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Very cool!

Longtime HMA client Subway® Restaurants of Arizona is now the official sub of the Arizona Diamondbacks and a sponsor of the team. Throughout the baseball season, Subway will work with the Diamondbacks to create in-store and stadium promotions for its many local baseball fans. To kick off the partnership, Subway is launching an in-store drawing where kids can enter to win the chance to take the field with their favorite starting Diamondbacks player during a regular season home game. little-league-subway-sign1

The contest is open to kids between the ages of seven and 15, and no purchase is necessary to enter. Entry forms will be available in all participating Subway locations.

Subway is also a sponsor and the “Official Sub of the Phoenix Suns.”

red-bull-air-force-jumper-3The Circle K Tempe Music Festival – our long-time client – is pleased to announce the Red Bull Air Force, a 12-man team assembled from the most accomplished and experienced skydivers, BASE jumpers and Paragliders on the planet, has signed on to perform at the event. The team is scheduled to perform demo jumps at the event on Friday, April 3 at approximately 5:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 4 at approximately 3:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.

red-bull-air-force-jumperThe Red Bull Air Force team has combined for more than 130,000 skydives and 5,000 BASE jumps. Throughout 2008, they performed at more than 60 national and regional events including NFL football games, NASCAR races, motocross races, and skydiving and BASE jumping competitions.  These all-out wild men have kayaked out of airplanes, ski BASE jumped off a 30-story casino and developed a form of “free flying” that allows the skydiver to fly at speeds close to 340 miles an hour.

For more info about the Red Bull Air Force or the event, please click here.

tmf_2009_logo_large1In celebration of the 7th Annual Circle K Tempe Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park on April 3 and 4(our long-time client), the Metro Light Rail and several event sponsors are going the extra mile to ensure a safe event. First, the Metro Light Rail will extend service until 12:30 a.m. both days of the event. In addition, Jose Cuervo will distribute 500 free Metro Light Rail ride passes both days of the event, Budweiser’s Family of Beers will be distributing free taxi ride coupons both days of the event, and Hensley & Co. will be conducting a designated-driver incentive program that will provide free non-alcoholic beer, soda and water for those who pledge not to drink and drive from the event. O’Doul’s, Dr. Pepper and Icelandic Glacial Water will provide the incentive beverages.

For more info or to obtain tickets to the event, click here.

abbie2I know times are tough; it is hard to get new business.  But that doesn’t mean it is ok to poach a client.  My colleague, Susan Hart of Nashville, emailed me a few weeks ago to ask me how to handle a situation where she felt she was being poached.  I offered her some advice.  Check out her blog post on the topic.

XO Communications = XXX

March 24, 2009

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I am proud to say that HMA Public Relations has always been known as a fast-pay for all of its vendors, suppliers and partners.

With an eye on the slumping economy back in September, we made a decision to change our phone service provider from XO Communications to Intregra Telecom.

Canceling service was an excruciating difficult task.  In addition to waiting 20-30 minutes on hold each time I called, I had to twice send in photocopies of my driver’s license to prove it was actually me on the phone trying to cancel the service.  I’m still not sure how they could tell from my voice what I looked like.

xo-communicationsI was sure surprised to receive an invoice from XO Communications for phone services well-after we had cancelled.   It wasn’t the $94.66 that irritated me – it was the principle of it:  charging a customer for services after the customer had gone to great lengths to cancel!

Then, three months after I sent a nice letter outlining why I was not going to pay the $94.66, I received an invoice for $1.42 – showing the $94.66 as a credit.  Two weeks later I received a call from XO regarding my non-payment. 

penniesSo – rather than continue to fight with a company that’s responsiveness has been an embarrassment to customer service – I decided to pay the $1.42. 

As I steadfastly vow to never use XO Communications again, I wonder how the processing center will deal with five quarters, a dime, a nickel and two pennies?

mark-stantonLong-time Valley PR practitioner and former HMA staffer Mark Stanton has been appointed deputy director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.  Gov. Jan Brewer formally announced this appointment late last week.  Mark has a tremendous amount of experience in hospitality and tourism marketing communications and we are confident he will do great things in his new position.  Mark, we’re proud of you.

dscf1385A tip of the hat to HMA friend and restaurateur extraordinaire Craig DeMarco, who held a pre-grand opening fundraising celebration at his newest restaurant, Postino Central, over the weekend that raised more than $11,000 for the nearby St. Francis Xavier Elementary School.
Nearly 200 guests attended the event, with nearly half arriving at the bike and pet-friendly restaurant on bicycles or on foot.

Postino’s goal is to be an integral part of its surrounding community. Postino Central, for example, was given two beach cruisers – a black one for men and a pink one for women – by St. Francis supporters during the fundraiser to encourage members of the community to head to the restaurant and grab the bikes for a quick lap around the bridal path or the light rail route any day of the week.

dscf1384“Both bikes will remain at Postino’s Central and will be available to all members of our new community,” said DeMarco.

Check out video of DeMarco and the kids from St. Francis Xavier here.

bethRecently a friend of mine shattered the screen on her iPhone.  Most of the touch screen still worked but one notable thing that didn’t was her space bar, so allhertextmessageslookedlikethis.  Since you can’t get insurance on iPhones (probably because they get broken all the time) and her contract wasn’t up for renewal, her only options were to buy a brand new phone at the full price or find a place to fix it.
She chose the latter and went to Quick Fix Cellular in Chandler (1949 W Ray Rd), where she experienced some of the best customer service of her life.  Not only were the employees happy to help, the man fixing her phone even went so far as to give her his brand new screen because they couldn’t ship one in for her for a few days!  The company fixes all types of phones (even ones with water damage), and even has a 90-day warranty.

Having been a server since I was almost 16 and a general consumer for most of my life, I really appreciate good customer service, even if it’s just a smile given by an employee.  subwayeflogo

My most notable recent experience was at the Subway on 44th Street and Thomas.  No, this is not a shameless plug for our client, this really happened.  The people that work there during lunchtime are so nice!  They ask you how you’re doing and seem like they care and they wish you a good day. 

It’s the small things like this that separate good businesses from mediocre ones.  It’s cost-free positive PR!  Referrals and word-of-mouth are a great way to garner business, and both of these businesses will continue to benefit from their exceptional customer service.

Kudos to both!

abbie1One of the PRSA Counselors Academy’s outside board members, Paul Annett, once asked his clients to provide him with “Leadership Lessons” that he combined into a single broadside and gave out as a Christmas gift one year. What struck many about that list was the diversity in approaches to effective leadership.

Ken Jacobs has a teleseminar coming up through the PRSA Counselors Academy that seems to drive that point home. It’s all about understanding your leadership DNA.

Might be worth checking out.

bob-and-dale-logo-wall-longWe are pleased to announce that our client, Keats, Connelly and Associates‘, will be expanding and relocating its fast-growing Florida office this month. In celebration of the new office, which is located at 1880 N. Congress Ave. in Boynton Beach, Keats will host a grand opening reception for clients, the community and the media on Thursday, March 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Consul General of Canada in Miami Marcy Grossman will be in attendance and available for interview as will Keats co-founder and president Robert Keats, CFP® (U.S.), CFPTM (Canada). Keats, who a dual citizen of Canada and the United States as well as the author of The Border Guide, a best-selling book on living and investing on both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border, will have signed copies of the Canadian bestseller on hand for guests.

KCA originally opened its Florida location in Boca Raton in 2005. Quickly outgrowing the space, KCA expanded in 2006 and moved the office to West Palm Beach. Now in an office with more than 3,000 square feet in Boynton Beach, the team is ready to expand further while offering its clients a more central location.  KCA also has an executive suite in Naples to meet with clients, which is located at 5100 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 106, as well as offices in Phoenix and Detroit.

Congrats!!!