Our friends at Beaupre & Co Public Relations have a great blog post about how to get the most from your PR firm. If you work with an agency or are considering an agency, it’s worth a read.

We have this discussion often at the AHA offices and with clients. For us, it’s always about how do we deliver the most to our clients. To do that, we have come to realize that our client sometimes needs to focus on how to get the most from AHA. Sometimes, it’s a learning experience for them – especially if they haven’t worked with an agency before or they have had a bad or mediocre experience.

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We often get calls from communications directors and managers asking us to come in speak with them (and often their senior executive) about what they “should” be doing when it comes to social media.

When we meet, our discussion always begins with a few questions:

What do you want to achieve?
What are you doing currently to meet your objectives?
Who is your target audience or community?
How do they want to connect with you?
As you can see – there’s not a question or directive about any of the social media tools until we understand more.

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We have had some very interesting discussions here at AHA about the blurring of lines between friend, colleague and boss on social media network sites. It’s a hot topic right now and everyone has their perspective on it. I believe that my business partner Paul and I have a pretty good working relationship with everyone on our crew. Each of the communications professionals who work here are just that – professionals. They come in to each project and each client interaction with their “A game.” It’s not just something that we as the owners expect, it’s something that comes from within each person. This commitment to excellence shows and is rewarded.

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There is a very thought-provoking blog post by Lauren Fernandez that created some interesting discussion here at the AHA office. At the heart of it is the question – do we conform to social media standards or should they conform to us?

The challenge that Whole Foods is facing is an example; social media became a big part of this issue. Thanks to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other tools, more people learned about the letter and could weigh in, making their opinions known.

Should the CEO of Whole Foods NOT have written the letter to the editor because it could create a backlash, especially online, even though this was how he felt? Is the personal opinion of the CEO inextricably tied to the brand? Does “authentic” mean different things to different people and would keeping his opinion to himself, because of the risk to the brand, mean that the CEO isn’t authentic?

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