Archive for August, 2019

Jumping on the Brandwagon – should brands take advantage of the latest event or trend?

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Lisa Libin, Vice President

Last month was the #10year challenge, prior to that was the Raptor’s playoff run, and we can’t forget the Ice Bucket Challenge, blue and gold dress debate and so many other trends that seemed to take over the world at one time and then disappear in the blink of an eye. But at that particular moment in time, these trends can often be a marketing win for brands. By piggybacking on some of the most searched topics of the moment, many brands are able to drive awareness and reach new audiences through creative content that ties to a trend, event or news story.

But should brands always jump on the “brandwagon”?

Companies like McDonalds took advantage of the Toronto Raptor’s recent play-off run but offering free medium fries anytime the Raptors scored two or more three-pointers in a game. From a public relations perspective, the awareness was huge. Most of the country was already watching the playoffs, giving McDonalds a captive audience to tie additional excitement to the games. But McDonalds also released its financial damage as response to the offer nearly quadrupled McDonald’s forecast, totalling more than 2.5 million fries in the regular season and playoffs combined. They may have had to put their money where their mouth is but from a PR point of view, it was worth the investment.

However, this golden moment for the golden arches isn’t always the positive outcome that brands achieve when jumping on the brandwagon. And even though a trend may be making a lot of noise in the moment, brands need to really evaluate if they should align themselves accordingly.

Gilette is an example of a brandwagon crash. In an era of #MeToo, Gilette made a bold move to create a short movie playing on their 30-year old tagline “The Best A Man Can Get”, replacing it with “The Best Men Can Be”. The company quickly came under fire with accusations from the public that the brand was trying to monetize on the #MeToo movement, with many vowing never to buy a Gilette product again. Gilette defended its position stating it took a public position to help “drive a positive change in the perception of masculinity” and many speculate Gilette released the ad expecting backlash but still wanting to create controversy to ultimately build awareness for their brand, not only among men, but among women as well.

From #10yearchallenges, the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games or World Series, big events, movements and trends perk up communicator and marketers’ ears and often make them think “should I be a part of this?” There is no yes or no answer. However, if a brand is looking to jump on a trend, it is important they do their research and be authentic. Consumers can easily see through a marketing ploy vs. a formal position, and time and time again the public will call a brand out for trying to take advantage of something they shouldn’t be a part of.

And while brands may be looking for a quick win by doing the latest #birdbox challenge, it can often have the opposite affect when overdone.

As a public relations practitioner, I am often asked by clients if they should be part of a big event or jump into a trendy social media stunt. My advice to them is generally consistent – if it makes sense, brands should authentically contribute to the conversation rather than adding to the clutter. If a brand does opt to jump on the “brandwagon”, put your own unique and creative spin on how you execute as opposed to mirroring everyone else.

Ultimately, there is always a gamble when trying to piggyback off something a brand didn’t organically create. And if a brand is OK with the risk, there is definitely potential wins to be gained.

Lisa Libin is Vice President at Brookline Public Relations. Lisa loves a good crisis (as long as it’s not a personal one!) and has vast experience in issues management and brand reputation issues, working with local and global communications teams to handle ongoing and current industry issues.

The creativity conundrum: how to keep your campaigns fresh and current

Monday, August 19th, 2019

Ashley Tymko, Account Manager

“I have an endless supply of award-winning campaign ideas! What is writer’s block? Inspiration just hits me at all times.”

In an idyllic world, the statement above is what myself, and I am sure every public relations practitioner wishes they would experience. In stark reality, creativity is relentlessly capricious. It ebbs and flows in waves and even the most seasoned of us can at times struggle to find inspiration.

Creativity can be defined in countless ways, but for the purpose of my blog, I am defining creativity as: “unique ways for organizations to evoke emotion and brand recognition among its target audience.”

I am often asked by my peers and those outside of the PR world how I continually stay creative for new and returning clients.

I thought I would share some key learnings that I’ve applied throughout the years to ensure I always put my most creative self forward.

Be authentic. This one is less of a ‘be true to yourself,’ but rather, more ‘be authentic to your client’.

Our clients work with us not only because we are good at what we do, but because we take the time to understand their needs and goals to authentically communicate their message. Strategy sessions are essential to building an excellent working foundation, but also imperative to getting those creative juices flowing with your client. We often bounce preliminary ideas off of one another to get a true sense of what they want vs. what they aren’t crazy about.

There is no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all media strategy.’ Learn your client, their language, their goals and desired outcomes. The more information you have on your client, the better you can determine what approach is best and find creative ways to solve their problems and add value.

Know your strengths. Know when you operate at your optimal creative level i.e. when you produce your best work. For me, it is first thing when I wake up. I quickly brush my teeth, make a coffee and hunker down at the computer and write. My optimal time is between 5 and 8 a.m. (as I edit this blog I peeked at the clock and its 6:05 a.m.) I often get (lightly) chastised from my concerned colleagues for sending emails and documents at 5 a.m. but that’s what works for me to get in my optimal writing headspace. This is the time I can pump out a killer press release or a thought-provoking pitch.

Be aware and make time or space to allow yourself to operate most creatively. It truly helps.

Our Senior Account Manager, Angela, needs to blast soca music to slay an amazing press release. Our Senior Intern, Nicole, likes to declutter and work in a clean space and our PR Assistant, Ottilie, loves to listen to Podcasts.

Get inspired! When creative juices are running low, don’t shy away from getting inspiration from different campaigns.

Whenever I am in a rut, I think back to my favourite PR campaign, the Dove Real Beauty campaign and its evolution. It is simple, evokes emotion, connects with the target demographic and is extremely creative in the delivery of its messaging. It’s a tremendously well-rounded campaign. So much so that it was pivotal in not only promoting their brand, but having their target audiences question their competitors’ marketing tactics. Its influence is seen heavily in public relations and marketing today. Just look at their competitor, Olay’s, new campaign.

So, when you find yourself spinning your wheels running through the same three ideas over and over again, step back and gain some clarity and inspiration from other places.

I asked around the office and here are a couple of our favourite campaigns:

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” — Albert Einstein

The key word here is FUN. At the end of the day, being creative, brainstorming ideas and stretching the limits of what we thought possible is always invigorating. My favourite days are when my colleagues and I get together in the boardroom and tackle an issue together. It usually ends in a pile of giggles and us shouting out the most obscure ideas we can think of – but at the end of the session, we come out with solid ideas to present to our clients.

So even when you are exhausted, out of ideas or feel like you’re hitting a wall, turn to your colleagues for support and have fun with it.

Ashley Tymko is an Account Manager at Brookline Public Relations. Ashley has expertise in event planning, media relations, client relations and strategic planning. Ashley thrives in a fast-paced workplace where there are constant opportunities to learn new things and explore bold ideas.

ONE Properties Reveals Construction Sneak Peek of Amazon’s newest, 1-Million Square Foot Fulfillment Centre in Nisku

Friday, August 9th, 2019

Ashley Tymko, Account Manager

Unboxing your online Amazon purchases is about to get a whole lot faster in Alberta thanks to ONE Properties’ latest development – the Amazon Fulfillment Centre– the second to be built in the province.

Photo by Jason Franson

Brookline led the planning, coordination and execution of a construction sneak peek event in June for ONE Properties to reveal the construction progress of the 1-million square foot facility.

The event took place at the development site in Border Business Park where various partners and guests were able to meet and get a first-hand look at the facility under construction.

Photo by Jason Franson

Key speakers of the sneak peek event included Vibhore Arora, Regional Director of Amazon Operations in Canada and Bill Bird, Senior Vice President of ONE Properties. 

Government officials including Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, Honourable Tanya Fir and the Mayor of Leduc County, Her Worship Tanni Doblanko, also attended the event and addressed how the new facility will help support Alberta’s economy and workforce.

The project currently employs approximately 100 workers and will increase to 200-250 workers during the final construction project phase before Amazon employees move in. Upon its scheduled completion in spring 2020, the facility will provide a combined total of 600 jobs to Albertans.

Photo by Jason Franson
Photo by Jason Franson

At the sneak peek event, guests also learned about a significant Amazon tradition – the door desk.

When Amazon first started as just a small online bookstore in 1995, its founders required a desk. As a new start-up organization, they also needed to find innovative solutions to save money. As a result, they created DIY desks by purchasing doors at a home improvement store and attaching 2X4s to it. Just as the name suggests, the “door desk” was born.

To this day, door desks are built and used in Amazon workplaces as recognition of the organization’s history and how it has evolved since its inception 20 years ago, but also as a sign to always consider efficient and effective options.

To honour this tradition and commemorate its new fulfillment centre in Nisku, Alberta, speakers at the event collectively signed a new door desk that will be the first piece of furniture to move into the facility once complete.

Photo by Jason Franson

The celebrations did not stop there.

In spirit of its latest venture in Alberta and its commitment to the local community, Amazon revealed its $15,000 donation to the Leduc and District Food Bank. ONE Properties and Border Business Park matched Amazon’s donation, totaling a collective $30,000 donation to help build food security in the local community. Shocked gasps, cheers and even some teary eyes were responses from guests and Leduc and District Food Bank representatives.

Photo by Jason Franson

Despite a rainy day in Nisku, Brookline successfully coordinated event logistics, managed multiple vendors, and ensured the event ran smoothly and safely for guests. Brookline managed media relations for ONE Properties, securing news coverage across online, television, radio, and social media platforms. Of course, the sun came out once the event was complete!

The Amazon boxes weren’t the only ones smiling!

Photo by Jason Franson

Ashley Tymko is an Account Manager at Brookline Public Relations. Ashley has expertise in event planning, media relations, client relations and strategic planning. Ashley thrives in a fast-paced workplace where there are constant opportunities to learn new things and explore bold ideas.