Agency profile: Elettra Communications

CPRS digital writer Lorna Allen sat down with the founders of Elettra Communications to find out more about their agency.

Here's what they had to say:

When and who founded Elettra Communications? 

Elettra Communications was formed in January 2008 by Simone Abt and Gwen Hardy.

What was the concept behind the formation of the firm? 

We founded Elettra Communications on three guiding principles:

  • Relationships are everything. In this business, you not only have to be smart and strategic, you also have to be the kind of person clients enjoy working with. We are our clients’ partners, investing time to understand their businesses, caring as much as they do about the results, and ensuring the process is enjoyable.
  • Curiosity drives us. We’re interested in a wide range of topics and industries. We want to know how things work, and how things can be improved. We love asking questions, sifting through a lot of information to find a gem of a story, and the telling that story in a variety of ways.
  • It’s about more than just the media hits. We don’t do PR for PR’s sake. At Elettra, communications strategy always follows defined business objectives.

What does a typical day at Elettra Communications look like? 

As everyone reading this knows, there is no typical day in the PR industry. At Elettra we service clients across a range of industries so their needs can often be quite different.

As a group of avowed current affairs junkies (and big CBC Early Edition fans), we do start each day by getting up-to-date on local, national, and international news. We’re also passionate debaters, so this is usually followed by at least one spirited discussion about a hot topic.

We’re a collaborative crew, so we do a lot brainstorming and discussion over strategy. Otherwise, you’ll find us either at our desks or around town working on a communications strategy, creating materials, pitching stories, or planning big events.

How has the definition of PR changed for Elettra? Has it changed any of the work your agency does? 

In the past six years, the scope of PR has broadened greatly, which is both refreshing and exciting. Success is now defined in more ways than just a cover story in the local newspaper. Our clients are looking for more than just traditional media coverage and events and we are able to also offer cost-effective online strategies, including social media and content creation. This represents big opportunity for PR agencies.

Of course, the flipside is that this demands much more of the PR professional, both in terms of skill set/knowledge and in the time commitment. For a group that is committed to leaving no stone unturned, it can be hard to decide when the work is done.

What sets your agency apart from the others in Vancouver? 

It’s the strong business sense we bring to every project we undertake. Our focus is on addressing and meeting real business objectives. We invest the time to understand not just our clients’ communications needs, but also their business needs. We are totally invested in our clients businesses and build strong relationships that last for years. A win for them feels like a win for us too.

What would you say Elettra Communications “specializes in”? 

We are curious about a lot of things, so we don’t specialize in one particular industry or PR skill set. Our cross-industry experience benefits all our clients because we bring ideas from one industry and apply them in fresh ways to another. It also gives us a deep and wide knowledge of the media landscape, so we see opportunities where others might not.

What would your employees say makes Elettra Communications appealing to work for? 

We offer a professional but relaxed working culture, an inclusive atmosphere that encourages a free exchange of ideas. We are passionate about what we do and that also contributes to a positive and creative working environment.

Tell us about a campaign Elettra is most known for or proud of. 

We’re proud whenever a campaign delivers tangible results beyond the tally of media hits. When our clients say something like “the media coverage directly resulted in more funding opportunities, which is allowing us to offer a new program,” that’s when we know we’ve done our job.

As an example, we worked with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation on their Culinary Arts Program. The Nation was graduating its first class of students from its Professional Cook training program, which provides students with professional skills and training in cultural Aboriginal cooking. The Nation wanted to raise awareness of the program, with objectives of securing funding for the program’s future and attracting more participants to the program.

The class’s graduation provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the program through media outreach. We worked with the Nation to organize a luncheon event, which enjoyed a large turnout from local media, as well as representatives from Chefs Table Society and US State Department. Our client told us that as a result of extensive print, TV, and online media coverage the program attracted a funder and the Nation received an unprecedented number of inquiries from prospective students.

To Elettra, that is success.

Do you have anything new and exciting coming up? 

Yes…but it’s top secret for now! 

What is the best way for prospective clients to contact you? 

Phone: 604.738.3870 | Email:

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