Communication essentials - Who we are at 25.

Today’s Communication Essential: who we are at 25.

Over the past year we’ve been celebrating 25 years of akhia communications.

But now is finally the day I’ve been waiting. It’s been hard to wait 11 months to do this but I now have the chance to close out our 25 year celebration by telling a little bit about just who we are at this quarter-century mark.

I’ve seen akhia evolve almost more than anyone. I remember what it was like with seven other employees. I remember water cooler talk about Survivor, The Sopranos, The Office and Grey’s Anatomy. I remember celebrating the Cavs first championship. And I remember what it was like going through some of the biggest historical events…ever? 9/11. Housing crash. And the new normal itself, Covid.

But the thing that gets lost in all of that is just how much we have evolved over these 25 years. Exciting to talk about. A little more challenging to write about. Do you do that by going backwards and exploring where we’ve been? Going forward and talking about what’s ahead?

I’m not going to do either. Instead, I thought I’d take a page from my mediation practice and focus simply on the present. Not who we were. Or who we will be.

Just…who we are, at 25.

We are an agency true to its roots. Those roots, are public relations.

Once in our name, public relations is now at our core. The principles of it is what drives everything we do. Audience. Action. Behavior. From the “so what’s” to the so, ‘what’s in it for me’. Understanding our clients’ business needs is where we start defining how we’re going to achieve it.

We bring clarity to the complex. Our clients are proud of the work they do and the depth of knowledge and expertise it takes to manage and grow their businesses. That doesn’t always make for the easiest or simplest overviews, kick-offs or plans. Which is where we come in. Listening and elevating that complex subject matter in a way it can be understood by, communicated to and impact key audiences is a skill we’re proud to possess.

But that’s just one way to look at the complex nature of today’s business environment. Consider what topics communicators need to be ready to counsel on and you have a whole other layer of complexity. I’m talking about the must haves – cybersecurity, covid protocol, work from anywhere, remote work, return to work, social issues, crisis issues and DE&I. Just to name a few. We work to bring clarity to the complex nature of these initiatives as well.

We believe in relationships. Relationships are so important to us. In our recent client satisfaction survey, we asked for words that define our relationship. We heard words like strategic, knowledgeable, solutions-oriented, partner – all words I love. This is what we want to always be known for when it comes to how people view a relationship with us.

Our work isn’t transactional. We are an agency that doesn’t see a client, we see a partnership. And as you know, partnerships are rooted in relationships. It’s so important we made it our vision: “To build indestructible relationships.”

That comes to life in the little things, like being a step ahead, and anticipating what you may need or be prepared for.

That comes in the form of big things, like sometimes challenging the status quo, asking ‘why’, and looking out for your best interests.

That comes in the form of the important things, like our saying ‘once a client, always a client’.

We are an agency that is operationally driven. Wait, what? Relationships and operations don’t always mix in a service business. Well, I would argue it’s imperative that they do.

See, no matter how much you like us, it won’t matter unless operations supports that story.

Efficiencies. ROI. Staffing. Hourly rates. Estimating. Invoicing. You know, make that ACCURATE estimating and invoicing. As in no surprises. If you don’t think this part is sexy, show it to your procurement team. We know they’ll like it. Why? Because they are much as a client as any of our contacts. We are business partners. We are accountable to you. This may be one of the most critical aspects of who we are today.

We are an experienced agency. I don’t say that because we’re 25. I say that because we’ve had the benefit of learning a few things over the years. You don’t get to 25 years, an average client relationship of nearly 10 years and an average of 15 years of employee experience without learning a few things.

We are an agency that believes in our people. Diverse backgrounds and experiences. Different thinking and lifestyles. While we have a team of unique individuals, we are bound together by one thing – the depth of care and feeling we have for each other and our clients. I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt that more than I do right now.

Very early in my career I was told by a manager ‘Never take this for granted…this doesn’t happen everywhere.’

In the spirit of focusing on the present, I’ll answer that today the same way I did then: I won’t.