Archive for the ‘Thought Leadership’ 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.

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.

An evening with Lord Conrad Black

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Angela Cabucos, Account Executive

Brookline PR recently had the opportunity to partner with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) to position it as a thought-leader in Canada on international affairs through strategic media relations and a speaker event featuring Lord Conrad Black.

For those who may not know, Lord Black is a man of many trades: author/columnist, political commentator, historian, financier, former newspaper publisher, intellectual force, TV host, Member of the British House of Lords and more. He is a columnist featured in many publications throughout Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., and the author of several notable biographies and his most recent book, entitled Backward Glances.

 

 

The event took place on March 6, 2018 at the Westin Calgary and was host to more than 300 attendees for a dinner and fireside discussion. The topic of the night was the state of Canada-U.S. Relations in the Age of Trump.

Event day was in full swing by 9 a.m. as Brookline coordinated a media roundtable with prominent media outlets in the city to have an intimate discussion with Lord Black and Kelly Ogle, President of CGAI. Topics ranging from trade, infrastructure and Trudeau’s trip to India were discussed.

 

 

The evening kicked off with a VIP reception followed by a cocktail hour and capped off with a dinner and compelling discussion with Lord Black and CGAI Vice President, Colin Robertson. The lively conversation was an enlightening look into the relationship between Canada and its neighbour to the south, filled with personal musings from Lord Black’s unique position as a close acquaintance of President Trump.

 

 

The media roundtable and event resulted in outstanding coverage across all of Calgary’s media outlets, including: Calgary Herald, CTV, Bloomberg, News Talk 770, 660 News, CTV, Global, BT and City News.

The entire day was a great success and Brookline was proud to be a part of CGAI’s inaugural speaker dinner.

 

– Angela Cabucos is an Account Executive at Brookline. Her expertise lies in media relations, personal and corporate profile-building, writing and strategic communication planning.