Living a Sustainable 2017

By Leigh-Ann Pogue, Executive Assistant 

With the advent of the new year comes resolutions large and small – ranging from physical fitness to economic growth, stronger relationships to overcoming fears. At Hirons, we not only believe in working in a sustainable environment but also living a sustainable lifestyle. If you are still looking for the perfect resolution (and it’s never too late to start), here are five small changes that can make a huge impact on our environment.

  1. Buy and Eat Local

Supermarkets give consumers the advantage of getting fruits and vegetables year-round. However, this uses an enormous amount of resources. Buying local not only decreases the amount of fossil fuel energy used to transport locally out of season produce but also puts money back into your local economy by creating jobs and competition in the marketplace. And while you’re at it, make sure to pick up reusable grocery bags.

  1. Use Alternative Transportation

Bikes are not just for triathlon enthusiasts anymore. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 26 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the transportation sector. If you live close to work, consider walking or biking during fair-weather months. In winter, consider carpooling with friends, family or co-workers or research your local public transportation options.

  1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Do you have an old college sweatshirt sitting in the back of your closet or a book on your nightstand that you know you’re not going to read? Clothes, as well as other items, that are no longer useful to you can be donated to your local shelter or through organizations such as Goodwill  or The Salvation Army. Also, think about ways to give items around the house, such as bottles, Mason jars and cans, a new life. Just check Pinterest if you need #UpCycle inspiration. Most of all, remember less is more. Practice being a conscious consumer by researching the hidden costs behind purchases and reducing the amount of products you buy with plastic packaging.

  1. Conserve Water

This step is pretty simple: Find ways to reduce the amount of water you use on a daily basis. This is not only good for the environment but also good for your wallet. According to National Geographic, you should opt for showers over baths as baths can take up to 70 gallons of water. Switching out standard shower heads for low-flow models can save up to 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Other simple ways to conserve water include turning off the faucet when you brush your teeth, fixing leaks, taking quick showers and not running the dishwasher until it is full.

  1. Maintain an Energy Efficient Home

The U.S. Department of Energy recommends conducting a home energy audit to determine how your home uses energy. This will help you determine where energy efficient upgrades are needed – whether it be a new water heater, new furnace filter, more insulation, low-flow toilet or simply a complete switch to LED lightbulbs. Keep in mind that upgrading your home could save 5 percent to 30 percent on your energy bill, which is some serious cash.

I Have a Dream!

By Ana Kotchkoski, Account Manager

Each person shares human dignity with others and therefore all equal rights before the law. That means that no physical or cultural difference can justify any limitations to that equality. In other words, equal rights before the law guarantee the right to be and to think differently.

However, the widespread acceptance of this idea is fairly recent in relation to the thousands of years of human history. Even after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the covenants and conventions that ensure its validity today, we still see many situations in which the physical, cultural and ideological interests of some individuals are used to deny the equal rights of others. In all cases, these situations have been the result of the imposition of some kind of power – economic, political or ideological – of one group of people over another. There is also the assumption by those who are denying the rights that the targeted group is somehow “inferior” and less deserving because of it.

Today, in commemorating the life of Martin Luther King Jr., let us remember his lifelong devotion to the struggle of African-Americans for equality. Let us remember the violence that he and many others suffered and the discrimination that many still feel today. And let us recommit ourselves to fight for the dream that cost him his life.

Let the bell of freedom ring as the hands of all the men and women of the world unite fraternally.

Business Development in about 500 Words

By Mike Murtaugh, Business Development Manager

According to Forbes, business development is the “creation of long-term value for an organization for customers, markets and relationships.” To us at Hirons, it means exploring the ways we can challenge our capabilities while driving the growth of our clients and agency. It’s more than just finding a way to meet our clients’ base expectations; we strive to uniquely outthink, outwork and outperform for every client we work with, going above and beyond the initial request and final desired result. Business development, for us, is opening the doors for our clients to grow to a level they’ve never reached. It’s about mixing strategy and creativity to create “wow” moments and jaw-dropping experiences.

So what does that mean?

In simpler terms, our business development team is responsible for reaching out and bringing new clients to the agency. We can’t create “wow” moments without clients, so in the grand scheme of things, we are the first step in this exhilaratingly hectic process.

Are we sales?

Kind of. If you consider our services our “product,” and our business development team to be salespeople, then yes, we are sales. More importantly, the main thing we are selling is ourselves. Many agencies like us do great work, but that is not the sole and determining factor for a new business opportunity. Clients not only want the best work; they also want a reliable agency who can get their work done in a timely and cost-efficient manner. Every client that we work with has different preferences, demands and needs. As a research-based firm, we start by learning as much about a client’s situation as possible, so we can tailor our proven services to their specific goals.

Is that it?

We are constantly trying to expand our agency, which means that we’re also always evaluating the market for new opportunities. As an agency with experience in branding, public relations, digital media, media buying, creative development and more, we are able to serve a wide variety of clients. With a long list of specializations, it is important for us to explore and generate new business opportunities that allow every member and department at our agency to “outperform.”

Internally, we are always exploring ways in which we can better promote our services across all departments. As we approach our 39th year in business, you could say that Hirons has lived and seen it all. We rode the wave of digital and technological breakthroughs and assessed their potential for the communications industry, and we have incorporated these new trends into projects for new and existing clients.

We continue to explore ways to creatively generate new business online. Having an established online and social media presence is one way to generate buzz and attract new clients. By focusing heavily on the digital presence of not only our agency but also those of our clients, we can establish ourselves as a leader in the industry.

Final thoughts

Business development varies among agencies, industries and companies, and while we all have different definitions, the goal is always the same: fostering growth. Let’s get to work.

4 Tips to Prepare for the “Big Feast”

Emery Barnes, Business Development Intern

It’s that time of the year! Turkey Day for most, but for many young millennials across the country, it’s the time of year when graduation is approaching. As all of us have learned, there are many things to do to prepare for the “big feast” (first job).

  1. Adequate Preparation

A Thanksgiving feast (full-time position) requires sufficient preparation. One cannot expect an extraordinary meal if no preparation goes into it. Investing ample time beforehand in things such as “cooking lessons” (industry-related experiences) will allow you to fill your plate (resume) with a variety of delectable dishes (skills). The earlier you start, the more food you will have on the dinner table.

  1. Master Your Craft

Adequate preparation not only allows you to prepare more food, but it also increases its overall quality. The more experience you have preparing delectable dishes, the better you are able to perfect your craft. Instead of indiscriminately packing your plate (resume), find the dishes (skills) you love and learn how to execute them with perfection. Study them, teach them and continue to learn more about them each and every day. When you put your heart and soul into something, you will be blown away by the end result. Persistence pays off.

  1. Variety Is Key

While it’s true that mastering one dish (skill) will set you apart from the pack, it will still only get you so far. You may cook a killer turkey, but what about those people at the table who are allergic, vegetarian or simply do not have room on their plates? The more dishes you learn to prepare, the more people you can not only serve but also satisfy. In other words, the more skills you develop or experiences you have, the more attractive you become to a wider range of recruiters and future employers. With an increase in competition and fluctuating demand for entry-level positions, having a varied skill set will allow you to confidently and competently walk into any interview and convey how you are able and eager to make an immediate impact.

  1. Patience

Some people who come to your table may have already eaten their Thanksgiving meals. DO NOT LET THIS DISCOURAGE YOU OR MAKE YOU ANXIOUS! Your dish is still delicious, and many people are eager to try it. While some students may attend graduation with job offers in hand, there are many others that will still be waiting for their meal. Everyone has a different plate and will start their feasts (first jobs) at different times. Patience is key for a great Thanksgiving dinner: One should never rush a good meal.

With humility, adequate preparation and persistence, you will set yourself up for an extremely bright future. Although the next “feast” isn’t until 2017, it’s never too early to prepare!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Designing Efficiently

By Chris Costidakis, Associate Art Director

Photoshop vs. Illustrator vs. InDesign

From photo editing to typography tools to sound design, the industry-standard Adobe Creative Suite gives creators of all kinds everything they need to create professional work fast – for literally any type of design project.

 

Whether you’re creating a logo, designing social media graphics or putting together a brochure, Adobe has created perfect app solutions with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

 

Before I dive in, here are some vocab words so you’ll know what I’m talking about:

 

Raster ImageRaster images are made of pixels. A pixel is a single point or the smallest single element in a display. If you zoom in on a raster image, you may start to see a lot of little tiny squares.

 

Vector Image – Vector images are mathematical calculations from one point to another that form lines and shapes. If you zoom in on a vector graphic, it will always look the same.

 

So how do you know which app to use? Here is the breakdown:

 

breakdown-update

 

When should I use Photoshop?

Well, it’s in the name … photos! The app was originally designed as a comprehensive solution for creating, editing and retouching any type of raster image.

 

When should I use Illustrator?

Illustrator is used to create vector images. Anything created in Illustrator can be scaled to teeny-tiny favicon thumbnails or ginormous Times Square billboards – all without losing any quality or adding any weird pixelation. A design created in Illustrator will look identical on a business card or a bus wrap.

 

When should I use InDesign?

Adobe developed InDesign for the desktop publishing market, and it’s primarily used to lay out newspapers, magazines, books, posters and fliers. Pretty much anything with large amounts of text should go straight into InDesign.

 

What makes the Adobe Creative Suite superior is that all of these programs work together seamlessly! For instance, if I was designing a pamphlet, I would edit the photos in Photoshop, design the logo and icons in Illustrator, then bring them all in and finish up the text in InDesign! Cool, huh?

 

 

What’s Next?

By Malcolm Weaver, Communications Management Intern

It is no surprise that consumers are changing how they consume information. So of course advertisers have been changing with them to reach their clients’ target audience. In recent years consumers have been using digital: online, mobile, streaming and apps. Why? Your advertising needs to always reach the decision-maker, and the decision maker is all over the digital space.

As technology develops, digital has become one of the most efficient forms of media to increase consumer awareness and spending. By using mobile advertising as an example; news, social media, videos and multiple apps are all accessible on your smart phone.

According to studies (www.smartinsights.com) on “time spent for adults digital media use per day,” 51% of total adults studied use Mobile and 42% of total adults studied use desktops/laptops. Smart phones contain the same qualities of a desktop – in a portable form. Enabling advertisers to reach out to “on the move” consumers as well as those who are actively consuming media from their computers.

As advertisers strategically place their messages across multiple media platforms, the overwhelming problem is getting consumers to actually engage with the message. For example, with pre-roll ads, your consumer is right where you want them to be, on YouTube. Your consumer is doing exactly what you want them to do, searching for entertaining videos to watch. But, when your perfectly placed advertisement pops up… your consumer no longer does what you want them to do. In most situations, after 5 seconds your consumer is given the option to skip your advertisement.

Problem: How do you fit 15 or 30 seconds worth of content into the first five seconds of the advertisement? Solution: Geico’s ‘Unskippable’ Campaign. Ad Age named Geico’s ‘Unskippable’ 2016 Campaign of the Year. A series of ads were created with the overall theme of “You can’t skip this ad, it’s already over.” Within the first five seconds of the advertisement you’ve heard from Geico that “15 minutes could save you 15% of more on car insurance.” Their main message has been delivered to consumers within the guaranteed five second window provided.

 

As a brand Geico found a way to successfully adapt by thinking outside of the box. Success is measured in the aspect of this campaign by not only measuring the overall quality of created content; but through Geico’s ability to adapt to the changes in the market, all while providing comedic relief to potential consumers.

Three PR Lessons Learned from Boilermaker Football

Photo by Chris Costidakis

By Megan Auger, Communication Management Intern

To me, being a Boilermaker is the best thing in the world. But some students of Purdue University may not feel the same way each Saturday between the months of August and November.

With an abysmal 9-35 record since I arrived 4 years ago at Purdue, Boilermaker football has been struggling to come out with a winning season (According to SB Nation, the past 4 years have had the worst win percentage in Purdue’s football history). While ticket sales are struggling and many students are beginning to give up on supporting the team, there are some major communication and PR lessons that can be taken from this crisis that focus on simple ways to continue to support the team, or client.

  1. Never show discredit to the “team”

Even though the team has been struggling the past few seasons, the athletic department has never done anything to show any lack of support for the program. (If anything, they are supporting it more than ever, with a new football performance complex, renovation of the stadium and newly designed Drew Brees academic center) No matter what is going on within the organization, or how the organization is being viewed from the public, it is important to always support the team (or client) and continue to represent them in a positive light. Purdue football marketing efforts, events and promotions are still in full swing and have been each season.

If there is an organizational issue and an adjustment is made, it is imperative to support the decision of the organization and move forward with the change. For example, with head coach Darrell Hazell being asked to resign, Purdue Athletics has fully extended their support to the football team and new interim coach for the remainder of the season.

  1. Collaborating many parts of the “team”

To improve and get better results, collaborating with different parts of the team will ensure success in the future. For example, combining offense with special teams to get better field positioning, or joining the digital department with communications management to help a client improve their social media and online needs. By combining teams like this, it creates more strategic positioning for who you are representing in order to help them in the best and most effective way possible (Collaboration makes the world go round here at Hirons!).

  1. Pay attention to the stats

Statistics are arguably the most important factor in improving your team’s game. Results are essential to review how your game plan worked out, and these findings let you know what needs to be focused on more to ensure success next time. To improve in a football game, you must know your stats, and in an agency’s case, reviewing the “stats” on the campaign will give results as to what strategies worked best. For both a sports team and for everyday agency life, the stats are crucial to strategizing on what the best “game plan” is.

 

Good move, Twitter

Ethan Thomas, Account Coordinator

Hey Twitter, I appreciate what you’re doing. And I’m not alone.

As I explained in What’s Happening, Twitter?, the social media giant is losing active users to Instagram, Snapchat and others. However, there is hope for Twitter in the live streaming market, especially with its rights to stream NFL games.

Well, Thursday Night Football on Twitter is killing it! CBS reported overall lower ratings for the network during each game, but our good friend Twitter is picking up the slack. Just over 2 million viewers chose Twitter over their cable provider when watching the NFL’s second non-Sunday football game.

While the sheer number of viewers was a pleasant surprise, I was also impressed by the targeted advertising that most live streaming services fill with a blank screen (looking at you, Xfinity). I was honestly worried it would be the same two advertisements played over and over again ad nauseam. In reality, it was a pleasant mix of ads that didn’t make me question if I was watching the right channel or not.

While the entire broadcast is technically being run by CBS, Twitter has managed to piggyback onto the opportunity to act as its own television network.

Let’s think about this:

  1. Twitter did not have to do the heavy lifting of dealing with announcers or a broadcast team.
  2. Twitter users do not have to pay a monthly subscription fee to watch.
  3. Advertising appears to target the consumers watching.

Not saying that running a highly efficient live stream isn’t difficult, but let’s be real: Twitter is getting the better deal in this arrangement.

After watching, the first thing I thought of was how unimpressed I was with Facebook’s attempt at streaming live sports. If you don’t recall, Facebook was the main provider of coverage of all preliminary games in USA men’s basketball’s Olympics quest. The system seemed flawed, rushed and overall not ready for use by your everyday Facebook user.

Twitter isn’t just a social media network like Snapchat or Instagram. Twitter is becoming THE online media network. As an avid sports fan, I’m honestly impressed with Twitter’s streaming capabilities. As a member of the advertising community, I’m extremely interested in getting more involved.

Success Comes in all Sizes

By Malcom Weaver, Communication Management Intern 

We have all heard the saying “teamwork makes the dream work.” A quote that lets us all know that with a great team you can accomplish the necessary goals and objectives that you create for yourself.

Teams come in all different sizes. What size team do you prefer to work with? Does this size help your organization complete goals and objectives in a timely manner?

The goal of an advertising agency is to provide professional services to desired clients. An agency must produce, manage and complete messages that bring awareness and ultimately consumers to the clients’ brand. Strategically, there are many ways to accomplish this. Operationally, there are different team sizes based on the agency. Simply enough, agencies are categorized as small, medium or large. In these categories, small agencies are more likely to work with smaller clients, while larger agencies are more apt to assist larger clients. Below is a breakdown of how many employees will typically work at each size of agency:

  • Small Agency – 1-10 Employees
  • Medium Agency – 11 – 75 Employees
  • Large Agency – 75 + Employees

* According to AgencyFinder.com

From my internship experience, I’ve had the opportunity to intern at both a small and medium sized agency. The small agency consisted of five full-time employees and a rotation of three to four interns each semester. Hirons consists of 30+ employees, not to mention the office therapist and social media icon, Hank the Golden Retriever (Check out @hankathirons on Instagram!).  Both experiences are providing me with insight on some key differences in agency sizes and their effects on project/campaign execution.

At both sizes, I have had the ability to create stronger relationships with my coworkers. With larger agencies having a staggering 75 or more employees, it becomes increasingly difficult to develop those relationships. A positive and motivating working environment are always a positive. Agencies thrive off the ability of great teamwork, and great teamwork has a direct correlation to strong relationships.

Each full-time employee at the smaller agency had a very specific role. Those roles included: Account Manager, Creative Director, Communications Director, and Digital Production. Each role essentially ran a department of one. While they did have the support of three to four interns, it left them shorthanded when client deadlines all seemed to line up on the same day.

With more of an advantage of the medium size agency in Hirons, you are able to utilize the advantage of having departments (accounts, creative, digital, business development, media) and creating small teams within those departments to complete projects in a timely manner. Hirons gives clients access to our management team who distributes tasks to those various departments to work towards overall success and completion of client projects.

As for large agencies, I am not aware of that experience. However, working in small and medium agencies has given me the perspective to understand how important teamwork is to the success of an agency. Although I have been very pleased with my involvement in small and medium agencies, there is still a sense of curiosity to understand the ins and outs of a large agency as well. As for Hirons, teamwork has a large influence on the success of the company. With the dedication of each employee it allows Hirons to take on large name clients and provide top of the line service.

The Importance of Voice

By Madelyn Morgan, Senior Editor

As a writing coach for young people, I would encourage teens to find their voice – the words and syntax that best reflect who they are and what concerns them. While it was hard for some of them, others found that writing was the best way to express themselves and loved to experiment and play with words.

Working for a publication or institution, writers learn to adopt its unique voice. Your job is to represent the organization and its values, and often the voice is authoritative, knowledgeable, capable. The focus is on the organization and the message, not so much on the receiver of the message.

But in advertising, the audience is paramount. Whom are you targeting? What are their interests? What kind of language do they use? What kind of appeal will appeal to them?

Advertising is not just used for selling products, brands or services. It’s also used to reach out to audiences to inform them, or maybe even persuade them to do something.

For example, take a campaign intended to stop an audience from pursuing an activity that can damage themselves and others. Research has shown that this audience does not generally respond to shame or “tough love.” However, offers of help or support can prove successful in changing behavior.

So that’s what we did, and it worked.

The beauty of copywriting is the wide range of voices you can adopt: supportive, expert, fun-loving, smart. It’s not always clear what will work best to reach your intended audience, and that’s where audience research comes in. At Hirons, we perform research for every client and campaign, and it really does produce results.

I’m used to anonymity as a writer. As an advertising copywriter, my work is even less about me. And I’m fine with that.