Vancouver PR Agency

Quite often we, at AHA, are asked to develop a speech for our clients. I love speech writing, but have to admit – it’s not easy to develop a great one. It takes a lot of time and effort. For a speech to have an impact it has to have several elements, including being written in the voice of the person who will deliver it, containing good information, providing value and authentically connecting with the people listening.

At AHA, we spend the time needed to write great speeches for our clients.  We interview the speech giver, understand the culture and expectations of the audience and research the facts and stats – not to mention craft the language and the message. I usually lock myself away for a few hours and come out and give the first draft of the speech to the AHA crew to get input and feedback. Then it’s back to it again for a few more hours.

Invaluable resources when writing speeches are books. I was delighted when I found a piece on Ragan.com on the must have books for speechwriters. This is a great list and one that had me jumping onto Amazon immediately to add to my collection.

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Communicators face a challenge when it comes to showing results. This is a long-standing challenge in PR. Many of the “standard” measurements really aren’t of value, but somehow along the way – they became what we did.

Counting clippings used to be one way of measurement. It showed how much ink, airtime or online coverage you generated. Even when you dig deeper and review key messages, placement, tone and style, images and other factors, you still aren’t getting the whole picture. What else happened that day? Were there world events that distracted people from paying attention? What context was the coverage in?

There is so much more to measuring the effectiveness of a PR initiative.

Today, we see the world differently. We talk about “influencers” and what they mean. We track how we measure influence as well as looking at the hard and fast facts of which media outlet or blogger mentioned our organization, product, service or event. There may be more depth in how we measure, but it’s important to keep it in context and to understand the bigger picture. What was the overall objective of the campaign? Where were you before you started – do you have a measurement of that? Did you want to move individuals or groups to action, to change behaviors, to inform and educate? It is more complicated than just looking at how many followers you have on Twitter or how many people visited your website.

Katie Delahaye Paine has an excellent blog post on this topic that’s worth a read.

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There is an interesting post on how B2B PR will fail in 2010 on Ragan.com. It’s worth a read for several reasons – not the least of which is the list it provides on what type of content will be important for us to do our work.

At our Vancouver PR agency (and in every city that AHA is in), content has always been important. The stories that we tell on behalf of our clients are at the heart of what we do – we share relevant, authentic and interesting information. We engage, connect and actively listen – not just to what we think will be said, but we pay attention to what is being said. That, however is a blog post for another day.

More and more we, at AHA, find ourselves working with clients to develop their stories, to help them to tell those stores and to distribute them using technology. (Understanding, of course, where the target community lives – either online or offline.) We also work to encourage and facilitate the conversation between our client’s organization and the stakeholder group.

Great content can be found in blogs, in infographics (the incredible charts and graphs that can now be created), in customer stories and testimonials, in podcasts and videocasts, in games and on mobile apps, on Facebook and Twitter, in stats, in produced video or audio programs, on websites, in speeches, in e-newsletters and even in songs.

It is important to understand the community or stakeholders that your organization wants to connect with and it is equally important to appreciate how they want to participate in the conversation.

AHA has a crew of exceptional communicators – talented writers and editors, producers and project managers. We are focused on creating engaging, authentic, relevant content for our clients. It has to fit in within the overall strategic objectives. It has to be current, smart and interesting – whether that means funny, informative or creative.

Content is important – and we know it.

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It seems like a long time since I wrote an AHA blog post. We’re back in the office preparing for the new year. It’s been an exciting year for us here at AHA and we’re looking forward to 2011.

One of the topics of conversation that we’ve been having at our Vancouver PR agency revolves around exceptional customer, client or stakeholder service. For us, exceptional service is a priority. How we work with our clients, our AHA Crew, our suppliers and others is important and our focus on this area is reflected in the success of our work with clients and the overall success of AHA.

I have two other examples of exceptional service to share today – one is personal, the other doesn’t touch us directly, but is a great example of someone who clearly cares about what they do.

The first example is about Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Mayor Booker has been out and about – hands on dealing with some of the insane weather that the North East is dealing with. And he’s been tweeting about it, responding directly to constituents. He’s used humour, empathy, understanding and he has really connected with the people who are being hit with the extreme weather. Wired.com has a great piece on it that’s worth a read.

My next example is one that is personal. For many of you who interact with us at AHA, you know that Paul and I took some time off in December for a vacation. We started off in Barcelona, took a Mediterranean Cruise and then returned to Barcelona.

We had never been to Barcelona before so I had done some research online into hotels there. The Hotel Barcelona Universal stood out because the manager, Pablo Perez, was active online. If a guest had a complaint on TripAdvisor.com, Pablo responded – either to clarify, apologize or set the record straight. The fact is, no hospitality or tourism provider can ever please every person every time and sometimes, things happen and stuff goes wrong. I found that Pablo’s hands on approach gave me a great deal of confidence in the hotel and the service that we would receive there, so we booked three nights (one pre-cruise and two post).

Now, three nights in a hotel isn’t a big deal. We could have been treated to the basic service – get us in, get us out – but that’s not how Pablo or the Hotel Barcelona Universal works. I emailed Pablo to tell him that I appreciated his proactive approach and to ask about recommendations for restaurants. What I got back was amazing. Pablo went out of his way to tell us about events and activities that we might be interested in Barcelona. He recommended great restaurants and helped us get reservations. He explained what would be going on around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day there. He went out of his way to make us feel welcome and comfortable in Barcelona. Before we even landed, it felt like we had a friend there.

Pablo wasn’t at the hotel when we arrived, so we actually didn’t get to meet him until December 24 – almost two weeks later. However, the service at the Hotel Barcelona Universal was exceptional. Everyone at the hotel went the extra mile to help us, whether that was bringing our luggage (a lot of it!) from the taxi to our room, hailing a cab, calling to let the restaurant know we would be a little late for our reservation or giving us directions for the Metro. We were treated like we were the most important guests at the hotel. As I sat in the lobby and watched (as PR people are prone to do), I noticed that every guest was given the same respect, consideration and service.

How Pablo and the team at Hotel Barcelona Universal treated us made our vacation so much better. It made Barcelona feel like home; it created a positive impact that really impressed us. Throughout this hotel, people went out of their way to provide us with an exceptional experience. It was a highlight of our trip. I will tell anyone going to Barcelona that this is where they should stay. This is public relations at its finest, and is a great example of exceptional customer service.

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