Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Alberta Central debunks the traditional banking model in favour of credit unions as part of #MeetYouIRL campaign

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Nicole Herback, Public Relations Assistant

Credit unions are not your average bank – and at Brookline we always develop and deliver above-average campaigns to generate results for our clients. As a testament to the benefits of the banking service, Credit Unions of Alberta wanted a presence where its customers could be found, whether at coffee shops, festivals or on social media during its #MeetYouIRL campaign this summer. The campaign concept, developed by Brookline, included a series of tactics that aimed to engage with existing and new credit union customers. 

Credit Unions of Alberta is the consumer-facing arm of Alberta Central, which is the central banking facility, service bureau and trade association for all credit unions in the province. Owned by 17 credit unions in Alberta, Alberta Central serves more than 628,000 members at roughly 190 branches. What’s the big difference between a bank and a credit union? Credit union customers are both members and owners.

In support of the organization’s #MeetYouIRL campaign, Brookline implemented the one tactic that is almost guaranteed to get face time with audiences, every time – business takeovers.

What are business takeovers, you ask?

Business takeovers are an effective public relations tactic used to build more awareness for a specific campaign or initiative while leveraging another business’s audience, network and space. This is a beneficial relationship for both business entities to increase their public profile, engage with untapped audiences and garner excitement in the media. Takeovers are especially effective when working with a limited budget or timeline because the host business provides the campaign with ready-made space, product and staff to support the initiative.

Throughout July, Brookline facilitated takeovers on behalf of Credit Unions of Alberta at two locations: Transcend Coffee in Edmonton and Analog Coffee in Calgary. This maximized the opportunity for the organization to get some real face time with its customers to explain the key benefits of banking with a credit union. Seen throughout these photos, Ian Burns, CEO of Alberta Central is quite literally meeting people in real life, taking their questions and educating them about why banking with a credit union is a compelling choice for Albertans in any stage in their life.

In support of the coffee shop takeovers, Brookline partnered with prominent influencers in the Calgary and Edmonton markets to share content about the organization and attend the takeover events. Together with traditional media pitching, Brookline helped Credit Unions of Alberta achieve more than 65 pieces of unique news content to promote the takeovers. This goes to show how public relations in an online setting can lead to greater awareness and attendance in a real life one!

Beyond business takeovers, Credit Unions of Alberta furthered its presence in Calgary this fall by sponsoring major festivals of both food and science varieties. In August, Brookline coordinated a sponsorship of Taste of Calgary, where masses of Albertans on the hunt for good eats also found solid financial advice through their interactions with Credit Unions of Alberta. And last month, the tech and innovation-focused organization also sponsored Beakerhead by funding a field trip for students to attend the festival.

For the remainder of 2019, stay tuned for what Alberta Central will be doing for International Credit Union Day this month and Financial Literacy Month in November. Have you considered banking with a credit union that meets you #IRL?

Nicole is a Public Relations Assistant at Brookline Public Relations. Nicole loves learning the ins and outs of each industry she works with. Since working with Alberta Central and financial influencers, she is a newfound advocate for financial literacy.

Beyond PR Podcast – Episode 5 – Sara Austin

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

In honour of Child Abuse Prevention Month, Beyond PR sits down with Sara Austin, Founder & CEO of Children First Canada this October. Sara is the youngest recipient of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and has dedicated her life to advocating for millions of children across the globe. Sara shares insights into her journey leading highly successful advocacy, public awareness and philanthropic campaigns, and tells Shauna how her international experiences brought her back to Canada to continue the fight for children in her home country. Sara also discusses Children First Canada’s “Raising Canada” campaign, which advocates for urgent action on children’s issues ahead of the 2019 federal election. To learn more about Children First Canada and Child Abuse Prevention Month, visit

The Beyond PR podcast will bring open, honest and sometimes never-before-heard stories from notable leaders each month. Subscribe to Beyond PR on AnchorSpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts to catch episode three in September 2019. 

Jenna Hamilton is an Account Coordinator at Brookline Public Relations. Her passion lies within the realms of event planning, strategic communications and media relations.

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.