PRSA Lunch…at Night!

August 10, 2009

PRSA PhoenixLet’s face it – it’s the dead of summer and WAAAY too hot to be getting in and out of your 120-degree car at noon! So, let’s celebrate the summer with a very special PRSA Lunch…at Night!

Thanks to the FABULOUS folks at Fox Restaurant Concepts, PRSA has a great venue for this month’s event where new pros, mid-level practitioners and masters will all come together to talk shop, summer and social media.

Date: Wednesday, August 26

Time: 5pm to 7pm

Location: Bloom at Gainey Ranch

Address: 8877 N Scottsdale Road Scottsdale, AZ 85253

Cost: $20 for members, $25 for non-members if you RSVP by August 21 and $30 at the door

RSVP: Please RSVP (so we can order enough food for the PRSA army!) by August 21 to

The lively evening will include adult beverages, heavy appetizers and all kinds of surprises. Come prepared to dish on your lessons learned, mentors, greatest PR successes, funniest PR moments, biggest challenges and more…

And the more the merrier! Our IABC, AMA, NATAS and media friends are welcome as well so spread the word!


New Month…New Client!

August 4, 2009

Avermedia LogoAugust is already off to a great start for us here at HMA. We are happy to announce that we’ve added AVerMedia Information, Inc. to our client roster.

Our initial focus initial focus will be on expanding the company’s brand image and educating end users about AVerMedia’s products, including AVerVision Interactive Document Cameras and AVerPen Collaborative Classroom Learning Solutions in Mexico City and São Paulo.

We will be working on this project with fellow Public Relation Global Network partners S2 Comunicacão Integrada in São Paulo and Guerra Castellanos Y Asociados in Mexico City.

So now the only question is…when do we plan our first trips out to visit?!

abbieToday is my Sweet 16.  Sixteen years ago I joined HMA Public Relations (then known as Hanson, Moser & Associates) as an account executive.  And what a phenomenal 16 years.  In addition to the personal accomplishments (promoted to vice president/general manager and finishing my master’s degree in mass communications) I have been a part of some amazing projects during my time here.

We played a critical role in communicating the voices of the tribal governments in Arizona when they were negotiating for the right to game on sovereign land.

When Tempe played host to Arizona’s first Super Bowl, we were on hand to share with the world all that the city and our state had to offer.  Even got the then-mayor, Neil Giuliano, an interview with the Today Show.

We have had the distinct pleasure of working with some very smart and energetic entrepreneurs who were risk-takers. 

We have many long-standing corporate and government clients, some that have been with the firm for more than a decade.  Their continued trust in us makes us very proud.

Our non-profit clients are some of the best of the best in what they do.  Whether that is preventing our kids from using drugs, advocating on behalf of people with disabilities or providing a safe place for kids, our communications efforts have helped them raise awareness and the much-needed funding to keep on doing what they do.

And the people I get to work with everyday.  Scott Hanson and I have known each other for more than 20 years – as friends and then as business partners.  You could not ask for a better person to work with. 

The current HMA team – Alison Bailin and Elizabeth (Beth) Wilkinson.  Your enthusiasm and dedication to our clients and our company make it a pleasure to work with you everyday.

And to the former HMA’ers, thank you for what you brought to the company.

I can’t think of a better place to have spent the past 16 years and here’s looking ahead to more of the same.

abbieTook a USAirways flight to New York City yesterday. My first experience since they instituted all the upcharges.  So yes, I paid $15 to check my bag.  Looks like everyone has figured out how to the fight the system. They carry on a bunch of little bags.  Instead of charging to check, they should charge for the privilege of carrying on your bags.

Don’t get me started on the $7 snack packs – chips, pretzels, licorice. Eek.  Good thing I stopped and got a breakfast burrito.  But what really irked me?  The $7 they now charge for a pillow and blanket.  What? 

So you can imagine my mood when I got off the plane.  Fortunately, my suitcase was at baggage claim pretty quickly and the car service was right there.

I’m staying at the New York Marriott Downtown.  They greet you at registration with a champagne cocktail.  Nice.  Even nicer?  The GM, John Montano, sends up a piece of cheesecake (covered in chocolate, caramel and nuts) with a welcome note.

I put a small post about it on Twitter and within in minutes, Marriott’s twitter’er responds.  I sent a quick email note to the GM – another direct response.  Very impressive indeed.

Kerry Martin 1Our thoughts and prayers are with State Treasurer Dean Martin, who lost his wife, Kerry, on Memorial Day due to complications from child birth.

HMA had the great honor of working with Kerry for several years on a program called CIGNA Summer. HerKerry Martin 2 passion for the program was surpassed only by her passion for her family and friends.

Our condolences to her family, friends and anyone who had the pleasure of working with her.

Citizenship Status

May 18, 2009

scottCitizenship status is always a major issue in Arizona.

Now there’s one less citizen, as the Tucson Citizen has published its final edition.

It is certainly a sad trend, with newspapers countrywide pulling the plug on their presses. 

Gannett, which owned the Citizen, had been trying to find a buyer.  Management had informed the staff of this a couple months ago.  But, with no buyer to be found, there are another 60 or so reporters and other newspaper staffers looking for work.

The Citizen was Arizona’s oldest newspaper. 


May 14, 2009

BethSo obviously the biggest buzz in the Valley this week was President Barack Obama’s visit to ASU to speak at the general commencement ceremony.  A friend of mine was graduating but wasn’t planning on attending (well, he was, but as a videographer, not in his cap and gown) so he passed off his tickets to me and a couple others.

Alice CooperWe had to arrive at 3:30 and I was stressed thinking about how light rail transit was going to run, how much of a hassle it would be getting through security and how awful the heat would be.  Surprisingly, though, everything went smoothly. 

The getting there part wasn’t half the nightmare I expected it to be.  Dealing with 70,000 people could have been mass chaos, and yet…it totally wasn’t.  Everything was well-organized and there were plenty of security and volunteers on hand to answer questions and guide attendees to the right place.  Even the men working the metal detectors were in good spirits and giving us a hard time about (among other things) our hat hair and the fact that I had a small can of hairspray in my purse.

50-year gradsThe worst part about the whole day was, of course, doing everything in the blazing heat, but that was to be expected.  Sunscreened, hydrated and wearing hats, it was hot but worth it.

It was also nice that we were allowed to bring in cameras and cell phones after all, so I got to capture some of the highlights: Alice Copper’s performance; the recognition of alumni from the class of 1959 – ASU’s first year as a university (pictured above, in gold gowns); and the President’s speech, below.

President Obama speaks at commencement

ObamaRegardless of your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that the speech he gave was both inspiring and realistic.  And funny!  I feel truly privileged to have seen it in person.

Behind the Mic

May 6, 2009

scott2I’ve known radio personality Dave Pratt since the late ‘80s when we played together on the “Celebrity Suns,” a basketball team of local media people who would play against high school faculty teams to raise money for charity.

His book, Dave Pratt, Behind the Mic, 30 Years in Radio, is his story about his tremendous career in Phoenix radio. It’s an excellent story about setting your mind to do something and then accomplishing that goal. 

dave-prattDave is a great family guy who also shared some of his stories about working in the media, and who some of his best and worst interviewees were.

It’s a long list, but among the best:  George Carlin, Don King, Kenny Rogers, Steve Martin, David Spade, Hulk Hogan, Dennis Miller, Donny Osmond, John Madden, Cameron Diaz,  and Jerry Colangelo, of whom Dave said, “he’s one of those guys I’d like to sit next to on a long road trip.”

Dave’s all-time favorite interviewee:  Larry King.

He’s also got chapters in the book on his worst interviewees and dispelling and confirming some of the rumors about “The Morning Mayor,” as well.

It’s an entertaining read.

scott4Interesting that with major daily newspapers all across the country slashing and furloughing their staffs, shrinking their content and some shutting down their presses, The Arizona Republic has announced an increase in its Sunday circulation.

The boost in Sunday readership, up to 516,562 (0.2 percent), puts The Republic in the top 10 nationwide.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the Top 10 make it through the next several months and who will remain on this Audit Bureau of Circulations list.

  1. New York Times, 1,451,233
  2. Los Angeles Times, 1,019,388
  3. Washington Post, 868,965
  4. Chicago Tribune, 858,256
  5. Daily News (New York), 644,766
  6. Detroit Free Press, 585,022
  7. Houston Chronicle, 583,364
  8. Philadelphia Inquirer, 550,4000
  9. Denver Post, 526,235
  10. Arizona Republic, 516,562.

RIP:  Rocky Mountain News,  Cincinnati Post, etc., etc.

Wow – my head is spinning! Steve Rubel, outrageously popular blogger, twitter “All Star”and director of insights for Edelman Digital, just finished telling us about the “5 Digital Trends to Watch For in 2009.”

After his presentation, he was nice enough to spend a little time with me – and my trusty camera – to offer some insight for PR folks who weren’t able to be here today. Check it out here. You can also click here for his white paper on the topic.

Some additional thoughts I took from Steve:

  • Stop talking about “traditional” media relations AND “social” media relations already! Think of traditional as a zebra and social as a tiger – and guess what, they’ve mated! There are now millions of zebras with razor sharp teeth out there but they are ONE THING – an evolved new thing, but one nonetheless.
  • Don’t focus on creating a “campaign” online or otherwise. Concentrate on creating on-going relationships and on-going conversations. Steve gave a great example: Skittles recently launched a social media push that resulted in two solid weeks of “coverage” while Ford’s Scott Monty is on Twitter 24 hours a day talking about the industry, his brand, the economy, etc…to 20,000 followers. Scott has created relationships while Skittles’ campaign just created a little buzz that soon petered out.
  • When people get pissed, they don’t write letters anymore – they go online. As a PR person, who always have to be monitoring, transparent and able to offer them some customer satisfaction.
  • Search and social networking are going to converge – be ready for it!
  • By 2012, so many forms of media (newspapers, DVDs, video games, etc…) will be gone as we traditionally know them. It’s sad, but don’t be left behind. Go digital now and make sure your clients do too.
  • Be active and transparent with social media – and make sure your employees do too. If you open their lines of communication and give them freedom of speech with your brand’s focus and direction, they can be your greatest asset – your “All Stars” and your social media monitors 24/7.
  • Focus on Google as media, not a search engine.
  • People think if news is important, it will find them…help them!
  • Stuff happens on weekends – social media and digital media are on 24/7.