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.

What I Didn’t Learn in College

By Brittany Kaelin, Account Coordinator 

Fresh out of school and into this fast-paced place they call the “real world,” I have faced a learning curve for which I was unprepared. Back in my “glory days,” I worried about making it to class and acing the exams that would determine my grade.

 

With a degree from Purdue University (Boiler up!) in public relations and strategic communications, I thought I would be golden to enter agency life and rock the young PR professional lifestyle. As I quickly found out, my education gave me a good foundation, but there was still so much more I needed to learn.

 

After four months at an agency, I have identified five facts of life that were not mentioned during those weekly power-hour lectures. No offense to my beloved alma mater, but this is what I wish my professors would have covered in COM 100.

 

  1. Agency life is fast-paced.

When you work at an agency, you find out how fast your feet can move. There will be times when you will be bouncing around not only the whole office but throughout the whole city. Whether it’s organizing a big event or shooting a commercial, you learn very quickly how important it is to deliver a quality product on a short deadline.

 

  1. The way you were taught to write a press release is not a universal template.

Headline, lead, quote, pyramid style and boilerplate. There’s not much to a press release, but there are about 20 different ways to write one. Like I said, college gives you a good foundation. But at an agency,  always make sure to find an old press release and copy its writing style and format before you send your first draft to your manager.

 

  1. No question is a dumb one.

When you are thrown into the exciting world of advertising and PR, you have to be willing to take in as much knowledge as you can. Everything is a learning opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask to sit in on a client meeting or for more details on a project. It’s better to do it right the first time than to keep making revisions.

 

  1. You won’t be writing eight-page papers.

For some reason, professors believe you’ll be writing eight-page research papers once you exit college. They have one thing right: Writing is very important in this industry. However, “short and sweet” is usually the key when you write. There will be times when you will write longer documents, but they will be about projects you are invested in. The best thing is there are no works to be cited at the end of a document!

 

  1. Be willing and able to work long days.

 Long days go along with the fast-paced lifestyle. There will be days when you have to be up with your game face on by 8 a.m. and you won’t plop down on your bed until after 9 p.m. Even though that may seem like a long time, those days fly by and are usually the most rewarding. It always feels good to see your hard work in the final package.

 

The main takeaway I can offer as I adjust to life as a rock star young professional is to be proactive and take ownership of your work. No one will hold your hand, but they will usually take time to answer your questions. Put your best foot forward and always take a stab at working on something you’ve never done before. You may surprise yourself. Every challenge is an opportunity to improve your wealth of knowledge.

 

Bottom line: It’s like you never graduated. Every day you’re still learning, and sometimes you’ll have homework.  However, there won’t be any pop quizzes!

The Key to Using Google Search Advertising Effectively

By Olivia Crum, Digital Media Coordinator

In our digital age, advertising opportunities are endless. Why’s that? Whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, your consumer is always connected. Advertisers can better target their audiences and reach them where they are, when they are there.

 

One digital service that you may not know about, but have definitely seen, is Google AdWords.

 

Google AdWords is a platform that provides advertising services on Google and its advertising network. This service allows advertisers and businesses to set a budget and only pay when someone clicks on their ad.

 

I have outlined a few key elements to remember when creating search ads in Google AdWords:

  1. Use Specific Ad Groups

When you start a campaign, you will want to run a series of different ads. By creating ad groups, you can add keywords specifically related to your advertisement. Keywords are simply Google search terms or phrases. For example, if you own a shoe business and want to drive sales through search advertising, you would want to create specific ad groups for each type of shoe: Women’s Running Shoes, Men’s Dress Shoes, Children’s Boots, etc.

  1. Group Related Keywords

Within your ad group, you will create keywords. These keywords need to be related to one another so that the correct ad shows for related searches. For example, in the ad group Women’s Running Shoes, you would have keywords such as “running shoes for women,” “women’s running shoes,” “women’s athletic shoes,” etc.

Those keywords, or search terms, will then generate the related ad. When you search “running shoes for women,” this is the first ad that appears:

Women’s Running Shoes – FinishLine.com‎

Ad www.finishline.com/WomensRunningShoes

4.4  rating for finishline.com

Find Great Deals On Top Brands. Buy At Finish Line & Earn Rewards!

 

Because Finish Line knew it wanted to target people searching for women’s running shoes specifically, it created an individual ad group containing keywords related to women’s running shoes. By doing this, it is ensuring that the ad the consumer sees is related specifically to his or her needs. This will avoid people coming to its site and then leaving immediately.

  1. Create Engaging Ads

While making sure that your ad relates to the keywords is extremely important, it’s only half the battle. You need to make sure you are creating an engaging ad that will draw in consumers. You have 140 characters to tell your consumer what they want and why they want it from you. Each ad consists of two headlines, 30 characters each, and a description that is 80 characters.

 

This is how the 140 characters are divided out:

Headline One (30 Character Max) – Headline Two (30 Character Max)

Ad www.finishline.com/WomensRunningShoes

4.4  rating for finishline.com

Description (80 Character Max)

 

You want to make sure you use some variation of your keywords in your headline as well so that consumers know you offer what they need. So in the example above, the Finish Line headlines are “www.finishline.com” and “Women’s Running Shoes.” Both are beneficial because the consumer can see immediately exactly how his or her search is related to the ad.

  1. Use Quality Landing Pages

Your ads also need to take consumers to a related landing page. Your landing page is extremely important because if Google sees that your ad about women’s running shoes is taking consumer to a page with men’s running shoes, your ad will not receive a high quality score and therefore will not show as often.