#UnitedSUCKS – Not a good brand reputation (but true)

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on November 19th, 2014

I travel quite a bit for business and pleasure, and I have to say my most recent travel on United Airlines (from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Vancouver) was the worst experience I have ever had on an airline. #UnitedSUCKS (the trending hashtag) should be painted on their airplanes. Talk about the inability to deliver on a brand promise – although I have to admit, I am not sure they actually have a brand promise, understand, or even care about what their brand reputation is. Their customer service was so shockingly bad that it almost felt like we were being …

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What makes a good client?

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on November 05th, 2014

A good relationship between a client and an agency is a two-way street. We have been fortunate at AHA – for the most part, we have had exceptional relationships with our clients. However, that isn’t to say that we haven’t had relationships that just didn’t work – sometimes, it just isn’t a good fit in personality or “chemistry” (that magical ingredient we search for). Other times, the client’s expectations may not have matched with what we knew we could deliver. (I remember one client saying that we needed to get him on the cover of Maclean’s magazine because I had …

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What makes a good agency/client relationship?

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on October 16th, 2014

As a communications agency, we don’t do anything in isolation. We work with clients, strategic partners, other PR agencies, media, bloggers, online influencers, government, community members, stakeholders, target markets, the public… the list is never-ending. That means we had better know how to play nice with others.

For today’s blog post, I am going to focus on what we do to create a strong relationship with our clients – there are responsibilities on each side. In my next blog post, I will focus on what we look for in a good client. (We all know that a good client gets …

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Employee engagement – delivering on the brand promise

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on September 25th, 2014

Every communications professional has seen this happen. You work hard to develop a strong, reputable brand, the brand voice and the brand promise. You create brand standard guidelines and you build out a tool kit for staff to use when creating documents, presentations or in any communication of the brand. You generate great media coverage where your CEO, President or GM hits the key messages and positions the brand well.

A success, right? Not so fast. Then a client, customer, guest or patient shows up to the frontline and no one delivers on the brand promise (#EpicFail).

A great brand …

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Raising your profile in an overcrowded marketplace

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on September 11th, 2014

We work with quite a few consumer products or services clients. We were writing a proposal the other day for a potential client that offers products and services in an overcrowded and very noisy market sector and it started an interesting conversation in the AHA office. In this day and age of digital and social media, how spread out does an organization need to be in order to reach their target market?

One of the first things we do with clients is review where they stand relative to competitors – both online and in traditional media. It’s important to understand …

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How to attract media to your event

Posted by Paul Holman of AHA Creative Strategies on August 15th, 2014

Every organization planning to host an event wants media coverage. It’s a way to create awareness and raise the profile of your organization, your products or services, your brand, and your spokesperson. Depending on the event, media coverage may lead to more attendance the following day or the next year (if it is an annual event).

How do you engage the media and make them interested enough to want to know more?

An AHA client recently held an event that we were able to generate a tremendous amount of coverage on. Media coverage included eight newspaper articles, four television feature …

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What is community engagement?

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on July 30th, 2014

When discussing public relations or strategic communications, the word “engagement” comes up a lot. It is always interesting to hear what engagement means to a communications professional. It can mean different things to different people, including consultation, education, participation, active discussion and more. Quite often, it is spoken about in hushed tones and feels like the “holy grail” for communications professionals, which it can be – especially in this day and age of online connection through social media.

I was speaking with the communications manager of a potential new client and she was telling me about how much community engagement …

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The power of internal communication

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on June 25th, 2014

Internal communication is an important piece of an organization’s brand reputation and, in the past few years, it has undergone a shift from being an HR function to becoming a crucial component of strategic communications.

Here at AHA, we develop communications plans for clients on a regular basis. During this process, one of the first questions we ask is about the organization’s current approach to internal communications – and how the external communications will be supported and reflected internally. This often results in an interesting discussion about employee engagement, how to best communicate with internal stakeholders, and the task of …

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Controversy, conflict and issues management

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on April 28th, 2014

I have quite a few journalist, lawyer and communication friends on my personal Facebook page. The current issue facing Trinity Western University (regarding the opening of its law school and its controversial policy about same sex intimacy – being called discriminatory by many) is a big topic of discussion right now among a wide range of people. At the heart of this issue is Trinity Western’s requirement that its 3,600 students sign a community covenant forbidding intimacy outside heterosexual marriage. This is being called discriminatory against gays and lesbians.

The Ontario Law Society has rejected accreditation and Nova Scotia voted …

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Is social media right for your organization?

Posted by Ruth Atherley of AHA Creative Strategies on April 03rd, 2014

Recently, I have had several conversations with potential clients about social media. Interestingly enough, they all wanted to discuss how to begin to engage in social media as a part of their overarching communications strategy. Each person I spoke with is in a senior position at a reasonably high profile organization. Yet, each one of them told me that they felt lost or overwhelmed (or both) about how social media fits into their overall strategy. And they didn’t know what to do about it.

This is far more common than many people realize. Not everyone understands social media or knows …

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