Salt Lake market, chances are you’re already part of the Rentrak household roster. The service is now gaining a larger footprint, so much so that agencies and TV stations alike are starting to take note. PPBH has now joined the ranks of national agencies Starcom, MediaVest and Universal McCann in adopting Rentrak and is the first Utah agency to subscribe and start implementing this new data into our media planning and buying services.

One of the main differences between Nielsen and Rentrak is the number of participants—specifically Rentrak’s sheer volume of 50,000+ DISH households compared to Nielsen’s sample size of 388. In the Salt Lake DMA, one Rentrak sample household represents 18 households in the overall universe, while one Nielsen sample household represents over 2,300 households in the overall universe. Nielsen maintains that its MRC-accredited statistical sampling is king and that Rentrak’s dependence on DISH households can’t possibly deliver a representative picture of the television-viewing population.

All this riveting melodrama is right out of your favorite soap opera, we know, so we’ll cut to a side-by-side analysis of Nielsen vs. Rentrak based on November 2011 figures. Overall, we found that across the board, ratings for the four main TV stations (KUTV-2, KTVX-4, KSL-5 and KSTU-13) increased in all dayparts with the exception of prime time and KUTV-2’s late news. The biggest discrepancy was during late fringe, which saw a 118 percent increase in ratings with the Rentrak data.

Whether Rentrak data will become mainstream and be used as buying currency is still yet to be determined, but for now, we are proud to include it as another media research tool in our quiver.

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Like many marketers and PR practitioners, most of my days start with a blank page and a (sometimes daunting) task to write a case study, fact sheet, position paper, news release, speech, blog, news release or website copy. Each requires its own style and personality, which makes the endeavor both fun and challenging.

The tsunami of messages everyone must wade through every day has turned us into a population of content scanners. The mere seconds you have to capture attention must count.

Some tips for getting a better share of eyeballs:
1. Cut Your Content. When writing for web and social media:
– Keep it short. Titles should be six words maximum.
– Use subheads. Help a reader out with a quick guide through your content.
– Copy chunks limited to about 100 words are easiest to read.
– Rely on analytics. Of course, strategy and effort need to be a priority for every page of your site, but pay attention to the analytics and update those pages with more frequency.

2. To Click or Not to Click. Work those Headlines. Sacrificing clarity for being clever can cost you a click. Write for the sea of scanners and ensure your headlines are both intriguing and meaningful. The painstaking wordsmithing of your copy is all for naught if you are the only one who ever reads it.

3. Don’t Neglect a Strong call to action.Whether for the web, a news release or a speech a strong call to action is one of the most important—and toughest—parts to craft. With the expectation that every action delivers a return you owe it to your client, your project and your efforts to be specific about what you want people to do. “Call us today” doesn’t cut it.

4. Read great writing. This was some of the best advice that I was given and there is a payoff. I find when I make the time to read others’ work, ideas and inspiration come easier to help stave the dreaded writer’s block. George Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Seth Godin, Patricia Cornwell for fiction, New York Times and the Washington Post opinion pages, and for headlines are a few favorites.

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Time Magazine’s provocative breast-feeding cover created a buzz of debate and conversation across Internet. Some found the shock value of the photograph disturbing and offensive. Others felt the image successfully drew attention to the issue, provoking thoughtful conversation about motherhood and attachment parenting.

Shock value is also a useful topic of discussion among advertisers. In an industry known for using sex, beauty and guilt to sell products, we have to ask ourselves: what will effectively draw attention without going too far?

Asking these questions may be the best way to keep our moral compass in this business of persuasion. Actively acknowledging our social responsibility while maintaining clients’ interests can be a tricky balance. But we’re sure they are in reach with a bit of creative thinking and a lot of hard work.

Luke Sullivan’s book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, has a chapter titled “Salesmen Don’t Have to Wear Plaid: Selling without Selling Out” that ties into this concept. He believed advertisers could be proud of their work while practicing good business. “Advertising didn’t have to embarrass itself in order to make a cash register ring,” he writes.

Here at PPBH, we practice this by remembering everything we work on has our name on it. We’re personally invested in making successful campaigns without stooping to cheap and unbecoming methods. We’re proud of the work we do because settling for less isn’t who we are.

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Contributed by Jane Putnam

An article today in The Christian Science Monitor reports findings from a survey tied to Facebook’s IPO, in which half of Americans say Facebook is a fad. I’m not sure I can count myself among this half of Americans, as I see Facebook in a different light than most (perhaps because it’s part of my job). IPO aside, I think Americans have too much invested in Facebook for it to just be a fad. Facebook is becoming an increasingly more relevant part of our culture and lives. The article accounts for this view—some 59 percent of Americans under age 35 (hint: I fall in this category)—the same age group as the site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg—see Facebook as a good bet.

Facebook certainly has some things going its way to ensure its future:

As I perused the news coverage this afternoon, there seems to be opinions, facts and data in favor of Facebook being a fad, too:

So, I’m not sure where I sit, but there certainly is impressive data on both sides. What do you think? Is Facebook just a passing fad or is it here to stay?




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Contributed by Lauren Soderberg 

Let me preface this post by saying that I am an admitted baseball fanatic. To mitigate any potential controversy, I won’t tell you who my team is, but I will say that one of the draws of the sport for me is the element of teamwork that is involved. Each player has a very specific job to do… a discipline, if you will. Everyone works independently from each other, yet as a team with a common goal. Different moving parts of the same whole.

Which brings me to my point: a successful agency works as a team.

Picture this if you will: It’s the bottom of the ninth and the home team is down one run with two outs and a runner on third. The batter hits a hard grounder to the shortstop, which is fielded beautifully. Instead of throwing the ball to the first baseman for the easy out and win, the shortstop decides that he wants to be the one to “win” the game and runs the ball to first for the out. He, of course, doesn’t beat the runner to the base, and the runner on third heads home and scores the winning run for the other team.

Crazy, right? There’s no way that would happen in any baseball game, and especially not on a professional level. I mean, it’s pretty obvious, right? So why is it so common in the agency world?

We’ve seen this conflict depicted in shows like Mad Men, where there is a perceived delineation and competition between the account executives and the creatives, or (especially if you’ve watched this season) even amongst people in the same department (Roger Sterling v. Pete Campbell, anyone?). It can become a game of who brought in which account and who or what is most valuable to an agency. And it’s a game that that specific agency will eventually lose.

A good campaign, product or story is the outcome of a team effort. It’s reaching across departmental lines, utilizing the strengths and diversity of talent of each team member to achieve an optimal result. Because the best results come when people take off their “me” hats and put on their “we” hats. And also when they recognize when it’s time to throw the ball.

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