Posts Tagged ‘Public Relations’

Patience is a PR virtue

August 5, 2010

Team HKA and Xan having a blast with the Unwrapped crew

Our client Xan Confections was featured on Food Network’s Unwrapped last month. I know we all were excited when it aired, but I can’t describe exactly how I felt to see one of my clients be featured on a show and television network I had been a major fan of for years.

Awesome is a pretty good word for it. Yes, it felt awesome.

Looking back, I realized that it has actually been about a year since I first planted the seed at Unwrapped. A concise phone pitch and a strong intent to make the opportunity blossom was how it all got started 11 months ago.

I’d had a great conversation with the producer, but not too much happened right away. It took patience and diligent (but careful) monitoring of the opportunity to keep it alive and growing. Finally, nearly three months after that first conversation, Xan was confirmed to be on the show. The taping day happened not too long after, and a mere five and a half months later..

TA-DA! Xan’s ancho chili caramel fired up tastebuds on the “Hot & Spicy” episode in July. Kudos to the Unwrapped crew and the Xan team for putting together such a fantastic segment.

Looking back on it all, I’m reminded that great PR hits can often take time, (LOTS of) patience and persistence. But it’s always well worth the wait and effort.

What’s a PR success you’re proud of and what did it teach you?


It’s Never Too Soon for Protos Prep

February 8, 2010

For many industries, a new year brings awards. The film industry has the Oscars (Academy Awards), SAG awards, Golden Globes. The music industry has the GRAMMYs, American Music Awards, MTV Music Video Awards. It may not be quite as glamorous as the Hollywood scene, but in the Orange County PR industry, we have OCPRSA’s Protos Awards. And at HKA, Protos are our Oscars and GRAMMYs combined.

For us, the new year comes and we’ve got Protos on the brain. What were our accomplishments? Which media hit are we most proud of? Does that campaign fit in category A5 or A2? Should I submit that project under category B3 or B13? Maybe all four? Protos season is BIG around the HKA office. We look forward to and dread it every year. We dread it because of the late nights and long hours it takes to create our various entries (in addition to our client work) and the high stress levels we often hit. Most importantly, though, we look forward to Protos because we get to look back on the previous year, highlight our accomplishments and quite possibly be awarded for it.

At HKA, we are always busy doing what we do for our clients. I’ve noticed that individually we might get caught up in the hustle and bustle and often don’t congratulate ourselves for a job well done.  Not only that, but when we do accomplish something great, we often think of how we could have done a better job. It’s the high achievers in us.

Luckily, Hilary Kaye, our leader and mentor, is amazingly quick to commend us on every job well done, which always puts a smile of happiness, comfort and confidence on our faces. But individually, we are our toughest critic. Fortunately, Protos forces us to review everything we’ve done the year before and realize, wow, that really was an awesome campaign. I’m not saying we should toot our own horns or that we don’t have room for improvement, but it’s such a motivating feeling to know we’re doing our job right and we’re doing it really well. Whether we win the award or not (though we’d rather win!), just having something worthy enough to be in the running means a lot to us.

Now, OCPRSA may not have posted the 2010 Protos Call for Entries yet, but we’re already preparing–we feel it’s never too early in the year to get ready for it.  So far our list of award-winning possibilities has had to be whittled down a bit–we had too many! The late nights and long hours may be inevitable, but we’ll keep our eyes on the walls and shelves of our office where HKA’s multiple Protos Awards are displayed. We know we have what it takes to add to the collection.

Shelter from the Storm

January 22, 2010

For those of you who aren’t in Southern California right now, you’re missing one heck of a storm. That’s right – sunny SoCal isn’t living up to its reputation at the moment – in fact, quite the opposite. I’ve heard all the jokes about how Southern California natives freak out at the sight of rain, but take it from a born-and-bred Northern Californian where it rains from November to February straight, this is SOME storm. Like, a tornado touching down, streets floodingcars flipping/getting squished kind of storm. Yes, a tornado.

Disneyland's Main Street clearly wasn't built for this weather!

When a tornado watch was announced for a number of Orange County cities, including our office’s location in Tustin, we had no idea what to do! Do we hunker down and wait it out? Huddle in the most protected office? Run outside to try and save the cats? The skies grew darker, the rain poured harder, and it didn’t take much to realize that the beloved historic home that is our office wasn’t built to withstand an impromptu airborne trip to Oz. But soon, without warning, the storm passed. The rain stopped, the wind died down, and the skies lightened. What’s more, it wasn’t long until it looked like a nice spring day, complete with blue skies. We were safe.

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Orange County anymore

Life has a way of becoming its own storm at times, economically or otherwise, and those tornado warnings are always looming to remind us of the potential for horrendous events. News of layoffs, unemployment figures, budget cuts, natural disaster and illness are brought to our attention daily. And it’s often the smallest among us who are impacted the most in such stormy times – the staffer wondering if she can pay her bills, the small business owner wondering if he can pay his staff. It’s a frightening position to be in – feeling vulnerable and defenseless to the climate.

Yet, like the storm that is currently soaking the southland, the difficult times in life will pass. Maybe not permanently and maybe not even soon, but as we face the days that we fight to keep our head above the rising tides, it is important that we recognize the ebb and flow that characterizes the cycle of life. Like the rain and wind, hard times come and then leave, then come back again. It’s the knowledge of those blue skies to come (not to mention a sturdy umbrella and the support of those we love) that gets us through.  

This Cerritos Elementary crossing guard carried kids above the water all day

As I write, it’s still storming outside my window. It may not let up for days – and the worst may yet be ahead. But I know that the clouds and rain are only a temporary veil for the beauty that lies behind them. And as sure as it’s pouring now, I know without question that the sun is going to come out, dry us off, and send us on our way.

HKA Turns 25 Through the Eyes of Melissa Rivers

September 17, 2009

IMG_2167Interviewing guests on the exclusive red carpet was a dream of mine since I watched my first Oscar pre-show at age 10.  Joan Rivers would ask celebrities questions that we would all think in our head but never dream of asking out loud.  Before the Botox injections and facial remold, Joan was natural and attractive but it was the in-your-face, New Yorker interview style that made her a household name.  I often envisioned myself as her sidekick, using my hairbrush as a microphone, asking questions to the mirror, bantering back and forth with her.  When I graduated from college and entered the Hollywood scene, the red carpet became my obsession.  Working at the Leeza Show catapulted me into a whole new realm where I rubbed elbows with the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Patty Labelle and Jennifer Lopez.  As I facilitated their appearances on the show, I envisioned all of the questions Joan and I would ask and how we would comment on their style and appearance while relaying the latest gossip.  Little did I know that my dream would unravel on the length of a blue carpet where I would join a Joan replica in interviewing guests who were coming to honor a phenomenal woman celebrating 25 years in business: my boss, Hilary Kaye.


On August 21st, I was transformed into a bold brunette with long eyelashes and an East Coast accent.  Not only was I Joan’s sidekick, I was her daughter, Melissa Rivers. As I looked at the people lined up to be interviewed I recognized many movers and shakers in Orange County.  As Joan and I pushed the microphone into each of their faces they were beaming, not because they were on camera but because they were excited to recognize Hilary as someone who epitomized humility, character and integrity in the corporate arena.  These traits are a far cry from the qualities found in the heart of Hollywood.  It was then I realized the significance of this milestone and how Hilary had impacted so many lives.  All the glitz and glamour of the paparazzi taking pictures paled in comparison to the snapshots provided by those who wanted to share their heart about who she is and what she meant to them.  Susan Belknapp, assistant editor of OC Metro and OC Family said, “Hilary sets the bar so high that it is hard to rise to it.”  “Without Hilary Kaye where would any of us be?” shared Karen Gifford, president of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO).  Stepping into the role of Melissa Rivers was more profound than I had originally envisioned, and the cast of figures I got to interview alongside Joan surpassed my expectations.  The HKA 25-year anniversary was more than a celebration; it was a reflection of 25 years of hard work, dedication and consistency.  It was through the lens of Melissa Rivers that I caught a true glimpse of the woman who I know as my boss.

Anika Hearts HKA

April 7, 2009

I’m very proud to say that I’ve joined the absolutely awesome HKA team. I’m Anika Ramirez and yesterday marked the beginning of my second week at HKA. So far I’ve become familiar with some really cool coworkers, jumped right into the encouraging yet relaxed company culture and immediately started working with a great client.  I’m so excited to have found such a perfect place to work with some of the most supportive (and nice) coworkers around.  I consider myself extremely lucky to have found a position within a company that is not only reputable but also has an amazing company culture to go along with it. Everyone works hard, is really good at what they do and still manages to be fun and friendly. I can’t thank Hilary enough for believing in me as a PR professional and selecting me to join her successful company. I know I can learn A LOT from her.

My second week and already we're silly. We're missing Hilary in this staff photo but I thought it was too hilarious not to post. Obviously at HKA we know how to have fun.

My second week and already we're silly. We're missing Hilary in this staff photo but I thought it was too hilarious not to post. Obviously at HKA we know how to have fun.

As for a little about me, I have over three years of PR experience which made me realize I really enjoy PR (I made the right career choice–phew!) and fortunately I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some terrific clients. Cal State Fullerton provided me a great education and I graduated with a B.A. in  Communications (concentration in PR). I live in Costa Mesa which is less than 15 minutes from HKA, a HUGE plus when I am accustomed to half-hour commutes (that extra 15 minutes is worth a lot when sleep is involved). As an animal lover, having the HKA pets (cats and fish) around make me smile and keeps me occupied from constantly missing my own dog Teddy who waits for me at home. I know Hilary is big on her staff staying active which is cool and perfect for me because I stay active by doing the sports I love like snowboarding, riding my bike (especially to the beach), running, wakeboarding and playing soccer on my team the GrassKickers.

All in all, it’s been a great week at HKAand I’m excited for what’s to come. At HKA, it’s a family-type environment and it’s honestly a great feeling to be wholeheartedly welcomed by each member like I have been. I also look forward to contributing to the InisghtsOut blog with my random and hopefully useful rambling!