Happy Anniversary, HMA!!

December 30, 2009

Times flies when you’re having fun! And boy have we had some fun.

That’s right, 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of HMA Public Relations! To celebrate, the HMA team will be doing 30 major “things” throughout the year that involve our clients, our community and our friends to acknowledge this important milestone.

So stay tuned to our blog, be sure to become a fan of HMA Public Relations on Facebook, and follow our team on Twitter (Scott, Abbie, Alison, Beth) to be the first to know what’s going on. 

You just never know – might be some fun contests, opportunities to join us as we give back to the community or even a shout-out or two to some of our friends and family.

But, before all that, let’s take a look back through the years in photos…Enjoy!

Scott - circa 1980 with NAU buddy and now famed KMLE FM personality, Tim Hattrick


Abbie - circa 1980 as a Shadow Mountain Matador


Alison - circa 1980 she was in the delivery room with her mom (Alison was born Sept. 26, 1980)

Beth - circa 1980 she was still but a sparkle in her dad, Pete's, eyes. So, here is Pete circa 1980!


Book Club!

December 29, 2009

Are you a trust agent?

So the time came once again for me to be the “reader” for the next HMA Public Relations book club.  Lots of positive chatter on Twitter about Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.  I figured I’d give it a try.  And with a couple hours to kill on an airplane, it sounded like the perfect read.

And it was – very quick but some pretty powerful messages.  With the sub-title Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust, I share with you some of what I think were the best take-aways.

So what is a trust agent?  According to the book, they (or dare I say we) are power users of the new tools of the Web. We know what we’re doing because we use the technology, not because we necessarily went to school to learn about it. We learn by trying, we recommend, we connect, and we’re honest.

Trust agents believe in people and the value they can bring to the conversation. 

There is a whole group of people out there that have never known the world without access to the Internet – they are called digital natives.  They assume (rightfully so) that everything will eventually be online. And if we all can agree on that assumption, then businesses need to leverage that information and figure out a way to make valuable connections via the Web.

All of us graduates of journalism/communications programs remember “the medium is the message.” What Chris and Julien believe is, from a trust standpoint, the medium has transformed the message.  Social media is media not so much because it helps us communicate but because it extends relationships.  And because of social media, we are all the “media” now.

By being on the web, you create value for others, whether you know it or not. This is called social capital and social capital has real value – it is powerful and long-lasting. 

And a great place to create value is your blog.  This idea really resonated with me:  How often are you asked the same types of questions:  what do you do for a living, what kind of services does your business provide, etc.  You’ve probably answered these questions hundreds of thousands of time.  Why not write a blog post about it? That way when you’re asked, you can send the link to your blog post. You’re providing the information requested but you are doing it more efficiently AND you are adding value because the answer will live on forever on your blog.

The book is about establishing trust – yours for another person and theirs in return.  Comments on blogs are a great way to reinforce your reputation and demonstrate your “trust” attributes.  You are interacting with the writer of the post as well as those that follow the blogger. Another great way to add value is to use links.  Links are a form of currency on the web.  According to the book, links are the “21st century equivalent of the name-dropper.”

And to me, this one seems so simple, but could possibly be the most important take-away of the whole book.  Being a trust agent means you need to be competent and reliable. So whether you have thousands of fans/friends or a few, bond with them and always BE HUMAN. Trust agents are about people, so reveal things about yourself and reach out to people.

As a sidebar – Chris and Julien summarize where they think the “communications” business will be in the next few years (pg 258-260):

Advertising as it was from 1950s to 2000 will continue to decline.  Instead, a focus on activities that drive a more unscripted relationship between companies and their target audiences will be important.

Public relations becomes more of a listening, reputation and communications management function.  We’ll need to be interacting more with bloggers, brand facilitation and where a company’s story needs stewardship.  It is less about control and more about being a part of the dialogue.

Brands will need to earn a place in our heads with a sense of personal intimacy as well as consistency in order to be trusted.  This is why it is important to have a human being behind the brand’s social interactions.

Take the time to read this book; I believe you’ll find it valuable.  Trust me.

Challenge Accepted!

December 28, 2009

HMA’s team is always up for challenge – especially one that involves photos and the holidays, Mr. Chris Brogan!

As you will see from his blog post, author/social media activist Brogan is interested in seeing what really happens during the holidays.

So, take a look at the most recent photos he’s posted here, and then see how ours stack up – how’d we do?

  • As you may know, Abbie S. Fink, HMA’s vice president and general manager is a huge Donny Osmond fan. Co-worker Beth Wilkinson and her clan, the Wilkinson/Sullivan/Nizzolis, were nice enough to surprise her with “The Osmonds – Love Me For a Reason” album as a Hanukkah gift.  Love it!


  • HMA’s senior account exec, Alison Bailin Batz, attempting to get her hubby, Brian, into excessive holiday spirit by forcing reindeer ears on and a gingerbread wreath around his head. Lasted about two minutes – just long enough for Alison’s crafty sister to snap a photo!


  • Scott Hanson, president of HMA Public Relations, hosts a huge Christmas Eve party at his house.  Among his responsibilities is to make sure Santa makes the transition from the sleigh to the neighborhood safely.


  • Living in a small studio apartment, HMA account coordinator Beth Wilkinson didn’t have the space for a Christmas tree but still wanted a place to hang her (few) ornaments.  The solution – a four-foot tall, two-dimensional tree made from magazines she’d read over the past year.  Space, cost-efficient and recyclable to boot!

January PRSA Media Breakfast

December 15, 2009

New Year – new hot location for the media breakfasts! Please join us for the first PRSA media breakfast of the year where we will be hearing from some of the Northeast Valley’s top publications including Scottsdale Airpark News Magazine, So Scottsdale Magazine, Scottsdale Health Magazine and the Scottsdale Republic while enjoying a scrumptious breakfast from Paradise Bakery. Each panelist will talk about how their publications are evolving in 2010 – new editorial opportunities abound! They will also discuss how they are marketing their editorial content in the social media world and have plenty of time for questions and networking. If you, your brand, your clients or your company have any ties to the Northeast Valley, this event is for you.

Panelists include:

  • Kimberly Hudley, editor of Scottsdale Airpark News Magazine
  • Michelle Glicksman, editor of So Scottsdale Magazine and Scottsdale Health Magazine
  • Reporter TBD, Scottsdale Republic

Date: Thursday, January 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Location: Paradise Bakery at Gainey Village – 8777 N. Scottsdale Rd. in Scottsdale

Cost: $15 for members, $20 for non-members who RSVP in advance. $20 for members, $25 for non-members at the door.

You can register here.

Best Places to Work

December 14, 2009

Congratulations to four of our fabulous clients, each of whom has been named among the Phoenix Business Journal’s annual “Best Places to Work” honorees:

The Phoenix Business Journal is right on the money – our clients ROCK!

With the traditional and online news media still chomping at the bit for every ounce of Tiger Woods gossip they can squeeze out of every nook and cranny, the sports media is starting to talk about another possible reputation crisis in the making – Notre Dame, and its decision to hire/announce Cincinnati’s Brian Kelly as the new Irish head coach…right before the Cincinnati football banquet where he would be lauded as a hero…where he had to tell his team – undefeated this year after starting the season unranked – he wouldn’t coach them in their big Sugar Bowl debut later this month.

Any public relations person worth his/her salt should be following the communication strategy of Kelly and Notre Dame these next few days – it has it all!

  • Wide-eyed (okay, wide-shouldered) college kids from Cincinnati feeling abandoned and betrayed – very publicly;
  • Accusations of Notre Dame throwing around money yet again to try to hide the fact they are no longer a force in the BCS; and
  • Doubts the hiring will even matter – or that Notre Dame ever will again.

As a life-long Notre Dame fan and native of South Bend, I am rooting for the Irish through this time, but I certainly see that the Notre Dame communications department has their hands full. What do you think is the best move for Notre Dame in these next few days?

PRSA Holiday Mixer 2009

December 11, 2009

This morning we HMAers walked into the office a little tired from the FABULOUS Phoenix PRSA holiday mixer last night.  Originally scheduled at the (outdoor) pool and bar at the Hotel Valley Ho, our party was moved into a swanky seventh-story penthouse that overlooked Camelback Mountain.  Not too shabby!

The guests enjoyed yummy drinks and snacks like sliders (which were more like full size burgers – yum!), and people got silly with the party favors at each table.  During announcements, current Phoenix PRSA president Karl Gentles closed out the year with a healthy report for our chapter, and handed the reins over to incoming president to our very own Abbie Fink.  Event organizer Kari Mather gave away prizes for the raffle, in which proceeds will go into the PRSSA scholarship fund.

All in all, the party was a bubble-blowing, glove-wearing, hot tub-filling, sparkly top hat-wearing good time.  It was a great way for Valley PR pros to unwind, enjoy the company of friends and colleagues and close out a great year for the Phoenix chapter.  Now, on to 2010!

Many thanks to Kari for organizing such a fantastic event, and to everyone who could attend!

For more pictures from the mixer, click here.

HMA client W.J. Maloney Plumbing Co., Inc. has been racking up recognitions left and right!  The company has recently received several important designations:

  • Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) certification, meaning the company is at least 50 percent owned and controlled by a woman.  The WBE certification is an incentive program to ensure woman-owned firms have an equal opportunity to participate in city of Phoenix projects. 
  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification, which means the business is owned and controlled by a person or persons belonging to designated minority groups or by women.  The company is certified in the following specialties: commercial plumbing, process piping, mechanical piping and as a supplier of plumbing materials.
  • The company was recognized by the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) as a vital contributor to the acceptance of the CityScape project in Phoenix as a Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site.  The company is the first and only Arizona plumbing subcontractor to contribute to the attainment of VPP Star Site status by a general contractor.  Approval into VPP is ADOSH’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved excellent occupational safety and health.

In addition, the Arizona Business Gazette recently ran a great profile of company president Kathryn “Kitty” Maloney-Langmade.  We’re proud to have such a great company as a client.

2010 Predictions

December 8, 2009

David Landis, president of Landis Communications Inc. in San Fancisco (a member of the Public Relations Global Network), poses this question to other members of the PRGN: “What’s new for 2010?”

HMA’s own Scott Hanson weighs in.  Read the blog post here.


December 8, 2009

It’s time for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate’s third annual video contest – “REPRESENT IF YOU’RE ABOVE IT!”  The contest gives teens across the state a chance to create a project that highlights the skills and talents that help them stay above the influence of drugs and alcohol – whether it is playing sports, singing or showing off the next great recipe.  Previously a video contest, this year’s contest includes a category for still photography as well.

“REPRESENT IF YOU’RE ABOVE IT” is designed to give teenagers, school districts and media departments a unique and educational way to discuss tough issues.  This year’s contest not only includes videos but still photography as well.

The contest is open to residents of Arizona between the ages of 12 and 18 at the time of entry.  Entrants can start by visiting www.PartnerUpAz.org/contest to find the entry form, rules and information about the contest.  All entries must be postmarked by midnight on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.  The grand prize winner in each category will be awarded $250 and the runner-up in each category will receive $150.

Last year dozens of teens participated in the program, with the grand prize awarded to Andrew Madrid, Wesley Ollerton, Lawson Neilsen and Kyler Lee, students from St. Johns High School in St. Johns, Arizona.  Last year’s winning video is available for viewing on The Partnership’s website, www.PartnerUpAz.org.

The contest is sponsored by the Phoenix Coyotes and Phoenix Suns.

Tell all the teens you know to enter their projects for a chance to win!