Sip & Share: DH

Lisa Cargill, PR powerhouse and our IPREX partner, shares her proudest professional moment, what makes DH unique, and describes one especially important initiative that she’s worked on getting off the ground in Spokane, Washington (oh, and her favorite beverage of course). 

HB Agency: How long have you been at DH?

LC: This is my thirteenth year! No two days have been the same here. That’s one of the things I love most about my job.

HB: What types of clients do you typically work with?

LC: We have clients in just about every sector, as we are a generalist firm. I especially enjoy working with healthcare clients, public health in particular; so many of my projects are in that space.

HB: Describe DH in 5 words or less.

LC: Talented team ready to help

HB: What makes DH unique?

LC: DH is such an awesome place to work. We’re a team of zealots. The key word in Webster’s definition of the word zealot is “fanatical” – we love what we do and we love our clients. Their goals become ours and we won’t stop until we achieve success. We never compromise and the entrepreneurial mindset our company was founded on 20 years ago is alive and well today.

One of the things that’s funny about our culture is over the years we’ve developed our own language for communicating internally. When we hire someone I always feel for them because it’s like learning a foreign language. Three of my personal favorites:

  • “I’ve got hot snakes” – urgent issues lurking in your email
  • “I’m digging out” – back in the office and buried in to-dos
  • “It’s gonna be a rip snorter” – really crazy day/week/month ahead

In fact, a lot of funny stuff can be overheard at DH. Check it out on Twitter @overheardatDH.

HB: What has been your proudest PR moment at DH?

LC: Earning my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) is a highlight for sure. It pushed me to grow as a PR practitioner and helped me demonstrate my knowledge, skills and abilities in a formal way. It was an opportunity to prove to myself (and others) what I was capable of in the PR world. I became so passionate about the process that I now chair the local APR program and guide other APR hopefuls through the process.

HB: We’ve heard about your work with Give Real Change. What was the genesis of this campaign and what was (or still is) its impact on the community?

LC: Like so many urban cores across the country, downtown Spokane, WA experiences chronic panhandling. The Give Real Change campaign was born from the Downtown Spokane Partnership (DSP) and City of Spokane’s belief that in the most basic sense, panhandling is a supply and demand issue. Past experience and research here showed nearly all chronic panhandlers have housing and food despite what their signs claim, and they use spare change to fuel alcohol and drug addictions.

In short, we set out to encourage people to stop giving money to panhandlers and instead donate to local organizations making a measurable difference in the community. This would not only wane the supply and thus the demand, but would ensure two important outcomes: panhandlers needing support to overcome addiction or other chronic issues would be forced to seek it at local service providers like House of Charity and others (who are no where near capacity) and the dollars from compassionate community members would be put to good use to make a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people – meeting the givers’ real intent.

HB: What did you and the DH team do to get this campaign off the ground?

LC: These are just some of the tactics used in the campaign strategy:

  • Partnered with Catholic Charities who connected us with former panhandlers who acted as spokespeople and talked about the realities of where the money goes, how much they made on the streets, and the deception that runs rampant
  • Tools for employers to educate employees who work in the downtown core because they’re often the biggest givers
  • Posters at local businesses, eateries and shopping venues to raise general awareness
  • Bill stuffers in City utility bills to reach a broader audience who live near downtown and frequent it for restaurants, shopping and entertainment
  • A CrowdSwell webpage and app to make giving to charities fast and easy

As expected, the campaign was met with some criticism from people who felt the DSP and City were not being compassionate toward people in need and/or were telling people where to donate their hard-earned money. Criticism is never easy, but it’s why I believe your heart has to be in the work you do. We knew the realities and what the research shows so we had no reason to waiver and if anything, it pushed us to spread the word even more.

Our client was very happy with the campaign, but as we all know, behavior change takes time.  Now that the assets are developed, ongoing pushes will be initiated as funding allows. This effort continues to be just one of the ways the DSP and City are improving beautiful downtown Spokane.

HB: Finally, what’s your drink of choice and why?

LC: No frills. No gimmicks. Just plain, iced, black tea. It meets my three criteria: tasty, less sugar than soda, and enough caffeine to help me function. Mmm.

Lisa at DH (1)

DH is a public relations, advertising and branding agency in Spokane, Washington. They build multi-disciplinary programs that communicate complex ideas in simple, compelling ways. At the heart of everything they do is a strategy built on a company’s market, opportunities and where it can move the needle. Their team is grounded in multi-disciplinary work and campaigns. Please visit www.wearedh.com to learn more or connect with DH on Facebook and Twitter.

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Boston's Mower office is a full-service technology marketing, PR and branding agency. Our B2B stories illustrate projects and campaigns in a variety of markets and media that range from local impact in Boston and New England to global proportions.

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