Values, Experiences, & Beliefs: Understanding Your Audience

By Grant Wright, CEO


It’s interesting to me that some people seem wired to presume the worst or best in someone, no matter the actions of that someone. Standing on opposite sides of a big ‘6’ laid on the ground, two people will see the same thing but think differently. One sees a six, the other a nine. Both are right, but both could be adamant the other is an idiot.

When developing a position, we rely on three things – our values, experiences and beliefs. Values – the principles, standards and qualities that guide our decisions and the way we live our lives – are formed starting in childhood. They influence our judgment and, relatively speaking, over time become deeply set within us. Changing them is like changing the course of a supertanker by a rubber dinghy pushing on its side.

Experiences, too, are even further on the spectrum of being unchangeable. While we can later reinterpret the experience perhaps with a different lens of new information, the factual experiences themselves are set like values and not within our control.

Beliefs, on the other hand, are within our control. For example, whether you choose to believe the worst or best in the current presidential election, chances are you’ll be right, or at least think you are. While values and experience are relatively set, it’s beliefs we seek most to influence.

At (W)right On, we’re often heard saying ‘before communication starts, know your audience’ and ‘understand your goal of the particular communication.’ Is it to inform? To change an opinion? Cause an action? And this brings us back to understanding the audience’s values, experiences and beliefs, the last of which you may seek to change. But how to do this?

1. Research!

Before we begin engagements, we’ll often tell new client partners that they should expect to see fewer overt outcomes in the earliest days as this period should allow for behind-scenes research if not already conducted. It’s important to understand the target audience demographic and its alignment, or not, with the given product or service. Trying to communicate the merits of skateboards to senior citizens is like trying to sell retirement packages to 15 year olds. Our goal with research is to ensure communication programs are first accurate before they’re precise.

Creating a fake ‘ideal’ customer persona; studying competitors and how they connect with their audiences you wish were yours; monitoring social media discourse; conducting a survey and meeting one-on-one with members of your target audience are all ways to help know your audience better.

2. Strategy & Tactics

From there, strategy can be developed and tactics deployed to influence beliefs. These might involve bringing the person around the table to see the 6 or 9 from the other’s point of view; modifying the skateboard to a scooter, or the retirement package to an education package; or engaging influencer communications as part of a pull strategy. If we understand our audience, their values, experiences and beliefs, we can then develop a strategy that they are more likely to respond to.

3. Measurement

…a sticky word in public relations but absolutely essential. If your strategies don’t deploy feedback mechanisms and measurable parameters, how will you know if your strategies and tactics to shape beliefs are effective? Some of these parameters might be readily observable – social media statistics, share of voice, top of mind awareness, increased sales demonstrably linked to a specific campaign – while others like brand valuation measurement are less so. At (W)right On, being able to measure and then hone our efforts for best effect are so important that we’re certified by the Association of Measurement & Evaluation of Communications (AMEC) based in London, UK.

4. Close the Loop

With research, intentional strategy, tactics and measurement, closure for best effect comes by not being rigid in approach. Sometimes a communication program will begin with one strategy perhaps even influenced by best practice or success from another industry, but then adapt and become even stronger with new technology or information gained from effectiveness assessment. Some call this ‘continuous improvement’, but really this is just the machinery of a good communication program at work. More broadly, this is also reflective of communication industry evolution for those who keep up.

At (W)right On, we know perspective and context are key in communications, just as are continuous learning, new technologies and an open mind. Whether people see a six or a nine, both are right. Now that that’s settled, where do you go from there?

(W)right On Communications Adds Four Team Members

SAN DIEGO, Calif.; Oct. 20, 2016San Diego public relations agency (W)right On Communications has added four new team members. Aisha Belagam joins the agency as Communications Strategist, Collin Chappelle as Video Producer, Phelan Riessen as Lead headshot_aishaDeveloper and Teronda Williams as Marketing and Administrative Coordinator. With a multi-cultural background, Belagam brings experience in public relations, marketing, social media and advertising most recently with Vitality Medical and ViTRO Agency. She graduated magna cum laude from San Diego State University. Chappelle has been shooting both video and stills since 2004 and specializes in community journalism, business to business storytelling and commercial advertising.
Using the latest digital cinema equipment, including 6K-capable headshot_colincameras and aerial drones, Chappelle has collaborated with client partners such as Coca-Cola, the United States Marine Corps, AMWAY, Milk Life, NASCAR and many others. Chappelle holds a Master of Art in Commercial Photography degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. Riessen is a well-established web developer and known locally for his support of various technology and business events around town including RefreshSD, March Mingle and Startup Week. Williams’ experience in marketing and administration includes positions with La Vida Del Mar, CW6 Channelheadshot_phelan and the Rock Church, and she is a Cal State University San Marcos graduate.

“Our new team members bring excellent practice area knowledge and technical skill to help us provide the full spectrum of communications expertise to our client partners,” says Grant Wright, CEO of (W)right On Communications.

About (W)right On Communications

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Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, British Columbia, (W)right On Communications is among California’s largest communications and public relations agencies. Supporting the hospitality, healthcare, energy, technology, professional services, government agencies, land development and other industries, San Diego-based (W)right On has produced results-driven media relations, social media, crisis communication, graphic design, videography, branding and marketing campaigns for client partners including hotels, hospitals, major utilities, startups, clean tech and renewable energy providers, land developers, city governments and universities among many others. To learn more about (W)right On, visit wrightoncomm.com.

Meet the Team: Aisha Belagam

 

headshot_aishaWe’re giving you the inside scoop on the entire WOC team with our “Meet the Team” series. This month, the spotlight is on our new Jr. Communications Strategist, Aisha Belagam.

Aisha brings a competitive advantage to the (W)right On team with her diverse background and unique upbringing. Her experiences in very different parts of the world including Salt Lake City, Utah and the island of Penang in Malaysia have challenged her to develop into a interculturally competent person.

She has accumulated broad experience in journalism, public relations, marketing and advertising with clients in various industries such as healthcare, consumer, technology, hospitality, entertainment and government. After graduating high school at the age of 16, Aisha attended San Diego State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism and an emphasis in Public Relations.

Her love for writing, culture, socializing and traveling comes together perfectly in her position at (W)right On.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?

I would probably be in school working towards an M.B.A., becoming one step closer to owning my own business.

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?

Ever-evolving

Fill in the blank. “If you really knew me, you’d know ____.”

About my love for anything by the water.

What super power would you like to have?

Mind reading

What would a “perfect” day look like to you?

One with the end-goal of happiness. Whether it’s a simple summer day at Del Mar beach or an extravagant time exploring Bangkok – it’s all about finding the joy in life.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

Change is inevitable. Embrace it.

Best vacation you’ve had?

Bangkok, Thailand.

What’s your most embarrassing moment at work?

We were preparing to pitch to a doll brand at the advertising agency I worked at and the CEO asked us to share any personal experiences we had with the brand. What was supposed to be a private reply to the CEO ended up being sent to the entire agency, showcasing my cringe-worthy childhood story in a hot pink font with embarrassing photos. For the next few months, colleagues would reply to my emails with a hot pink cursive font. Curse you, “Reply All”.

Favorite quote?

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
― Oscar Wilde

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would be cast as you?

Frieda Pinto

If you were stuck on an island and could only choose 5 CDs, what would they be?

  • Purple Rain by Prince
  • The Best of Ravi Shankar
  • Lenny Kravitz’ Greatest Hits
  • Aerosmith: Greatest Hits
  • Michael Jackson’s Greatest Hits

Fill in the blank. “People would be surprised if they knew___.”

That I ended up attending 10 different private schools with very different curriculums from elementary through high school because of all the moving I did.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Fake people

What TV show/movie is your guilty pleasure?

Entourage

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Love

Favorite line from a movie?

“I love you.” “…Thanks.” – Breakfast at Tiffany’s

What’s the best gift you have ever received?

A very well-loved teddy bear

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy fashion, culture, the beach, music, traveling, dining out, shopping, writing, and socializing.

Hospitality PR Pros: Interview, Don’t Pitch, Travel Writers

By Julie Wright, President

Twitter: @juliewright

What happens when 25 travel media and an equal number of hospitality PR professionals are put in a room together for lunch? First, it gets really loud.

Second, if those 25 travel media are from Vancouver and the travel PR pros are from California (including destination marketing professionals from San Diego and Palm Springs), they’ll quickly find a lot in common.

For example, Vancouver media like sunshine: we have a ready supply! They like active outdoor fun: we make great hiking, surfing and cycling buddies. They’re into fresh, healthy and creative dining washed down with a delicious craft beer: all are abundant in San Diego and California.

A couple weeks ago was National Tourism and Travel Week in the U.S., and I spent Tuesday at a Visit California luncheon at the Vancouver Art Gallery talking with Canadian travel media about our client partner Visit Oceanside.

The format of the event was a progressive luncheon where the media stayed at one of five tables and the hospitality PR representatives rotated to a new table with each course. It was a fast, fun way to make sure everyone got a chance to connect and enjoy quality time.

I have attended similar events in Vancouver and the Bay Area about a year to a year and a half ago. At those events I was representing all of our hospitality PR clients – from Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to hotel and resort properties in Carlsbad, Del Mar, North Park, the Gaslamp, Coronado and Borrego Springs. Each has unique qualities (natural splendor, historic preservation, beach fun, desert serenity, hipster chic, family escapes, spas, wellness, fantastic dining and stargazing) and I felt such pressure to get each of their stories out and cram all of the information I could into every encounter I had. At the conclusion of those prior events, I felt like I hadn’t really made the connections or created the opportunities that I had set out to build.

With that in mind, I changed my approach for this luncheon. Instead of trying to get my story out, I focused first on the travel writer’s stories. I learned as much as I could in the time available–what do you write about, who do you write for, what drew you to travel writing, what have you written about most recently, what kinds of stories do you like to tell, what do you think of San Diego and California?

And a funny thing happened. I learned enough about each writer and TV producer to know which travel experiences and story angles would resonate with them. I now know who wants to cover skate parks and extreme sports spotlighting Oceanside’s active lifestyle opportunities. I know who wants to pursue the perfect fish taco. I know who might like to drive the Hops Highway (or at least sit shotgun for a North County beer tour). More than that, I also felt like I made some new friends and sincerely hope to welcome these folks to Oceanside over the coming year and share a future meal or drink with them.

All that is left to do now is ask them what time of year they’d like to make the trip, follow up and get it on everyone’s calendar.

At (W)right On Communications, we’re always evaluating and evolving our approach to getting our clients’ stories out. If you have a hospitality story you want promoted, we’ve got the perfect connection. Get in touch and we’ll match your story with the ideal storyteller.

San Diego Public Relations Agency CEO Joins San Diego Venture Group Board

Grant Wright joins leadership of premier venture capital community associationGrant

SAN DIEGO, March 29, 2016 – The San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) has elected San Diego public relations agency (W)right On Communications CEO Grant Wright to the Board of Directors. Additionally, Wright is leading a new sub-group of Board Directors dedicated to advancing effective communications for SDVG.

Previously Board Chairman of the Southern California Aviation Association for five years and Director for nine years, Wright was instrumental in helping grow that organization from an original small core of members to more than 600 corporate and 6,000 person members today. CEO of (W)right On Communication since 2004, he helped lead the San Diego public relations agency to become among the largest in California. In 2016, he was a finalist for the San Diego Business Journal’s Most Admired CEO awards.

“My goal with the San Diego Venture Group is to help steward the continued success of this excellent organization and introduce innovative communication methods to advance SDVG’s interests,” said Wright. “San Diego is home to one of the nation’s most exciting and growing entrepreneurial and venture capital environments. As evidence of the even stronger environment to come, Money Magazine just named San Diego the #1 US travel destination. SDVG is a great organization and I’m honored and excited to support it.”

(W)right On Communications, a San Diego Public Relations agency, specializes in public relations, marketing solutions and strategic communications services – ranging from social media marketing to multimedia and web development. (W)right On is exceptionally strong in technology public relations with experience working with the Internet of Things (IoT), major utilities, cleantech companies, and renewable energy providers.

“It’s an exciting time to invest in San Diego-based startups. We have an exceptionally strong and growing tech sector, in addition to one of the top three biotech centers globally. Just 90 minutes by air from Silicon Valley, we continue to exploit our proximity to the largest venture capital region on the planet,” stated Mike Krenn, president of San Diego Venture Group. “We are excited and fortunate to have Grant join the board. His expertise, passion for entrepreneurial ventures, and energy will help us build regional momentum.”

 

About (W)right On Communications

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, British Columbia, (W)right On Communications is a full-spectrum communications and public relations firm headquartered in San Diego, California. Specializing in hospitality, healthcare, energy, technology and development, (W)right On has produced results-driven media relations, social media and promotional campaigns and programs for clients including hotels, hospitals, utilities, startups, developers and universities. To learn more about (W)right On, visit www.wrightoncomm.com.

About San Diego Venture Group

Founded in 1986, the San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) is a non-profit organization designed to bring San Diegans who are interested in new enterprise and the process of creating it together. With a mission to provide a networking forum for entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and advisors in an informal atmosphere where human expertise can foster new ventures, SDVG is comprised of professionals with bright ideas to share and the practical skills required to implement these ideas. For more information, visit www.sdvg.org.

Meet the Team: Kara – Communications Coordinator

Headshot_KaraWe’re giving you the inside scoop on the entire WOC team with our “Meet the Team” series. This month, the spotlight is on our new Communications Coordinator, Kara DeMent.

Kara is known for her “out of the box” thinking and passion for the media industry. As Communications Coordinator, she supports (W)right On’s land development, energy, utility, technology, B-to-B, professional services, hospitality and non-profit clients. Before joining (W)right On, Kara served as a PR Assistant at a boutique PR firm and supported communications for the Orlando Magic and LA Clippers. She graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with an emphasis in PR and Mass Communications. As a California native, she enjoys the beach, Disneyland trips, crafting, and being outdoors.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current job?

I would be looking for my current job! Haha

What’s one word you would use to describe yourself?

Ambitious

Fill in the blank. “If you really knew me, you’d know ____.”

If you really knew me, you’d know that I have this dream of becoming a New York City Rockette and performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What super power would you like to have?

I would love the power of having super strength.

What would a “perfect” day look like to you?

A perfect day would be going to brunch (I love mimosas) and going to a sporting event. Preferably, a Clippers game J

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

To be patient and know that things will happen when they’re meant to.

Best vacation you’ve had?

A family trip to Walt Disney World, followed by a cruise to the Bahamas!

What’s your most embarrassing moment at work?

There was one time I spilt coffee on Deandre Jordan before a press conference. He was cool about it, but I about died. Haha

Favorite quote?

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” –Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would be cast as you?

Jennifer Lawrence, for sure!

What’s your drink of choice?

Jack and coke.

If you were stuck on an island and could only choose 5 CDs, what would they be?

Usher 8701, Matchbox Twenty Yourself or Someone Like You, NSYNC, Bing Crosby Christmas CD, Brittney Spears (not sure which one though), and Journey’s Escape CD.

Fill in the blank. “People would be surprised if they knew___.”

People would be surprised if they knew that I have a weird obsession with everything supernatural and Harry Potter. I own a wand from Harry Potter Land.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I feel like I have a lot, but the one that really gets me is when people don’t say thank you.

What tv show/movie is your guilty pleasure?

I have a lot of these too, but if I had to choose one Vampire Diaries would have to be it.

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Disneyland. Haha

Favorite line from a movie?

One of my favorites, “SANTA, I know him!” – Buddy, ELF

Do you have an office nickname? What is it?

No.

What’s the best/worst gift you have ever received?

The best gift I’ve received would have to be my Mustang. I love that car.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy sporting events, hiking, crafting (specifically painting), brunching, Disneyland, being with my friends and family, and Netflix.