A Day in the Life of a Partner at Hall and Partners

Introducing, Susan Hoxie also known as a Partner at Hall & Partners. Hall & Partners is a global brand consulting agency specializing in brand engagement and communications research. By using a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures.

As someone like myself pursuing in the public relations job field, Hall and Partners is a Public Relations firm found and known worldwide. Having the opportunity to interview someone as successful as Susan Hoxie was fun and eye opening.

In the questions, I touched on; how she got to where she is today, a day in the life of a partner at hall and partners and interesting work her firm is currently working on. Along with those I asked her for any advice for someone new to the job field, and what a successful firm such as that one looks for in new-hires. I contacted her through e-mail and the responses below are her exact words.

Q: Where did you graduate from and what was your degree?

University of Puget Sound, Bachelor of Arts, majored in political science and economics

University of Washington, Masters Information Systems

Q: How did you get to the job you currently work at? / climb the corporate ladder

I had been working at Microsoft for 13 years and was considering my next move.  Another sr. director I respected left Microsoft and went to work for what is now my current employer, a market research agency which services Microsoft called Hall & Partners.  I had great respect for this director and when she recruited me I was excited to work under her leadership at Hall & Partners.  Most people in the market research industry have experience on the client side (working for companies that use the research to make decisions) and experience on the agency side (working for companies that conduct and analyze the data and deliver to the clients.)  I had never worked on the agency side and felt this would round out my career.

Q: Did you know you wanted to work in a Market Research agency?

I originally thought I would go into academia and pursue my PhD.  Then I went to work for a software company as a paid intern while pursuing my Masters.  I intended to work in their MIS department designing/maintaining databases and working on their first intranet. However, as a small company, they also had a need for someone to do analyst relations, competitive intelligence and market research.  I found that I loved it since I was interested in understanding what motivates customers and how they make decisions, as well as competitive strategy. The company offered me a full-time position when I graduated.

Q: What’s a day in the life of a Market Research professional?

  • I manage a team of 20 market research professionals at Hall & Partners in Seattle so my days involve reviewing the work of my team (their market research reports, study designs, analyses.) This team review, as well as people management takes around 40% of my time.
  • About 30% of my time is spent on account management – meeting with our current clients and discussing their business issues and sharing insights from our research to help them solve their business problems. We spend a lot of time on storytelling to help our clients understand their customers and their competitors.
  • The remaining 30% of my time is on new business development – discussing issues with clients and developing proposals for research to address their business challenges. The majority of my business development work is with clients we already have and want to grow, but I spend time trying to win business with new clients as well.  No two days are the same however.

For example, today I’m in the airport in Boston.  I spent the first half of the day in leadership training taught by Harvard Business School professors.  I’m spending the time waiting for my flight responding to emails, and reviewing and managing my calendar.  On the flight, I’ll take a break and listen to an Audible book on my phone.

It’s important to step away from the work and focus on things outside the business.

Q: What’s something your organizations been doing that you find interesting?

One really interesting project we are working on now is helping technology companies better understand how to recruit and retain a diverse workforce.  We have conducted 40 focus groups around the US with Millennials, women, African Americans and Hispanics to understand their needs and wants in the workplace.  We are currently scoping a second phase of this research where we will conduct similar research internationally (in places like the UK, Germany, India, etc.)  This is what we call a qualitative project.  But we also are doing lots of interesting quantitative projects.  For example, we’re working with large airline clients on how consumer view their brand and how that is changing over time.

Q: As someone who wants to follow in your footsteps, what is a skill should I hone in on and perfect? / any advice for someone fresh out of college looking to be successful?

In terms of skill set, the industry is changing very fast.  Having a curious mind is probably the most important thing in our profession

  • being the type of person who wonders why people act the way they do and what’s driving them
  • being the kind of person who likes to learn new things and isn’t afraid to just jump in and learn
  • being the kind of person who uses all the resources at their disposal to educate themselves every day (reading, talking to people, even just doing a search on Google for anything you come across during the day that you don’t know.)

That said, the most important skill is being able to analyze information – whether that’s data or text – and being able to connect the dots.  Being able to analyze lots of different points and integrate the story to provide insights is what we do every day.

When we hire someone for our entry level positions we are looking for:

  • attention to detail
  • great writing skills
  • someone who asks questions
  • people with positive energy and a can do attitude.

We expect our new hires to dig in on every aspect of the business.  We are also looking for candidates who have taken market research courses in school and have a passion for marketing and communications.

Thank you Susan Hoxie for your insight and in depth answers that will be helpful to the readers that want to pursue a job at a successful firm such as Hall and Partners.

Success as a new PR pro with these 7 Barcelona 2.0 updated principles

Barcelona’s Principles 2.0 outline are 7 core principles were created by 140 PR practitioners in 2010 including people from the following companies; Edelman, FleishmanHillard, Ketchum and StrategyOne. With these revisions we can change PR’s past mistakes:

  1. Goal setting and measurements are fundamental
  2. Measure communication outcomes rather than only measuring outputs
  3. Measure the effect on organizational performance
  4. Measurement and evaluation require both qualitative and quantitative methods
  5. AVEs do not show the worth of communications
  6. Social media can (and should) be measured with other channels
  7. Measurement and evaluation should be transparent consistent and valid

These guidelines are specific enough to measure performance and give a reliable outcome. They measure and evaluate communications and PR campaigns and fix prior mistakes.

Goal setting is meant to give you the motivation you need to succeed and measuring communication

outcomes are so that you can learn from your mistakes and measure the people you connected with. Both very important aspects that are just the beginning of a PR professionals job.

Next they focus on measuring the organizations performance and the ‘big picture’ behind it all and how PR can affect the organizations overall performance. Very important when working with a large company with many outlets.

Also when dealing with a company with many outlets measuring the qualitative and quantitative data can be a big aspect of a company’s success. This is personally the one I find most important because you need to be aware of the people your connecting with on the internet, and the people your reaching out to through websites.

The next guideline is Advertising Value Equivalent don’t show the worth of communications, and this one I am very unfamiliar with. According to the guideline definition it means that PR practitioners should just get rid of them it’s the old school way of showing progress and apparently isn’t as necessary in today’s modern PR world.

Social media is a very important PR aspect especially for my internet savvy generation. According to the guidelines this free-paid tool should be used but also measured, which I completely agree with. Connecting with people through social media is a first impression they may get. But also measuring your connections and seeing who your reaching when is important to be able to utilize social media to its fullest.

Measuring performance is key, but according to these guidelines it’s important to compare it with like, and act with integrity, honesty and openness. When working in the PR world you want to make sure you are doing your job to the best of your abilities and to demonstrate the value of your client effectively measuring the success of a job is crucial no matter the complexity.

As someone who is new to the PR industry, and coming in with the hope to succeed I could definitely see these guidelines as useful and trustworthy. I definitely think these updated principles define the PR industry and professionals charge.

 

 

 

 

A College Students Dream Study Session

 

For a college student if you can find a quiet corner to study in, consider yourself lucky. But one that also has food?! That’s unheard of. Thanks to Iron Horse Brewery I was able to experience enjoying a study session in a nice secluded area, but then got served food and drinks at the same time! (Pretty cool right?!)

Walking in I would have never known the study room was there because it’s so secluded and separated from the front. It’s located in the back of the place. I wasn’t the only one that thought that either, if it wasn’t for being told about it, none of us would have known it was there.

The lighting was mood setting, but it was bright enough to be able to do homework in. They had some hip hop playing and there was one point when they played Bruno Mars. I’m one that likes to listen to music while I do homework, it helps me focus, so that was a bonus that it wasn’t completely silent in there.

Sadly I’m not 21, but they had this super cool student deal going where they charged $5 for a dish and a beer. So to ease the pain I ordered a mac ‘n’ cheese and I think that’s the best decision I had made all day.

A secluded room, enjoyable music, and food and drinks… This is only a college students dream! I have definitely found my new study spot. Once I tell all my friends they will definitely agree with me.

All in all I had a very positive experience there and now that I know it exists I will definitely be going more often and telling all my friends about it! I’m just excited to go when I’m 21 because then I can take part in that awesome student deal they had going on.