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Welcome to our blog.

We love to write.


DH Presented with the 2019 Spokane Internship Guide Business Award

DH is thrilled to accept the 2019 Spokane Internship Guide Business Award from our friends at Spokane Workforce Council.

DH Mom Blog

One of the things we were most thankful for this year were the growing families of two DH team members.
Sparks social marketing logo paired with DH logo.

PNSMA SPARKS 2019 Preview

SPARKS 2019 is an annual conference hosted by the Pacific Northwest Social Marketing Association (PNSMA) for those working in social change marketing.
Mallory Peak and Christine Varela in front of their Social Change Marketing presentation.

PRSA Icon 2019 – Star Wars and Social Change

Mallory and I had a great time presenting, and while we were there, we had the opportunity to attend sessions led by some of the top industry leaders in the country.

Social Media All-Stars

Last month, Tyler and I attended the Puget Sound Social Media Summit which brought together public agencies to discuss best practices and industry trends in social media strategy.
Michelle Hege of DH alongside Melissa Thoemke oh Washington State HCA.

Influencing Behavior for Social Good at NASMC 2019

At this year’s North American Social Marketing Conference the major theme was Influencing Behavior for Social Good. This international conference held in Ottawa, CA welcomed over 150 delegates from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom who were there to discuss the latest trends in social change marketing and to exchange ideas.

Facing Public Health Issues: Takeaways from WSPHA 2019

The Washington State Public Health Association’s 2019 annual conference (wspha) was definitely one to remember. Surrounded by thought leaders in the public health sector, we came away with one major takeaway – Washington is ahead of the curve when it comes to facing public health issues head on.

PNSMA Fall Forum: Traffic Safety Culture & Social Change Marketing

I currently sit on the board of directors for the pacific northwest marketing association (PNSMA) and love the opportunities to work alongside other communications professionals and researchers to create an impact in our community. Recently, I attended PNSMA's quarterly Fall Forum.

An Interview with Debbie Sterling, GoldieBlox CEO

Last week, I attended the Association of Washington Business’s (AWB) Annual Policy Summit. AWB, Washington’s largest and oldest statewide business association, brings together members from businesses across Washington every year at this event to help them gain insights on trade policy, small business leadership, entrepreneurship, and engage in high-level, statewide policy discussion.

Health Care Marketing: SHSMD 2019 Recap

Last week, Andrei and I travelled to Nashville to attend the 2019 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development conference (SHSMD). The conference focused on health care marketing and trends we are seeing within the industry.

Insight from State of Reform

Last week, over 300 people came together at the 2019 Inland NW State of Reform Health Policy Conference in Spokane. Representing diverse backgrounds—including providers and payers, elected officials and policymakers, marketers and communicators, public health professionals and social workers—we gathered to share insight and discuss the current health care landscape.

A pivotal moment in the opioid crisis

In recent weeks, we've seen a series of developments in the United States' ongoing efforts to address the opioid crisis. Between the $572 million Johnson + Johnson settlement in Oklahoma and the Sackler family offering $3 billion with Purdue Pharma filling for chapter 11 bankruptcy, the floodgates are opening for a greater degree of accountability around this issue.

The Digital vs Traditional Media Fallacy

Too often digital media is being framed as diametrically opposed to traditional media, when in fact, they both play a unique role. And yes, we’re saying that in 2019. Before we dive into that, let’s look at a few other realities across paid media. We are no longer looking ahead to a digital-first media landscape.

When an Agency Becomes Agile.

In mid-2018, DH closed down shop for a week of trainings in Agile methodology. A lot of organizations describe themselves as “agile” in some context, but for DH, this methodology marked a revolutionary change in our approach to developing strategy, collaborating with clients and executing work.

Our Take: 2019 Life Science Summit

Last month, Mallory and I took part in the 2019 East West Life Science Summit at the Davenport Hotel in Spokane. The annual event is presented by Life Science Washington, a 500-member trade association of innovators, business leaders and research institutions working together to grow the state’s life science industry.

Lessons Learned from 22 Years of DH

Last month, Greater Spokane Incorporated invited me to tell the DH story at its “Wine at Barrister” event. I’ve told DH’s founding story many times, but this was the first time I’d told it in front of an audience.

Four Traits of Emerging Leaders

In March, I had the opportunity to attend the IPREX Global Leadership Conference in Dublin. DH is a partner in IPREX, a global network of 65 independently owned communications and marketing firms.

5 Dos and Don’ts in Media Pitching

Last week, I attended the 2019 Portland PRSA Communicator’s Conference. The focus of the one-day conference was communicating through chaos, with several sessions detailing case studies and best practices for communicators.

David vs Goliath: 5 ways hospitals can thrive in competitive markets

Being the biggest doesn’t make you the best. While larger health systems have many advantages, including war chest-sized marketing budgets, there are proven strategies for smaller hospitals and health care systems to succeed in competitive markets.

Transit Superstars: APTA 2019 Recap

Earlier this month I attended the 2019 American Public Transit Association (APTA) annual conference. I was there to keep tabs on the latest trends in public transit — and to spend time with friends!

What can employers do to address the opioid crisis?

Last week I attended the annual Health Care Forum from Greater Spokane Incorporated and moderated by our own Michelle Hege. The focus was near and dear to my heart — how Washington and our communities are addressing the opioid crisis.

Digital Marketing Statistics Shaping 2019

I recently posted a blog summarizing the biggest ideas I took away from this year’s Digital Summit event. I’ve since received several questions about specific trends shaping the digital landscape, so I wanted to share a few key stats I heard at the conference with implications for your digital program.

Digital Summit 2019 Recap

Last week I attended the 2019 Digital Summit in sunny Phoenix, Arizona (a welcome reprieve from the snow-pocalypse in the Pacific Northwest, I might add).

DH Video Production Studios

Video has gotten kind of important in marketing. Like, it accounts for 82% of all consumer internet traffic. We’ve been creating video for decades, but in the last few years we’ve amped up production for advertising campaigns, brand launches, advocacy and other public engagement.

Health Care in the 2019 State Legislative Session

On January 10th, nearly 800 providers, payers, conveners, elected officials, policy wonks – and a few communicators – came together in downtown Seattle at the State of Reform to discuss the current health care landscape in Washington state and what to expect this coming year from our government officials as it relates to health care policy.

DH 2018 Year in Review

2018 was a big year for our firm, our clients and the marketing industry. So, we wanted to share a recap of some of the biggest projects, industry news, best practices and other big news from the year.

Driving behavior change in Washington State one person at a time

Can small steps create major change? That's the question Amy Blondin, Chief Communications Officer for the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) and I explored last week in a presentation we gave at the annual SPARKS Conference in Seattle.

Australians & Americans Doing Business: The Culture Battles

Andrei was recently featured in a blog from one of our IPREX partner firms, Wells Hasley Mayhew, Alongside Alexandra Mayhew. They chatted about cultural dynamics driving how companies are doing business on either side of the Pacific.

A Field-Guide to Generational Health Care Marketing

By now hospital marketers know that different types of messages and varied tactics are needed to reach patients from different generational groups. But do hospitals need entirely different marketing strategies to reach millennials vs boomers?

The State of Transit: Building Value

Because transit is a community investment subject to public approval, transit agencies have a responsibility to demonstrate a return on that investment—not just to its users, but to its community leaders and the voting public.

EWU Students Benefit from Desautel Scholarship

Jim and Cher Desautel, the original zealots and founders of DH, are starting a scholarship for communications students at Eastern Washington University (EWU).

DH Community Impact

Our mission statement at DH is to empower people, causes and organizations to make an impact. In the last three years alone, DH team members have served on 32 board positions and been involved in 44 causes. Take a look.

Patient Experience – whose role? Everyone’s.

From the outside, responsibilities of hospital departments seem clear. Physicians and members of the clinical care staff provide services. Customer Service makes sure patients are informed on where to go, where to park, and how to pay.

Field Notes from SHSMD 2018 – The Future of Hospital Marketing

Technology is driving systematic change not only in health care, but in the ways health providers market their services. Here’s what Christine learned at SHSMD 2018.

AWB Policy Summit Takeaways

Last week I attended the Association of Washington Business’s Policy Summit. It’s an annual event that attracts business leaders from around the state to focus on policy issues of importance to employers. I was honored to serve as the Chair for the 2018 Policy Summit event and wanted to share some highlights from the experience.

The State of Transit: Recruiting a New Workforce

With low unemployment, the recruitment and retention of qualified employees is taking a front seat. An organization that thinks strategically and proactively about how to attract and keep employees will gain the leading edge during the current job boom.

The State of Transit: Communicating the Value of Technology

Transit is one our specialties at DH. From King County Metro to Spokane Transit Authority, we do work with agencies across Washington State including public engagement, workforce recruitment and strategic planning.

A Conversation with Harry Burgess

If you’ve swung by our creative services department in the last month or so, you may have noticed a new face. Along with a new, distinctively English voice. If you haven’t, it’s our pleasure to introduce our newest Graphic Designer, Harry Burgess. We sat down to ask him a few questions about his background and how he ended up here at DH.

How Inland Northwest Community Foundation became Innovia Foundation

This week, Inland Northwest Community Foundation (INWCF) celebrates becoming Innovia Foundation. After months of collaboration, DH is proud to stand by Innovia Foundation’s side as they officially adopt their new identity.

DH World Tour 2018

We're making our way across the country (and the globe!) speaking and learning about the future of communications, health care and traffic safety this year. So, we wanted to recap the big ideas from our presentations so far in 2018.

Learnings from Washington State’s opioid abuse prevention campaign.

The opioid crisis is sweeping through the U.S., touching nearly every community in our country. In areas of Washington State, opioid overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental deaths—more than firearms and car accidents.

IPREX Global Leadership Conference

Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the IPREX Global Leadership Conference in Chicago. If you don't already know, DH is a partner in IPREX - a global network of 65 independently owned communications and marketing firms.

#MeToo is here to stay

The #MeToo movement has swept through Hollywood and politics. If you think it’s going to stop short of corporate industry, think again. #MeToo has become a collective ethos within our society and has touched every community in the nation.

A Conversation with Alex. Evans

We can’t wait for you to meet our newest team member Alex. Evans (yes, that’s an abbreviation for Alexandra). She comes to us after serving seven years in the Obama administration. We asked her how her career unfolded and what brought her to DH. We got a lot of cool stories.

Riverfront Park Brand

Building a brand is never a walk in the park, but when developing a new identity for the heart of a city (that also happens to be a park), it takes a particularly thoughtful approach.

A Conversation with Andrei: IPREX Global President

We’re excited to announce that DH Partner Andrei Mylroie was recently elected Global President of IPREX, an international organization of independently owned firms like ours. We sat down with Andrei to talk about why he got involved and to ask a bit more about IPREX.

A Conversation with Molly McNamara

We’re proud to introduce you to our newest Account Coordinator, Molly McNamara. Molly comes to us from Gonzaga University where she majored in public relations. She was a contract employee through the summer, and now that she’s a full-time employee, we sat down to share a little about her.

A Conversation with Danajo Cole

Meet Danajo Cole, our new Director of Finance. Danajo, who joined DH in the summer of 2017, isn’t your run-of-the-mill number cruncher. She’s a Controller who’s owned an advertising firm and been CFO of an international manufacturer. Here’s a bit more about her story in her own words.

A Conversation with Linda Jones

Meet Linda Jones, our newest Art Director. She joined our team this summer so we sat down to ask her a few questions about how she got started in the industry, her unique design aptitudes and what makes her tick outside the office.

Congrats to STA and EWU on SPARK Awards!

Last week DH attended the Spokane Regional MarCom Association’s annual Spark Awards, celebrating the best marketing projects and campaigns in our region. We were excited to host two of our clients, Spokane Transit Authority (STA), and Eastern Washington University (EWU) as they won the two biggest awards of the show!

2017 DH Calendar—Judy

Our creative services team is always making something cool for clients. But as we headed into 2017, we wanted to make something that showcased the wide range of our six designers. So we decided to make a standing letterpress calendar. Each designer was tasked with two months to design any way they wanted. This is the result.

2017 Trends in Marketing and Public Relations

Cheers to the New Year! As we launch into 2017, we asked a few members of our team for some of the biggest trends they’re seeing in marketing and public relations. Here’s what we heard.

Hashtags: Art of the Dual Wield

One of the most common questions I get in social media trainings is, "How do I get my posts in front of more users?" After all--Facebook in particular is making it tougher for content from brands to be seen, sinking them lower in the newsfeed algorithm. Hashtags are low-hanging fruit to tap into wider, trending, timely conversations happening on social platforms. That's all hashtags are, of course--a way to categorize conversation topics. The hashtags featured most in posts, trend.

A Conversation with Mindy Gagné

Mindy has had an interesting and varied background—from filming tankers refueling with the Air National Guard to collecting fur samples as a biology intern. She’s done a little of everything, which means she fits right in at DH. She loves the creative atmosphere of agency life and is always willing to jump in and lend a hand.

5 easy ways to improve patient experience

Even if your organization doesn’t have a comprehensive patient experience program, there are some fundamentals you can bring to your organization. Here are the five easy ways you can help your organization engage in improving the patient experience journey.

A conversation with 3 presidents

Spokane is fortunate to have a close-knit and growing community of marketing, public relations and creative professionals. There are three major associations for these folks to go for professional development—Spokane Regional MarCom Association, the Greater Spokane Public Relations Society of America, and American Advertising Federation Spokane.

Why you should invest in "shared" media campaigns

Every once in a while we run into a marketing statistic that blows our collective minds, at least at face value. I call it Mic-Drop-Math--a stat that reflects a potential game-change across the industry.

Why you should invest in “shared” media campaigns

Every once in a while we run into a marketing statistic that blows our collective minds, at least at face value. I call it Mic-Drop-Math--a stat that reflects a potential game-change across the industry.

5 brands that won (or lost) the 2016 Olympics

There's always attention on the games, but with so much drama this year, which brands communicated a strong message? Take a look at our picks, and notice how every campaign name is a hashtag... Interesting.

A conversation with Shireen Khinda

A few years ago, we were fortunate enough to have Shireen as an intern—and we’re lucky enough that she returned to us full-time at the beginning of this year! Though she sits at the front desk, she’s often behind the scenes, helping us keep everything running smoothly. Meet Shireen!

A Conversation with Nico Archer

Nico joined DH in March. The great thing about Nico is he’s both a leader and a team player. He’s comfortable managing large accounts and coming up with big ideas, but he’s also willing to dive in wherever he’s needed. He epitomizes collaboration and believes putting more heads together creates a richer product. We’re excited he’s on our team.

A Conversation with Beth Hegde

Beth joined us as a freelancer during a particularly busy time at DH. We liked her so much, we asked her to join us full time. She is a pro at PR, a thoughtful team member (who, for instance, always cleans out the fridge when the rest of us forgets), and just an all-around good person, who cares deeply about her coworkers, her clients, and the world.

A Conversation with Sean Finley

Sean joined our team in March, and he’s jumped right in. A film fanatic and a talented designer and filmmaker, he brings skills and positivity to every project. We don’t think we’ve ever laughed so hard in a brainstorm until Sean joined us. Allow us to introduce you.

A conversation with Kaelynn Crume

Kaelynn joined our team as an intern, and we liked her so much, we didn’t let her go. She’s been a graphic designer at DH for over a year now, and she started full time in January. We have loved getting to know her. We think you will too.

4 characteristics your spokesperson needs in a crisis

How do you pick the right spokesperson during a crisis? It depends. Sometimes a C-suite leader makes sense simply because of his or her title. Other times topical knowledge trumps an impressive title.

DH is hiring 2!

DH is currently hiring 2 new team members. We have a team of 21 people and are looking for talented people to join our team. We work with an impressive list of clients from all over the Northwest and beyond. We are looking for advertising and marketing professional with at least 5 – 10 years experience working on integrated campaigns and projects.

A Year to Celebrate

We had a great year at DH in 2015. We grew a lot as a firm, did a re-brand, added some new team members, and supported many wonderful clients. And it’s been a big year for us personally, with fun trips, new experiences, and big changes. Our team wanted to share some highlights from the last year—professional milestones, lessons learned, and updates about what’s new in our lives.

Are you ready?

Crises can come with little or no warning. Communication professionals need to be ready with a plan. What will we do in the first few minutes of a crisis? What will people want to know? Who will act as spokesperson?

5 Ways to Get Social During a Crisis

Social media and crises go together like peanut butter and jelly. These channels feed people’s need for immediate information and answers and are unique in that they’re perhaps the only place where all your audiences come together—customers, employees, organizations, the general public.

Employees first in a crisis. Pinky swear?

You’re in crisis mode. The adrenaline is pumping. You’re gathering facts, fielding calls and trying to say and do all the right things. Please, whatever you do, don’t forget your employees.

3 Factors Patients Use to Choose a Hospital

Competition is stiff among hospitals in the U.S. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 75 percent of all hospitals have a competitor within 15 miles. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important for hospitals to differentiate from one another.

Crisis Communications: Not if, but when.

We’ve all heard the saying “It’s not a matter of if, but when.” Yet many organizations don’t remember the last time they looked at or updated their crisis communications plan. Or worse yet, they don’t have one.

Digital: Building Online Ecosystems

When a firm says they do “digital” in 2015, that could mean any number of services: web development and design, online advertising, social media programs, email marketing, robust content marketing—and a lot more. The trouble is none of these digital tactics can live in a silo anymore. To be effective, a program must integrate all these services into a flowing digital ecosystem.

Haters rejoice? How brands should prep for Facebook's incoming "Dislike" button.

“Not every moment is a good moment,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg this week in announcing his platform’s long-awaited and oft-demanded “Dislike” button. Sometimes people need to Dislike to “express empathy” around a sad or frustrated post, he continued.

A Conversation with John Mujica

We are stoked to introduce you to John Mujica, DH’s new graphic designer. He joined our team a few months ago, and we love working with him. He’s kind, soft-spoken, thoughtful, and an amazing designer. Allow us to introduce you to John.

The Worm and the Meatball

I just came across this article about the NASA identity system. It’s a great story and one worth reading, especially if you like the old school, Swiss modern look. But the real story is more than just a tale of a logo. Call me nerdy, but I loved this feature—it tells the very human story of how the logo came into being, overcame resistance to become widely accepted, but in the end was taken out by subversives within the organization. In a way, it’s something many of us can relate to.

A Conversation with Julie Smetana

Julie Smetana just joined our team as Senior Graphic Designer. We’re already in love with her creative energy and inspired by her adventurous attitude. Allow us to introduce you!

5 ways for hospitals to improve patient experience

Today, wowing patients with a positive experience is critical—only 54 percent of healthcare consumers tell peers about a positive experience compared to 70 percent of retail and 66 percent of banking customers. Consumers are less forgiving of providers with whom they have had a negative experience and seem to recall the bad experiences longer.

Remebering a Friend: Tom Fritz

Spokane lost a giant this week. We had the privilege of working with Tom Fritz over the years on several key community issues, and we will miss our partnership and friendship with him dearly. We wanted to honor his memory by sharing some of the lessons we learned from Tom.

Research: Uncovering Human Behavior

At DH, we have a passion for research. In fact, we think it’s the best start to any project. We don’t guess how an audience perceives an issue. We define it. We use research for a variety of reasons, including testing assumptions, uncovering target audience perceptions and drivers of behavior, message and creative concept testing, and determining a baseline trend against which to measure progress over time.

Advertising: Opportunities in Storytelling

One of DH’s core services is advertising. True, advertising often exists solely to sell something (a product, service or project) or to build an image, but we believe it can be so much more. It is a business strategy and an important expression of an organization’s brand.

Branding: The Courage to Be Authentic

One of DH’s core services is branding. We believe there is no greater investment than in an organization’s brand. It’s how you show up in the world—how you tell your story and how you set yourself apart.

Blazing through Award Season

At this year’s Spokane Regional MarCom Association’s Spark Awards Ceremony, DH won five awards, two of which were the top honors of the night. We created a logo for PRIDE Prep, the first public charter school in Spokane, that played with the word “pride” by depicting a pride of lions. We created the logo to evoke the feeling of a safe, nurturing place to grow and learn.

PR: The Art of Engagement

One of the services DH offers is public relations. You might say it’s how we got our start—that it’s part of our DNA. But PR is more than a service. It’s a discipline, and it informs how we do everything.

Awards Night: The Addy Awards

On Saturday, DH attended the Addy Awards in the new Convention Center space. The evening’s theme was James Bond, so we donned our best cocktail dresses and evening attire. And then we won some awards! Here we are posed with our two Silver and one Gold Addy Awards.

How to Throw an Awesome Event

I love event planning. The opportunity to plan and execute an event for clients (or just for fun) doesn’t come along every day, but when it does, I jump at the opportunity to help out.

2014 in Review

We hope you had a relaxing and fun break for the holidays. At DH, we’re already working away on 2015 projects and initiatives, but we wanted to take a moment to reflect back on a fantastic year of growth, success and fun. Here are some of DH’s highlights from 2014:

Fare for Friday

Tyler’s blog yesterday was fantastic. But hey, it’s Friday so let’s take a break from anything too heavy. Instead, here is some of what has been passed around or that I’ve heard people talking about recently.

The NFL: When a Missed Opportunity Becomes a Failure of Culture

When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped up to the podium last Friday to address the steps his organization would take to combat domestic violence within the league, he punted when he should have gone for it.

Story for Sale

Unethical and unbelievable. That was my first reaction upon reading this story, “PR pitch: We’ll pay you to mention our clients.” Having sat on both sides of the table (I was a reporter before I came to DH), I can’t imagine a PR professional bribing a journalist to cover their client as the story describes.

Our Take: Facebook’s Social Experiment

You may have heard that Facebook participated in an experiment to test the relationship between incoming posts, user’s emotions and their own posts. Facebook changed the formula (algorithm) by which almost 700,000 users’ News Feeds appeared to show them more positive or more negative posts and then recorded if those users went on to make positive or negative posts themselves.

The Future is Bright: A Conversation about DH's CEO Transition

Earlier this year, Cher Desautel stepped down as CEO of DHC, and Michelle Hege assumed the role. We sat down with Cher and Michelle to talk about the transition, what it’s like being CEO, and about the past and future of DHC.

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