Speaking about Talent in Hispanic Diversity…

By Ana Kotchkoski, Account Manager 

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month, from Sept. 15 to Oct.15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. During this time they seek to publicize and learn even more about the talents and contributions of Hispanics.

Allow me to begin this celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with relevant information that captured my attention.

CNET Spanish magazine recently published a list of the 20 most influential Hispanics in the technology sector, which includes six women among a constellation of Spaniards, Mexicans, Argentines, Brazilians and Americans of Hispanic origin.

“It’s not easy to find Latinos in the technology industry in the United States, but after some hard work we gathered for the third consecutive year to celebrate a list of 20 Hispanic professionals who represent the best in the industry thanks to intelligence, perseverance, creativity and leadership,” said Gabriel Sama, director of CNET in Spanish.

The honorees represent companies ranging from AT&T, Oculus, Microsoft and Sprint to the NASA space agency and the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They include Pilar Manchón and Silvia Vásquez-Lavado, whom the publication considered “excellent examples of the effort, dedication and talent” of this select group.

Manchón, born in Seville (Spain), founded a successful virtual assistant firm that was acquired by the microprocessor giant Intel, where she now works as director of intelligent assistance and voice. Vásquez-Lavado, from Peru, overcame a childhood marked by sexual abuse and become a successful PayPal executive.

Among the names on the list is Alicia Abella, assistant vice president of services and technology in the cloud of AT&T. Of Cuban descent, the engineering graduate of Columbia University (New York) wants to use her leadership position to increase diversity in the technology sector.

There’s also Cindy Alvarez, an American of Mexican origin. She graduated from Harvard and is director of user experience on Yammer, the social network for companies acquired by Microsoft. She did not buy her first computer until she started college and had to borrow to do so.

Not everyone on the list is female. Thaddeus Arroyo, a veteran of the communications industry, faced the challenge of improving the wireless infrastructure in Mexico and expanding the number of subscribers to AT&T in that country.

Mexican engineer Alfredo Ayala, who some consider the “Latino Steve Jobs,” is leading the research and development teams at Walt Disney Imagineering, the scientific arm of the entertainment company.  Brazilian engineer Hugo Barra is a key player in the global expansion of the Chinese company Xiaomi, which already dominates the mobile phone market there. Barra told CNET that growing up in Brazil has given him an enormous ability to adapt to any situation.

Also selected was Arturo Bejar, former director of engineering of Facebook, whom The New York Times has dubbed “Mr. Nice.” He recently left the social network to focus on projects related to promoting empathy, compassion and good manners in digital communications.

Rafael Camargo, an Andalusian engineer who worked 51 years for the iconic Razr, StarTAC and Droid phones, now seeks to revolutionize the cellular industry with the Project Ara modular phone from Google. Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian engineer and CEO of Sprint, is determined to change the course of the wireless telephone.

For his part, Leandro Graciá Gil was responsible for coordinating and directing 20 engineers from around the world to develop the final version of the Google Cardboard virtual reality glasses. Similarly, Alex Kipman, an engineer born in Curitiba (Brazil), is the brain behind Kinect and, more recently, Microsoft HoloLens glasses.

The list also includes Ramiro López Dau, an Argentine who runs 33 virtual reality movies for Oculus, and Andrés Martinez, a Mexican engineer who oversees several projects for NASA. A colleague was also honored: Evelyn Miralles, born in Venezuela, is lead engineer of the virtual reality lab at NASA facilities at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Jordi Muñoz is a young Mexican who founded 3D Robotics and runs a successful drones business in Berkeley, Calif. Rafael Reif, of Venezuela, is president of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the most important academic institutions in the world especially in the fields of technology, science and innovation.

Ileana Rivera, from Puerto Rico, is senior director of IT for Cisco and is in charge of choosing phones, computers and software used by workers at the communications networking giant.

Rounding out the list are Luis Sosa, a Venezuelan executive at the helm of DDM Brands, which is working on the ambitious Project Ara at Google, and Marcos Weskamp, Argentine, design director and co-founder of Flipboard and now Uber’s new head of product design.

Together, these 20 individuals are sharing their talents with the world of technology and enriching  the cultural diversity of the United States.

New Pantone App Lets You Create Color Palettes From from Your iPhone

By Chris Costidakis, Associate Art Director 

Pantone has launched an addictive new iPhone app aimed at Instagrammers and digital-savvy designers. The Pantone app lets users create personalized color palettes from selfies and pictures by matching hues in the photos with the 10,000 hues in Pantone’s library.

The app identifies RGB, CMYK and Hex codes and indicates appropriate color schemes to match. Users can create, test and store palettes on designs and materials, and they are easy to share via social media. Other handy features include the ability to name and geotag palettes and then upload them to Photoshop and other design software via Creative Cloud. All these features go a long way to providing what Pantone is calling the “first offering in a new digital suite of solutions for the creative industries.”

The Pantone app is geared at younger designers who can’t necessarily afford to spend hundreds of dollars on Pantone’s color swatch booklets, but it does still come at a cost. Users must pay an $8 USD monthly subscription fee or an annual fee of $60 USD to gain full access to color libraries.

Download Link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pantone-studio/id329515634

Long Copy in 601 Words (and Numbers)

Let’s keep this short. It’s a blog.

But, there are times when long-form writing is called for. If you are writing to seniors, know that they are readers. And, especially before making a buying decision, they want to know all they can know. Imagine your mom or dad and how they would read a booklet before making a major purchase decision. Research suggests their approach would be very different from your own and even more different from your children.

If you are selling yourself at a job interview and the interview was scheduled for a half hour but lasted an hour, what would you think? Sounds like the interview went well.

Would you stand up after thirty minutes and walk out of the room if you were selling yourself, or any product or service? Of course not.

And you shouldn’t stop writing in direct response advertising. You’re engaged in the conversation and it’s rude and unproductive to terminate your conversation prematurely. There is a reason why direct response television is in a longer format than 15 seconds. And, the same reason applies to print or direct mail if you are seeking to close a sale and get an order.

So how can you write copy that will engage the reader from the first sentence to the last?

Here are the top eight tips for better long-copy writing:

  1. Make it personal, relevant and a reward to read. Your reader will appreciate it.
  2. Tell a story. And, make the story about someone, not just something. People are interesting. It’s called a human interest story for a reason.
  3. Pay close attention to your sentence leads. Try action-verb sentence leads (look at this list for examples). Or use transitional sentence leads such as so, and, or … to pull a reader through your copy. And please never start a sentence with the word “the.” Phil Burton, who is possibly the greatest copywriter of our time, said, “Writers beginning sentences with the word ‘the’ are placing signs at the beginning of their sentence saying, ‘Graveyard ahead’. Weak sentence leads are the death of sentences and the morbidity of unfortunate readers.” No, you will NOT find a “the” lead in this blog. Never.
  4. Make good use of extensive punctuation:
    1. “Quote someone”
    2. If you’re excited show it!
    3. Question marks? Absolutely!
    4. Use a pause – give your readers a moment to catch their own thoughts.
  5. Vary your sentence lengths. Some sentences can be long but they should always be clear. And make some sentences short. It works. It’s conversational. See?
  6. Write to one person. Get close. Whisper, don’t shout.
  7. Edit viciously. Justify every word. Find stronger nouns, more vibrant verbs and eliminate any unnecessary adjective or adverb.
  8. Use lists. Number your list instead of using bullets. Your list has a specific number of things you want your reader to know, in order of importance. Using numbers tells your reader you have 7 things that you want them to know. Bullets kill reader interest.

Let the reader get in the last word. Ask a question. Force them to think.

What would be the impact on your organization if you were able to significantly improve internal and external communication?

Listen to and agree with your customer’s thoughts. Make their next steps clear. Call them to action.

Improving your internal and external communication will make a significant impact.

What’s happening, Twitter?

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By: Ethan Thomas, Account Coordinator

Daily users are declining. Total active users are declining. Is it management? Or is it that a picture is worth much, much more than 140 characters?

It really seems as though Twitter is losing its following to Instagram, Snapchat and – though I hate to admit it – Pokémon Go. Instagram rebranded its logo, put a minimalist touch to its interface, and even changed up its newsfeed algorithm. Snapchat has exploded into the realm of paid advertising content, and companies are finally catching up to speed on how to reach customers on the platform. And in less than a month, Pokémon Go has become the biggest game in U.S. history (though its popularity seems to be fading).

All of this is going on and what, Twitter removed links and photos from counting toward the maximum character count? Seems like a pretty boring summer for a social media behemoth.

Don’t worry. Twitter isn’t brooding in the corner while Snapchat and Instagram take over the social media landscape. It’s got a bigger plan. If you haven’t been looking, you could have missed it.

Last fall, the NFL experimented with the first free live streaming of a football game on Yahoo Sports. Yahoo reported that the live stream accumulated 15.2 million unique viewers, 33.6 million video streams and over 460 total minutes of video consumed. The game took place in London, and the most surprising statistic came from somewhere unexpected: 33 percent of the entire audience, just around 5 million unique viewers, were overseas. For a sport dominated by American fan bases, this is huge. Twitter definitely took notice.

Twitter swiftly won the global digital streaming rights for 10 NFL Thursday night games. It beat out big-name competitors such as Amazon and Verizon – two big competitors in the live-streaming market. “This agreement also provides additional reach for those brands advertising with our broadcast partners,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He may not be everyone’s favorite major sports commissioner, but he’s nailed this right on the head.

The potential for advertisers to utilize this medium is enormous. Not only will there be outstanding paid promotion opportunities, but the amount of organic brand-to-consumer connections will set a tone for other major sports in the United States and abroad.

“This is about transforming the fan experience with football,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “People watch NFL games with Twitter today. Now they’ll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights.”

Twitter’s been relatively quiet about this, but with less than 50 days left until kickoff, expect to see brands begin pushing their involvement.

Old School. And Visionary.

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By Tom Hirons, CEO

Phillip Ward Burton was an advertising genius.

Burton’s career started at Proctor & Gamble where he responded to letters from consumers and rose to be the senior creative officer consulting on all Proctor & Gamble brands. He went on to be a professor at Syracuse University, the feeder school for New York agencies. His textbook for advertising concepting and copywriting became the most widely used in the US. His weekly column in Advertising Age, “Which Ad Pulled Best?” popularized his research on advertising perception and explained what factors contributed to advertising effectiveness.

In 1987 the American Advertising Federation wanted to present him with their inaugural Distinguished Educator award and name it the Burton award. He accepted the award but declined to have it named after himself saying, “You never know what scoundrels may follow me.” In reality, he was too humble to have the award named after him.

When Burton reached the mandatory retirement age at Syracuse, Indiana University picked him up. He continued to teach for another 20 years. One day he came to me and said, “I think I’m going to have to quit teaching.” Knowing he was a bit hard of hearing I shouted back to him, “Mr. Burton, why would you do that?” With a smile, he replied, “I really can’t hear the students.” I leaned in and reminded him that what he had to say was so important I didn’t think the students would care. But, he had made his mind up. He asked me to pick up his classes. And, for another 20 years I carried on his tradition.

Phil Burton came from the golden age of advertising. His contemporaries were Burnet, Burnbach, Ogilvie, Reeves and other giants of our industry. His ideas and principles were ground breaking and as relevant today as when he started. Simplicity. Relevance. Humanity. Truth.

So much has changed in our field. Advertising is both a reflection and driver of culture. Digital media has revolutionized how we communicate. Technology has impacted our craft. Public relations and advertising have converged.

Culture has changed. And, Phil Burton would be right at home.

Building Client Relationships One Post at a Time

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By Emily Hayden, Account Manager 

As an account manager at Hirons, I spend quite a bit of time each week monitoring my clients’ social media pages. I act as the front line when it comes to observing and responding to online conversations involving the brands I represent. This takes certain levels of skill and tact in order to maintain the brand’s voice and please its customers.

When monitoring social media, I see it all – the good, the bad and the just plain weird. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of really trying to understand what the original poster wanted to say and the emotions behind it. While it might seem counter-intuitive, social media truly are about relationships. Most posters just want the company to hear what they have to say, whether it be critical or complimentary.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s really easy to see a negative comment online and give a canned response along the lines of “Thank you for your feedback, [NAME]. We will take it under advisement moving forward.” Here’s the thing, though: This doesn’t accomplish anything for anyone. As the account manager, it’s my job to get that feedback to the client in the hopes that its staff can make the necessary changes to improve that customer’s experience. Along with doing that, it’s crucial to provide the customer with a response that shows that the company really does care about fixing whatever might be broken.

On the other hand, as important as it is to respond to negative comments online, it’s equally important to acknowledge the positive ones. I try to never use the same “Thank you” response more than once. I like to authentically thank people for being loyal customers in any way I can. It just makes people feel good to be acknowledged, and it makes me feel good to reach out to people who love the brand as much as I do.

A great client recently gave me the most humbling compliment anyone could give to someone in my position. He thanked me for replying to customers on Facebook in the way that I do – adding that I respond as though I were an actual employee of the company. While that’s an amazing compliment, what he doesn’t realize is how seriously I take the responsibility of managing social media accounts.

As an account manager, I am able to see firsthand how passionately our clients care about their work, and that enthusiasm is contagious. The work we do through Facebook, Twitter and other social channels is our opportunity to help our clients share their passion with their customers and fans on a personal, real-time level. In many ways, social media are the most powerful tools we have for sharing the voice of our clients, and we waste them if we issue a canned, computer-generated response.

My advice: Be a fan of your fans. Share your passion, get more shares!

 

Learning to Code Just Got Easier

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By Chris Costidakis, Associate Art Director

Wouldn’t it be cool to know how to create your own iPhone game? Apple just made learning how to code so simple and fun, a kid could do it!

At Apple Inc.’s World Wide Developers Conference 2016 (WWDC), app developers from around the world gathered to hear the latest announcements from the tech giant and to learn ways to make their apps better.

This year’s conference was full of new firmware updates for iOS for iPhone, macOS for Mac, watchOS for Apple Watch and tvOS for Apple TV as usual. But there was one announcement that stood out to everyone at the conference.…

Swift Playgrounds™ is an innovative new app for iPad that makes learning to code fun and easy for anyone. Swift Playgrounds brings coding to life with an interactive interface that encourages students and beginners to explore working with Swift™, the easy-to-learn programming language from Apple used by professional developers to create world-class apps. Swift Playgrounds includes Apple-developed programming lessons, where students write code to guide onscreen characters through an immersive graphical world, solving puzzles and mastering challenges as they learn core coding concepts. The app also features built-in templates to encourage users to express their creativity and create real programs that can be shared with friends using Mail or Messages or even posted to the web.images

“I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It’s an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity.”

In addition to the lessons, Swift Playgrounds comes with a number of built-in templates to help aspiring developers express their creativity. Students and developers can modify and build on this code to make it their own by adding graphics and touch interactions.images (1)

A preview release of Swift Playgrounds is available to Apple Developer Program members, and a beta release will be available to the public in July. The final version of Swift Playgrounds will be available in the App Store for free this fall.

For more information, including videos, images and demos, visit, apple.com/swift/playgrounds.

 

Source

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2016/06/13Swift-Playgrounds-App-Makes-Learning-to-Code-Easy-Fun.html

 

 

Uhhh … What’s PR and Advertising?

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By Taylor Morton, Amos Brown Intern

When I told my 7-year-old cousin that I am a summer intern at a public relations and advertising agency, her face immediately went blank. She replied, “Uhhh, what’s that?”

As first-graders, we all wanted to be a doctor, firefighter, singer or professional athlete because these were the established norm for that age group. I myself wanted to be a singer and background dancer for Christina Aguilera, but that was very short-lived after quickly finding out I could neither sing nor dance.

Frankly, how many 7-year-olds know anything about public relations? Or advertising? None that I know of.

At some point, we were all introduced to the PR and advertising industry, and some of us were influenced to pursue a career in it. But I’ll be honest: I am 21 years old and just now beginning to understand what public relations and advertising truly are.

As a telecommunications and journalism major, my main focus is gathering and presenting news to the general public. However, I’m learning that advertising and public relations consist more of telling a precise message to a precise audience. The message is then tailored to resonate with other audiences to generate an optimal reaction or behavior.

Though they have different approaches and goals, journalism, public relations and advertising are all merely forms of communications. At my university, Ball State, all fall under the College of Communication, Information and Media.

The industry of journalism, which aspires to impartiality, uses communication to simply inform the public and then allow individuals to create opinions based off the information shared. Advertising and public relations use communication to help share a client’s image, idea or program with targeted audiences.

As an intern, I’m still very new to the industry and still ask, “What’s PR and advertising?” But I’m learning more each day.

Few children learn about journalism, PR and advertising as possible careers. That’s too bad.

Take my cousin. Trying to think of the simplest words to describe my internship, I replied, “Well, it’s a way to communicate certain news and information to certain people.”

Her face began to glow with understanding. Then she said, “Oh, OK. I can do that!”

 

Is Your Celebrity Endorsement a Knockout?

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By Jessica Peine, Communication Management Intern

After losing iconic sports legends Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe, conversations are swirling regarding the impact these individuals have had on the sports world and on society at large. While both men epitomized sportsmanship and were amazing role models in their respective sports, they also left an impact on our world of advertising, creating a dialogue around how athletes and other celebrities contribute to brand recognition.

Ali appeared in advertisements ranging from fish sticks, to d-CON Roach Spray, to an immunization PSA for the New York City Department of Health. Howe tended to keep a lower profile, doing occasional brand appearances and speaking engagements.

Companies, both big and small, often go back and forth about whether or not they should enlist a celebrity spokesperson; while there is no right answer, there are definitely some factors to consider when making that decision. On the positive end, celebrity spokespersons can help build awareness and even influence consumer purchases. A potential consumer might see an endorsement and think, “If Product X is good enough for him or her, then it’s good enough for me.” Celebrities, particularly ones that are rather recognizable, can offer the eye-catching edge you might need to get consumers to listen. A spokesperson could also help breathe new life into your brand, particularly if you are trying to reach a new demographic audience.

On the other end, though, there are some things to be wary of when choosing to use a celebrity spokesperson. One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that their reputation will become entangled with yours. I don’t need to go into specific examples, but we’ve all seen what happens when a celebrity goes off the rails and how that impacts a particular brand. Consumers are also pretty smart when it comes to endorsements; they aren’t going to believe that “Famously Beautiful & Filthy Rich Socialite X” uses6789333 “$5 Drug-Store Makeup Brand Y.” Your spokesperson has to be believable and genuine when they are representing your brand or product.

In order to achieve that genuineness, you might consider enlisting local politicians and change-makers who are viewed as down-to-earth and approachable. These individuals can help position you within your local markets and create opportunities for word-of-mouth advertising.

Celebrity endorsements can be a pretty big toss-up, and they certainly aren’t going to come cheap. National consumer product brands might find some success if they can create a genuine conversation (I really can’t emphasize that enough), but local brands might do better to put their time, energy and resources into other advertising outlets. Ultimately the choice is up to the company whether or not they want a celebrity to represent their brand and hopefully they have a Muhammed Ali rather than a Jared Fogle.

 

Mythbuster: “Spin” Doctors or Storytellers?

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By Brittany Kaelin, Account Coordinator

Oh, so you’re a “spin” doctor?

I swear I hear this question almost every time I tell someone I work in advertising and public relations. Allow me to bust that myth for you – we are not “spin” doctors. Some people think that PR has a negative connotation, but the goal of an agency is not to create a false image of a client’s brand that only portrays them as do-gooders. We want to create an image that accurately represents their company’s values and goals, and we want to help clients be successful with their audiences.

A valuable piece of information I learned during my time at Purdue University was to always admit your mistakes immediately so you can tell the public what happened first. The truth will always come out, and as PR professionals, it’s our job to get it right the first time.

Our aim is not to push nonspecific slander at the general public. We want to tell a story, not a lie. We use focus groups, interviews and analytics to find out who the audience is and what their wants and needs are so that we can meet them. Transparency is key in our profession because if you are transparent, you have nothing to hide which creates trust and effective communication with your publics.

One of the biggest reasons that I decided to work at Hirons was because of something I was told in my interview; “We are here to help tell someone’s story and do meaningful work.” That’s exactly what we do – we don’t “spin” facts to make a favorable impression instead, we research and think critically to create a message that will resonate with the public.

If you asked me today whether or not I’m a “spin” doctor, I would reply, “I’m not a DJ. I’m a storyteller.”