Archive for the ‘Crisis Communications’ Category

When Your Employees Go Rogue – How employees can do more damage than your competition

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Lisa Libin, Vice President

An employee can be a company’s strongest asset.  However, when an employee goes “rogue” – going against company policies and values, a PR crisis can ensue, reflecting and ultimately damaging a company’s brand.

From Starbucks employees choosing to have some loitering customers arrested to Tim Horton’s franchisees publicly lashing out over cuts to their benefits – although these issues are caused by rogue employees – it is still the responsibility of the brand to respond and clean up the mess.

What can a brand or company do when its reputation is tarnished by others? Below are some response recommendations for brands to follow when handling a PR issue not of their doing:


  1. Move quickly

With the power of social media, an incident is likely to go public, and potentially viral, like rapid fire. Gone are the days of having the luxury of sitting around a boardroom table for days to discuss a response – companies need to respond now. And fast. However, before distributing a response, ensure you are also following recommendation #2:


  1. Don’t be generic

Too often, companies are quick to respond with a generic statement – which can often cause additional frustration among consumers and the public who are looking for a more specific response or a call to action. Create a response that speaks to the problem – something as simple as “this isn’t acceptable, we are looking into it” can at least show the public you are taking the issue seriously.


  1. Tailor your reaction to the incident

There is no formulaic approach to a PR incident. Each crisis requires its own tailored response and outside counsel can often assist with creating a crisis communications path specific to the incident at hand.


  1. Go above and beyond when you can

This lesson can go all the way back to the Tylenol incident of the 1980’s where Johnson & Johnson recalled all of its products from the shelves, not just Tylenol products. An expensive business decision? Absolutely. But what it showed consumers is that Johnson & Johnson was willing to put customer safety ahead of profit margins to ensure all products were safe. When a brand goes beyond the simple response to an issue, it shows its audience that it truly cares and values their business.


While a number of recent incidents in the media have involved only one or two employees who made questionable or downright wrong decisions, it is always important to remember that all employees are representatives of the brand and it is important for the organization to act swiftly but act smartly.



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 program for the next generation of PR pros

Monday, May 7th, 2018

Ottilie Coldbeck, Public Relations Intern

Throughout university, the terms ‘internship’ and ‘co-op’ are thrown around frequently, with advisors professing the importance of “real world” experience – it can be overwhelming. As a public relations student at Mount Royal University, internships are a key element of the program and are required for graduation. During a four-year course, PR students must complete two four-month internships to provide them with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

During the application and interview frenzy, students are often told to embrace any opportunity as there are not many times in a person’s life to ‘trial run’ a job. However, the usual hesitations around starting a new job set in – will it be fulfilling? Will I gain the experience I am seeking? Will agency life be the right fit for me? These are valid concerns and ones that I had felt personally before starting my position at Brookline Public Relations. I have now been with the Brookline team for just over four months and I can definitively answer yes to the above questions.



Public relations agencies, specifically boutiques, offer new grads entering the workforce an opportunity to hone skills required in the communications world. Agencies provide opportunities for its employees to continually develop their skills while working with a diverse set of clients who require unique communications strategies. In agencies, a teamwork atmosphere is crucial, and this could not be more true at Brookline.

Working alongside some fearless and fabulous women, Brookline PR has introduced me to the wonderful world of agency. At Brookline, no day is ever the same – I am constantly learning from the team and from clients, and the one-of-a-kind work atmosphere has set the standard for what I want to accomplish in coming years.



However, it’s true that at Brookline, not only do we work hard, we play hard! Brookline acknowledges hard work and celebrates the team in many ways. From Thank Tanks and coffee runs to quarterly team workouts and fun days – Brookline goes above and beyond to recognize the team’s dedication to delivering quality work for clients.



Public relations agencies offer budding PR pros opportunities to grow as communications professionals and develop a range of skills from the get-go. The agency is a unique and rewarding start to a career in public relations and I am excited to grow as a communicator and work with the Brookline team.


– Ottilie Coldbeck is an Intern at Brookline Public Relations. As a self-proclaimed adventure seeker, Ottilie challenges herself to remain outside her comfort zone in all aspects of her life. Ottilie has a passion for story-telling – helping brands communicate their messages in an authentic manner.

Getting Back to Business – how to survive post-PR crisis

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Lisa Libin, Vice President

Turn on the news these days and you will be inundated with PR crises. And while a crisis can be detrimental to a brand, there are also a number of companies who have used a crisis to come out stronger in the long run. Think Tylenol, Maple Leaf Foods, Lululemon. The common thread among these companies is that they used a crisis situation to create a long-term opportunity.

Looking at the bright side during a crisis situation may be inconceivable for many business leaders, but below are some key ways to not only move through a crisis but ideally, create a stronger business for the future.

  1. Reconnect with customers – A crisis is a great way to reconnect with customers you may not have been actively engaged with. Many companies tend to be complacent in terms of customer relations until a crisis occurs. Emailing with updates and other forms of ongoing communications helps to show the value a company puts on customers. It is also important to respond to tweets, emails, posts on an individual basis to demonstrate your commitment to the customer. And once the crisis subsides, why stop the communication? Now that the brand has reopened the doors for engagement, it is a great opportunity to keep that interaction going, keeping customers informed and loyal to your brand.


  1. Think Differently – while this was a common saying of former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, these are strong words to live by as a business leader and communicator. Often when a crisis occurs it can be due to a process gap that has impacted the health or safety of the brand’s stakeholders – using this unfortunate incident as a way to relook at and rethink the way things have been done, the way employees have been trained, or the way the brand speaks to the public can present a great opportunity for business leaders to improve their brand both internally and externally.


  1. Build your reputation and credibility – a crisis is an opportunity for a company to build on its reputation and credibility. In many cases, customers are keen to understand that “sh*t happens” and can happen to anyone. What they aren’t keen to understand is when a company tries to hide the issue. By properly handling the situation through communication and most importantly, transparency, it presents the opportunity for the brand to retain trust with stakeholders and even leverage them as advocates for the company.


At the time of the crisis, it can seem like the sky is falling and there is no end in sight. However, the brands that come out shining are the ones who focus not only on the present issue, but also on the future.


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.