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Brian Shaw

Technology is always changing, with yesterday’s impossible evolving into today’s ‘must have.’ While there’s no way to predict everything that will surprise us in 2017, here are five upcoming tech products to keep your eye on in the New Year.

2017 tech

The Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is an upcoming console/tablet hybrid that aims to revolutionize the way we play video games. Utilizing detachable game controllers and a special docking station, the Nintendo Switch can transform from a handheld gaming tablet to a complete gaming console within seconds. While there is plenty of skepticism on how well the Switch will work, Nintendo has surprised us before. And the device, set to launch in March of 2017, is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Amazon Echo with a Touch Screen

Digital assistants like Siri, Google Now and Alexa have already proven that they can be a compelling tool to make everyday life easier. And while we don’t know the specific sales numbers for Amazon’s Echo devices, it’s obvious that Amazon is heavily invested in developing the product. We can expect 2017 will yield several breakthroughs in the digital assistant category. Specifically, the current rumor is that the next Alexa-enabled device will launch with a 7-inch touchscreen. Does this mean Amazon will be merging their Echo and Fire device lines? Probably not. But it could mean a new device category is set to hit the market.

Surface Phone

It’s been a long time since Microsoft bought Nokia, and we have yet to see much innovation come from the acquisition. But next year, Microsoft announced that they want to start creating Windows 10 ARM-based PCs. This might not sound like much, but it means that Microsoft wants to start using phone processors to run a specially compiled version of Windows 10. This could be a sign that a fully-functioning Windows 10 Smartphone (maybe even the long-rumored “Surface Phone”) is being prepped to launch in 2017.

Android Wear 2.0

Google planned to release an update to its Android Wear platform (the software that runs on Android Smartwatches) earlier this year. For several different reasons, this update has been pushed to 2017. While smartwatch sales have been dwindling in recent months, this update could provide a much-needed boost of usage and popularity to bring smartwatches back into the limelight.

The Next iPhone

People always clamor over the latest iPhone releases every year, but 2017 might prove to be extra special, as it marks the 10-year anniversary of the original launch of the iPhone. While it could be an incremental “7S” upgrade like we’ve seen in years past, many rumors point to a major overhaul, including a curved screen, removing the home button and more. Either way, the next iPhone will definitely turn a few heads in the tech world in 2017.

Again, there’s no way to predict what crazy and innovative products will surprise and amaze us this next year, but we can rest assured that there are many sleeper hits and major flops yet to come.

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Called “More than just a badge of distinction” by the Salt Lake Tribune, “Top Workplaces are not only better places to work but are more likely to be successful than peer organizations.”

Only 65 companies were named a 2016 Top Workplace, we think it’s pretty cool that we’ve now made this list two years in a row.

The Salt Lake Tribune Top Workplaces Award is awarded based solely on employee surveys and comments about the environment in which they work. Not just compensation and benefits keep us here, but we have tons of fun. From annual Lagoon Day, Halloween and Bowl-ffet (bowling and pizza) parties, to cooking classes and employee anniversary celebrations, P2 is truly a Top Workplace.

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If you’ve given us a ring at Penna Powers in the last year, you may have noticed that we’ve abandoned the tired jingles and elevator music of yesteryear. Instead, we utilize your waiting time to inspire and share a little bit about who we are. Here are a few examples of our latest on-hold recordings…

For more fun entries, call us anytime at: 801.487.4800

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From Utah Business, “Best Companies to Work For Honored at Event:”

Success can be measured in many ways: growth, revenue, community impact, to name a few. Having an objective means of saying a company has the happiest employees, though, is a special kind of accomplishment.

Utah’s 50 happiest companies—as tabulated from anonymous surveys by the bulk or entirety of each company’s in-state workforce—were recognized by Utah Business for their efforts to go above and beyond to make their offices comfortable and engaging places for their employees. Donnie Welch, publisher of Utah Business magazine, said while the perks like free food or employee gatherings were nice, the most important benefits workers mentioned were centered around respect and recognizing effort and ability.

“They tell us what’s most important to them is the respect and autonomy they are given, the support from their leadership, the camaraderie that makes coming to work fun,” Welch said. “In their surveys, your employees explained that what they most appreciate are the opportunities to learn and advance their careers, especially when they have a leadership team that is willing to mentor them and support their aspirations.”

Kim Fisher, an evening anchor and investigative reporter for ABC 4 Utah, who emceed the event, said the efforts to make the workplace more welcoming for employees often brings economic benefits—employees who are happy, after all, tend to work harder. And in turn, she said, that helps make Utah a better place to be.

“You’re creating a wonderful place to work,” she said. “When you have a good place to work, it helps make it a good place to live.”

The 2016 Best Small Companies to Work For are:

Animal Care Center

Apex Dental

Beehive Broadband

Disruptive Advertising

FJ Management

GPS Capital Markets

Grant Victor

MassMutual Intermountain

NaviTrust

Penna Powers

PrincePerelson & Associates

Xima Software

TestOut Corporation

Your Employment Solutions

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From more than 75 entries ranging from agencies, universities, companies, nonprofits and government organizations, P2 was honored with the coveted “Best of Show” award for “Sundance—Helping Sundance Share Its Story Nationwide.”

Best of Show is earned by to the campaign that delivered on the outlined objectives and the entry was judged with a perfect score.

While we couldn’t be more proud of this award, we along with our clients brought home some other notable hardware too:

Golden Spike in media relations: UCAIR ShowUCAIR Winter Campaign

Golden Spike in creative tactics: Zero Fatalities VMS messages

Golden Spike in outdoor: UCAIR Digital Boards

Golden Spike in marketing products or services: Sundance

Finalist in media relations: Cabela’s Grand Opening

Finalist in interactive communications: Zero Fatalities epidemic.org

Finalist in public service advocacy: Zero Fatalities influencer campaign

Heralded as “Utah’s longest-running, most prestigious public relations and communications awards,” the annual best practice award competition was sponsored by the Greater Salt Lake and Utah Valley Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) organizations.

The Colorado PRSA chapter judged award entries. Different from most award programs, the Golden Spike awards criterion includes measurable demonstrations of increasing awareness, changing behavior and modifying perceptions. The annual competition is sponsored by the Utah Chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicator and the Utah Society for Healthcare Communication and Marketing.

We applaud or clients for the experiences, products, safety and health programs that improve our quality of life and love being a partner on their team.

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If you have friends or family who always have their noses in their phones, who shoot “quick” emails at 10 PM, whose blood runs thick with coffee, you may know someone who works in marketing and communications. And we have the top 10 gifts to give them…

Lump of Coal

To send to those coworkers they’ve been complaining about

Nerf Gun 

For downtime at the office, and so they can get a few shots in on the coworkers you sent coal to

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Elf on the Shelf

To make sure they don’t spend too much time shooting people on their naughty list with Nerf darts and actually meet their deadlines

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Pillow Pet

To keep them company and keep them comfy for those late nights in the office

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Wine 

To help them unwind from a long day of back-to-back meetings

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Fidget Cube

To channel their knee-shaking, foot-tapping, pen-clicking addiction without endlessly annoying everyone around them

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Noise Cancelling Headphones

If other people around them don’t have a Fidget Cube and their desk-tapping is driving them up the wall

BS Button

So they can call out their coworkers for being late, being loud, or just being plain annoying

Magic 8 Ball

For those days when they just can’t make a decision

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Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine

Enough said…

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Which of these top 10 gifts will you give YOUR marketing guru? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments!

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Give a high-five to the five newest newbies of Penna Powers!

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As Program Manager for the Utah Cancer Control Program AND Zero Fatalities Nevada, Marsha Boam has become Penna Powers’ resident workhorse. When she isn’t in her office, she spends most of her time outside, whether it’s hiking, camping, paddle boarding, floating the river or eating on a patio. But Winter is Coming

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Becka Kanell joined us as Program Manager for Zero Fatalities Utah in early September. When she isn’t eating carbs, she enjoys weekend trips, hiking and going to the park with her “Huzbeard”.

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When Makenzie Stevens isn’t hard at work on Zero Fatalities Nevada, she enjoys eating sushi, watching “She’s the Man,” and adventuring with friends and family. She may not like bologna, but she’s gotten the Oscar Mayer song stuck in my head!

Nevada Office

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Andrew (2.0) Choudry is the newest Community Outreach Coordinator in our Nevada office. When he isn’t fighting crime (hanging out) with our resident Superman (Anthony Guttman), you can find him cruising the streets of Gotham City (Vegas) in his Batmobile (Scion FR-S).

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Maggie Saunders is our brand-new Community Relations Manager, keeping her eye on Batman and Superman in the Nevada office. If only we had a location in the UK! She has a thing for tea and biscuits… and men in kilts. We are so excited to have this STYX loving, delivery food-eating lady on the team!

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The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has selected Penna Powers as its new agency of record for its Utah Cancer Control Program.

The five-year contract coincides with the release of the UDOH and Utah Cancer Action Network’s Utah Comprehensive Cancer Prevention and Control Plan, “the largest formal effort to address the burden of cancer in the state of Utah,” according to Lynette Phillips, program manager for the UDOH Cancer Control Program.

The review committee commented that one of the reasons Penna Powers stood out and was selected was, “Penna Powers provided highly creative materials based on research and evidence-based strategies designed to change behavior.”

Penna Powers’ Social Change department will be leading out on the education and action campaigns for BeWise disease prevention and health promotion, breast, cervical and comprehensive cancer, radon and lung cancer, HPV immunization.

Selected for its science-based approach to behavior change, Penna Powers has been nationally recognized for its work with Zero Fatalities in Iowa, Nevada and Utah, UCAIR and Hold On To Dear Life.

Under the contract, Penna Powers will implement a statewide communication campaign comprised of broadcast, social, news, digital and outreach components to help Utahns locate and participate in the Utah Cancer Control Programs’ cancer prevention, screening and information services.

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The Salt Lake Corporate Games is an annual event where companies across Utah gather to compete in various sports, games and activities. While the competition is friendly, top performing teams are recognized and awarded with medals (gold, silver or bronze). Larger companies even compete against each other across all competitions to win the coveted “Corporate Cup.”  Penna Powers’ past pursuit earned us a bronze medal.

This year, our daring and dauntless team tested our mettle against the best Utah has to offer, and things went better than expected.

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salt lake corporate games gold

Though we didn’t win every event we entered, we came away with gold at the trivia contest. While we were sidelined as dodgeball and kickball combatants, we certainly proved that we are first-rate at being chock full of (somewhat) useful information.

The questions covered categories like geography, history or pop culture and ranged in difficulty from things like, “How many gold medals has Michael Phelps won?” (23) to “How many islands make up the island nation of Japan?” (6,852). The corporate games are nearly finished and while we won’t be winning a “corporate cup,” we’re proud to say that Penna Powers is the trivia king.

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Meme (mēm): a cultural item in the form of an image, video, phrase, etc., that is spread via the Internet and often altered in a creative or humorous way.

If you want to make a meme that’s more compelling for your audience, dig a little deeper and widen your perception of what a “meme” can be. While this format spreads like wildfire, a little variability will go a long way.

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When you make a meme, make sure you are keeping up with popular culture and the changing trends. If you can create a video or image that will speak directly to your audience’s personal life and preferences, your message will be better received. For these particular images, I DO prefer to use the classic “meme” format most of the time.

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Come up with a catchy slogan or phrase. I consider myself particularly “punny” (holiday content is my forte), and I will intermittently weave in my humor to even the most serious of pages. In my experience, a bit of comic relief goes a long way in reaching your audience.

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Find that perfect image to caption by scrolling through a never-ending feed of photos until your eyes are dry and images of happy drivers and hazy landscapes are forever burned into your brain.

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Once you have found the holy grail of iStock images, open it on your favorite phone app or website (my favorites are Font Candy, Adobe Spark Post and Pixlr). Pixlr is essentially a free online version of Photoshop, and is perfect for superimposing seat belts onto Yoda.

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Once you have picked your poison and opened your image, double click that text box and type your Oscar-worthy pun. And theeeeeeeeennnnnn… Tap through different fonts, try out new colors, move around your text box, save 793 different images, open them all up on your computer and narrow it down to your favorite choice. Got all that? Good.

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Happy meme-ing, and may going viral be ever in your favor.

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