Archive for the ‘Personal Brand’ Category

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.

Edmonton International Airport and Paul Brandt Take a Stand; #NotInMyCity Partnership Takes Off at EIA

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Ottilie Coldbeck, Public Relations Assistant

Last month, during Canadian Airports Safety Week, Canadian humanitarian and country music superstar, Paul Brandt and Edmonton International Airport (EIA) joined together to announce their partnership with the #NotInMyCity movement – an anti-human trafficking initiative

Having worked alongside Paul and the Buckspring Foundation for the movement’s initial launch in 2017, and again in facilitating a partnership with YYC Calgary International Airport in 2018, Brookline was excited to join forces again for an announcement with another major Canadian airport.

On June 19th, during a press conference facilitated by Brookline, Paul Brandt, Tom Ruth, President and CEO, EIA and community leaders from across Alberta came together to bring awareness to human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. This monumental day showcased the commitment of these leaders to the #NotInMyCity movement to finding integrated solutions around this important cause

With this partnership, EIA becomes the second major airport in Canada to partner with #NotInMyCity, alongside the Calgary International Airport, showing that human trafficking is not acceptable at the airport, in Edmonton, or anywhere in Canada.

Brookline managed all media relations efforts and supported with event logistics and VIP/dignitary engagement for the press conference. The event, which featured representatives from the City of Edmonton, Leduc County, the City of Leduc, RCMP and Edmonton Police Service, garnered over 33 media stories. With coverage in the city’s major news outlets, including the Edmonton Journal and Sun, CTV and Global Edmonton; and national pickup on CTV Ottawa and Montreal, the #NotInMyCity press conference resulted in over 6.6 million editorial impressions.

Brookline was thrilled to work alongside Paul Brandt and EIA to facilitate this announcement and continues to be an official Ally of the #NotInMyCity movement.

For more information about #NotInMyCity, or to support this important cause, please visit

Ottilie Coldbeck is a Public Relations Assistant 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.

Interview with Nini Lee, Graphic Designer at Brookline Public Relations

Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Nicole Herback, Senior Intern

ICYMI, Brookline diversified its service offerings this year by hiring graphic designer, Nini Lee. Nini holds a bachelor of Design from Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) and works her magic at Brookline through logo and brand development, digital and advertising design, proposal creation – you name it.

For this month’s #BPRDifferent blog, I wanted to get inside the mind of our in-house creative genius. Read below as I interview Nini on the ins and outs of graphic design.

NH: How did you get into graphic design?

NL: I’ve always been really into art and drawing, and as a kid I always had this artistic urge. With art, I felt that there was a certain amount of challenge that I really enjoyed. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished high school, but I knew I wanted to have a career in the arts. I went to ACAD, not even knowing graphic design was an option. There, I was funneled into the design program, because my professors told me I had more of a mind for design over fine arts.

What’s the difference between design and fine arts?

A fine art person and design person – they’re very opposite people. Fine art is making a project and basing it on your beliefs, how you see the world, or what you’re feeling. Design is much more removed. It’s like, “Ok, here’s a brief, here’s a problem, now solve it.” And I always really liked that.

You’ve been working for over five years now, have you always freelanced?

No, I never thought I’d be freelancing. School kind of trained us towards working in design agencies, but over time I started getting requests in a freelance capacity.

What kind of graphic design do you do for Brookline?

It really varies. Brookline has the most diverse clientele and the most diverse type of projects that I’ve ever worked on. I’m doing some branding projects for Brookline’s 15-year anniversary that is coming this October and I recently designed the logo and branding for Brookline’s new podcast*, Beyond PR. On the client side, I design proposals, presentation decks, websites, logos and other general branding projects.

What kind of design makes you tick?

I really enjoy just organizing text. A lot of design projects go back to the basics: layouts, texts, grids and systems. Ultimately, it’s having that design hierarchy and telling a story. It’s fun when you have the freedom of finding images and creating a whole new layout.

Do you prefer having more freedom than less?

It’s always a balance.To have total freedom is the ultimate challenge – it can be a death sentence [laughs]. We’re always taught in design that you have to fulfill a brief and solve a problem. You need to answer certain questions, but if there’s no questions then it won’t work. In general, it’s actually better to have more structure around a project.

What are some common misconceptions about graphic designers?

It depends on the client. Some people think I can do everything and some don’t know what I can do. It’s a common misconception to think that a designer can design a logo, a website, do social media and do all the marketing. I think that’s where people sometimes have a hard time drawing the line, between communications and design.

That could go for marketing and PR too.

There’s so many blurred lines in this industry!

What’s your creative process?

I like a lot of brainstorming. Sometimes it’s just healthy to go for a walk, but I really do like collaborating with other people. When I have a client, I like to have that first conversation and really let things roll. I try to get the client to spill their guts: what they know about the industry, what their product is, what they love about it, what they themselves are like, their interests, etc.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

It’s hard not to say the Internet because it’s right there and things like Google and Pinterest are a click away.I like to look at what other brands are doing. It’s super easy to get a level of inspiration with so many businesses in Calgary.

What’s the best way to work with you, from concept to completed product?

Sometimes I think what’s most efficient and what’s most effective are two different things. That process sort of varies. Personally, I like to jump into design. Once the design starts, there’s a lot more conversation to be had about content and how it affects design and how design influences content.

Do you feel like the process at Brookline has gotten more seamless as time has gone by?

With so many different types of clients, it’s always going to be a learning process along the way. Even personally, I’m starting to learn how to work with each person.

Do you still have a passion for design now that it’s your career?

It’s ironic for a job that relies on creativity, but once something becomes your day-to-day it’s not uncommon to lose a bit of the passion. I used to enjoy hand-letter a lot more than I do now, but I started finding other creative outlets that I still enjoy. I started embroidering, doing puzzles, and even doing more cooking. For design, I really do like hands-on work, specifically illustration. I get that excitement from logos too, and the satisfaction from solving a brief.

Two options: At home or in office. Where do you prefer working from?

I like both. I need my alone time, and to a degree I feel more creative when I have my own space. But there’s also that need for collaboration and being social. I need to be around other humans, beyond just my dog!

*Beyond PR is Brookline Public Relations new podcast – listen to our first episode here.

This is Nicole’s first blog as a Senior Intern at Brookline Public Relations. Nicole has a deep appreciation for creativity and the arts; she longs to one day apply her writing and creative skills to start an Instagram account dedicated to fashion.