Archive for October, 2011

We want you… to give us your opinion

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Thanks to Google Analytics, we know that our blog is a close second for the title of ‘the most read section’ on our website. We also learned that the only thing people enjoy reading more than our blog is our About Us section – people must like our bios!

We love that people are interested in reading our blog, and learning more about Brookline and our clients and projects. We strive to be a credible and entertaining source for industry knowledge. When we originally started the blog in 2006, there wasn’t the option for readers to comment. So when we renovated the website in March 2010, we decided as a team that we wanted to hear our readers’ feedback and the decision was made to open up comments to the masses.

The response has been, well, less than overwhelming.

So consider this an official invite to give us your opinions, rebuttals, challenges, kudos – you name it. If you have a question for the team, would like more details on a project we worked on or an event we managed, please do not hesitate to comment on any of the blogs written by any of Brookline’s team members.

We’d love to hear from you!

RH

Crisis Communications

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Every organization is vulnerable to crises. In this day and age of heightened media, both traditional and social, organizations can no longer stick their heads in the sand during a time of crisis. Stakeholders are typically not understanding, or forgiving of this ostrich-like behaviour.

The public has been exposed to such behaviour in cases like former President Bill Clinton, Enron, BP, Maple Leaf Foods, Hurricane Katrina, etc.

Effective crisis communications can be challenging, but getting prepared in advance can help minimize or alleviate damage. The slower the response during a crisis, the more damage is incurred.

Three basic steps outlined below are great starting points for any organization that is looking to be more prepared if and when a crisis strikes.

Crisis: Any situation that is threatening or could threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt business, damage reputation or negatively impact share value.

1.     Have a Plan:

It is essential for businesses to have a crisis communications plan.  Once a sound plan has been created and finalized it is important for the plan to be circulated to all key personnel.

This plan should act as a key document during the crisis. It should be well organized and available in both a hard and soft copy for ease of use. It should include such key items as:

– Communications flow chart – This chart should detail the flow of communications during a time of crisis.

– Key contact list – This contact list should be at the beginning of the plan, and NEEDS to be updated regularly to ensure accuracy.

– Key messaging – This section should illustrate corporate key messages.

 2.     Identify and Train Key Spokespeople:

It is essential that proper media training take place for individuals in organizations who are likely to face stakeholders and media during a crisis.  Media training will prepare key spokespeople to confidently respond to media and stakeholders during the time of crisis and avoid potential media blunders.

Effective media spokesperson training, coupled with a comprehensive crisis communications plan can allow any company to assertively manage any crisis thrown their way.

3.     Practice makes Perfect:

After an effective crisis communication plan is in place, and key spokespeople have been media trained, a great next step is performing a mock crisis scenario. This exercise will prove to be invaluable for any organization, especially for key spokespeople.

The mock scenario should be executed as if a real crisis is taking place. It should allow for the following:

– The crisis communication plan to be implemented to the fullest extent possible. Key spokespeople to practise their media training

– Following the mock scenario, a complete debrief outlining key observations and feedback can allow for future improvements and better preparedness.

There is no doubt about it, crises are stressful events. But being prepared can help to ease this stress and mitigate potential damages.

JM

Speaking up and speaking out on women and homelessness in our city

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

The YWCA of Calgary was proud to announce October 13, 2011 as Women’s Homelessness Awareness Day as part of Homeless Awareness Week, focusing on women’s experiences with homelessness.

As a part of the day, the YWCA of Calgary in partnership with the University of Calgary, released a 64-page photovoice research report, “A Place to Rest,” that outlined seven key recommendations for housing and homeless services for women in Calgary.

The YWCA of Calgary also showcased its clothesline project – a powerful display of t-shirts illustrated by women with statements describing what they would like others to know about women and homelessness.

Special guest speaker Catriona Le Day Doan came out to show her support and two previously homeless women who participated in the research report were on-site to share their personal stories of transitional housing.

Brookline worked closely with the YWCA of Calgary and members of the media to ensure the event was a success and to help bring awareness and attention around this important issue.

RH