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Julene Thompson


I’ve been accused of asking for advice and not taking it.

“Why did you even bother asking?” people say. This response always surprised me until I started working with clients on decision-making processes that involve the public.

It turns out that if you don’t explain what you plan to do with input before you ask for it, people assume all different expectations. Some think you will do exactly what they say even if they are the only one with their particular opinion. Some think you will go with the majority of public opinions without considering any other study or analysis. Some assume you won’t do anything with their opinion because you’ve already decided what to do and soliciting input is just a formality.

This is why when our clients need to decide the best way to use land in an environmentally sensitive area or whether to build a new road, we consult the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation to help determine what the public’s role in the decision should be, based on project goals, and what promises we can make to the public at the outset.

The spectrum includes five levels of involvement that increase respectively: inform, consult, involve, collaborate and empower. Goals and promises for each level of involvement are listed below.

Goal: Provide the public balanced and objective information to help them understand the project.
We will keep you informed.

Goal: Obtain feedback on analysis, options and/or decisions.
We will keep you informed, listen to and acknowledge your concerns and aspirations, and provide feedback on how your input influenced our decision.

Work directly with the public throughout the communication process to ensure that we consistently consider their concerns and aspirations.
Promise: We will work with you to ensure that your concerns and aspirations are directly reflected in the options we develop and we will provide feedback on how your input influenced our decision.

Goal: Partner with the public in every aspect of the decision making process.
We will look to you for advice and innovation in formulating solutions and we will incorporate your advice and recommendations into our decisions to the maximum extent possible.

Goal: Place final decision-making in the hands of the public.
We will implement what you decide.

Setting the right expectations before anything else helps the public give more relevant input and be more understanding when a decision is made. Relevant public input helps decision makers see additional or hidden considerations, build positive relationships with stakeholders and avoid lawsuits.

Has setting expectations before asking for input helped you in a decision-making process? Let us know about it in the comments.


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social media

Contributed by Jane Putnam

We’re back with the second part in a series on curating content for your brand or company’s social media channels. In case you missed part one, read it here.

 1. Host a brainstorm and gather ideas. If you’re struggling to even get started or not sure what type of content to use, hold a group brainstorm with people from different teams. This means even those who are not involved in social media—take advantage of different perspectives, insights and new ideas. Keep the brainstorm open and take down all ideas; pare it down post-meeting.

 2. Mix up the types of posts. Whether it’s a text-only post, an image, a photo album, a link or something else, mix up the types of posts you use. Keep in mind, visual posts (an infographic, photo, image or other) often perform better on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean every post needs to be the same. Also, experiment with different ways to present/share content.

3. Build in a strategy for sharing, retweeting and giving credit. Support your partners and other collaborators by supporting their content. For example, if your business in City X, which is commemorating its X-year anniversary, share your support or congratulations through your content. There are dozens of other ways to share, retweet and give credit too. Moral of the story, don’t get so lost in your content that you forget about what’s going on around you and your company or brand.

And, one final thought: whatever the content you’re sharing, make sure it shares well on mobile phones and devices other than laptops or computers. The Pew Internet and American Life Research Project found, as of April 2012, that 55 percent of adult cell owners use the Internet on their mobile phones; nearly double 2009 numbers.

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Contributed by Lora Stead

As a traffic safety educator for UDOT’s Zero Fatalities program, I travel throughout Utah speaking about the dangers of irresponsible driving. At a recent presentation at Jordan High School, I asked parents what their biggest concerns are regarding their upcoming teen driver.

The top responses: distractions (especially texting), general safety, friends and insurance costs.

Parents of a new driver have a lot to worry about! Despite each of the very valid concerns expressed, I was surprised to find that the three top contributing factors of Utah road fatalities weren’t mentioned.

The following chart, compiled by Zero Fatalities from 2012 Utah fatality statistics, shows that the highest number of road deaths resulted from not buckling up or not buckling correctly, aggressive driving (largely speeding), and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.


View past years’ fatality statistics to see that 2012’s top contributing fatality factors reflect a longstanding pattern.

For more information on road dangers, graduated driver license laws and how parents can help, click here to download A Parent’s Guide to Smart Teen Driving.

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Photo 8-Splicing firework strings together for finale

Contributed by Geoff Dupaix


Celebrating the Fourth of July or Pioneer Day, usually means gathering with family and friends throwing hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill and lighting fireworks in the street or going someplace to watch someone else light off the bigger ones. But what do you do if you’re the one shooting “The Big Ones”?

For my family this is what we do and have been doing for over 20 years. Now the third generation is getting involved. My brother (who has an insatiable curiosity) got us all involved back in 1990. Over the years we’ve worked with various local firework companies, who contract with cities to set up and shoot their fireworks. We’ve done shows for several northern Utah cities and have settled in with Riverton City for the last few years.

A typical day involves renting a moving truck the night before and loading all the necessary mortar racks, or the tubes the firework shells are placed in, (2 1/2 inch, 3 inch and 4 inch diameter tubes) and supplies into the truck. We start laying out the rows of mortar racks around mid-afternoon and once they are secured in place, we make sure each tube is clear of any debris.

Once the racks are ready, fireworks are placed on each tube to make sure we don’t shoot the same type (color, and effect) of shell consecutively. Then the tube is gently loaded.

While all of that is happening, one group of the family is assembling the “finale.” For this part of the firework show, most of the fireworks are strung together by the manufacturer into groups of nine. Each group then needs to be spliced together so that it fires in sequence with only one touch of a flare to the main fuse. Alternate ignition points are built into the finale just in case a splice breaks.

Another family group sets up the “intermediate” or smaller boxes of fireworks that will be triggered electronically. These fireworks are connected to what looks like power strips and are to be fired at various points through the show.

It usually takes three to four hours and many hands to get all this work done.

About one hour before the fireworks begin, we assemble teams to light the various shell sizes. As all the mortar shells in the tubes and the finale are lit by hand, we hold a safety meeting to make sure each team has the proper safety equipment (i.e. fire coats, ear plugs and face shields) and review all the safety precautions.

Once the lights go out and the music starts, it’s time to start the 30-minute show and make sure it ends with a bang.

And bang it does.

Each firework shell has a “lift charge,” which is just another way of saying an explosion that sends the firework out of the tube and high into the air. The larger the firework, the greater the noise and the concussive “thud” you feel as the shell goes up.

During the show, each team is also responsible for watching out for each other. While one person from each team is lighting a firework, the other team members are to look out for shells that explode low in the air (called “low breaks”), shells that do not fire, for potential small fires and to call that out to the rest of the team. Because we are putting on the show, we really don’t get to watch it like everyone else – but we get to feel it.

At the end of the show, (hopefully there’s a lot of applause) we double check to make sure all fireworks have been fired and begin tearing down and cleaning up. Around midnight, we are able to head home and get some well-deserved rest.

Check out the slideshow to see how we set up the big fireworks shows for this past Fourth of July. 

    Photo 1-Unloading firework racks

    Photo 2-Setting up racks

    Photo 3-Cleaning mortar tubes

    Photo 4-String of shells for finale

    Photo 5-Loading finale racks

    Photo 6-Laying out 3" shells

    Photo 7-Laying out shells and effects


    Photo 9-Covering finale for protection

    Photo 10-Laying out intermediate fireworks or "cakes"

    Photo 11-Electronic fire control box for "cake" fireworks

    Photo 12-Intermediate fireworks going up

    Photo 13-Crew igniting 3" shell during show

And here is some live footage of the finale!

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Contributed by Patty Clark

John Haynes went from Mad Ave. to Major Street, bringing his strategic smarts from the Big Apple to the little city of Salt Lake. As a cowboy at heart, he tamed the Wild West of advertising and now we’re sad to see him leave our agency. But he leaves after getting us through tough economic times, putting countless clients at ease, nurturing a company culture that makes PPBH a great place to work and leaving the firm on a solid footing ready to take on new challenges. John always had a story to tell and often did so on the PPBH blog. Here are his top ten blogs with marketing tips that remain relevant today.

1. What and When to Post on Facebook
John Haynes knew marketing so well, he even knew when you’d be checking your Facebook. Find out the best ways to take advantage of this social platform.

2. The Second Screen Phenomenon
It’s not unusual to see someone watching TV, while checking Facebook on the laptop and texting on their phone. See how marketers can take advantage of the second screen phenomenon.

3. The Muppets Take Social Media
Even a classic like The Muppets knew the importance of digital engagement. See how successful they were at connecting with their audience.

4. Developing the Perfect Tagline
I’m lovin’ it. Just do it. Got milk? Some of the most popular taglines pervade American culture. How do you create the perfect tagline that relates to your target while representing your brand?

5. Marketing Research… the Right Way
The more you know, the less you guess, because guessing is expensive. Learn how to effectively conduct market research that will best bring insights to your company.

6. Test Your Knowledge: Do You Recognize These Famous Taglines?
How savvy are you with advertising trivia? Test your knowledge and see if you can match the tagline with the brand.

7. Using Research in Your Market Campaign
Research isn’t just a cost. It’s an investment in the success of your campaign. John Haynes explains how you can best approach the often daunting task of market research.

8. Does Subliminal Advertising Work?
There’s something mysterious and spooky about the idea of subliminal advertising. But does it actually work? John Haynes explores.

9. David Ogilvy Would Have Been a Great Blogger
John Haynes learned from advertising greats, like David Ogilvy. See how this ad legend’s wisdom even applies to blogging DOs and DON’Ts.

10. Social Media? We Didn’t Even Have the Internet
After being in the business for 30 years, a thing or two tends to change. Social media is just one of those ventures that changed everything.


What have you learned from John Haynes?

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Marker Faces

As part of the Zero Fatalities Nevada program, the state of Nevada recently implemented a new campaign to discourage impaired driving. 

Drunk driving kills someone in America every 45 minutes, representing approximately 32 percent of all traffic fatalities. In Nevada the numbers are slightly lower, but still, more than 25 percent of our traffic fatalities in 2012 were alcohol-related.

This new campaign takes an unusual approach by using humor to reach target audiences and empower designated drivers. Whether their friends have passed out in the yard, on the couch, with their shoes on or with their shoes off, designated drivers get a chance to have fun and let their creative sides shine. All they need is a marker and a friend’s face.

Animated banner ads, outdoor advertising, TV and radio PSAs throughout the state show off the fun side of designated driving. There is even a booklet that provides a variety of marker face examples, explains the difficulty level of each and gives the designated driver some blank pages to practice. Download the Book Of Marker Faces here.

Zero Fatalities

So join the fun, grab the keys and a marker, and be the designated driver for your friends. For more information on the Zero Fatalities Nevada Impaired Driving campaign, check out their website.

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Lessons and Truisms

After more than 30 years in the “ad game,” 28 of those at PPBH, John retired as PPBH’s managing partner the end of May this year.

You may not have worked, played tennis, or sat on a corporate or community board with John Haynes but, most likely, you know John Haynes.

How you ask?

Have you purchased Campbell’s Soup, shopped at City Creek Center, used the Erasable Pen, washed with Tide detergent or skied the slopes of Sun Valley? Each of these companies and destinations, along with countless more, had their brand and communications shaped by John’s strategic direction.

Every campaign, project, program each started the same way—with a strategy. First determine where you want to go and then how to get there.

While he may no longer physically be in our building (though we’re hoping he won’t be a stranger on barbecue days—he’s a great griller!) his approaches and teachings that have become ‘the PPBH way’ remain.

Most notable teachings:

1. Research is an investment, not a cost 

2. Strategy first, or the ‘suitcase model’—it’s easier to pack when you know where you’re going

Most notable truisms:

1. Practice accountability without blame

2. Advocate for your team—make them your family

3. Be honest and fair

4. Do the right things for employees

5. Do the right things for clients

Thank you, John. Your teachings and truisms will live on by the great work we will continue to do for our clients.

Share your comment about something learned or a favorite memory you have of John.

Thanks for 28 years


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I remember the first time I opened a professional book that I actually found interesting. It was inspiring, gave me a different viewpoint on the working world and helped me realize how I could take my career where I wanted it to go. Once I finished and put it back on the shelf, I wanted to pick up another. But how do you know which professional books will be worth the read?

I thought more people might have this question, so I asked the PPBH Partners and Directors from all departments to share which books they found to be most influential to their careers.

Whether it helped them decide to go into their current field, helped them improve in their current position or just gave them a little insight, these are all books that PPBH’s top management found beneficial and interesting to read.

A Matrix Approach to Public Relations and Marketing – Laurie J. Wilson & Joseph D. Ogden: This book helped shape our PR Director’s love for strategic communications. This practical guide is to developing an integrated communications plan that air is to breathing.

The Account Service Bible – Anthony P. Mikes: You will not find scriptures in this bible, unless your religion is account services. This book is a complete guide to training account service people, keeping valuable accounts, and encouraging clients to be more open to agency service.

Blink – Malcom Gladwell: This is a great book that you can apply to any profession. It focuses on our ability to gauge what is really important from a very narrow period of experience. In other words, the idea that spontaneous decisions are often as good as—or even better than—carefully planned and considered ones.

Damn Good Advice – George Lois: In this book George Lois gives invaluable advice and inspiration for those looking to succeed. Although Lois spent his career as an Art Director at various advertising agencies, this book would be interesting for anyone, in any profession.

Freakonomics – Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner: The subtitle of this book pretty much describes it all: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Yet another great read for any business minded individual.

Getting to Yes – Roger Fisher & William Ury: There are many different aspects to the business world and negotiating is a big one. Getting to Yes shows readers how to take a conflict and come to a mutually acceptable agreement. 

Good to Great – James C. Collins: Some companies are good, others are great. James C. Collins explains what it is that sets the two apart. 

Managing the Professional Service Firm – David H. Maister: This is a more technical book that focuses on the ins and outs of professional service firms and working with clients. It is full of valuable content that helps it’s reader understand why firms work the way they do. 

Ogilvy On Advertising – David Ogilvy: This book came up on multiple PPBHers’ lists. In this book, David Ogilvy (widely know as The Father of Advertising) discusses all aspects of advertising. This is a great opportunity for anybody who is in or would like to go into the advertising industry, to receive a little insight from someone who really knows the business.

One Minute Manager – Kenneth H. Blanchar & Spencer Johnson: This book goes over three techniques of an effective manager: one-minute goals, one-minute praisings and one-minute reprimands. Each of these takes only a minute but have lasting effects.


We had way too many great books for just one blog post, there are more to come in Part 2! Are there any books that you think we missed? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Partner Perspective: What is "BIG DATA" and Should it Matter to You.

Lately there is a lot of buzz about the term “big data.” In a nut shell, big data is what happens when, in 1997, you said to your IT team, “we need to capture all of the data we possibly can, we don’t know why, but we think we should just do it.” Years later, you have an array of hard drives with an ocean of data on them – and no real way of accessing or leveraging it. These data sets are typically too big for commonly used software tools and algorithms to leverage. So, the data just sits out there drifting on, doing absolutely nothing. Now, if you are Nike™, Apple™, Amazon™ or a company with an IT team that has already nailed down the basic decision making data for your company and they are ready to start predicting consumer behavior – you already understand big data, probably better than I do.

When it comes to data for your business – let’s say your small business, it is time to decide exactly what data is valuable and usable. One primary usage of data is to detect patterns – buying patterns, traffic patterns, behavioral patterns.

Another usage is to determine demand by your target audience. Both online and offline, measuring product and service demand is the way to detect market need. The job of marketing is to identify that need and help the company fill it.

Brand awareness / relationship is another valuable element of your business you should be measuring. What does your existing clientele think you are to them? Do they perceive you the way you want them to? How does the rest of the market perceive you? Do their opinions differ? Then the big $100,000 question, why?

If these are your basic needs, set up small buckets to capture this specific information and don’t worry about every other click on your website. You will be much more successful looking at a few indicators that actually impact your business than you will looking at every data element within your reach and trying to interpret it for good.

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PPBH Cares about UCAIR

Contributed by Crystal McMillan

PPBH is passionate about Utah’s air. Through the years we have helped clients like Clear the Air Challenge (competition starting July 1) and TravelWise become strong advocates in spreading the air quality message. And now, we’re fortunate to support another strong voice in the air quality arena: the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR).

UCAIR began as Governor Gary Herbert’s initiative to address air quality issues in Utah. Now the vision has evolved away from a primarily government based organization to a diverse, non-profit partnership created to make it easier for individuals, businesses and communities to make changes to improve Utah’s air.

With PPBH’s wide expertise in communicating air quality issues to the public, we have been enlisted to help with the transition from government initiative to non-profit entity and to be the ongoing communications team for the organization. We started by helping plan and execute a press event to officially announce UCAIR’s nonprofit status and unveil a new vision for the organization (see photos from the event below).

To learn more about UCAIR’s initiatives visit

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