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Allyse Christensen

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First you must know, I am a Millennial. Born in the 80’s, I grew up starstruck with NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys. My childhood TV had well over 13 channels. I carried a T-Mobile flip phone to high school, and wrote research papers that referenced articles found on the Internet. Why do I tell you this? To provide perspective.

Many have called my generation “overeducated,” “entitled” and even “narcissistic”. While I can see how these stereotypes exist, in my opinion, they truly missed the mark. Let me explain.

Recently I was asked to participate on a panel, “Meet the Millennials” at the Utah PRSA luncheon. I sat with two other professional colleagues and together we answered questions from our audience. As the questions came, we each pitched in our two cents and I began to notice common phrases, trigger words and themes in our “different” replies. The following reflect those commonalities. Note, there are 78 million Millennials in the United States alone. With that said, I do not suppose to understand them all, but I do feel these biased millennial musings will be helpful.

WHAT YOUR MILLENNIAL EMPLOYEES VALUE IN THE WORKPLACE

Provide opportunity for growth and success.
Millennials grew up in the era when technology made the world small. Information was readily available, explaining why Millennials, more than previous generations, crave results and answers. For them, change is not a scary thing, but a way of life. Change equals growth. This drives the Millennial mindset and drive to succeed.

Value your Millennial employee’s enthusiasm and new ideas. Compromise, teach and guide them in the right direction. Test and challenge them. Mentor and be open to their mentorship.

Always be open and honest.
Loyalty and honesty are big triggers. According to a recent Millennial Branding research study, more than half of Millennials surveyed said honesty was the most important quality of being a good leader. Remember, Millennials trust a Twitter stream more than a newspaper. To them, a Twitter stream provides 10 different, usually overly honest, perspectives to which the truth can be determined. Millennials are accustomed to instantaneous feedback and open door policies.

When providing constructive feedback, be open. Millennials appreciate raw, real, transparent information. Be kind in your delivery, of course, but don’t beat around the bush. Millennials crave success, so your feedback and involvement is much appreciated.

Break the boundaries between work life and personal life.
Almost half of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay, according to the Forbes article, “Why Millennials are Ending the 9 to 5.” With increased technology and innovation, the traditional workplace is changing and in many instances Millennials are leading the front. A Millennial wants to feel as comfortable at work as she/he is at home.

Does this mean your Millennial employees are lazy or entitled because they want comfort and flexibility in the workplace? Some say yes. But I would argue differently. Millennials have blurred lines when it comes to work and home life. Rather than a 9-5 at a job that pays the bills, a Millennial is looking for employment at a company they can feel ownership of and be loyal to.

Take time for civic engagement.
Millennials tend to be very aware of the wide world around them and aspire to positively affect change. A recent Cone study surveyed Millennials where 80% of respondents volunteer regularly (weekly, monthly or annually). The study also found Millennials are more likely to trust and follow, purchase products of and work for companies that value  and practice social responsibility.

Find service and outreach opportunities that meld with PR and marketing tactics. Involve your Millennial employees in structuring social responsibility into your company. If civic engagement matters to them, it should matter to the organization.
If you take anything away from my musing, know this: professional Millennials are continuous learners, energetic team players and bold collaborators. Gain their trust, and they will reach for the stars and achievement more than you, their employer, expected.

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newyear800With the New Year comes the opportunity to evaluate the past and plan for the future. Let’s face it, setting too many goals can be overwhelming. So you might not want to tackle all of the ideas here at once. But if you want to improve your bottom line and boost your business, choose as many of these goals as you can handle in 2015.

1. Make your content more relevant.

Every company has been there. You want to jump into content marketing. At first it seems overwhelming and you try to write articles that are so targeted they could be hung in the marketing hall of fame. But as the year progressed and the various projects piled on, your posts became less and less interesting, and more and more “contenty”. Make a plan this year to get your content marketing back on strategy.

2. Stay up-to-date in current trends and advancements.

Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a daily grind working on achieving your marketing goals for your company. Unfortunately, this can bring you to the point where you look back on the year and find you missed an opportunity to be an early adopter of some new marketing tactic. Don’t let your brand get dated, take 10 minutes every day to make sure you’re caught up with the industry.

3. Make digital the core of your strategy.

Companies are becoming focused on digital to reach today’s customers. No doubt doing this has been in the back of every marketer’s mind for many years. But now that over half of all Americans own a smartphone, and almost half own a tablet, the chance to reach customers on a personal level at any time of the day is endless. Don’t delay this goal any longer, make digital the center of your strategy.

4. Update your website.

Have you ever gone to a companies website only to find that an address, email or even a company name was incorrect? Or maybe a website you’ve found looked like it was made in the 90’s. Don’t let this happen to you. Since almost 90% of American Adults use the internet, your webpage is your new storefront. Update everything from your contact information to your site’s design this year and it will be easier to stay caught up in the future.

5. Refine how you measure results.

Knowing how many people you reach used to be an acceptable way to measure your advertising and public relations. But we all know that advertising and public relations are really about the bottom line. Lucky for us, we can set up analytics that will track a customers experience from clicking an ad to buying a product. Not only can we do this on the web for free with Google Analytics (let us know if you need help figuring this out), today we can track just about any interaction a customer has with a brand. This takes an investment of time to set up, but the data you get will be priceless.

6. Monitor what customers are saying about your industry.

Imagine talking to hundreds of customers at once and finding out their pain points with your industry—all for free. Whether social media is on the rise or not, most people still use it. Lucky for us, there are tons of free monitoring services out there. With Twitter, you can get a stream of content throughout your workday with free tools like TweetDeck, Hootsuite and SocialBro. There are also more complex and expensive options out there if you have the budget. There’s simply no excuse to keep you from digging into this gold mine of industry insight this year.

7. Create an annual business plan.

Maybe you have been eating up this article and are excited to recommit for another year. Or maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed just thinking about doing one of these resolutions. Whatever the case, if you don’t have an annual business or marketing plan, work with the leaders of your company to make one. This tool helps you tackle everything in bite-size chunks. Improve your bottom line this year with a business plan.

8. Rethink how you research your customers.

I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but unless the audience you’re trying to reach includes your mom, husband, wife, or kids, their opinion about your marketing isn’t worth much. Too often businesses will just guess at what their customers think, sometimes doing only one limited study like a focus group or short survey. Plan to improve how you research your customers this year. It will make coming up with marketing messages and strategies much easier. And it will help you know the most effective tactic for reaching them.

9. Do whatever you need to do to enjoy work.

You worked hard to get where you are today in your industry. The best ideas come when you’re able to have fun working on a project. Unfortunately, the day to day can become monotonous and wear on us. So do something everyday to mix it up. Take a few minutes everyday to brainstorm unrequested ideas for your company. Spice up your work area with something like this. (We have a great post coming up on this very topic). Listen to some music during part of the workday. The ideas are endless and you know what will work best for you. Almost a quarter of your year is literally spent at work, so this year do what you need to do to enjoy it.

10. Hire an agency for fresh ideas.

If your marketing hasn’t produced the results you want for a while now, it might be a good time to get more professionals to help you accomplish your vision. Make sure you check out an agency’s previous work and visit their location to get a feel for their culture. You can start your search with Penna Powers. We work together with you to accomplish your business goals. It can be anything from advertising, public relations, media placement, public involvement to all of the above. Check out our work, call us and come visit us—we’d be happy to have you.

There are plenty of effective resolutions to choose from in this list. But remember, if you bite off more than you can chew then you probably won’t reach any of them. Which one’s will you work on this year to help your company?

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tech800The New Year always brings with it a host of new start-ups and crazy tech inventions. In January alone we’ve seen numerous announcements and surprises at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. As a brand, it can be very important to stay current with the latest and greatest tech. Here are a couple thoughts on what you’ll want to expect going into the New Year.

  1. Ultra High Speed Mobile Devices

Smartphones

First and foremost, mobile devices are starting to get more and more robust all the time. In this coming year, however, mobile devices like smart phones and tablets are going to get ridiculous. For context, remember that most entry-level laptop computers come with 4GB of RAM. This next year it’s rumored that numerous different tablets and phones will be released with 4GB of RAM and processors to match.

The device’s speed isn’t the only thing getting a boost, however. Networks have been implementing new mobile towers that can pump out data speeds that reach 50mbps or faster. That’s faster than your average household’s cable Internet connection. Though availability of such speeds is limited right now (like Sprint’s Spark program), this next year will bring a wider array of super speedy devices connected to an incredibly fast mobile network.

  1. Lots of Large Resolution Television Sets
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The side view of Sony’s latest (and thinnest) TV

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The same TV from a different angle.

Can you believe that ten years ago we watched television on a 480p resolution? The number of pixels we can now cram into a full sized television is staggering. While your 40-inch 1080p flat screen probably looks great, the new standard is quickly becoming 4K. Not only are TV’s getting more detailed, however, they are also increasing in size. 50 inches in the new 40 inches and companies like Sony are taking “flat screen,” to a whole new level with their television sets that are thinner than most smartphones. Other companies are exploring the idea of  curved television sets. Either way, low resolution anything isn’t going to cut it going into this next year.

  1. Virtual Reality
An early version of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.

An early version of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset.

Virtual reality has actually been around for a while now, but only recently has it been gaining traction. The most popular brand at the moment is Oculus who have been developing their VR machine for years. At first glance this might seem like more of a niche gadget, but 2015 is shaping up to introduce a lot of news in regards to virtual reality. Facebook is so confident in this new tech category that they invested $2 billion in Oculus to help develop the helmet-like VR goggles. Even other big names, like Sony, are getting in on the action with their “Project Morpheus.

  1. More Wearable Tech
Apple Watch

Apple’s anticipated smart watch

Moto 360 Smart Watch

Motorola’s “Moto 360,” smartwatch

Finally, and most importantly, 2015 is shaping up to be the year of wearable technology. Though experiments like Google Glass are coming to a close, smart watches have never seen so much love. This next year is going to be even more exciting as Apple finally throws their hand into the ring.

Outside of just smart watches, however, wearable tech is seeing advancements in other areas like wireless ear pieces and even belts that can connect to your smart devices.

The Dash Wearable Ear Buds

The Dash Wearable Ear Buds

Tech is always changing, and 2015 won’t be any different in that regard. The challenge is keeping on top of it all. Hopefully with this guide, you’ll have a better idea of what to look out for in this coming year.

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Blog Pic8002014 was a big year for online video. In fact, according to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network. YouTubers are getting record deals, television shows and national fame. Brands are right in the mix – producing engaging content and gaining loyalty from their customers.

We’ve compiled a list of the best online videos of 2014. Enjoy, and let us know if we missed any!

Honda Type R (Unknown views)
This is one of the neatest creative executions we have seen this year. Honda created an experience where you can toggle between two different plots of the same video.

https://www.youtube.com/user/HondaVideo 

First Kiss (97MM views)
WREN, an LA fashion brand, produced a candid video of 20 strangers kissing for the first time. We liked this as it shows that brands can produce content that isn’t linked to a direct sale. Plus, it produced a ton of great parodies, including The Slap.

 

Studio C’s Soccer Shootout (17MM views)
This video will make you laugh out loud as you watch a poor goalie get hit in the face. We like this because it was shot in Utah (you can clearly see the BYU stands).

 

Danny Macaskill: The Ridge (27MM views)
In this inspiring video, extreme biker Danny Macaskill traverses an enormous ridge in Scotland on his bicycle. This ranked in our favorites because of the beautiful cinematography that is rare for most YouTube videos.

 

Mutant Giant Spider Dog (125MM views)
Just in time for Halloween, this video spread like wildfire and is so well done you sometimes question whether it really is just a dog in a spider suit.

 

“Shia LaBeouf” Live – Rob Cantor (8MM views)
There is so much talent in this video, all strangely used to tell a story of cannibalistic Shia LaBeouf.

 

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ads800
When you work in the world of advertising, you develop the habit of paying serious attention to commercials and campaigns. It is both a curse and a blessing. So, of course we all have a favorite in the back of our minds. Here are some of the agency’s favorite ads and campaigns from 2014:

Esurance – Insurance for the Modern World
This year, we fell in like with these clever Esurance ads. They poke fun at the competitor by cutting the amount of time it takes to save in half (7 ½), saying that this is the modern world and 15 minutes is no longer cutting edge. But that is not why we like these ads. The unique film style, lovable characters like Beatrice, Shirlee and Earl, and comical misinterpretations of modern buzzwords are what really drive these ads home. Plus Esurance took the ads to the next level by featuring some of the characters on their social media pages and in equally hilarious online videos.

MasterCard – One More Day of Vacation
These adorable ads by MasterCard bring a new twist to their traditional “Priceless” tagline. Not only do the ads evoke an emotional response from it’s viewers, but MasterCard has created an amazing travel focused landing page to compliment and the #OneMoreDay encourages online interaction. Who knows, maybe it will inspire us all to use up our vacation days!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2CrvT-cj1w

Dumb Ways to Die – Metro Trains Melbourne
The original Dumb Ways to Die campaign launched in 2012 with a video, song and mobile game but this year, they came back full force with the release of Dumb Ways to Die 2. Although round two has yet to match the 96 million views held by the original Dumb Ways to Die, their announcement video has over 2 million views and the app has been downloaded in 81 different countries. Pretty good for a service announcement created to simply educate Melbourne residents on train safety.

Mission Mars One
If you haven’t heard of Mars One, I have no idea where you have been. Mars One is a not-for-profit private organization that plans to send four volunteers to live on Mars by 2025. This is an example of viral marketing at its finest. Although Mars One officially announced itself to the public in 2012, its marketing throughout 2014 was as strong as ever. Among other things, in 2014 Mars One whittled down the volunteer pool to 705 men and women and chose a production company for their reality TV show. Their announcements make their way across the world and there is a news article related to Mars One popping up on Google almost daily. This level of consistent online action, is why Mars One is one of our favorite marketing campaigns of the year.

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Statistics

Out with the old and in with the new. Let’s face it: Traditional digital marketing tactics have been all but replaced by the need to create a common brand experience across all digital outlets—both on and offline. It’s estimated that over the next five years, digital content will increase by more than 600%. In other words, now is the time to go digital.

This means that new content must be both informative and entertaining. The very nature of digital marketing is always morphing and promotion channels are only becoming further fragmented. With all that digital noise, visual storytelling has emerged as one of the only methods for not only getting your brand noticed, but also for growing and nurturing vibrant, engaged communities.

Remember: Digital marketing is a non-stop dialogue with your consumers. Let’s get the conversation started and we’ll launch your brand into the digital age. Email or call Chuck Penna at 801-209-8803

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