Blog Archives


One month after Instagram opened advertising to small and mid-size agencies Penna Powers had the opportunity to launch test campaigns for both sponsored posts and videos. These campaigns tested various demographics in the non-profit/government and retail verticals. Both tests allowed us to successfully engage the designated audiences, driving website clicks, brand awareness and engagements. But most importantly, the campaigns provided Instagram advertising metrics for us to share with the world.

Storytelling is what Instagram does best, add in Facebook’s excellent targeting capabilities and your brand story can now be seen by the exact audience you’re seeking. Our campaigns set out targeting two very different audiences, teenagers (13-17) in the non-profit/government campaign and M/F (18+) in the retail campaign. The wide audience in the retail vertical was chosen to allow us to gauge a true CPM benchmark based on a large demographic segment. We were curious to see if Instagram’s estimated CPM of $13 held true or if our campaigns would come in much higher, even or much lower. Both campaign results are listed below presenting a much lower CPM in both instances by a healthy margin. The non-profit/government campaign also presented interesting data that teenagers will actively engage with Instagram content even though studies are showing a migration to other social media channels such as Snapchat. The wide audience in the retail vertical aligned with established Instagram data with the millennial audience outperforming all other segments of the target demographic. Instagram advertising is uniquely positioned to help push Facebook even further ahead of Twitter and Google in the social advertising front.

Instagram Advertising Campaign Performance:

 Campaign 1- non-profit/government- Sponsored Posts:

  • CPC: $0.14
  • CPM: $4.17*
  • CTR: 2.96%

Campaign 2 – Retail- Sponsored Posts:

  • CPC: $0.44
  • CPM: $6.58*
  • CTR: 1.47%

Campaign 2 – Retail- Sponsored Video:

  • CPV: $0.01
  • CPM: $2.48*
  • CTR: 2.08%

*Instagram estimated CPMs of $13

Instagram Advertiser Results (Instagram for Business Blog):

  • 97% lift in ad recall
  • 16-point average ad recall lift
  • 7x higher Nielsen ad recall vs. other study data

Users spend on average 5 minutes per day on Instagram and Facebook.


We look to Facebook to begin tying in retargeting between the two ad platforms serving ads to the audience members who may have interacted with one on Facebook or Instagram presenting an opportunity for marketers to have even better data and more audience touch points. At the end of the day social media is all about engagements with the line between a website click and a comment blurring every day. The new advertising opportunity has brought about change within our own Social Media Department with the team shifting dollars almost immediately from Twitter to Instagram because of the superior ad products and the fact that Instagram blows away Twitter engagements.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter


There is so much data out there. We need to use it when we’re making decisions about the future. This is how Pamela Perlich, Ph.D. and senior research economist for the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, recently began to unfold a demographic transformation in Utah in the form of data mainly from the 1960s to now.

She showed how Utah has always had unique demographics compared to the nation but is trending in the same direction. What is transforming?

  • Diversity – Utah and the rest of the nation are becoming more multi-cultural. The majority of U.S. births became minorities in 2010.
  • Social Change – A lot of young people are moving to the state so millennials now exceed baby boomers. Millennials bring social change by exploring new ways of doing things.
  • Economics – New and different jobs came out of the recession. Many high-wage jobs were lost and low-wage jobs were created.

While these are broad descriptions, the details, along with overwhelming amounts of additional information are part of a project Dr. Perlich leads. It’s called the Utah Community Data Project (UCDP) and all of the data is accessible to anyone with Internet access who can type It is described on the website as an online system of community-level demographic, housing and socioeconomic data, indicators and profiles. It is a way to help anyone in Utah make more informed decisions as Perlich encourages.

Among the Joe Shmos or policymakers who could within a reasonable amount of time dig up the native languages of Salt Lake City school district students or Ogden’s demographic and housing information, Utah communicators could benefit from the UCDP information.

Communicators should be constantly aware of their varied Utah audiences and how they are changing. They should also plan their campaigns based on research. So when you begin to conceptualize your next campaign see if you can find some of the information you need at to help save on research costs and make more informed decisions about goals, strategies and tactics. The data is there for the taking.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter


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.


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.


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.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Teens 800We’ve all heard opinions from fad-obsessed teenagers about what social media is hot at the moment and what is losing appeal but now we have the chance to see how their comments stand against a representative sample of teens throughout the U.S.

Last month Pew Research Center released Teens, Social Media and Technology, a report on a national survey of 1,060 teens ages 13 to 17 and a parent or guardian. Here are a few findings from the report and other recent research:

Facebook is the most popular and frequently used social media platform among teens; half of teens use Instagram and nearly as many use Snapchat.

  • Boys are more likely to report Facebook as their most used site than girls (45% of boys vs. 36% of girls).
  • Lower income youth are more likely to cite Facebook as their most used site than higher income teens.
  • Snapchat is more likely to be a frequently used app for more well-to-do teens.
  • The typical Facebook-using teen has 145 Facebook friends.
  • Boys report fewer Facebook friends than girls (boys 100 vs. girls 175)

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.49.22 PMScreen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.49.39 PM

Teens are diversifying their social network site use. A majority of teens (71%) use more than one social network site.

While survey data does not indicate a decrease in Facebook-using teens, focus group findings suggest that teens’ relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving.

Some focus group participants reported positive feelings about their use of Facebook but many spoke negatively about an increasing adult presence, the high stakes of managing self-presentation on the site, the burden of negative social interactions (“drama”), or feeling overwhelmed by friends who share too much. One teen explained that he started using Twitter because “everyone’s saying Facebook’s dead,” while another said that once you create a Twitter and an Instagram account, “then you’ll just kind of forget about Facebook.”

Still, few of the teens in the focus group had actually abandoned the biggest social media site altogether. Facebook is deeply integrated across multiple generations, platforms, devices and spheres of public and private life.

Girls dominate visually oriented social media platforms while boys are more likely to play video games.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.56.28 PM

Younger teens (13 to 14) use social media platforms less often than older teens (15 to 17) with one exception; Instagram is more often used by younger teens. Listed below is the breakdown for each platform:

  • Facebook – 35% younger vs. 44% older
  • Snapchat – 8% younger vs. 13% older
  • Twitter – 3% younger vs. 8% older
  • Instagram – 25% younger vs. 17% older

Texting is an especially important mode of communication for many teens.

  • 91% of teen cell users use text messaging—either directly through their mobile phones or through an app or a website.
  • Smartphone-based messaging apps have added features and changed the cost, message length and other structures around sending short messages.
  • 33% of teens with phones have messaging apps like Kik and WhatsApp.
  • Girls are a bit more likely than boys to use messaging apps, with 37% of cell-using girls using them compared with 29% of boys with cell phones.
  • A typical teen sends and receives 30 texts per day.

88% of American teens ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a mobile phone of some kind and a majority of teens (73%) have smartphones.

Smartphone users skew more toward older teens with 76% of 15 to 17 year-olds having a smartphone, compared with 68% of 13 to 14 year-olds.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.41.46 PM

92% of teens report that they go online daily and 24% of those teens say they are online “almost constantly,” due to the widespread availability of smartphones.

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 6.59.13 PM

Are you or the teens you know surprised by these findings?


Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

The tent is set, the cobbler is eaten, the stars are brighter and the fire is settling. You’re with friends, sitting back in a circle of camp chairs as the stories are getting funnier. This is the ideal setting for what branding consultant kCross calls the Campfire Effect.

This environment of trust, reflection and connectedness is what they say every brand should compose for their customers. Why? Because people crave connection more now than ever as technology has made the world smaller but the distance between people sometimes larger.

Just as others often hire Penna Powers to make recommendations for their brand from a third-party perspective, we hired kCross to do the same for our brand. Here is what we’ve learned about using a brand to connect with customers in a campfire-like way.

Tell a Story
The campfire setting isn’t complete without stories. Stories help your customers understand how your brand aligns with what they want most in life. They help your audience get to know and trust you and they inspire action. Beyond that, people enjoy stories. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) shows that the same part of your brain lights up when you receive a reward or compliment as when you’re about to hear a story.

A brand story doesn’t have to be longwinded. It can be about a moment—your first kiss, your first job offer or that time you walked through the wrong public restroom door. Who was there? What did you see? What did it smell like? Think of a moment that your brand creates for your customers and put your customers in that moment.

Adidas illustrates moments with their #mygirls campaign. They describe life glimpses of several strong female athletes in Adidas garb. The stories are not about selling a product they’re about connecting to their athletic, strong, determined female audience by linking those traits with their brand.

Another communications group,, revamped a toy company’s social media with stories. Instead of posting images of the toys in stock, as was the standing practice, they posted pictures of kids unwrapping the toys on Christmas morning. Showing the reactions, what the kids said and what they did, humanized the brand and elicited more likes and shares.

Be Authentic
People feel safe to be their best, authentic selves around a campfire. Likewise, if you want to connect your brand with your audience, it needs to be authentic. As English writer, George Orwell said, “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”

So how do you avoid insincerity? Know who you are and be who you are. You can’t create an authentic brand and tell your brand’s story until you clearly define your brand and its audience. Brand integrity is crucial. Make sure all of your stories reflect your brand and what you want to be known for.

Story2, a group that assists high school students with the college admissions process through online storytelling tools, suggests standing in front of a mirror, looking yourself in the eye and telling your brand story out loud. If you believe it, tell a friend or family member face-to-face. If it connects with them, write your story down. This is a simplified version of what could be a bigger research effort involving focus groups, stakeholder interviews and surveys to assess whether your audience finds your stories authentic.

Telling stories and being authentic are a few ways to connect your brand with your customers, campfire style. Do you know of other campaign examples that exemplify campfire-like branding? Just let me know in the comments below.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

brain800It isn’t only in the public relations field that people try to predict public questions and how to respond to them. Most do this to prepare for a job interview, give a presentation to a potential client or delicately break some news to a loved one. This preparation shows others that you know what you’re talking about and reduces uneducated speculation and rumors.

The same idea applies to communication campaigns and stakeholder outreach efforts. Communication that answers questions before people have to ask is much easier, less time-consuming and less expensive than damage control later. So how do you predict what your audience will want to know and how to respond? Here are a few tips:

  • Know your audience – Knowing your audience means knowing what is important to them, what motivates them and what they are sensitive about. Learning this through qualitative and quantitative research is ideal if your timeline, client and budget will allow. If not, it’s always helpful to talk to people who have worked with the same audience in the past (opinion leaders or your client) and to consult market research databases from companies like Scarborough.
  • Brainstorm – After you have created your own list of questions and answers based on your research, you may want to get a group together that includes people close to the information and people who are not. Ask if you’ve missed anything and what the group thinks people will ask.
  • Be honest – Nothing builds suspicion and distrust more than the perception that people are hiding or withholding information from you.
  • Provide sources – Most audiences will want to know where your information came from. Be ready to provide that information.
  • Choose the right approach – Decide ahead of time the best communications channels, timing and spokesperson to answer questions. It may be best communicated on a website or at a media briefing. Would it be better to release the information during the week, after a workday or in the morning? Knowing your audience is integral to choosing the right approach.

Creating a comprehensive FAQ that can be used in any communication channel is one way to preempt speculation, what else would you add?

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Image courtesy of JobTrackr.

In advertising, creating a campaign takes a lot of time, love and nurture. You become so invested and close with your ads, it’s hard not to become attached or get into ‘mama bear mode’ when someone says your idea isn’t working (as any good mother should).

Sometimes, even when you feel like it’s your most handsome, smartest, cutest campaign yet, the idea baby has to be tossed. The idea may be off strategy, it might be off brand, or maybe the client just has a bad gut feeling (perhaps from some bad tacos they ate). While there are times to defend your creative work, you also need to recognize when it’s time to let go.

But all is not lost. What should you do when your creative idea baby doesn’t reach primetime?

After indulging yourself in a bit of mourning in the form of leftover agency snacks, I recommend these steps:

1. Look at the situation optimistically. It’s a new chance to come up with an even better idea. Advertising is all about solving problems and finding a new way to connect product with consumer.

2. Try to understand where the pushback is coming from. Ask questions about what isn’t working and what is. Find out what nails you need to hit on the head so you don’t head in the wrong direction twice.

3. Don’t take it too personally. Not every idea is going to work. Even great ideas get tossed now and then.

4. Keep that idea baby for another day. If it really is a good idea, it might end up working for another client or project.

Ever had a time where you had to toss an idea baby you really believed in? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

image via

Dinosaurs, DNA, ecosystems, masks and minerals were among the 1.2 million artifacts and exhibits PPBHers recently explored at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center.

Our hosts, Justin Jones and Kyle Bennett from Rio Tinto Kennecott Utah Copper, organized a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the museum’s anthropology and archeology collections. We got the inside scoop of an upcoming exhibit featuring contemporary storyteller baskets coming up later this year.

A museum can’t be beat for learning about our past and even glimpsing what may be next for our future. Venturing through the Rio Tinto Center was extraordinary. Between the stunning architecture and the world-class exhibits, it is definitely one of our state’s showcase venues not to be missed.

The time we spent on our tour there also reinforced to me the importance that research, databases and current conversations play in gaining a good understanding of context and reality about a subject. It’s equally vital whether to merely expand our own knowledge or to educate, inform or persuade someone else. In our current environment of instant and abundant access to information sources, following is a brief list of online (gratis) sources that are a good place to start:

The New York Public Library of How and Where to Look It Up

Director of Open Access Journals


Find Articles

What other research sources do you rely upon that should be on this list?

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

Contributed by John Haynes

At PPBH we follow the “Suitcase Model”—it is easier to pack when you know where you are going.

We are constantly asked, “Is it worth the time and money to do marketing research?” The answer is simple—yes, especially in tough times or down markets. Research offers the best legal means of taking advantage of your competition’s lack of research.

So what is marketing research? In simple terms, it is understanding who is purchasing a clients’ products and for what reason. In the process we often discover problems and opportunities we were not aware of. It usually causes us to refine our approach or the client’s product offerings in order to maximize sales or reduce marketing costs—both of which are welcome outcomes during tough times or not.

Getting Your Ducks In a Row for Successful Marketing Research

Before you actually dive in to the gathering and analysis of the data, follow these crucial steps to set your research project up for success:

  • Know what you need to know. Nothing is more expensive than spending money on useless research because it would “be nice to know.” I would much rather find out why our sales are up in one region and down in another. That will give the research something to focus on.
  • Getting the Information. Now that we know what it is we need to know, it is easier to select a method to collect good accurate data. It may be a focus group, one-on-one interviews, a written survey, interactive assessment, polling, etc.
  • Sample Size: How Many is Enough? Determine your sample size. For example, do you need a five percent population sampling, or do we just need to talk to the opinion leaders at your top 15 clients?
  • When and How Much? With some products, seasonality or new product launches will dictate timing. In other instances, time is more of a luxury. However, never wait until there is a crisis. That’s when bad decisions are made to just guess what is going on.
  • Set a budget and timeframe.

So before you pack that suitcase, plan out where you’re going. Research can be pricey, but if done right, its ROI far exceeds any perceived “expenditure.”

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter

“The more you know, the less you guess. Guessing is expensive!”

That phrase has become a mantra to me because often times new clients will come to us asking, “What do you think we should do?” Well, even though PPBH is loaded with years of experience and expertise, and has faced most marketing and communication issues any company might encounter, we are firm believers in RESEARCH. Any time you engage a full-service, professional agency to help with your marketing, this belief is a must. You will want them to insist on being able to digest any information you might have on your business and industry. They should also seek more information to help validate the demands of your audience.

This seeking and digesting of information is sometimes off-putting for clients. Some are hesitant to let someone inside their business, while others, when we discuss with them the concept of professional research, are afraid of the investment that involves. All too often, companies think that they have been working with their customers for so many years that they couldn’t possibly learn anything new about them. Then, after the research is conducted and the results are in, they are always shocked by what they learn. And if there are key pieces of information you don’t know, how can you make good decisions.

But all too often, people don’t do their homework and they guess at what they think will work, or what they think their customer wants to hear. Not only is it expensive to guess on what messaging, medium and techniques to use, but repairing any damage to your brand, the time/opportunity lost in moving your product or services forward and the expense of repositioning your strategy can be extremely expensive. In fact, it’s usually several times the cost of simply conducting the research in the first place.

Save yourself the pain and anguish of “I told you so” by doing the research first.

Share: Email this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Tweet about this on Twitter