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Jennifer Whitaker

“You burn 150 calories per hour banging your head against the wall.”

This little tidbit, featured in a word bubble above a white board sketch of a velociraptor, generated a fair amount of buzz around the office. This is the Office Raptor’s goal: to educate, entertain and get people talking.

The idea came to me in my first few months at Penna Powers as the blank white board hanging in my cubicle mocked me mercilessly, begging for something to fill the empty space. My affinity for dinosaurs led to the logical choice for my cube mascot and after a quick image search, Office Raptor was born.

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Some of his ramblings are for entertainment purposes such as, “Sharks were recently filmed living in an underwater volcano. I can’t wait for next year’s new sci-fi hit, SHARKCANO!” (It should be noted, Office Raptor is a HUGE Sharknado fan). Other musings are more focused on educating the office on the different advertising mediums out there.

The response varies from fact to fact. The more outlandish pieces of information tend to grab more attention, but that keeps people coming back for some of the drier factoids as well. In the end the goal is to get at least one person in the office to say, “Huh, I didn’t know that.” So far, Office Raptor is achieving his goal.

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So you’ve come up with your million dollar idea and are trying to create a logo… Where do you start? This is usually the first thing people think of when they hear the name of your business, so you need to make it count. Logos are definitely not easy to create, even if you have a particular concept in mind. Thankfully there are companies that can help, this one is especially great ;).

The newer HBO show Silicon Valley has an entire episode devoted to the struggle of identifying a good company name and logo. The fictionalized tech start-up Pied Piper wants to differentiate itself from the other California-based tech companies but comedically struggles with how to do it. After some internal debate, a kidnapping and an explicit graffiti mural, the founders end up settling on the original name and changing the logo to a safe but common format that many other tech companies have chosen; lowercase initials with two basic colors. Because as it turns out, the world’s most successful logos tend to share a number of characteristics.

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A recent Adweek article examined the logos of some of the top companies in the world and noticed that most had a few things in common. “Of the 50 logos analyzed­–for brands including Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Facebook and Walt Disney­–red and blue were the most popular colors. Also, 43 of the top companies use no more than two colors in their designs.” These similarities aren’t just happenstance, companies do this for simplicity; too much detail and consumers may become overwhelmed. The infographic below explains more.

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In closing, don’t fret if you’re having a difficult time creating a logo, hire someone who knows what they are doing and will help get your company started on the right foot.

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The news release is dead. This declaration has been made for a few years, but is it really? Maybe we shouldn’t kill the tool, they can still be very effective—however, a quick demise should be brought about to the misuse of the news release. For example:

  • Overuse – Aka the release a week syndrome. Really?
  • Misapplication – Sending out information under the guise of “news” that is not urgent or current. Seems a logical gauge, but one that often isn’t used. Really examine what you are trying to share – is it really news release worthy or should it be a targeted pitch, a social post or even an email blast that skips the media altogether?

It’s time to kick those bad practices (or convince those that you are working for that they need to be axed) and make the news release work for you. Six tips to put you on the right path:

  1. Subject lines – Email is still the best way to reach editors and reporters, AdWeek reports the subject line determines whether your email gets read 85 percent of the time. Crafting subject lines that get opened is crucial. Treat your subject line like a headline. Some tips:
  • Be brief, think five to six words max.
  • Focus on the benefit, don’t sell and don’t use jargon or buzzwords.
  • Use “you” whenever possible.
  1. Don’t forget the “new” in news – By its name, the value of an effective news release is that the information is unknown until the intended recipient sees it. If what you’re sending is already public on your website, on your social media channels or in your paid ads, what’s the point of getting it in front of media?
  1. Be prepared to share the rest of the story – A news release is a VIP invitation for media to be brought into the inner circle to help you tell your story to the people you really want to reach. Of course share the facts but be colorful, paint a vision and then offer sources for additional content, complimentary visuals and context—see #4.
  1. Don’t forget the “What’s In It For Me?” – Be careful not to get caught up in talking about yourself. Whether it’s your company, your discovery, your product or your new star hire… Frankly, nobody cares. What they care about is how that new location, new product or new hire makes their life better. How does it save them money or make them smarter? How does it help them achieve their dreams? If you can tell them that, then you have their attention, their support and their business.
  1. Make wise use of quotes – Quotes can deliver powerful perspective and context to a news release, but so many don’t. Stating that your CEO is “thrilled” or “excited” at your news should be banned. What does a quote like this add? Instead, use this valuable real estate to share your voice and why your news is important, relevant and worth getting attention.
  1. Make it easy – Journalists are busier than ever before and being strapped for time means if you get 30 seconds of eyeball time on your release you’ve made a good start. Now, get to the point, fast. Between your headline, subhead and lede you should be able to deliver the who, what, when, where and why of your news. The rest of the space (no more than a page) delivers the details. Use bullet points as they can deliver a lot of detail in a condensed, easy digestible format. Highlight relevant links and sources and make your contact info easy to find—then be available and helpful.

What advice would you add?

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It seems like every other day a new buzzword is created. With so many different words that can mean practically anything, it’s no wonder that the term “SEO” hasn’t worked its way into the collective conscious. According to Wikipedia, SEO (or search engine optimization) is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘earned’ results”. In simpler terms, SEO is altering your website so that Google, Bing and other search engines rank it higher in search results.

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Look at it this way. Let’s say you own and run a bookstore. There are three or four other bookstores in your immediate area and countless bookstores spread throughout the city. A potential customer does a quick search for “bookstore” on Google, and the first result is a competitor’s website. In fact, your shop doesn’t even appear on the first page. That’s a problem. But then let’s say you do some research and figure out what phrase people are typing when they search for a bookstore. You attune your website to this keyword, add new content and follow some other basic SEO principles… suddenly your website appears as one of the first few links when people are searching for a bookstore and increased profit ensues.

This is why SEO is so important.

You can have the greatest website in the world, but if no one can find it, it doesn’t amount to anything, and one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to garner some traffic for your website is SEO. Unfortunately, jumping to the number one spot for a major keyword isn’t quite as easy as I’ve made it sound. It takes a lot of work staying ahead of the curve with your SEO, but you can make sure your website is getting the traction and attention it deserves.

Finally, you might be wondering what you can do to improve your website’s SEO today? Well, my main suggestion would be hiring an agency that can handle it for you (I know of a great agency if you’re wondering). Beyond that, however, I have two suggestions that you can do to improve your search ranking.

First, update your content. A regular flow of relevant content on your website will improve its searchability and bring in new visitors. This could include literally changing the copy on your home page or just writing a new article on your website’s blog (if it has one).

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Second, try to get some inbound links. The more places that link to your website the more credible Google thinks your website is. Asking people to share your website and content is surprisingly effective for getting people to share your website and content.

So remember, SEO isn’t just a buzzword. It’s a vital part of your business and plays a key role in driving new customers to your website. If you’re looking for help with your SEO, look no further than Penna Powers. With experts that range the gamut of SEO copy writers to digital media strategists, we can find a solution for any website challenge.

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The world of website development is riddled with terms that have become buzzwords. Not only does this mean these words are used incorrectly, but they often lose their actual purpose – to help your next web project run more smoothly. When it comes to making your website, it’s important to communicate clearly with everyone on the team. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a place on the web you could go to that acts as an English-to-web developer dictionary? Queue this article.

Below are some terms and definitions – nothing too in depth – to help you and your team get on the same page when making your website. Bookmark it, use it and comment to get more definitions added to the list. Let’s start talking smarter when it comes to websites.

Web Development Terms and Definitions

Last updated: July 22, 2015
Note: Definitions are in alphabetical order. If you see a term you don’t understand in a definition, you can probably find it listed on this page.

Back-End – Describes the code that makes up the functionality of your site. A user never sees this, but this is what makes the website work. This is usually done with a language like PHP in conjunction with databases.

CMS (Content Management System) – A tool that lets a site owner change the content on their site without having to write code. Some popular options include WordPress, Drupal and Joomla.

CSS – The code used to give a designed look to a website written with HTML.

Database – A programmed data storing structure. Databases use tables and fields to make information accessible in the back-end of a website.

DNS (Domain Name System) – Method used to assign domain names to IP Addresses. For example, typing http://216.58.216.142/ or http://google.com into your web browser will take you to the same place.

Domain – Also known as Domain Name. The url users type into their browser’s address bar to access your website. Consists of a unique name followed by .com, .org, .net, etc.

Front-End – Describes the code that makes what you actually see when you visit a website address. This is typically done with HTML, CSS and Javascript.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – This is basically the way web developers upload files to your web host so users can access them on the internet.

HTML – The code that tells a browser how to display text and images on your website.

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address) – A set of numbers assigned to a server, computer or device that are used to identify it from other devices on the internet. IP addresses look like 22.123.123.22

Javascript – A programming language used to enhance functionality of a website. This code is run from a user’s browser.

Language – We’re not talking English or French. Basically, a developer can use different syntax to code your website. These syntaxes are grouped together into what are called programming languages, which could include PHP, Javascript, etc.

PHP – A programming language that enables a website to interact with a database and perform certain functions on its back-end.

Prototype – In the web development process, a prototype is a basic working example of the website that shows the functionality and hierarchical order of content on the site. Effective prototypes are quickly made, disposable, and have limited graphic and design elements.

SaaS (Software as a Service) – A software application that lives on the internet. Often users must pay to use these services, but not always. An example would be QuickBooks Online.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Creating a website in a specific way that uses target phrases and words to improve the site’s search rankings on Google, Bing, etc.

Sitemap – A graphical representation that shows the hierarchical relationship between all pages of a website.

Server – A computer that stores files so they can be accessed from a network (i.e. the internet).

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) – Standard used to send email messages across the internet.

SPF Record – A file included with your DNS record that helps email services verify emails sent from your domain name. This is a measure that helps prevent spammers from faking emails sent from user@yourdomain.com.

Responsive Web Design (RWD) – Designing and programming a website to show different layouts of content based on the width of a browser window. This means a website is better formatted on desktops, tablets and mobile phones.

User – Anyone who will be visiting and interacting with your website.

UX (User Experience) – The actual experience a user has when visiting your website. A good user experience is one where the user can interact with the website easily and has a positive experience.

UI (User Interface) Also known as GUI (Graphical User Interface). The content, organization and design of your website with which a user interacts.

Web Host – A company that runs a server where files can be stored and accessed from the internet.

Wireframe – A graphical representation that shows the functional elements of a website. Wireframes have little to no design. They are used to plan out a good user experience before spending time designing and building a website.

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Summer has finally arrived and with that comes one of our favorite annual competitions around the valley. The Clear the Air Challenge, sponsored by UDOT’s TravelWise, the Utah Clean Air Partnership and the Salt Lake Chamber, is centered around the goal of helping people drive less during the month of July. Individuals and teams in the area are encouraged to travel smarter using any of the eight TravelWise Strategies:

  • Carpooling
  • Active transportation (biking, walking, etc.)
  • Public transit
  • Teleworking
  • Trip chaining
  • Alternative work schedules
  • Planning ahead
  • Skipping the trip

On the website for Clear the Air Challenge participants are encouraged to create an account that helps them track the ways they are working to improve Utah’s air during the month of July. Each time you travel with one of the smarter strategies, it adds to your overall total and ranks you against other individuals, teams and companies that are also participating in the Challenge. As each participant logs their trips you are able to see the progress and results of these positive actions. Here is an example of what these real time updates look like:

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Results as of 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 9th, 2015. 

A bonus tool you can find on their site is the TravelWise Tracker–a tool that lets you enter your start and end destinations for a specific trip, and shows you the quickest, most efficient way to travel using alternative methods (bus stops, TRAX stations, FrontRunner routes, etc.). For instance, if I wanted to visit the Utah State Capitol building during my lunch break today, I could use this tool to map out the quickest route without having to drive my car. Below, you can see my TravelWise Tracker experience firsthand.

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First, I entered in my starting point (Penna Powers) and then put in my final destination (the Utah State Capitol).

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Once I click “Find a Route,” I am brought to a screen that shows a map with my start and end points, as well as some different options of transportation for me to take from Penna Powers to the Utah State Capitol. Depending on which method I choose, the Tracker will list out my choices for the route.

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I decided to look at my options for transit in the area. It turns out there were three results of public transit I could choose from. The information provided included the departure time as well as what time I could expect to arrive at my final destination.

The TravelWise Tracker is a convenient tool that can help Clear the Air Challenge participants–as well as those who like to travel smart any month of the year–find easy ways to switch up your daily commute.

Here at Penna Powers, we get into the spirit of friendly competition as we break into teams within the agency and work together to better the air and try out new ways of getting to work, eating lunch and returning home at the end of the day. Throughout the month of July, individuals and teams travel smarter by carpooling to work, riding bikes, taking transit and using other means of transportation that are better for the environment. To help in these efforts, Penna Powers encourages employees to switch up their regular lunch routines by organizing walks to nearby restaurants during the lunch hour, ordering in food once a week and even carpooling when there are a few people wanting to eat at the same local dine-in.

Through making these small changes in our daily trips and commutes, we can help clear Utah’s air and make it a better environment for everyone. To learn more about Clear the Air Challenge, visit the website here.

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Twitter finally joined Facebook in launching a mobile advertising dashboard within its mobile application on iOS and Android. The addition of this new dashboard comes as no surprise, in Twitter’s last earning call it reported 89% of total revenue came from mobile advertising. This matches the overall trend of social and digital advertising shifting from desktop to exclusively mobile.

We spotted the new button while tweeting out of our Penna Powers account via an iPhone 6. The button is featured prominently on mobile users Twitter profile page, next to your settings icon. While you may not be able to launch a full campaign from your phone during a meeting, you have all of the major metrics and ability to edit a campaign flight on the fly. The ability to quickly glance at a campaign is in contrast to Facebook’s approach of a stand-alone Ads Manager app where you’re able to review post performance and quickly launch a campaign. The added dashboard is a plus in our eyes and doesn’t take up precious real estate on our already crowded iPhones filled with every social media app under the sun. Iphone Marketing Land

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Marketers need to be more accountable than ever. If you have ever run a mix of television, radio, outdoor, print, online or social ads, you have probably been asked the question of what its impact was.

Each channel has a different measurement system, so to calculate the combined reach and frequency across all channels can be difficult. But don’t worry, here’s the formula to help!

Calculation for Combined Reach and Frequency Across Media Channels

Combined Reach = [(100 – (high reach))/100] x low reach + high reach

Combined Frequency = (GRP1 + GRP2)/combined reach

 

Now if you just read this and your head is spinning, here’s an example:

Example of Combined Reach and Frequency Across Media Channels

TV – 50% reach at a 4 frequency (200 GRPs)

Radio – 60% reach at a 5 frequency (300 GRPs)

 

Combined Reach = [(100 – 60)/100] x 50 + 60

= (40/100) x 50 + 60

= (.4 x 50) + 60

= 20 + 60

= 80

Combined Frequency = (200+300)/80

= 500/80

= 6.25

This campaign had a combined reach of 80% and an average frequency of 6.25.

Lastly, if you’re still confused at what a GRP is or how you’d go about calculating it for other media that doesn’t have reach and frequency per-se, here’s a helpful chart.

Chart Comparing Media Measurement by Channel

Media Measurement Type Example
Television Nielsen Ratings GRPs (gross rating points) 200 GRPs could mean 50% reach at a 4 frequency
Radio Nielsen Audio Ratings GRPs (gross rating points) 300 GRPs could mean 60% reach at a 5 frequency
Outdoor TAB Out of Home Ratings GRPs (gross rating points) & Weekly Impressions One billboard gets 700,000 weekly impressions, meaning 100,000 people per day pass it
Print Verified Audited Circulation Circulation and Readership A circulation of 100,000 with a readership of 400,000 means that 100k people receive it and an average of four people read each printed copy
Online 3rd Party Ad Server (usually DoubleClick) Impressions 1,000,000 impressions means an ad was displayed 1,000,000 times
Social Specific Channel (Facebook, Twitter) Reach/Frequency Facebook ads shows 75% reach at a 2.3 frequency to target audience

Conclusion

One caveat to all this is that although media buying is partly science it’s also partly understanding your audience and numbers. If you use the combined reach and frequency calculation and it’s giving you a really high number, please take in to account those of your target audience who may not consume media. Also remember that numbers are usually gathered using demographic information. For example, your TV ratings may be for adults 25-54 but your outdoor ratings may be for all vehicles.

Best of luck in measuring your ad effectiveness across different channels! If you need help please leave a comment or contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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Alec ABC 800 The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says, 1 in 9  Americans work in sales. And as Daniel Pink pointed out in his 2013 book To Sell is Human so do the other eight. We are all selling in some form or fashion regardless of our profession whether it be a product, an idea or a pitch to your husband to spend your next vacation at Sundance Mountain Resort instead of yet another cruise. [Full disclosure: Sundance is a Penna Powers client but I couldn’t resist the product placement. See? Always selling.]

So if we’re all in sales, shouldn’t we take it easy on salespeople?  Since advertising and PR aren’t too far away from used car salesman as among the most despised professions, I tend to have more empathy for what they go through. As a media director, much of my job involves working with salespeople. Oftentimes people think we’re supposed to be at odds with them, to protect ourselves and clients from their oily ways.  But as long as you know where you stand, a great salesperson can always make you stand taller. There are plenty of bad sellers out there so here’s a checklist to make sure you’re one of the good ones:

1) Know what you’re selling – This seems pretty straightforward but I don’t know how many times I’ve spoken with TV reps who hadn’t the slightest clue what programs ran on their station. And I often had to conclude that they never watched their own station. You should be living and breathing your product. I better not know your product better than you do.

2) Believe in what you’re selling – I love it when salespeople are passionate about their product and actually believe it will work for you. Take the below scene in the underrated movie In Good Company, where young buzzword-dropping tech upstart Topher Grace becomes veteran magazine account executive Dennis Quaid’s sales manager after a merger. I was working at a large New York agency when AOL bought Time Warner and remember the awkward sales calls where overly confident and snarky AOL reps lacked any kind of chemistry with their polished but old school magazine counterparts. It was fun to watch but painful for them. This clip shows Dennis Quaid making the big sale with his veteran know-how and his genuine belief and love for what he sells. There should always be honor and respect for what you do and what you represent.

3) You work for me, I don’t work for you – Sometimes we’ll get sales reps who believe that we are the ones who should be doing them the favors. They want to turn the tables on you and bully and guilt you into buying their product, knocking you off from where you stand if you let them. I actually had a rep call me after I placed an order, asking me to add $1000 more to the buy so he could win his sales contest and earn a trip to wherever.  Don’t ever ask, “How can I get more business from you?”. Instead you should be asking, “How can my product help you meet your goals?”.

4) Seek to understand before being understood – I may be stealing this from a Stephen Covey book, but it works especially in sales. If you open up your meeting and immediately launch into your sales pitch, the mood subconsciously becomes one about transactions instead of two sides coming together to make something great. Be flexible, understanding and solution-oriented rather than transaction-oriented.

5) Play the long game – Salespeople who only work in the short-term, wanting to get the business right away are practically telling me that they won’t be around for very long and need their commissions now. If you’re a short-termer, so is my relationship with you.

6) Always be closing – No article about sales would be complete without a Glengarry Glen Ross reference. While this line is uttered by a hideous human being played by Alec Baldwin, it’s mostly true. The best salespeople aren’t afraid to sell, to back up their product and be its biggest champion. Yes, there are pushy slimeballs (see #3), but there are probably more salespeople who are simply afraid to sell and shrink after the first objection. If you’re confident in what you’re representing and not an a-hole, then it’s worth listening to you.

7) Play to your strengths – You don’t have to have a yellow personality to be good at sales. I’ve worked with introverts and extroverts and both can be great salespeople. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you lack social skills or don’t like people – it actually can be more helpful. Introverts feel more comfortable when they are prepared and knowledgeable about a subject before engaging.  Extroverts can often forego preparation and over-rely on their ability to talk their way out of a problem, only to look like a fool.

 

 

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