Q3 2019 in Review


A somewhat uneventful Friday in September got considerably more interesting late in the day when HKA was contacted by Australian tech startup Q-CTRL. The company was announcing its Series A funding early the following week and had heard about the fine work the agency was doing for other tech clients.  Q-CTRL needed a U.S. public relations firm to help promote it, and the HKA technology team immediately responded with “Yes, we can!”  Before anyone could say “quantum computing,” HKA secured a tremendous Forbes interview and story, plus coverage in more than a half-dozen other business and tech publications, including TechCrunch.  Of course, this all happened at quantum speed – and in time for Q-CTRL’s important announcement early the following week.

Formed in 2017 in Sydney, Australia, Q-CTRL provides “quantum firmware” to make quantum hardware more resistant to errors and enhance computational accuracy and usefulness. In other words, its solution is indispensable for quantum computing’s ability to someday enable major breakthroughs in science, pharmaceuticals, finance and more.

What is quantum computing?  While today’s computers are based on Newtonian physics, quantum computing seeks to leverage the strange properties of quantum physics and its sub-atomic world to execute computations far beyond the reach of today’s fastest computers. There is one major obstacle, though. Even the most advanced machines being developed can only run operations for very short periods before errors creep in and programs fail due to environmental “noise.”

Having experienced HKA performance quality over a brief (but effective) weeklong engagement, Q-CTRL has asked HKA to serve as its agency of record in the U.S.  Needless to say, the agency once again said “Yes, we can” and is looking forward to representing a company in the incredibly promising field of quantum computing.  We are eager to see what the future holds with this new client.

In Sod We Trust

In September, HKA supported the Irvine Community Land Trust’s (ICLT) new affordable housing project by generating media coverage around a ground-breaking event at the construction site.

Despite heavy interest in the region’s housing crisis, such events are rarely covered by news outlets. There’s something about them that can come off as too staged.  Sometimes, they’re too political or just don’t resonate with audiences.  At least, these are the perceptions to be overcome by communications professionals focused on shining media spotlights on clients.

In this case, HKA took a holistic approach to its media outreach campaign. The agency targeted specific journalists with customized storylines that would appeal to their readers/viewers and offered access to a tailored variety of interview subjects, ranging from local and county officials to private sector developers and current ICLT residents. In each case, HKA made it clear that this event would not be just another ordinary collection of talking heads with shovels in hand.

Ultimately, the news was covered by KNBC, Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register – the top three outlets on ICLT’s wish list – and each one reported the story in a unique way. KNBC focused on the city’s and county’s role within the larger Southern California region. Los Angeles Times put the project in its proper local context with supporting data points.  The Orange County Register grabbed its own shovel to dig deep into a key policy initiative the ICLT has been pushing statewide.

The result was three unique (and critically effective) takes on the same story – all informative about an important community development. Building on it further, HKA filmed the event and will launch a video campaign in the coming months to promote the ICLT’s work.  Stay tuned.

Attention Target Shoppers

As a generalist communications agency, our client work reaches audiences of all types and sizes. Some audiences are widespread and broad-based, where outlets with greater circulation are the key to a successful media campaign. These campaigns often include national television news coverage and stories in major newspapers or magazines.

Some audiences require more precision and finesse to reach them.  Often, our work requires that we carefully target a niche client audience by finding just the right media outlet.  Many times, these specialized publications are obscure, but not to those in that industry.  And, even with limited circulations, when we find the right outlet, each reader is potential gold for clients.

In Q3, we found ourselves successfully targeting quite an array of niche publications. Over the years, we’ve seen (and become familiar with) publications that exist for practically any topic you can think of.  While our agency summer saw clients appear in outlets such as Fortune and Los Angeles Times, we also proudly secured coverage for clients in publications that only focus on pizza, funerals and trucking – to name a few.

One of our law firms shared with readers its industry expertise in PMQ Pizza Magazine, Heavy Duty Trucking and Wine Industry Advisor.  An accounting firm connected with specific audiences with content that appeared in National Defense and Aerospace and Manufacturing Design. Our mortuary client showcased a quality employee in American Cemetery and Cremation magazine. And our Canadian technology client got valuable exposure in Biz in Vancouver, Transmission and Distribution World and WindPower Engineering.

Bottom line? The phrase “it’s not how many you know, it’s who you know” certainly applies in today’s media world. It’s a world where widespread (and widely read/viewed) news coverage and targeted press consumed by a select few live a life of equal importance.