A new Arizona Republic

September 30, 2008

The Arizona Republic has unveiled a new look.

One of the most noticeable changes is the elimination of super-small type in places like the box scores, weather page and stock reports. 

That tells me that those who participated in the publication’s focus groups and “tell us what you like and don’t like discussions” are all at the age where seeing agate type is becoming increasingly difficult.  These are great improvements.

Let’s hope that we don’t soon also see the ramifications of the massive layoffs that have been underway at The Republic with fewer reporters and editors having to cover and oversee more things.


Welcome future PR pros!

September 29, 2008

As the NAU PRSSA chapter’s professional advisor, I was invited to participate in the induction ceremony for all the chapter’s new members.  It’s always a lot of fun to talk about the industry and the various opportunities that await future professionals.

There’s no doubt, a room full of PR students creates a certain electricity.

Here’s to a great school year and an even better PRSSA experience.










Inspire Action

September 29, 2008

I attended another excellent presentation as a member of the Arizona Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Simon Sinek shared his unorthodox principles on what it takes to inspire action.

He told a great story about an EO member in New Orleans who has tremendous family values.  He requires everyone who works at the company to clock-in every day at 9 a.m. and clock-out no later than 5 p.m.  If the employee works past 5 p.m., he or she becomes ineligible for any company bonuses.

I guess the moral of the story is:  Simon says: “Inspire Action.”

Congratulations to Lizzette Alameda Zubey, an attorney at Lewis and Roca, a long-time HMA Public Relations client. She has been selected by the Business Journal as a member of the 2008 Hispanic Leaders Under 40.  In its second year, the program honors leaders working toward the greater good of the community with winners representing corporate, government, nonprofit, and arts and culture sectors across Arizona.

HMA has a new website

September 26, 2008

Check out our new website, www.hmapr.com.  My favorite feature is the interactive questionnaire that prospects can use to determine if they are ready to hire a pr firm.  Let us know what you think.

Client Spotlight

September 25, 2008

Our client, Western National Bank, has been named winner of a 2008 Arizona Corporate Excellence (ACE) Award for being among the state’s top 25 fastest-growing private companies.

Founded in 2005 with a single location in the Esplanade at 24th Street and Camelback, Western National Bank now has three branches, including two in Scottsdale, and has seen its annual revenue climb from just over $8.7 million in 2006 to more than $15 million in 2007. 

To qualify for the award a nominee must be a privately-held for-profit company headquartered in Arizona.  Companies are also ranked by annual net sales. 

“We are honored to be included on this list,” said Bill Hinz, Western National Bank’s president and chief executive officer.  “Our success can be attributed to our dynamic staff and an expanding base of loyal customers which will help us to continue growing, even in difficult economic times.”

Congratulations to the bank!

Procurement – what a pain

September 24, 2008

Procurement – what a pain.  For those of us in the PR agency world, a necessary evil if you want to do work for any governmental agency.  Problem is, you go through the motions because the governmental agency is required by law to go out to bid – even if they are completely happy with their current PR agency.  Good if you are the incumbent who has done exceptional work; not so good if you are one of the competitors submitting.

We’ve been on both sides of the coin.  We’re certainly happiest when we win, but we are happy for our competitors if the tables turn in their favor. But why make everyone go through the rigmarole?  If you are going have us submit, we at least hope to have a fighting chance.

Or better yet, if someone in government procurement would honestly say:  “Yes, we are happy with our current agency, but are required by law to go out for bid.”

It would make for a better process for everyone involved.

Some PR for a PR Agency!

September 23, 2008

Last week we had the pleasure of attending the 2008 PRSA Phoenix Chapter Copper Anvil Awards dinner at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel.  We weren’t just there as spectators, though, we were up for awards in three categories.  And you know what?  We won!

Our agency received a Copper Anvil (first place) in the “Editorials/Op-Ed Pieces, Not-For-Profit” and “News/Feature Articles, Not-For-Profit” categories, as well as an Award of Merit in the “Special Events/Promotions, For-Profit” category.  The entries were submitted from work we have done for our clients – Arizona’s Finest Lawyers, the Arizona Bridge to Independent Living and the Tempe Music Festival, respectively.

The awards recognize complete public relations programs that incorporate sound research, planning, execution and evaluation.  They reflect the highest standards of performance in public relations in both for-profit and not-for-profit settings.

Scoring for the Copper Anvils is based on a 100-point system.  An entry must be scored above 85 to earn the Copper Anvil Award and above 75 to earn the Award of Merit.

We have won in past years, but we feel we did an exceptional job writing entries this year thanks in large part to a workshop taught by Paula Pedene, APR.  We learned how to better organize our entries, and the work paid off.  A big thanks to Paula and the Phoenix PRSA, and congrats to HMA!

Must-See Monday

September 22, 2008

I had the opportunity address journalism students last week in the First Amendment Forum at the new Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications in downtown Phoenix.  I was part of their “Must See Mondays” presentations where professionals share their insights with up and coming journalism/public relations students.  My talk was co-sponsored by ASU’s PRSSA chapter.

What a great bunch of students – a good mix of freshmen through seniors.  And what great questions – the usual salary and typical-day stuff – but more in-depth questions like work-life balance, what classes made the most impact, what minor would be a good compliment to a journalism degree.  One student asked me what I would do if I was the spokesperson for one of the companies on Wall Street.  Had to do some quick-thinking on that one.

All in all, an exceptional evening.  I am again encouraged by these students and the role they are going to play in our profession.  

Gone postal!

September 19, 2008

Earlier this week, I had a large mailing to go out, about 320 pieces.  The typical office assembly line – stuffing, sealing and stamping.  Put everything in a box and leave it for the mail carrier.

Turns out, one of the pieces didn’t get stamped.  How do I know that?  The mail carrier, Tim, took the time to check each and every piece to ensure that they were stamped and ready to go. He returned to our office in the late afternoon with the single unstamped envelope so that I could put on the proper postage and he could get the mail processed.

He told us he knew it was important that all the pieces got out at the same time and wanted to make sure we had a chance to rectify our error.

Amazing!  In a day and age when customer service is continually lacking, here was someone that went above and beyond what was expected – equally as impressive is that he is not our regular mail carrier.


Thanks Tim for a job well-done.


Reminds me of a great book, The Fred Factor, which, ironically, is about a postal worker just like Tim.