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Contributed by Jane Putnam

Last year on the PPBH blog, I put together a quick overview of what a PR “person” really does. A big part of the PR professional’s tasks include writing, and in my career I’ve fallen victim to writer’s block many times. However, deadlines don’t budge for writer’s block and it’s no excuse for producing anything less than top-quality work. Over the years, I’ve found these quick tips to help battle and break writer’s block:

1. Walk away. Yes, you’re on deadline, but sometimes you just have to step away from the computer, or pad of paper, and clear your mind. Even just a five-minute break to get a glass of water, enjoy some water cooler talk or step outside and take a breath of fresh air.

2. Change tasks. Put the writing aside and work on another task or assignment, even one completely unrelated to the writing at hand.

3. Seek inspiration from great writers. Read the news. Search online for reading material. Read others’ words and you’ll find your creative juices start flowing. Some of my favorite writing-inspiration sites include, The New York Times and Mashable.

4. Make an outline. Take a step back from what you’re doing, and start at the beginning. Create a quick outline: what the goal of written piece is, key messages and other notes that you think are important to be included or that the client has requested be included. Use the outline as your map, and fill in the holes you’ve outlined in it.


What are your fixes to writer’s block? Let me know in the comments.

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Contributed by Lora Stead

Utah teens did it again—totally knocked our socks off with their fabulous artwork.

This year’s annual Don’t Drive Stupid Video and Poster Contest brought in more than 300 entries from high school students all across the state. And the submissions were all dang good.

Here is the winning artwork:

Video Contest:

First place: David, Hillcrest High School
(Be sure to look for David’s video playing in the pre-movie trailers at Megaplex Theatres statewide.)

Second place: Tyler, Fremont High School

Third place: Alec, Maple Mountain High School


Poster Contest: 
(These posters are showcased in the 2013 Don’t Drive Stupid calendar.)


Gage, Mountain Crest High School


Kassandra, North Cache 8-9 Center

Eli, Mountain Crest High School

Hannah, Bingham High School

Katie, Juab High School

Callie, Woods Cross High School

Brandon, Pleasant Grove High School

Andrea, Pleasant Grove High School

Nikki, Millard High School

Kate, Box Elder High School

Jaydyn, Mountain Crest High School

Kalee, Delta High School

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Contributed by Patty Clark

Maybe it’s the 23rd banner ad you’ve made this week, and you just want to pump something out and get it over with. How do you consistently create quality advertising even under demanding schedules and sometimes mundane assignments?

The personal philosophy we live by is this: your name is on it. The agency’s name, our clients’ names and our own individual name are all on our work. While our physical signature might not be on the billboard or print ad, other agencies know you created it, your coworkers know you made it and you know it’s your work.

Creative Director Erico Bisquera remembers a story from former PPBH partner, Dennis Powers. After Powers received an unsatisfactory ad from a designer, he asked this designer how he’d feel if everyone at the agency was shown the ad with the designer’s name on it. The designer took the ad back and decided to try to make it better.

We feel that taking personal pride in your work is not just a matter of creative excellence, but also a personal ethic to live your life by. It means being career minded, rather than just working from one job to the next. It means going the extra mile, crafting your work and always pushing yourself to improve. And it’s a way of life that someone from any industry can live by.


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In 2011, I watched The Help at least 10 times. It was the same story with the release of The Great DebatersRemember the Titans, Ghosts of Mississippi and any other inspiring film about the civil rights movement.

That’s why I couldn’t let this week go by without remembering one of the most inspiring communicators in U.S. history, Martin Luther King, Jr. We celebrated his vision of social equality on Jan. 21, 2013, the same day that America’s first African American president gave his second inaugural address.

Here are some of Martin Luther King Jr.‘s most famous words to inspire progress:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“Reconsider your definitions. We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.”

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, keep moving.”

“If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

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The PPCH staff in 1994 – Can you spot Dave Smith?

Contributed by Jane Putnam

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to 1993. Bill Clinton takes office as the 42nd president. Basketball legend Michael Jordan retires (for the first time). Jurassic Park takes theater crowds by storm. Prince changes his name, for a short time, to a signature symbol. Dave Smith enters the doors of Penna Powers Cutting Haynes for his first day as an intern.

Dave Smith joined the PPBH public relations team as an intern while completing his senior year at Weber State University. Early on he stood out because of his strategic ability, entrepreneurial drive, leadership skills and unwavering integrity in both business and personal relationships.

Now 20 years later, Smith heads the agency, now known as Penna Powers Brian Haynes, as managing partner. Some of his accomplishments on his way to managing partner include (but not limited to):

  • Appointed to PPBH’s director of public relations in 1996.
  • Promoted to PPBH’s vice president of public relations in 2001.
  • Led the PPBH team that created and executed the “Know Before You Go” transportation campaign for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
  • Named PPBH’s director of client services in 2002.
  • Founded PPBH’s public involvement division in 2003.
  • Certified as an Accredited Public Relations (APR) practitioner in 2003 and served as local chapter president in 2005.
  • Named as a partner at PPBH in 2003.
  • Named managing partner in January 2013.

From his beginnings to now taking the helm as managing partner, Smith’s personal and business philosophy remains constant, something he has always conveyed to his team. Focus on client service. Deliver results. Always, always do the right thing. Be creative in problem solving. Listen, think, then act—in that order. Treat people fairly, Smith always counsels and shows by example.

The result of all of this is achieving numerous professional and personal goals while at the same time earning the loyalty of business peers, staff, colleagues, clients, family and friends.

Read the full news release announcing Smith’s appointment to managing partner here.

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Every January, the Internet is swamped with all kinds of top 10 lists about new marketing trends. It can take days to read them all, so to save you time, I’ve picked out some of the most interesting trends that you should pay attention to.

Say Sayonara to Silos
Digital is where it’s at, and marketers need to adapt. How do marketers adapt? In a recent Forbes article, Patrick Spenner advises that marketers blow up old silos and bring groups together with a new structure. In our agency, we’ve broken down the walls. For example, you’ll find PR working with the media department on a social media campaign. Bumps in the road can be expected, but in the long run, the strategies, the recommendations and the end product will all be better because of it. Read more on the end of silos from Forbes.

The Future is Here with Predictive Technology
Patterns, analyses and forecasts will be put to the test in 2013 with predictive technology. According to a article, major retailers are leveraging loyalty-card information to tailor coupons to individual shopping needs. Target, according to the article, has even analyzed product purchases to determine whether a customer is pregnant. How will you put predictive technology to use in your campaigns and product marketing?

Email Marketing is NOT Dead
If you heard that email marketing was dead, you heard wrong. The Wall Street Journal reported that email marketer Constant Contact predicts that email will remain the preferred method of communication among consumers. Why? Constant Contact believes consumers value the control email provides—consumers can choose to act on it, ignore it, delete it or opt out of it. So marketers, this is your challenge. Email is still on the table, so do it if it fits your strategy, but do it well. Consumers control their inbox and you certainly don’t want your message to go straight to the trash.

Creative is Getting Crazier
Last, but certainly not least, Ad Age predicted a rise in branded experiences. Creativity will push limits this year, out-of-the-box thinking will become standard and marketers will be expected to create messages that stand out through the clutter. Push the limits? Present the unexpected? We say bring it. Can you bring it?

Are there other trends that you think will shake things up in 2013? Tell us in the comments.

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In the ever-changing world of PR, we continually look for new tools and tricks to help our clients reach their target audiences. With so many people seeking news beyond their televisions and newspapers, we’re finding that a simple press release or media advisory may not have the same impact that it used to.

Enter lifestyle bloggers. That’s right, lifestyle bloggers. Don’t call them mommy bloggers because these tech-savvy women (and men!) are so much more than that. These bloggers mean business (literally) and have a trusted voice that reaches hundreds, if not thousands, of dedicated readers and fans.

From fashion and food, to travel, kids, and everything in between, when a blogger writes, posts pictures or endorses a product, service or cause, they reach a captive audience that not only listens, but trusts what they have to say.

Here are some fun facts about bloggers from




At PPBH, we are proud to partner with some of the best, brightest and most influential bloggers in the state. These bloggers have a fantastic local reach, and many are even followed nationally. We have had great success working with bloggers to host special events, blog tours and editorial campaigns for a variety of clients, and we can customize a blogger campaign to help your company or organization reach its target audience. We are excited about many blogger experiences on the horizon, and harnessing their power to support our clients.


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I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Setting a number of goals for an entire year seems like a really worthwhile endeavor… but I’m too impatient. Don’t get me wrong; by nature I am a planner, a goal setter and a die-hard checklist maker, but my goals – aka resolutions – typically come with a timeframe of a week, month or quarter for an end goal. I like the checkmarks and the “quick fix” of accomplishment, but with the full intent that the (hopefully) improved behavior, etc. will continue for perpetuity.

However, there is always room for improvement. So this January I’m writing down resolutions that I am planning to accomplish, and report on my success, in 2014.

So, to supplement my already-in-progress short-term aims, following are my long-term resolutions for this year:

1. Take advantage of best practices for inspiration and learn from fails. With the social space, apps and other technologies moving so quickly, seek out best practice examples to trigger and build ideas. And maybe even more importantly, learn from pitfalls vicariously to avoid similar falters.

2. Measure, report, retool. Measure, report and retool – more. While it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest to get messages out, influence perception and change behavior, impactful communication must be made up of so many moving parts. Keeping a consistent and analytical watch on what really is working—even it if isn’t the “it” thing of the moment—is the smart and only way to achieve the desired end.

3. Increase face-to-face networking opportunities. I’m guilty of relying on the phone, email and Facebook posts. Getting out to more professional events, setting up more lunches and finding other opportunities for a meet and greet will take a more active role on the calendar.

Here’s to entering into the shiny New Year with the vigor and the mindset of a marathon rather than a sprint. What are the resolutions topping your list this year?


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Contributed by Lora Stead

When folks think about who is affected by fatal car crashes, we naturally think of the loved ones, the doctors, the police officers, the firefighters and the EMS personnel who attend to the aftermath of the crashes. But rarely do people think about the reporters who have to cover these tragic stories.

Those at KSL News got sick of reporting about preventable traffic fatalities and seeing the devastating effects. They approached Zero Fatalities about partnering to reduce deaths on Utah roads. The program, “Road to Zero Fatalities,” took off this year and is hoped to continue the already-downward trend of Utah traffic fatalities until we reach zero.

As one who works with individuals who have either lost a loved one in a car crash or caused a fatal crash themselves, I am thrilled about the increased reach of this safety message. It breaks my heart to hear from these speakers—who are people much like you and me—about how they wish they or their loved ones would have make a better choice or someone else on the road would have. They’ve learned the hard way that sometimes there are no second chances.

My hope is that this partnership with KSL will help more of us open our eyes to the reality that our choices will affect whether or not we reach our goal of zero traffic fatalities in 2013, that traffic fatalities can be prevented and that we can all arrive home safely at the end of the day.

Learn more about the “Road to Zero Fatalities” initiative here.

PPBH has been privileged to work on the award-winning Zero Fatalities program since its inception in 2006. 

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Contributed by Jason Alleger

Employees at PPBH pride themselves on being connoisseurs of online videos that go viral. Enjoy our top picks of 2012, and let us know if we missed any.

Bad Lip Reading – Possibly one of the best parody ideas of 2012, Bad Lip Reading takes popular movie clips or music videos and redubs them with new words. Our favorites are Hunger Games, Twilight, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.



Assassin’s Creed Meets Parkour in Real Life – Shot in our native Salt Lake City, this parkour video defies gravity. The creator, Devin Graham, is from Provo and his videos have a combined 129 million views.


Kid History
 – One of the most clever concepts to hit the web, we can’t get enough of Kid History. Kids tell stories and adults act it out exactly as they told it.



How it Should Have Ended Series: The Avengers – This series fills the holes of popular movies by offering alternative endings that usually make more sense.  Their Harry Potter version is also a good one.


Gangnam Style – This is the most watched video on the internet, and frankly it deserves to be. Catchy, clever and fun—you can even hear this song echoing through PPBH’s halls.



Gotye: Somebody that I Used to Know – Back in March you could listen to the radio during your entire commute and only hear this song. This captivating video has spawned more parodies than any other video in 2012.



“Uncle Drew” by Pepsi – This video will make you smile. Kyrie Irving dresses up like a 60-year-old man and goes to a pick-up basketball game in New Jersey.



Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal – Every girl at PPBH was swooning with this proposal idea. In a well-executed proposal, Isaac puts on a silent show to his girlfriend while she rides in the back of his car.



Jon Manning’s Burning Pan – Our very own John Manning has a famous YouTube series called The Burning Pan. He teaches elaborate recipes and cooking techniques.



Spartan High School Style – This video wins the WORST video of 2012. The lyrics are awful, the dancing even worst and the furthest any PPBHer has gotten is to the “Heeeey, lunch lady!” part.



Honorable Mentions: Harvard Baseball Call Me Maybe Cover, Killer Karaoke, Cat’s Playing Patty-Cake, UDOT’s The End is Near

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