Archive for January, 2014

Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations

Friday, January 24th, 2014

I recently made the move from the charitable world into an agency environment here at Brookline Public Relations. The decision was an easy one as Brookline has a powerful value system in line with my beliefs about giving back. Here at Brookline, we have an extensive pro-bono portfolio. We are proud to work with amazing organizations like Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure, STARS Air Ambulance, and Enactus Canada.

It is through this work that we are able to contribute in a meaningful way to the community in which we work and live. However, giving back can also provide an avenue for public engagement. A key component to a strong business strategy these days includes a corporate social responsibility platform.

The Government of Canada defines Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as the voluntary activities undertaken by a company to operate in an economic, social and environmentally sustainable manner.

CSR programs build a company’s reputation and distinguish them within the marketplace.  For companies that have faltered within the public atmosphere, CSR can adjust the public’s perception for the better. Corporate Social Responsibility also suggests to the public that the business abides by a code of ethics which in turn creates a sense of trust. Positive perception of a business leads to a better bottom line.

Corporate Social Responsibility programs can also engage staff. Employees are one of the biggest disseminators of your reputation in the community.  By creating a culture of participation in CSR activities, employees will be more fulfilled and in turn, more positive about their work.

While we have our own initiatives internally as mentioned above, we are also honoured to have clients with extensive CSR programs. Below is a small sampling:

  • Field Law developed their Community Fund Program which provides support to Western and Northern communities in the areas of: education, healthcare, at-risk youth, homelessness, women’s organizations, community and sports or arts and culture.
  • Original Joe’s, a division of FranWorks Group of Companies, donates to regional charities on a four month rotation through their Community Pint Program.
  • Ford of Canada hosts regular events called Ford’s Drive 4 UR School and Community. For every person who test-drives a Ford vehicle on a chosen date at a designated dealership, they will donate $20 to a local beneficiary. To date, this program has raised over 3 million dollars.
  • Marlborough Mall hosts an annual event called GownTown in which they accept gently used formal dresses. All the dresses are sold for only $10 with proceeds supporting a local charity.

As you can see, corporate social responsibility initiatives can be incredibly varied. I encourage you to find out if your company has a CSR platform and get involved.  If your company does not currently have any CSR programs, why not make the recommendation to develop one? Not only will your company benefit from your active participation, but you will reap the rewards through a sense of fulfillment.

– Kristen McAdam is an account specialist at Brookline Public Relations. She has a diverse background from corporate, to professional sports, to the not-for-profit sector and brings experience to the agency in the areas of event management, marketing communications, and media relations.

How to Write a Press Release

Monday, January 6th, 2014

If you know anything about public relations, you know that in any job interview for a PR position you will undoubtedly be asked, amongst a number of other skill-testing questions, if you know how to write a press release. For those who haven’t majored in a PR specific program or taken courses that teach you what a boilerplate is or how to use the Canadian Press Style Guide, this simple question can be daunting. There are a number of key skills that agencies look for when they’re hiring, including the ability to write a solid press release, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to know how to write one. What it means is that you have to do your research, be confident in your writing skills and, most of all, be willing to learn.

I came to Brookline with an eagerness to immerse myself in the PR world, despite the fact that I didn’t have a lot of experience in writing press releases, compiling media lists, pitching the media or doing other tasks that are daily occurrences in an agency. In true Brookline fashion, I was welcomed with open arms and my internship began to unfold into an experience that was nothing short of amazing. The wonderful thing about Brookline is that when you’re part of the team, you’re really part of the team. From the get go I was involved in internal and client meetings, writing releases, briefs and pitches, planning and attending events, team building activities, and so much more. The team made every effort to pass on their wealth of knowledge, answer all of my questions and, above all else, make me feel included. In no time at all I had overcome the press release that began as my Everest and fallen in love with agency life.

As it turns out, it is handy to know how to write a press release before you hit the ground running in PR, but the value of a good education and a solid work ethic should not be underrated. Behind every good press release is a good writer, so whether you’ve written one before or not, it is your willingness to learn and your skill as a communicator that will make or break you in the real world of PR. I have learned far more from my time at Brookline than I could have ever anticipated, and all I can say is that I am so grateful that I was given the chance to prove that, with a little Brookline magic, I could do so much more than write a press release. It is with great enthusiasm that I look forward to all the new experiences that my second term with Brookline is sure to bring in 2014.

– Erica Morgan is an intern at Brookline Public Relations. She brings experience from the oil and gas industry where she developed specific knowledge in the areas of internal communications and business ethics.