Tag Archives: communications

CPRS Toronto panel revealed top communication trends for 2018

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TORONTO – December 15, 2017 – To think of 2018 and what that means for the PR profession can be exciting and frightening. No matter what side of PR you work on, the landscape has been changing at a rapid pace with no end in sight.

At the final Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) – Toronto Chapter event of the year on December 4, a panel of CPRS members and thought leaders explored communication trends to watch for 2018. The panel included:

  • Ian Ross, APR, director of communications, Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (moderator)
  • Tracey Bochner, co-founder and president, Paradigm
  • Bruce MacLellan, founder and CEO, Environics Communications
  • Lauren More, vice-president of communications, Ford Motor Company Canada

The discussion focused on three key trends.

Trend 1: PR practitioners need a new set of skills.
Teams are being built in different ways to solve communications challenges and data is being used more to influence decisions. “This is a great opportunity for PR as it gives you a chance to expand and adapt your skills – like learning about data and metrics as they are becoming extremely important to PR,” said Bruce MacLellan.

Also, with artificial intelligence (AI) being harnessed to provide value to consumers – it will be used by approximately 80 per cent of chat bots in the US next year – engagement with clients and consumers will change. Although there’s a shift to AI, Lauren More believes “one thing that AI cannot do is tell a story that will tug at people’s heart strings and resonate beyond the noise.”

Trend 2: PR is becoming increasingly integrated.
PR campaigns are no longer focused solely on one channel. “When you get an RFP, it’s not the same [as it once was] – you have to include PR, digital, social and experiential marketing,” explained Tracey Bochner.

The panel discussed how it is a misconception that PR is merging into other areas like advertising and marketing. In reality, the practice of PR is expanding and growing into new areas. Clients, for example, no longer want to go to three different agencies for three different things – they want one agency for several services.

Trend 3: PR practitioners need to change how they develop content.
Resource crunches are affecting all companies – budgets are getting tighter and traditional media outlets are decreasing. This forces PR to be strategic in how it’s used to tell meaningful stories.

The panel agreed, more content is not always better. Effective campaigns can no longer rely solely on news releases and earned media efforts. They now require some aspect of paid media, which can include influencers to help further target key audiences.

This CPRS Toronto communications trends panel is the first annual (held at the end of every calendar year), hosted by the local chapters president(s) with panelists made up of thought-leading chapter members.

The Canadian Public Relations Society is a national professional organization focused on establishing and upholding educational and ethical standards in Public Relations. CPRS Toronto is one of the largest local societies with nearly 600 members. For more information, please visit: http://www.cprstoronto.com.

Keep it hot, key to crisis communications

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Managing the reputation of North America’s third largest transit system (after New York and Mexico cities) is something his colleagues call a “Daily Miracle,” because of its 800 million daily boardings and daily news coverage, says Brad Ross @bradTTC, executive director, Corporate Communications at the Toronto Transit Commission.

On August 15, 2016 the Canadian Public Relations Society – Toronto #CPRSTo hosted Ross at the Rum Exchange, who shared his secret for daily crisis communications – keeping it HOT – honest, open and transparent. An approach that ironically, he recognizes, is in direct conflict with the tattoo on his left arm that reads “No comment.”

Ross – with his 30 years’ experience in communications, including eight in his current position – says a crisis does not necessarily mean an emergency, and vice versa an emergency does not necessarily mean a crisis.

While a quick Google definition check offers each as a synonym for the other, they are subtly different. A crisis is more specifically defined as “a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger,” while an emergency is “a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.”

Ross offered that in saying nothing in the face of a problem leaves the scent of scandal, where an issue can quickly transition to a crisis.

A recent example included the previous week’s terrorist threat in which Ross said the TTC’s standard operating procedure is to be vigilant by telling employees, “If you see something, say something.”

And in terms of communication – this is where you see HOT (honest, open, transparent) in action.

“If we don’t own issues, others will for us…own the issue by getting out in front of it,” says Ross.

The TTC was not a target in the terrorist scare and by saying the transit system was not named, by noon the next day, the transit media angle fizzled.

“In a crisis, time is not a luxury. The next news cycle is now,” says Ross. And, in a time of crisis it can mean danger or opportunity.

Twitter is the social platform of choice for the TTC – to communicate quickly with one person or one million.

Social media is here to stay and has forever changed how we manage a crisis.”

Ross also added his understanding of the criticism and feedback of the TTC on social media is because transit users are passionate.

Still he said, Twitter is in a crisis with racist, homophobic and exploitive remarks that are unregulated. Ross hopes to see swift improvements to the platform to maintain its viability.

At the TTC, potential crisis means that communications staff is on call 24/7 and that live radio and TV updates must come from other senior communications staff or Ross himself. There are eight individuals in the corporate communications department, including internal communications.

When asked “should the CEO take media interviews?” he said there are no easy answers. Reserving him or her for bigger issues – like budgets or high profile incidents that require an organization’s leadership to be seen and heard – is important but there may be other instances, so trust your gut. (Also, read 3Qs with TTC CEO Andy Byford.)

Being nimble is a strategic decision that is part of the TTC communications team’s approach, as Ross admits traditional planning is difficult for ever-changing daily issues. There is no time to ponder things for two days when issues need to be responded to on social media in real-time.

A couple other ways TTC communications remains nimble is by reporting directly to CEO and by sitting at the decision-making table.

Parting words from Ross to his fellow communications practitioners were

“Lead where you can, respond swiftly and accurately, and always do the right thing.”

That last part is also aptly a tattoo on his right arm.

Diane Bégin @dibegin, APR, is with APEX Public Relations (where this blog post originally appeared), ruckus digital and CPRS Toronto as a board member.  

Storify: March 2 LinkedIn for Corporate Communicators

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Kathleen Kahlon

In case you missed it, below are some of the highlights of the March 2, 2015 event with Kathleen Kahlon @KathleenKahlon of LinkedIn where she shared

  • how to promote your brand by optimizing your LinkedIn profile,
  • create compelling content to engage your network, and
  • craft a company page that people will want to follow.

 

Congratulations 2012 CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Winners!

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Ace Awards 2012 LogoWhat a night it was at the 2012 CPRS Toronto ACE Awards Gala! Toronto’s Top PR pros gathered together on Thursday, April 26 to honour the best and brightest campaigns of the year, and there was no shortage of celebration.

CPRS Toronto welcomed over 300 communications professionals at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon to congratulate each other on their amazing successes.

While the room was filled with feelings of pride an accomplishment, it’s easy to say that the benefits of collecting a sparkling ACE trophy extend far beyond this evening’s ceremony. The evening’s winners achieved merit, credibility, peer recognition and a quality reputation along with their awards.

Congratulations to all of the 2012 ACE Award recipients, and be sure to check back for more gala highlights next week.

PR Campaign of the Year

Best Creative PR Campaign

Leadership Awards

Best Use of Media Relations – Budget Over $50,000

Gold

Silver

  • APEX Public Relations – Rimmel’s Spring Summer Media Relations Launch
  • Broad Reach Communications – Broad Reach Communications (Deloitte Canada)
  • Edelman Canada – Make Your Face a Maynards
  • EdelmanCanada– Breaking News for the Caramilk Key to the Secret
  • Environics Communications – Coca-Cola Ltd.’s Arctic Home Campaign
  • Environics Communications – Advil Nighttime Launch
  • GolinHarris – McHappy Day 2011
  • GolinHarris – McCafe
  • Paradigm Public Relations – TD Leads  with Mortgage Advice
  • Polaris Public Relations Inc. –S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Canadian Regional Competition
  • PRAXIS – Launch of the Environmentally-Friendly 7Up EcoGreen Bottle
  • PRAXIS – 2011 Quaker Unlock Amazing PR Launch Campaign
  • Strategic Objectives – The WhiteCashmereCollection 2011: Fashion with Compassion
  • Strategic Objectives – Magnum Ice Cream Bars Canadian Launch
  • Temple Scott Associates – Clif Bar & Company Media Relations

Bronze

  • Argyle Communications – Schneiders Country Naturals: Just the Good Stuff
  • Citizen Optimum L.P. – Future ShopHoliday 2011
  • EdelmanCanada–Holiday& Mom: The Chief Gift Buyer
  • EdelmanCanada– ArthritisAllianceofCanadaNational Media Launch
  • Shaw Media & UNIT:PR – Top Chef Canada
  • Strategic Objectives – TOPSHOP TOPMAN Takeover
  • Thornley Fallis Communications – ElectionsOntarioMakes Voting Easy
  • Thornley Fallis Communications – Taking Action Against Distracted Driving

Best Use of Media Relations – Budget Under $50,000

Gold

Silver

  • APEX Public Relations – “Get Going to Keep Going” Guide
  • APEX Public Relations/UPSCanada – Maintaining the Momentum:UPSCanada™’s Summer Survey Campaign
  • Fleishman-Hillard Toronto – The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Molson Canadian Introduces the Red Leaf Project
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Tenderflake Declares 2011 the Year of the Pie
  • Polaris Public Relations Inc. – The Lost Wallet Program

Bronze

  • Argyle Communications –MarkhamStouffvilleHospitalFoundation: The Climb to Conquer
  • Edelman Canada – Alexander Keith’s Green Initiative “Show Your Plaid”
  • Environics Communications – Protecting First Responders:CSA Standards CBRN Launch
  • G Adventures – G Adventures Career Break Campaign
  • MAVERICK Public Relations – People for Good
  • Paradigm Public Relations – If I Had a Million Dollars: It’s Within Reach for Savers Who Start Early
  • Paradigm Public Relations – TD Brings E-Recycling to Local Communities
  • Paradigm Public Relations – Renter’s Insurance 101
  • PRAXIS –Alberta Premium 30 Year Old: The Unveiling of a Rare and Affordable Canadian Whisky
  • Temple Scott Associates – Motorcyclists Hall of Fame 2011

Best Use of Special Events

Gold

Silver

Bronze

New Product or Service Launch Campaign of the Year

Silver

  • dvCommunications – Martha Stewart Clean Makes Green Homekeeping Easy: Introducing Martha Stewart’s  New Line of Natural Household Cleaners
  • NATIONAL Public Relations – Smart Shopping is in the Palm of Your Hand
  • Paradigm Public Relations – TIMEX Opens its Archives: The Launch of TIMEX Originals
  • PRAXIS – Launch of the Environmentally-Friendly 7UP EcoGreen Bottle

Bronze

Employee Communications Campaign of the Year

Gold

Silver

  • Meridian Credit Union –MeridianCredit Union

Bronze

  • TVO – myTVO 2.0

Community Relations Campaign of the Year

Gold

Silver

  • Faye Clack Communications –Ontario Apple Growers’ Winter Apple Ball
  • PRAXIS – The Courvoisier Collective: Artist Collective To Foster Community, Access to Space and Exposure for Bright Talent
  • Strategic Objectives – The Creation of Koodonation:Canada’s First-Ever Microvolunteering Community
  • Strategic Objectives – The Body Shop “Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People” Petition

Bronze

Public Affairs / Government Campaign of the Year

Bronze

Best Digital Communications Campaign of the Year

Gold

Silver

  • Argyle Communications – New Transit forToronto: The Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown
  • RBC – Royal Bank ofCanada (Canadian Banking) – The Sales Experience Social Media Initiative

Bronze

Best Use of Communication Tools

Gold

Silver

Brand Development Campaign of the Year

Gold

Silver

  • GCI Group – Barbie and Ken’s Reunion in Celebration of Ken’s 50th
  • Narrative – Let the Saving Begin

Bronze

Crisis or Issues Management Campaign of the Year

Gold

Silver

Student PR Campaign of the Year

Gold

  • Cora Timofte – TelLaurentide Communications Plan

Silver

Bronze

  • CentennialCollege– UglyHolidaySweater Party