Miller-Time

From left, Harpreet Sidhu, Emanuel Sequeira and Kristi Patton are pictured on the outdoor patio of The Cannery where the idea for HEK Yeah Media was born.

It all began with a conversation on The Cannery’s patio.

Kristi Patton and married couple Harpreet Sidhu and Emanuel Sequeira chatted about the desire to branch out from print journalism to communications and public relations.

The long-time co-workers had different skill sets, but joining forces would create a boutique media and marketing agency — one-stop shopping for small businesses and not-for-profits in the South Okanagan.

HEK Yeah Media was officially born.

Offering social media, content writing, marketing and communication plans, photography, video, graphic services, PR and events planning, it’s all under one roof — a small office which they share with graphic designer Graphically Hip in the basement of 498 Ellis St. in Penticton.

HEK Yeah (Harpreet, Emanuel, Kristi — get it?) is a labour of love for the three who spent years in print journalism— Patton and Sequeira in editorial, Sidhu in sales and marketing, following a tenure as a sports editor.

Leaving the security of a guaranteed paycheque, benefits and jobs they enjoyed was challenging, but, as Sequiera notes, “You’re not going to know until you actually do it. So let’s do it.”

Sidhu said it helped they were already known in the community. In addition to name recognition from print media, they were active in sports, JCI Penticton and charitable causes.

“We enjoy working for ourselves, but you’re always working for someone. If we didn’t have clients, we couldn’t do what we’re doing. Even if you own a business, if you don’t have customers coming in, you don’t have a business,” Sequeira said.

Patton notes that many small business use Facebook and other social media. But they often post sporadically.

Ditto for media releases. Many small businesses understand the concept, but can’t grasp how to create a release that will jump out and receive maximum exposure.

Even though their days as journalists are in the rear-view mirror, Patton said they’re still in the business of story telling.

“For me it’s the story,” Patton said. “With businesses, show that it’s a face, not just a building made of concrete and wood. There’s someone behind it, someone local, someone who lives here, who is going through the same things we all are and someone who cares about our town.”

HEK Yeah was officially launched in November 2019. COVID has been a challenge, no doubt, but also an opportunity where they helped clients through the initial stages of uncertainty.

Sidhu received guidance and resources from both the City of Penticton’s economic development office and Community Futures. The greatest help, in terms of creating a client list via networking, was the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. (This week, she was elected to their board of directors.)

HEK Yeah was active in the Chamber’s socially-distanced awards night, preparing 55 videos, highlighting each of the nominated businesses. To date, it’s been their most enjoyable — yet nerve-wracking — assignment.

But, they’ve all been fun.

“Fun is part of our corporate guideline, it’s one of the first words mentioned,” Sidhu said. “If we’re not enjoying what we’re doing, then what’s the point?”

The trio’s attitude is best summarized in a quote by British author Simon Sinek. It’s one of Sidhu’s all-time favourites.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

James Miller is director of content and managing editor of The Penticton Herald.