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!

Giving Back

December 7, 2009

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) recently held its annual charity luncheon and raffle, in which proceeds are donated to a local organization.  This year, Save the Family Foundation of Arizona was the selected beneficiary of the event.  Proceeds from raffle ticket sales were donated to the organization, whose mission is to help children in homeless families by treating the whole family with programs to break the negative cycles of poverty, abuse and homelessness.  Pictured here: AAED holiday luncheon committee members Melinda Hinkson (far left) and Christine Ulibarri (second from left), along with John Ulibarri (far right), present a check for $3,444 to John Lamkin, Andrea Sok and Kyle Hamblin of Save the Family.  For more information visit www.savethefamily.org.  

The Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of NATAS and the House of Broadcasting co-hosted their holiday mixer at the House of Broadcasting Museum in Scottsdale.

The museum features a tremendous collection of all kinds of photographs, awards, cameras, editing and lighting equipment.   There is also costuming and classical memorabilia from Buck Owens, early news attire from Mary Jo West, Marty Robbins, Frank Pollack, Karl Eller, Tom Chauncey and others.  I happened upon former Good Morning Arizona stalwart Dan Davis, in cardboard living color!

The Museum is free to the public. It is located at 7150 E. Fifth Ave. in Scottsdale.  The hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday, except holidays. It is closed on Sunday.

The House of Broadcasting Museum is a passion for, among others, long-time Valley media buyer Mary Morrison.

It is definitely worth visiting.

As a guest blogger for Steve McKee’s FindYourNerve.com, Abbie writes about the nerve of appreciation at a small agency.  Read her post here.

Mixing it up with PRSA

December 3, 2009

Last night, mentor volunteers from the Phoenix Chapter of PRSA and president-elect Abbie S. Fink got together with their mentees for a special networking event at my house. I’ve been out of college for six years now, but I still sometimes get nervous going to events like these, so I really take my hat off to the students who not only attended – but participated in all the fun (and learning!). I really don’t know that I would have been so brave six years ago.

The students who attended learned some things very quickly – PR folks like to talk, like to eat and are masters at ice breaker games! Case in point, we played an icebreaker bingo of sorts where we had to learn random facts about each other for fabulous prizes. During the game, no one had a choice but to be out of their shells.

Below – just some of the fun facts we learned about each other!

  • Josee LaFleche has an unusual hobby – she is an ice skater! She also has the designation of speaking another language (we didn’t count Spanish) – French.
  • Sophia Fuka is crazy about her bunnies.
  • Christie Lowey was pretty much the only non-ASU alum – however, she did attend about five schools across Florida.
  • During an internship, Aaron Baer acted as a spokesperson – for Bob Evans and its home-style cookin’. Oh, he was also a cheerleader – sort of – as he was the mascot of his high school!
  • Beth Wilkinson was also a cheerleader in high school, which you already know if you’ve seen her TGI Friday’s commercial!
  • Both Emily Bratkovich and Abbie S. Fink are natives of Minnesota.
  • Effie Moore writes column for AZ Weekly Magazine, while Brian Camen writes a blog that has been picked up by the Huffington Post on occasion.
  • Zac Atherton, Brian Camen and Alison Bailin (me!) are all left-handed.
  • While several party-goers played a musical instrument, Sommer Caraway blew us all away by playing FOUR instruments – including the harp! Sommer was also the most excited with her prize – a holiday Pez dispenser!

 Next on our plates – the PRSA Holiday Mixer next week!

Cheers to Chad!

December 2, 2009

As I am sure most of you have heard, Arizona Republic reporter Chad Graham has been promoted to social media editor, which means he will be focusing on newsroom strategy rather than stories from here on out.

At HMA, we’ve had the pleasure to work with Chad several times since he moved to town, especially when he first joined the Arizona Republic and covered the dearly departed “Biz Buzz” features each day in the Business Section.

So, in honor of all the laughs we’ve had with him on location and all of the fun we had working on stories together, here is a quick roundup of some of our favorite Chad-flavored stories that featured our clients.

Feel free to post links to yours as well!

My personal favorite memory – working with Chad on a story about some of my clients’ New Year’s resolutions and, while interviewing a Subway franchisee about his resolution, learning that Chad was a huge Jared fan. So much so that the next time Jared came to Phoenix, Chad worked with us to get a full-page feature story on his visit.


So is everyone an expert?

December 2, 2009

It seems lately that not a day goes by that I’m not reading some article on social media. Retail/rental magazines, national women’s magazines and local community magazines, business blogs… and all the writers claim to be some sort of social media expert.  Why?  According to their credentials, they’ve dabbled in it a bit – set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account – and have started posting updates.

Great – I’m excited to see people have positive experiences with social media.  After all, it is one of the best tools business owners, large and small, can use to communicate directly with their audiences.  But just because you have a Facebook page doesn’t mean you are an expert.

Are we experts here at HMA?  If you look up the word expert on Wikipedia, you’ll see phrases such as: 

  • someone widely recognized as a reliable source
  • person with extensive knowledge or ability
  • has a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field

Social media is a form of communication and requires strategic thought and careful planning.  It requires a time commitment and a willingness to invest in its success.  Are we experts?  We certainly are a reliable source when it comes to communications strategies and program implementation.  With nearly 30 years in business, we certainly have prolonged experience in communications.  We have degrees in journalism and public relations, so have the education component covered.

Are we the right expert for you?  Maybe, maybe not.

But, if you are going to dive into the social media waters, please spend some time talking with a real expert – someone who is actively engaged in communications on a regular and ongoing basis, one that can back up the words with proven expertise in implementing such programs.  Social media can be a great benefit to your business, if done correctly and with proper planning.

So, when can we talk?

Ken Bennett

December 1, 2009

The Master Practitioners group of the Phoenix PRSA Chapter welcomed Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett as its guest speaker, recently.

Bennett, who served eight years in the state senate, his last four as its president, provided a practical explanation about Arizona’s current budget crisis.   

Among his comments that resulted in heads nodding in agreement was:  “How you respond early in a crisis is key.” 

The Grand Canyon State is just one of 41 states with deficits, however, Arizona has one of the largest shortfall percentages.   Arizona’s budget faces a $3 billion shortfall, compared to California, which has a $26 billion deficit looming.

Here are some of the facts:  Overall, Arizona spends $33 billion per year.  The highest allocations are for K-12 education, $11 billion, and for health and welfare, such as AHCCCS, $10 billion.

The Arizona general fund is expected to receive $7.6 billion in revenue this year, with expected expenditures of $10.7 billion.  Essentially, that’s where the $3 billion gap is.

You can check out a version of his presentation by clicking here. It’s pretty basic and highly informative.

Unless you’ve been in a Thanksgiving food coma the past several days, you probably heard about Tiger Woods crashing his car into a tree over the weekend where he sustained facial lacerations and a much worse injury – non-stop gossip attacks from traditional, social and tabloid media worldwide.

Several sports and entertainment personalities have chimed in, especially given Woods official, guarded statement on the situation and his apparent refusal to speak to the police.

So, are Woods and his army of crisis communicators doing the right thing? Charles Barkley doesn’t think so – but what do you think? Comment below.