Archive for October, 2013

The answer to “What is PR?”

Monday, October 28th, 2013

“So what do you do?”

“I work in Public Relations.”

“So…. What do you do?”

This is a question that I’ve been asked many times from friends, family and other professionals. When people think of PR they often think of extravagant red carpet parties, high heels and meeting celebrities. However, PR encompasses a lot more than that – it includes strategy, a lot of creativity and the willingness to push the lines and make clients a little uncomfortable. PR is about finding a connection between a brand and its audience and creating engaging content that helps build and maintain trusting relationships.

So to all of those who ask “what is PR?” here is the truth behind our job.

  • We write a lot – Whether it’s 140 characters or a 10-page strategy, writing, to some extent, consumes most of our days. The job of a PR practioner is to come up with ideas for our clients that are unique and newsworthy. We then have to share these ideas by crafting an interesting story for the media and the public. So from emails to our clients, to drafting a press release or pitch, it’s important to be able to write in a creative and professional manner for a variety of audiences.
  • We are time management masters – When you’re expected to juggle a million projects at once, the need for organization, prioritization and multitasking is a must. At any given moment you can be expected to work on a social media strategy, a launch event for a new account and coordinate the logistics for a last minute interview request. So whether it’s an Excel work-back schedule or a to-do in an Outlook calendar (a personal favourite), it’s important to find a way to balance all the tasks.
  • We are problem solvers – The ability to act quickly and be prepared for any issue – from a client’s broken heel to a full-blown crisis – is a skill that every practioner should possess. While we try to prepare for any situation that may arise, we have to have the ability to think on our toes and respond instantaneously. So whether it’s ensuring the reporter has the backgrounder, the spokesperson has the right speaking notes, or there’s a last minute venue change due to a blizzard in June, there’s no limit to the lengths we go to to ensure all of our projects are executed seamlessly.
  • We think outside the box – While “creativity” is a buzzword that’s tossed around in a lot of industries, in PR it’s the air we breathe. We are constantly looking for unique ideas to keep our clients top-of-mind in the media and recognized by the public.  That’s why we regularly engage in team brainstorms and work in an open-concept office where we can easily toss out different ideas to our coworkers. Our clients have come to expect that we’ll provide out-of-the-box ideas, and we promise to deliver.

While this is just a snapshot of what PR is and what we do at Brookline, hopefully it will help explain to my mother what I do at work every day.

– Madison is an Account Specialist at Brookline. She brings experience in the areas of media and social media relations, event management and internal communications.

NWR Breaks Ground the Sturgeon Refinery

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

On September 20, 2013, North West Redwater Partnership (NWR) celebrated the ceremonial ground-breaking of the Sturgeon Refinery. Brookline was onsite for the event, providing media relations and logistical support for our longstanding client.

The refinery – the first to be built in Canada in nearly 30 years – will add significant value to Alberta’s bitumen resources in a responsible and sustained manner; generating high margins on raw bitumen by upgrading and refining to ultra-low sulphur diesel, while managing CO2 emissions through a fully integrated carbon-capture and storage infrastructure.

The event took place near Redwater, Alberta, at the future site of the refinery, and featured speeches from the Honourable Alison Redford, Premier of Alberta; Ian MacGregor, Chairman of North West Upgrading (NWU) and Doug Bertsch, VP Regulatory and Stakeholder Affairs, NWR. A variety of media outlets, from local publications to national broadcasters were in attendance; taking in the presentations, participating in a media scrum and interviewing key delegates.

Brookline has been a partner of NWR since the Sturgeon Refinery was just an idea more than eight years ago, and we very excited to be a part of the kick-off of this innovative project. Congratulations to NWR on this historical moment! We snapped a few photos of the event while there – please enjoy!

Ian MacGregor delivers his speech, sourcing his greatest inspiration for the refinery project as the Little Engine That Could.

Media and guests gather around the delegates as the ground at the Sturgeon Refinery is officially broken.

Ian MacGregor and Alberta Energy Minister Ken Hughes participate in a media scrum moderated by Brookline.

Brookliners Andria and Natalie onsite at the NWR ground-breaking.

– Andria Campbell is an Assistant Account Specialist at Brookline. She effectively manages client needs such as media relations, event management and strategic content writing.

Three things to celebrate four years

Friday, October 4th, 2013

When I started at Brookline four years ago, I couldn’t possibly have imagined the journey it has taken me on so far.

I could rattle off lists of amazing projects I’ve been able to lead, or name a who’s who of incredible clients I’ve had the opportunity to work, succeed and celebrate with, but ultimately, a mark of success is determined by what you bring to the table each day, creating a positive impact on those around you.

I’ve learned a lot since I first walked through Brookline’s doors in September 2009, and I’d like to share three things that I fiercely believe are vital to living, breathing and succeeding in a career in public relations (or any career for that matter):

1)     Stay eager – “Do stuff. Be clenched, curious….always stay eager.” This is what Susan Sontag has to say, and I couldn’t agree more. You can’t wait for opportunity to fall in your lap – rather, build a dream of what you want to achieve and chase after it. Seize opportunities, be smart, be kind and stay focused. Share your success with others. You’ll be unstoppable.

2)     Use your senses – Listen, observe and tune in to your gut instinct. Nuggets of creativity and inspiration can come from anywhere – the more you’re aware, the more you’ll absorb and the better you’ll become at thinking strategically and being solution-focused. Condition yourself to be a good listener. Tuning in to the needs of others (whether it’s a client, vendor or partner) helps create a better understanding and stronger dialogue. Always strive to have “good” conversations.

3)     Never get comfortable – Complacency will get you nowhere. If you’re feeling stuck in a routine, don’t be afraid to change your habits. Pick up a book about a topic you know nothing about, or try out a new sport or hobby. Venture into the coffee shop you’ve walked by a hundred times, or watch a TED talk by someone you’ve never heard of.  Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and you’ll live a richer life.

One of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho, says “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” This quote couldn’t ring more true as I celebrate four years at Brookline, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner for our energetic agency.

– Paula Worthington is Vice President at Brookline Public Relations. She uses her fresh perspective and draws on her experience and skill set to deliver creative ideas and results-driven strategies for the agency and its clients.