Two great agencies have become one! Henry Russell Bruce (HRB) and ME&V Advertising have merged to create a combined company of more than 50 people with offices in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Quad Cities. The combined agency represents more than 200 clients across 10 states and offers branding, marketing, public relations, and advertising services in healthcare, higher education and banking, corporate communications and nonprofit fundraising. Take a look around →

HRB's previous site can still be accessed below.


HRB Advertising Agency wrote:December 31st, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Events of 2013

It’s been a big year here at Henry Russell Bruce. We’ve expanded our staff, continued to grow excellent client relationships, celebrated (a lot!) and produced great work that we could not be more proud of. Here are 5 of our favorite events of 2013.Henry Russell Bruce 40th Anniversary Logo

  1. Brando Hills joins the expanding interactive team at HRB as Social Media Specialist
  2.  HRB was named the Best PR/Advertising firm in the Corridor for the 6th time
  3.  Adding to the stellar creative team, Lea Sullivan joins HRB as Art Director
  4.  HRB celebrates 40 years of business in September. Cheers to us!
  5.  HRB adds a new project manager to the mix; Molly Smith joins the HRB team

Here’s to a great 2014!

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Jim Thebeau Jim Thebeau wrote:December 7th, 2012

News About the Best B2B Email Subject Line Character Counts and Keywords a Bit Surprising – 90 Characters or More Work Best

Email Subject Lengths & Open Rates

Photo credit: Flickr user greggoconnell

With all the expert advice on keeping email subject lines creative and snappy, a new study by an email marketing platform provider finds longer works better, with 90 or more characters working best.

It also measured which marketing-related keywords caused more opens, clicks and clicks-to-open, in one case finding the words “app” and “iPad” were above average in opens.

These interesting insights come from Adestra, which analyzed about 1.2 billion B2B emails sent over the past 12 months.

To those businesses sending out electronic newsletters, you may be interested to know that the keyword “newsletter” performed below average in each metric, worse than better performers “news”, “update”, “breaking”, “alert” and “bulletin”.

So if you’re highlighting the word “newsletter” in your B2B email subject lines, you may want to look at this study to get some fresh ideas.

It’s not about either a long subject line or a right keyword; it’s about the right combination of both.

The 102 characters and 21 words in the subject line or title of this post points to why longer is better – it gives you more space to pack in more details so the content is more easily understood. Hopefully, starting the post with an above average keyword like “news” helped pique your interest in reading more.

See more details of the study at

Jim Thebeau
800-728-2656 ext. 121

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Kurt Zenisek Kurt Zenisek wrote:December 22nd, 2010

Google’s New Web-based Operating System

Google ChromeGoogle® gave us an update to what they’ve been up to regarding Chrome OS (announced in July of last year) and they seem to be ready to get serious about the potential of their new operating system. Until now, most updates concerning Chrome OS were highly technical and lacked any details describing what Chrome OS is actually going to be once it’s ready to be used by the public. As part of the announcement, Google launched a website dedicated to Chrome OS that includes videos detailing the primary features and a way to sign up for a chance to test the first set of Chrome-powered notebooks.

Operating System… like Windows & Mac?

Yes and no. It’s an operating system that’s based on the open-source Linux OS, but it’s very different from Windows, Mac and the other variations of Linux. The goal is to make the best operating system that’s built entirely around using the Web, because most people find themselves owning a computer yet only use it for accessing the Internet. Chrome OS’s inherent simplicity lends itself to strive to be as fast, mobile and secure as possible rather than trying to add and support new features that some people might end up using. They’ve been focusing on getting the core of the OS right first, and this leaves Google in a situation where they can now claim that their notebooks start up in just 10 seconds (even though the notebook itself is lower power for the sake of a better battery life).

I want to access my favorite websites & discover those I might like with ease

Enter Chrome Web Store. Google launched their Chrome-centric store as part of the announcement. Chrome Web Store has a decent selection of web apps for its launch and users of the Chrome Web browser will notice that this also offers extensions and themes.

iTunes® users will instantly be familiar with how the store is structured. The “apps” that are available to be installed from the store aren’t much more than bookmarks (considering they’re still sites you access with a Web browser), but they do have some enhanced functionality and added benefits.

  • Installed web apps are able to be “pinned” so they take up less space in the tab bar and are easier to access (great for music).
  • They can also be opened full screen by default (great for limiting distractions and for rich media sites).
  • They also offer a different way to manage your saved websites (allowing bookmarks to be a set of links that you simply want to revisit sometime later whereas installed Web apps are sites that you commonly use or rely on).
  • Web designers are free to make their websites act more like applications without having it seem out of place (sites can offer an app that looks and acts in a much different way than their website even though it’s accessing the same content).
Chrome Web Apps

This is what I'm greeted with when I open my Chrome browser

Do I need to buy a Chrome OS device to use it?

What a marvelous thing that open-source software is. Chrome OS is free to be installed on any device it can run on and it costs nothing to upgrade to the latest version (which isn’t too exciting considering upgrades to Web browsers, which is almost all of what ChromeOS is, have always been free). There might be particular hiccups that one could come across when using Chrome OS on a device not intended to run it, though. For example, Google will be bundling cellular data connectivity along with WiFi in every device in an effort to make it so that they always have an Internet connection. Check out Engadget’s in-depth preview of the Google Chrome notebook if you’re still skeptical that Google will actually be releasing this.

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Web Developer
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Shelby Kraus Shelby Kraus wrote:December 7th, 2010

Would Miss Manners Give You Good Marks for Your Editorial Etiquette?

miss-mannersSomething has been happening lately in my little world of public relations…it is not a new scenario, but it does seem to be getting increasingly worse. It’s a company’s failure to understand a deadline in the media world around them. The sad part is that so often a great opportunity slips by because of corporate layers of approval. Or, is it more about the lack of respect for an editorial deadline?

Yes, we practitioners have been known to wield a magic wand and get extensions on deadlines, but if you become a chronic deadline misser, you will soon be dismissed as a source. Even though you may have the best experts, the leading product in a category or are in the top five of your industry, you still can get passed over for such poor etiquette.

There is etiquette when working with the media, you say?

Absolutely there is etiquette. The daunting part is that you work very hard to build relationships with editors on behalf of your clients, and by missing deadlines chronically it not only puts a scar on their relationship, but yours as well.

Here are some ideas to keep you in good graces:

  • Review editorial calendars each month, identify topics of interest and plan ahead for them.
  • If you’re advertising in a key publication, work with the advertising rep to give you enough lead time on unexpected value adds.
  • Talk with the editors and help them to understand your organization so they know when they should or should not approach you about an opportunity based on subject, but also on turn time.
  • Be prepared. Have all your media kit elements ready to go at a moment’s notice. Better yet, keep them updated and on the press room of your website.
  • Do not overwhelm the journalists, but do be thorough in the materials you send. This will make it easier for them to meet his or her deadline.
  • If a reporter calls you and says it is urgent, call them back the same day. If there is some lead time, please call them the next day to understand what they are looking to cover.
  • Don’t assume you know what the reporter wants.

If you follow a few of these items, you will even win approval with Miss Manners!

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Shelby Kraus
Vice President, Public Relations
Account Manager
800-728-2656, ext. 125

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Megan Jasin Megan Jasin wrote:December 3rd, 2010

Social Media Doesn't Sleep: 10 Reasons to Proactively Monitor Your Brand

social-media-doesnt-sleepWhether you’re a social media novice or expert, it’s important to remember that the Internet never sleeps. While we may need eight hours of rest before returning to work in pursuit of our blog, Internet marketing and public relations goals, there are millions of Internet users who continue to post content when we hit the hay.

With recent changes in search engines and today’s short attention spans, people are now expected to post and promote new content regularly. While automation tools are helping companies and brands share information around the clock, many employees still feel worn out at the end of the day. It’s a lot of work to consistently post and track content on top of our everyday responsibilities, yet it’s more crucial than ever that we monitor what people are saying about us.

Throughout my internship at HRB, I’ve worked on accounts that have needed immediate attention because someone wasn’t listening. A news release wasn’t posted on time, a complaint from a dissatisfied customer slipped past a Community Manager or a competitor beat a client to the punch. I’ve learned these problems can be prevented if we take the time to monitor the Internet and our social media accounts.

Here are 10 reasons why you should proactively and consistently monitor the brands of your company or client:

1) The Point of Need — Information and research is always changing. People are always talking about the latest news and they expect to be kept in the know. It’s important to satisfy these needs and you can do this by following RSS feeds and writing blogs about client events and industry changes. We’ve done this and we’ve heard good reviews from clients and interns who turn to our site for updates and information and can easily find what they’re looking for. (Just be sure to set up blog categories so your website visitors can easily find what they’re looking for!)

2) The Influencer — In today’s business markets the competition is more fierce than ever. Consumers are overwhelmed by the variety of choices they’re given and they’re willing and ready to remain loyalty with one brand, service or product.

Establishing and actively maintaining a presence on Facebook® and Twitter® may seem trivial, but it’s absolutely necessary because your competitors are all doing it. After a prospective client “Googles®” your company, they will immediately turn to social networking websites to see if you’ve built a presence there to listen and engage with others. If you want to be viewed as an influencer, it only makes sense that you engage in networks or outlets that are influential. And right now, that’s Facebook and Twitter.

3) The Crowd — Bloggers, fans and Internet marketing gurus can all be influencers if they have a strong following. Target them when planning your social media campaign or invite them to guest blog for your company or your client’s company. Be sure to respond to their comments promptly. Check out my Friday blog posts—in particular, this post mentioning my Top PR Reads—to see which crowds I follow online.

4) The Competitor — It’s wise to follow, acknowledge and learn from your competitors. They can be huge motivators when it comes to learning about the needs of your mutual target audience.

The goal in using social media isn’t to blab about your own brand, but to create social capital, or a representation of your brand’s “social currency” via online and offline conversations, reciprocity and relationships. We use metrics to determine who’s influential, who we should be following and how we can be unique in our own campaigns.

5) The Crisis — Reading social media updates around the clock helps HRB anticipate, manage and be transparent about PR crises experienced by our own clients and others in our industry. Bottom line: Ignoring crises shows that your agency is disconnected from your audience and may be incapable of dealing with problems head-on.

6) The Campaign Impact — Be sure to measure your ROI and determine if your campaigns are working. Many social media platforms have built-in analytics tools, so educate your team members and your clients about how they work and what they can show you about your clients’ growth and sales progress.

Also, if you’re getting a lot of comments, responses or “Likes” on your blogs or social media pages, this is a great opportunity to showcase your brand’s expertise. Respond quickly and engage with your audience. After all, you can never really be sure who your audience is, and a prospective client may be listening!

7) The Question/Inquiry — As stated above, make sure that your client or your client’s account manager(s) respond quickly and completely to questions and inquiries. These may be posted directly in your news feeds or profile pages, or as direct messages via e-mail or a “Contact Us” form. This can be easy if you designate one person, such as a Public Relations Director or company spokesperson, to respond to such issues.

For the last six months, I’ve been responsible for responding to all questions, comments and concerns about HRB that are posted daily on the company’s social media sites. Sometimes it’s hard to respond to everyone in a timely manner, but it’s been really interesting to see which posts generate the most traffic to our website and which “fans” end up becoming clients.

8) The Problem — Problems are easier to solve when you know: a) that they exist and b) why they’re occurring. Do a little research if you’re getting negative comments or your followers aren’t responding to your social media engagement tactics.

9) The Compliments — Everyone loves to be complimented. Link to your competitors’ social media pages, blog articles and websites on your company’s own social networks to show you’re not full of yourself. Your company may think you’re a leader in your industry, but so do all of your competitors. Show them a little SEO love. Create Twitter lists, as I’ve done for HRB, to follow, acknowledge and compliment them by re-tweeting their tweets.

10) The Complaints — As I’ve stated in previous blogs, listening is the new marketing. Create e-mail alerts that can be sent to you each time someone posts a comment on your social media pages, and if it’s a complaint, quell that individual’s anger by opening up an honest dialogue. Focus on the positives, not the negatives, and take the conversation offline if it requires further attention or a response from a manager. If you truly listen to outside complaints, you have a unique opportunity to learn and change, showing that your company or client is attentive and understanding.

These are just the ways I proactively manage brands. What tactics do you use on behalf of your company or clients?

Megan Jasin
Public Relations Intern

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Kurt Zenisek Kurt Zenisek wrote:December 3rd, 2010

Blurring the Lines Between the Web and Your Browser

Internet Explorer 9 Site Pinning

Internet Explorer 9's new "site pinning" feature

Web browsers are becoming more of an extension of the computer/device’s capabilities than simply being a portal to access and share content with people, and this is allowing the landscape of website design to change along with it. People can now use an online photo service like Flickr® to upload, edit, manage, share, print and pretty much do anything outside of professional photo editing without even needing photo management software. The most extreme example of this idea is that something like Google’s Chrome OS® can actually be reasonable for Google to work on and for people to use.

Google made a great (under 4 minute) video that explains what Chrome OS is, but essentially it’s an operating system (replacing Windows/Mac OS X/iOS) that doesn’t include anything that isn’t necessary to access and use the Internet to it’s fullest. Doing so allows for greater speed optimizations and interface simplicity for those that only use their computers and devices to access the Internet and/or do things that could easily be accomplished using online services (i.e. manage photos via Flickr, play music via Pandora®, work on office documents via Google Docs, etc.). These things wouldn’t exist if the websites that people use today were to still use the precedents set by websites from years ago.

How are things going to change?

One of the things that’s being worked on and discussed is the natural extension of websites into the web browser’s interface and even into the operating system itself. The problem these efforts are trying to resolve is the non-standardized way that websites present interactivity and limiting the level of restrictions that websites have that’s ultimately limiting people from accessing the content that they’re interested in via their preferred avenue.

The beta for Internet Explorer 9 introduced a new feature called “site pinning.” Site pinning allows websites to provide a quicker way to access their site to those using Windows 7 by adding snippets of info and quick links to the Windows taskbar. A menu is shown where the program’s preview thumbnail is usually shown. This can range from an email provider showing the subject lines of the three most recent emails to a simple list of links that point to various sections of the site.

There’s plenty of room for discussion in this area in an effort to help determine the best course of action that considers impacts on usability, security, etc. One of the worst things that could be done is have something approved that turns out to be ill-fated, and any websites that spent time developing for that feature end up having their effort be a waste of time or possibly even have their site break. This deliberate and fully thought out advancement of web standards is what leaves features like natural extension of the browser’s interface to be merely proof-of-concept until agreed upon.

W3C Menu Tag Working Draft

W3C Working Draft of the menu tag

HTML5 has a working draft of a feature that would allow websites to add a toolbar to the browser’s top bar only while viewing that specific site. This means sites like Google Docs could have a full screen view that attaches a toolbar that includes items that mimic those that can be seen in Microsoft Word. Doing so would mean that the look and feel will automatically fit the computer/device that’s being used instead of the look and feel that Google created themselves. It also provides greater control for the user (i.e. they could set various preferences for these toolbars that would then be applied to every site they visit automatically rather than having to do so on a per-site basis, resulting in a more unified and custom-tailored interface). This feature isn’t implemented in any web browsers yet due to the potential malicious activity where sites might try to trick users into thinking they’re doing something that’s being advised by their browser software (such as updating to a new version of Flash) and not the website that they’re currently viewing (such as installing malware).

The most common question

Why focus on building applications within a web browser when they can be built like traditional programs that are generally restriction-free and run directly from the operating system?

I’m going to have to keep my response to this quite brief as this article has grown to be much larger than I had originally anticipated. This is a valid point that the developer needs to put into consideration. Some of the more prevalent advantages of building an application online is the fact that rolling out upgrades reaches the entire user-base at once without any required intervention on their part, the inherent communicative aspect of it is well established and practically real-time, and any remaining disadvantages are being targeted in an effort to make them on par with other development environments. Running directly from the operating system will always have it’s advantages (i.e. performance), but the ever changing trade-offs are leaving web development as a valid option for many programmers, designers, and intellectual property owners. I do intend on dedicating a future article to this question so I can go more in depth while addressing this topic.

Kurt Zenisek
Web Developer
800-728-2656 ext. 123

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Megan Jasin Megan Jasin wrote:November 19th, 2010

Using the Funnel Technique to Build Superior Branding and Advertising Services

Using the Funnel Technique to Build Superior Branding and Advertising ServicesYesterday during a meeting with HRB’s CEO, I learned a great deal about why some agencies are failing without the help of the economy. According to Jim, the main reason is because they don’t market their brand using the “funnel technique.” This is a tactic we have been using for our marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and advertising projects and telling our clients about to help them grow their business and improve their services.

The funnel technique involves three simple steps:

1) Determining a brand‘s mission and goals (putting ideas into the funnel)

2) Choosing the best strategic approach for marketing and promoting the brand (weeding out research and ideas so only the best ideas begin to flow through the funnel)

3) Actively engaging/re-engaging with customers and key prospects on behalf of the brand’s mission and goals (creating brand loyalty via a smooth transition between initial offers, additional services and added values).

At HRB, we are very careful to select only the best ideas to put into the funnel. We inspire team members to seek out new advertising venues, read new publications and avoid recycled content. We don’t use the economy as an excuse for failure, but rather as a challenge and opportunity to own an industry and trump competitors by pushing our creative juices to the limit. And it’s because of this attitude that our client retention numbers and our clients’ customer retention numbers are high—everyone’s hungry for fresh insight to throw into the funnel and the funneling process itself .

Throughout my internship I have used the funnel technique everyday. Whether I’m strategizing new ways to keep HRB’s audience and customers engaged in our blog, social media marketing platforms, website or growing portfolio, my job is to help promote the HRB brand and let people know that our ideas are revolutionary.

I think it’s so easy for me to promote this marketing technique because I believe in it. Recently I’ve been asked to spearhead the organizational and branding process for HRB’s seminar series, and I’ve had to strategize everything from advertising outlets to the presentation schedule and speaking topics to which customers and prospects we are going to target. I will need to think about the individual pieces that go into planning a seminar as well as how the pieces all fit together and continue to flow through HRB’s brand funnel.

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Like my colleagues, I am motivated and excited to start the research for this project. So far I have compiled everyone’s ideas into a six-page strategic plan. My next steps will include:

1) Creating checklists for the steps we’ll be taking to plan and execute each 2011 seminar

2) Creating a master editorial calendar

3) Creating contact and media lists

4) Writing and posting weekly polls on our blog, Facebook® page, Twitter® stream, various advertising outlets and Web services.

The goal here is to research industry trends as well as the behaviors and thoughts of our audience, clients and prospective seminar registrants to determine what events/speaking topics they would like to attend, how HRB can improve about its seminar series and process, and how to continue engaging with the community. Simply being organized and having good research and ideas isn’t enough, though. Everything needs to tie together and flow smoothly through the funnel.

To quote Seth Godin in his recent blog, “Understanding the Funnel,” “Embracing the funnel changes the way you treat people. And treating different people differently is what consumers demand.” That’s what we hope to do and inspire our clients to do by offering our expertise in these seminars. Care to join us?

Megan Jasin
Public Relations Intern

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Kurt Zenisek Kurt Zenisek wrote:November 16th, 2010

FeedBurner Finally Gets Google-fied

FeedBurner Google® Update

FeedBurner before and after the update (just look at those statistics!)

The concept of subscribing to Web content first started to take off with the widespread adoption of the RSS Feed in 2005 and 2006. These feeds were capable of containing text, images, audio, videos, assorted files and information describing each entry (even GPS coordinates).

This new found technology lead to people wanting to accomplish many different things. As a result, website designers had to adhere to numerous different types of logic and naming schemes just to get their content available to those that wanted it. Unsurprisingly, everyone rejoiced when FeedBurner opened to the public to alleviate these headaches and more.

FeedBurner made it possible for websites to provide a single feed that’s programmed and maintained in the way that they prefer that’s then automatically published out to the world in a way that universally available and fully accessible. This single service was great in it’s own right, but people wanted more and wanted to know more about how people are accessing their content.

FeedBurner proceeded to add features that allowed users to easily save, share, and subscribe to their favorite sites. For the publishers, they added analytics and instantaneous distribution of their content. The high level of activity and large user-base caught Google’s attention, and they ended up acquiring FeedBurner for $100 million. This was exciting news at the time, but Google seemed to have put them on the back burner. That is, until this latest update.

So what did they change?

Real-time RSS Feed Analytics

They're serious when they claim that it's real-time data.

In traditional Google fashion, they focused on improving speed, granularity of information, and providing real-time data. Here’s a quote from their announcement:

“You can for the first time get stats on how much traffic your feed items are receiving from Twitter, as well as feed reading platforms like Google Reader in one place. Again, all within seconds of posting your content. Ping? Pong! Yep. That fast.”

I must admit, the novelty of seeing the graph update continuously right in front of my face with the latest information hasn’t worn off yet. The visual aesthetic has also been revamped to fit in with Google’s other services. You can opt-in to access the beta by clicking on the “Try out the NEW (beta) version!” at the top of the FeedBurner page, but it isn’t all good for early adopters.

This is still a beta, and unlike many of Google’s services that are in beta for years at a time, this one actually seems to deserve the title. A link to access to original design replaces the link that you click to try out the beta, and this is a key feature due to the fact that many essential features are not present in the new beta. You will have to switch back-and-forth to access any kind of feed and/or service management. This beta only addresses the analytics portion of FeedBurner. With that in mind, it’s probably worth checking out to see where they’re taking the service.

Kurt Zenisek
Web Developer
800-728-2656 ext. 123

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Jim Thebeau Jim Thebeau wrote:November 16th, 2010

Scribe and Pontiflex Make SEO Easy

Study your customers' behaviors before you start targeting them.If you and your clients are interested in applying search engine optimization (SEO) to your blogging, user data and mobile communications efforts, then this blog is a must-read.

Not only have we been reading some interesting news about trends in blogging and blog optimization, but we’re learning how and why there will soon be a major shift in the way companies acquire user data and present their brand via mobile applications.

Technorati’s 2010 State of the Blogosphere Report Discusses New Trends in Blogging

The significant growth of mobile blogging is a key trend that Technorati® noticed and analyzed this year in its sixth annual blogosphere report.  Taking a deeper dive into the behaviors of the entire blogosphere (with a focus on female bloggers), this year’s topics included: brands embracing social media, traditional media vs. social media, brands working with bloggers, monetization, smartphone and tablet usage, the importance of Twitter® and Facebook®, niche blogging and changes within the blogosphere over 2010.

Like to Make Your Blog Content More Searchable? Optimize it!

If you are not applying strong SEO techniques to the content of your blog, there’s an app for that—an online service, actually. It’s called Scribe®. Scribe analyzes your natural, reader-focused content and tells you how to gently tweak it to spoon feed search engines based on 15 SEO best practices. It actually provides you with a numerical percentage rating for your optimization and shows you how to improve your SEO results. You can select from a variety of subscription and feature options.

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Why There Will be a Shift From Buying Impressions to Acquiring User Data

Zephrin Lasker is the CEO and co-founder of Pontiflex®, a digital Cost Per Lead generation company. His company asserts that trends in media consumption and media buying have got to change to increase the effectiveness and growth of advertising efforts. Since this also improves SEO results and given there has been such a profound change in the way people consume media, it stands to reason that marketers need to recalibrate the approach they take to their branding campaigns.

In a recent article he wrote for MediaPost®, 4 Trends That Will Shape Q4, Year Beyond, he claims that, to date, branding campaigns have relied on broadcasting a message to a universe of anonymous people. Marketers have traditionally purchased impressions—on TV, radio or the Internet for their online banners. But that’s an approach that’s not relevant in a user-centric world. He makes some very good points here. 

Mobile Apps are Growing Rapidly, But Good User Experience is a Must

Did you know that a new online study conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by EffectiveUI in October found that the majority of mobile phone users who download and use applications choose them based on good recommendations and user experience? That’s news to the companies and organizations who are releasing them. They’re assuming that people are downloading and using their applications based on their opinion of the brand name. So where is the disconnect happening?

According to Rebecca Flavin, CEO of EffectiveUI, “Mobile applications are the sure fire way to extend a brand. It’s time for organizations to understand how to fully leverage the mobile channel and optimize a user-center approach to drive adoption, as well as reinforce and drive brand loyalty.” Read this article from the Bulldog Reporter about why 40 percent of mobile app users are disappointed with the current apps from their favorite brands.

What are your thoughts about these studies? I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section below.

Jim Thebeau
800-728-2656 ext. 121

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Megan Jasin Megan Jasin wrote:November 12th, 2010

Success: A Synonym for "Effective Communicator"

Words make the world go 'round. Learn to be an effective communicator.Since my diary-writing days I have been obsessed with words. English was always my favorite subject and reading my favorite pastime.

Throughout college that passion has developed into a love for all types of communication, whether it be through magazines, blogs, social media, hard news, the spoken word or networking events. I’ve taken classes in non-fiction writing, literature, public relations, marketing and interpersonal communication, revising my relationship with the English language along the way. But even when my Type A personality and penchant for details get the best of me, I continue to write because I know that words make the world go ’round.

Without words, we couldn’t read. If we can’t read, we can’t write. If we can’t write, we can’t communicate. And if we can’t communicate, we’re in danger of being uneducated and therefore prone to misunderstandings. Words are not only vital for the advertising copy that educates us about news, issues and brands around the world, but they’re crucial for creating and maintaining relationships between people.

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My favorite blogs from this week focus on how words influence people and actions:

If You Were Facebook®, Would You Let Google® Make You Open Your Contacts List? Company spokespersons are authorities of the written word. So perhaps Google® and Facebook® should end their “war of words” and figure out how to communicate betterboth in real life and via the Internet. The SocialTimes and I agree that there’s a definite untapped potential for growth here. It’s a shame that the spokespersons for both brands just can’t stop quarreling.

Make Your Press Materials User-FriendlyA report from the Nielsen Norman Group asserts that there are 5 basic reasons why a journalist visits a press page. Not surprisingly, most of these reasons have to do with spelling and grammar.

The Tech Industry’s PR Problem This article by PRBreakfastClub argues that tech people have no clue how to talk like normal humans when describing the value of their products or services. Why is this and how can they fix this problem? Technology is a growing industry and it’s hard to sell something if the public doesn’t understand what you’re offering.

What Every PR Rookie Ought to be Doing One of the skills that Manny Otiko suggests for PR rookies is, of course, to keep their writing skills fresh. With thousands of job losses in the publication industry since 2008, many editors are turning to PR professionals to write content. Practice makes perfect, right?

Word Vomit: Topics That are Better Left Unsaid If you’ve ever attended a networking event, you know that what you say and how you say it is a direct reflection of your intelligence and sense of professionalism. This brief list from blogger Christina Khoury suggests topics you may and may not want to bring up during your next chapter meeting.

That’s it! Check back next Friday for more interesting reads!**

**As always, feel free to check out my team member page to read my other blogs or share your thoughts in the comments section below. I also share my favorite blog posts via my Google Reader account (Jace122) and my personal Twitter handle @IowaHawkeyeMeg.

Megan Jasin
Public Relations Intern

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