Peak Communicators
November 19, 2019

Peak is looking for an Account Coordinator

ACCOUNT COORDINATOR

Location: Vancouver   |   Posted: 12/02/19  |   Closes: 12/10/19

Peak Communicators Ltd is looking for a bright and motivated communicator with some education and experience in public relations, corporate communications, advertising and/or social media work to join its team in Vancouver.

Reporting to the Account Executive, you will contribute to a wide variety of account work, as it relates to client service and quality control. Within three months, you will be expected to do media pitching and contribute in all facets of the account work.

Responsibilities

  • Media monitoring, clipping, summarizing and analysis
  • Work to ensure that comprehensive, up-to-date and targeted media lists are created on time; conduct media searches/inquiries
  • Respond to requests for information from clients and team members with accuracy and in a professional and timely manner
  • Coordinate team and/or client meetings, including scheduling, meeting room set-up, catering and travel, as appropriate
  • Coordinate as appropriate by providing research information, preparation of materials and draft/format documents
  • Proofread and edit documents
  • Draft social media posts, monitor online conversations, measure engagement
  • Maintain team/client files, including mailing lists, contact sheets and relevant trade publications.
  • Maintain ownership of billing procedures

Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism, marketing, English or a related field preferred
  • Minimum one to two years of relevant experience
  • Excellent writing and verbal communications skills
  • Knowledge of contemporary business procedures, telephone etiquette and filing
  • Familiarity with social media and online communities
  • Interest in social media platforms and how companies are using tools to drive brand awareness, engagement, and traffic to a website/social media pages
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Exhibit strong organizational and interpersonal skills including the ability to juggle multiple assignments / clients and cope with stressful situations; prioritize and handle high-volume detail work

If interested in applying for this employment opportunity, please send your résumé and cover letter to hr@peakco.com. Only those candidates short listed for an interview will be contacted. Thank you for your interest in working with Peak Communicators

About Peak Communicators

Peak Communicators provides comprehensive, integrated communications counsel and services to Canadian companies, public sector organizations and not-for-profits. With offices in Vancouver, Kelowna and Calgary, Peak is a strong independent PR firm.

July 31, 2018

Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary: Apparently small story packs huge punch

When Langley Memorial Hospital opened in 1948, it was, essentially, a country hospital.

Langley was a small town, dwarfed by Vancouver and its neighbouring communities.

No one could have seen its exploding population coming.

Seventy years later, the hospital announced that it would build a new emergency department. The Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation launched a multi-million-dollar fundraising campaign in May, and enlisted Peak’s help.

It’s been an outstanding project. The new emerg is needed, badly. The current facility is too small, too cramped, awkwardly designed and, as you can imagine, isn’t capable of handing the new Langley. We were able to draw attention to this critical undertaking, and felt we served a small but important role in the campaign launch.

At the initial news event, two big donors were announced. One family gave $2 million, and then a $5-million donor was unveiled. The assembled guests were wowed. Even the usually skeptical media was impressed – and we were able to attract media that wouldn’t normally be interested in a regional hospital.

Six weeks after the launch, we were at it again. The foundation was set to name its latest donor – the Langley Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. What could we do with that?

This is where effort needs to fight perception. After all, at a glance, we had a vision of what a hospital auxiliary is. They’re those blue-haired ladies, right? The ones who give you directions when you arrive at a hospital, who run the gift shop that has all the stuffies and balloons. Don’t they wear frocks? I think they wear frocks.

What sort of story is this?

Turns out, one heck of a story. Over the course of a quarter-century, Langley’s auxiliary has given about $10 million to the hospital. They have a wildly successful thrift store in town, and they’re a beast of an organization, with more than 200 volunteers and a highly committed base whose roots go back at least a century, to volunteer organizations that preceded the hospital.

At first, we didn’t think a $1.5-million donation would grab much attention when we’d already announced $7 million in one fell swoop. We certainly didn’t think media would be very interested in telling the story of the auxiliary.

Like I said, it turned to be a heck of a story. We met Diane Thornton, the longtime past-president. And Thelma Boileau, the current president. Thelma and Diane. Thelma and Diane. Hmmmm, sounds almost familiar. A couple of driven, independent women.

And when I spoke to Diane, this was the first thing she told me: “We have changed. We’re no longer a bunch of little old ladies knitting toilet roll covers. We’ve come a long way.”

That sure made the pitch a whole lot easier. This isn’t the auxiliary you’ve got in your head, we said. This is a serious kick-ass bunch, who know what they want and get it. Who wouldn’t want to tell that story?

That’s exactly what happened. CBC and CKNW. The Province. Pretty much every TV station in town. All telling the story about this powerful, motivated, altruistic group.

And so, the simplest of reminders: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Or, uh, its toilet roll cover.

Tags: ,

May 10, 2018

Dig for the story, believe in the story: the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

You’re a fundraising organization and you’d like to draw attention to the events you’ve organized.

 

This won’t be easy.

 

If anything makes media yawn, it’s another charity doing another walk to raise money.

 

Whether that makes sense or is simply callous, it’s a fact. It’s exactly what happens in a newsroom – they get pitched pretty much every day about those sorts of initiatives, and are often invited to write about the event based on, frankly, uninspiring hooks.

 

There are so many of them, it’s understandable so many get deleted. It’s hard to tell one from another. And the excuse for not biting is an easy one: “We get these pitches every single day. If we’re going to say yes to one, we’re going to have to say yes to all of them.”

 

Look, you and I both know that’s not true. Media doesn’t have to say yes to all of them. But they’ll say yes if — and here’s the big if — there are compelling stories to tell.

 

So when our longtime client, the Alzheimer Society of B.C., asked us to pitch the 2018 Investors Group Walk for Alzheimer’s – 23 fundraising walks around the province on May 6 – we couldn’t help but feel challenged. The society planned to honour longtime volunteers, or others who’ve been impacted by Alzheimer’s, at each site. If you think charity events are a tough thing to pitch, how about volunteerism? In both cases, absolutely worthy. In both cases, media usually shrugs.

 

How, then, did we do it? By investing time. Effort. Delving into the subject. Getting to know people. And becoming emotionally involved with our client’s story.

 

The society wanted us to pitch Michele Buchignani and her parents, Reg and Sally. They were, no doubt, keen and experienced volunteers. Reg’s mother had had Alzheimer’s. Reg came to the society for help, for guidance. And 30 years later, he’s still giving his time. So is Michele, who’s had her boots on the ground as a volunteer as well as being the past chair of the board of directors.

 

We knew we needed more than the volunteer angle. So we invited Michele to Peak’s offices one Friday afternoon. We sat her down and said: “Tell us about your grandma. Take us back to when she was healthy. What was she like?” And just like that, Michele brought her grandma back to life. It was really something: funny in places, sad in others. Mary Buchignani was a strong woman of tremendous character and personality – and then she wasn’t. Michele learned a lot, watching her grandma’s long struggle with Alzheimer’s. It led to her getting involved, becoming an advocate.

 

After an hour in our boardroom, we knew we had at least one great story. We had someone with lived experience who had the personal story, but also could deliver the key messages – the walks, the fundraising, the need for increased awareness about and support for people with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones – in succinct and effective ways. Listening to Michele, we knew she would make a compelling TV or radio talk show guest.

 

From there, our task was simple: Sell Michele. And determine what the other best stories were. We had a planner from the City of New Westminster who’s not only been working on New West becoming B.C.’s first dementia-friendly community but also has a father who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s; a couple who’ve had a long life together, filled with affection and love, and the disease won’t steal those things from them; and a 69-year-old woman, several years into her diagnosis, who decided she wanted to go skydiving. Fantastic stories of different types. All meaningful. All human.

 

We went into this project knowing it would be a challenge. But when we take on a project, we always find a way to get media results. It’s where Peak has earned its reputation. So we landed the major media, from the Vancouver Sun to Global TV to CBC Radio and CKNW. And the regional media, who told those powerful stories about people who live in their area. We had a client in the Alzheimer Society of B.C. that was passionate and communicative and positive, and we were able to help successfully convey their chief messages time and time again.

 

When it was all over, the event was behind us and we all knew so much more about Alzheimer’s, we were able to say to the client: We can keep getting you, and the work you’re doing, attention. And we don’t need the walk to do it.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

July 13, 2017

A simple guide to your social media plan

Identify your social media goals

Having a clear direction or end goal to your social media plan is key to determining your strategy and how you measure your return on investment (ROI). To set this up, you need to understand your company’s overall business goals, as well as their marketing / PR objectives. Ideally, a social media plan plays a part in achieving your company’s overall business goals (eg. increasing ticket sales, generating online transactions on an e-commerce website, or breaking into a new market).

Create a content calendar

Keeping your social media accounts active with relevant and quality content is key to being noticed in densely populated platforms. More than 60 million businesses worldwide now have a Facebook page, and each and every one of them are aiming to grow their following. A social media content calendar is an easy way to organize your content strategy and ensure that your company is publishing new (and relevant) ideas regularly.

Social Listening

To judge how well your social strategy is working, monitor the activity around your accounts and listen to how audiences are engaging with you.  Firstly though, make sure you know what you know what you want to listen for. There are approximately 6,000 tweets sent in the twitter world every second, so understanding the language around an issue will make it quicker and easier to find the relevant ones.

Using social media listening tools helps you understand what is being said about your business, your brand, and popular topics within your industry. You can even listen in on what your competitors are saying, how they are engaging with their followers, who their followers are, and how their followers are responding to their content.

Engagement

Now that you’re listening and monitoring your conversations, don’t forget the most important part of social media — engagement. Social media is a powerful communications tool and has revolutionized the way business and brands reach their customers / stakeholders. Engaging with your followers or audience goes towards boosting your brand and reputation in the social sphere.

Analytics and Reporting

Arguably, the most important part of any social media plan is the analytics and reporting. The only way to show value in your social media plan is to demonstrate ROI. For example, if your social media goal is to drive traffic to your website, keep track of these numbers using Google Analytics. Try your best to track absolutely everything based on what your ROI would look like. Report on what social users like and don’t like. Generating reports periodically will help you evaluate your social strategy on an ongoing basis, and guide you to tweaking it so you can achieve your social goals.

Tags: , ,

April 12, 2017

Navigating through the social media storm

Most of the world now knows about the “United Airlines incident” after a video of a 69-year-old passenger being forcibly removed from his seat went viral earlier this week.

The video, shot from another passenger’s phone, showed clearly the screaming man being dragged down the aisle, leaving him bloodied and terrified – along with the over- booked flight of witnesses.

Within hours of the video being captured, #United was the leading hashtag worldwide on Twitter. Even in China, where Twitter and Facebook don’t exist, more than 97,000 comments had been recorded on one Weibo post by the end of the day, along with a new hashtag #Chineselivesmatter.

Following the Twitter (and Weibo) eruption of the United Airlines incident, we’re reminded us just how vital a solid social media communications strategy is to any business, particularly in the event of a crisis.

When a crisis does hit a business, social media excels as a way to spread news in a quick and efficient manner. Bad news will always travel fast, and these days it’s likely to gain traction on social platforms before the traditional media get to it. It’s important to have steps in place to manage reaction in the midst of a social media storm and how monitoring early warning alerts of any change in volume or sentiment around your brand will give your team a chance to prepare for what’s coming.

When tackling a social media crisis, I believe there are 5 essential steps that need to be included in any PR plan:

  1. Plan ahead.

Even if you can’t predict what might set off a social media meltdown, the steps you will need to take are the same: Respond, reassure, research, respond again, and react. Your plan needs to state how you will do this within the tight time demands of social media. Who gets notifications? Who can access the Twitter account? How slow is your approval process? Who has final sign off? Contact details for spokespeople? Have pre-approved statements available, this will make the reaction process far more manageable.

  1. Listen.

Every business should have social and media monitoring set up to capture what is being said about its brand so that if there’s a spike in negativity, or an emerging issue, you can react instantly. Frankly, a Google alert isn’t really sufficient. For effective monitoring, you need to pin point what it is you want to listen for. There are 6000 tweets sent every second, so understanding the language around an issue will make it quicker and easier to find the relevant ones. Successful monitoring should include daily reporting, early warning alerts if there is a change in volume or sentiment, or mentions from highly influential critics.

  1. Prepare your posts.

When something happens, you need to be out, publicly, with a response in about 10 minutes. Have a holding tweet at the ready, or a post that acknowledges that something has happened – even if you can’t give out specifics, being the first to acknowledge a situation can go a long way. Even a post that says “We understand an incident has occurred. We are finding out more information and will update in 10 minutes” is better than nothing.

  1. Pick your platform.

Twitter is the place for breaking news. Facebook is the place for connecting and seeking feedback. Instagram should not be used anywhere near a corporate crisis. Understanding the difference of your social media platforms and having sufficient followers to ensure you can engage when needed is important.

  1. Respond swiftly and carefully.

It is essential that in any situation involving your business, you are the first person to weigh in and that you have the right information on hand. If you do something wrong admit, apologize, and accept responsibility. The sooner you do, the less likely that your original stuff up will spiral out of control. It’s important to not add fuel to the fire. Understand how your situation is being reacted to on social media and plan your responses accordingly. Even if you do believe your actions are justified, pause to think about how they are perceived.

Chances are, your business is not in the habit of dragging people out of plane seats while being filmed on a smartphone, but there are lessons in United’s response for everyone.

Tags: , , , , , ,

April 6, 2017

Moving beyond ‘key messages’, the value of an authentic narrative

At its core, public relations are about storytelling and now more than ever brands need to have a powerful and compelling story to engage and mobilize their audiences.

The trouble is, storytelling has its limitations. In today’s saturated communications marketplace, where information is digested in smaller sizes and competing against more channels, the ability for a story to engage and retain an audience is becoming increasingly difficult. Furthermore, technology has expanded the ability of audiences to digest information, so brands must find a more meaningful means to deliver a coherent and credible message.

Moving beyond storytelling

Brands today must move beyond segmented campaigns and episodic storytelling and develop a narrative, an central thematic that is the basis of the brand’s identity and strategy. A foundational idea that encompasses and forms all areas of a brand’s engagement across its myriad of channels and stakeholders, be it employees; consumers, traditional media, social influencers, policy makers, etc. A company’s narrative should tell everyone what it stands for and offers an idea for those stakeholders to connect with and align behind.

Today, public relations, corporate relations, publicists and marketers are all competing to engage the same audiences through more integrated means – paid, earned, social and owned – meaning that messaging needs to be not only engaging but also consistent across the various streams, and most important of all, in real time.

Brands must lead conversations

Digital and social media platforms have changed the way brands engage with their audiences. Communication no longer flows in a single direction; audiences are now feeding back to companies on a constant basis. Brands must now lead “conversations”, interacting with their audiences in real time, which has quantifiable impact on their reputation.

Brands lead the conversation

Proactively driving engagement is now an absolute. While engaging with audiences across these various channels, brands need to utilize a coherent narrative, one that provides clarity and consistency of that engagement. The ability to communicate a compelling, inclusive and consistent narrative has the power to inspire, energize and mobilize an audience in ways our industry never thought possible.

How to develop a strong narrative

  • Have a real understanding of the brand’s purpose and its values. Consumers today are more value driven than ever before. How a company is trying to achieve its objective, is as important as what it is trying to achieve. Ensure your narrative seeks to explain what the brand stands for and what is it is seeking to achieve.
  • The narrative must be relatable and easy to explain. To maintain the attention of audiences, a narrative cannot be bogged down in jargon. A strong narrative is based on fact and is not only persuasive but also easily repeatable.
  • Be inclusive and insightful. Narratives need to evoke an emotional connection and invite participation. It presents an idea for an audience to believe in, support, and ultimately recommend.

In our hyper-completive, over-saturated communications environment, being able to portray a potent and authentic narrative has the power to genuinely connect with an audience, inspire them to action, and lead them on a journey.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

January 9, 2017

4 Unavoidable PR Trends for 2017

As we usher in 2017, the impact of digital and social media is only going to continue to grow. As digital news is more instant, searchable and accessible, more and more people are gravitating to the online world and using social channels to find content specific to their interests. Newsrooms also shrank in 2016, allowing for less specialized journalists and the rise of influencers. So what do we foresee coming ahead for 2017? Below is a list of what to look for and how to prepare for it.

Influencers continue to be King

Since more people are choosing to read online news that is filtered to meet their interests, influencers have become instrumental to brand marketing and PR efforts. A Nielsen survey found in 2013 that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from family and friends. While this may not seem surprising, Twitter revealed, in a similar study in 2016, that their users trust online influencers nearly as much as their friends and family.

Finding authentic advocates who already connect with your followers, and who are within your brand’s target audience, will increasingly become the best option for earned media. How do we prepare for this? Start doing some research into which influencers reach your target audience, and reach out to them. Figure out what they like and what they post, and tailor pitches to meet their needs.

Contributor marketing and thought leadership will grow

As audiences trust influencers more and more, it will be integral to build thought leadership for your brand, positioning yourself as an influencer in your field. If the audience feels that your brand/spokesperson is a subject matter expert in the product/service you are offering, you will remain top of mind.

Further, as newsrooms continue to shrink, a trend we have seen for the past few years, more content will be created by contributors who are thought leaders in their field. With less staff to conduct research and dedicate time to individual stories, many news teams are also looking for expert advice in their pieces. Positioning yourself as a thought leader will not only allow for earned media coverage and brand recognition, it will allow you to influence how the story is told.

Visuals will become a necessity

Over the past year we saw a rise not only in social media, but in live video. Snapchat (or Snap Inc. as it’s now referred to) became a force to be reckoned with and Facebook Live and Instagram Stories were born. As live video exploded in 2016, we can only see it continuing to dominate conversations this year as more news moves to the Internet. In an era of information overload, brands will have to provide content that is simple to grasp, personable and compelling enough to capture the short attention span of the audience today. That can be done most efficiently through strong visuals and live video. Videos and visuals are also easily shared through social media, allowing for a wider reach.

Facts and case studies are a must

If there was one lesson learned in 2016, it was that fake news will not be tolerated. With the many fake news scandals this past year, news outlets are going to be much more diligent about the information they put out. News stories are going to now be backed up by industry specialists, and articles are going to be written by contributors with knowledge in the specific area. Additionally, pitch notes are going to have to be supported by solid facts, and new products accompanied by user reviews and well researched case studies.

In 2017, news and online content will only become further curated for individual audiences. As a result, influencers will be the gatekeepers for brands, and content must be engaging and factual. Our advice? Brush up those social profiles, build strong relationships with influencers, establish a thought leadership program and create engaging, thoughtful and compelling content.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

December 23, 2016

PR in 2016: A look back at a digitally shaped year

With the New Year fast approaching, many of us are already getting ready for the holidays. However, before saying goodbye to 2016 – thankfully! – we at Peak decided to take a look back at what’s taken shape in our industry over the last year. Here is a flashback to some PR breakthroughs that set the stage for 2017.

Changes in the digital world

When acknowledging the benchmarks of 2016, it is difficult to overlook the skyrocketing popularity of Snapchat, or what is now Snap Inc. By launching its Spectacles (sunglasses with a purpose built integrated camera), Snap Inc. ceased being just a social app and became a “camera company”. Snapchat changed the way we shared pictures, now they are changing the way we take them.

Tess Flanders said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and that idiom has never been more appropriate than it is today. With pictures lasting a maximum of 10 seconds, Snap Inc. is the embodiment of “fast and visual” – a new trend that seems to be catching on. In 2016, the world of news continued its evolution to the visual, but it has also gained velocity. Images are circulating faster as the means of sharing and reposting grows exponentially, meaning opportunities can be squandered more often. Something to keep in mind when creating a new PR campaign in 2017, be ready for snapping!

How to deliver your message

2016 has seen some extremely strong digital campaigns created by both conglomerates and non-profits alike. Disney’s #ShareYourEars, West Jet’s Mini Miracles or 7-Eleven’s Reverse Day are only a few examples of 2016’s successfully carried off digital campaigns. For brands to be relevant, they need to create exclusive content specifically designed for social media; the days of simply repurposing traditional media content are over.

Paid social ads

Increasing use of social media for promotional content is linked to the appearance of another phenomenon that strongly influenced the way PR professionals planned their campaigns in 2016. The digital evolution led to the rise of paid digital and social content, and those efforts are increasingly proving to deliver results. To stay ahead of the pack, PR and communications professionals will have to come up with new strategies to best leverage paid content.

We thought the digital age had already reached its peak several years ago, but technology seems to be as good as its word, and has continued to innovate, challenge and shape the way our industry works and thinks. H.G. Wells said it best, “adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.”

As we look back at a very interesting year, for the world at large as well as for our industry, we can’t help but wonder what 2017 will bring us. Stay tuned and come back in January to read about our predictions for 2017.

Happy Holidays everyone!

September 28, 2016

Skittles’ Tasteful Response

Every brand both dreams of it and dreads it. It’s the moment the company you represent goes viral and either ‘breaks the Internet’ or just breaks down. Two weeks ago, Skittles was put in this very situation as a result of Donald Trump Junior’s tweet comparing Skittles to Syrian refugees.

Skittles 2nd pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a Monday and 4:41 P.M. Enter stage right the on-duty social media coordinator for Skittles. Within a matter of hours, Mars’ colourful candy had become the top trending topic on Twitter. All eyes were on Skittles – my own included. What would they do, how long would it take to put together a response, get it approved internally and post it error-free under the pressure. Tweets of support flooded in as PR and social media professionals (and just generally nice people) empathized with the on-duty Skittle social media person, but the clock was ticking…

Skittles 3

 

 

 

 

Skittles had to make a decision – and quickly.

Skittles said what?

Instead of capitalizing on the situation, Skittles smartly stepped back from the situation. Hours later, the brand’s parent company responded from their global handle with:

Skittles 4

 

 

 

 

The response was short, simple, but perfect. It showed that Skittles was totally on top of taking charge of unexpected issues without turning them into reputational crises. While it can be tempting for brands to take full advantage from awkward viral situations, thinking of the bigger picture and how the story will play out is fundamental – especially when it involves politics, religion, disasters or emotive topics.

So what can brands and communicators takeaway from this?

  1. “Keep responses short, sweet and to the point”, Brian Bell manager brand PR, branded entertainment, and talent at Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
  2. Don’t overthink and complicate responses
  3. Avoid getting sucked into providing further commentary once you’ve released your statement
  4. Don’t self-promote or appear to capitalize on sensitive situations
  5. Emotion. Mars’ response demonstrated that they were human and not just a faceless corporate brand

Nice work Mars and social media Skittleperson!

September 23, 2016

‘Parlez-vous français?’ – PR in a Multilingual Environment

As a Pole who spent most of her life in Belgium and recently arrived to Canada, I’ve always experienced communication through the multilingual lens. This unique experience was enhanced by my internship at the Alliance Française de Vancouver where we were regularly asked: ”How do I engage English and French communities?”  In a city like Vancouver which is so multi-cultural, this is an issue we face more often than not – especially from a PR perspective.

Below are a few important aspects to keep in mind when creating an efficient multilingual/multicultural PR campaign.

Iceberg theory

The language is just the tip of the iceberg. We sometimes only concern ourselves with what is visible, or in this case audible; but language is built on a shared history, specific cultural norms, beliefs and behaviours. Or in the case of this metaphor, the invisible and more substantial part of the iceberg.

We don’t just speak a language; we experience it. It’s very difficult to artificially leverage a language without immersing ourselves in the context and the values that surround it.

A language grows and evolves within a culture, and this culture must be taken into account when we apply our PR campaign to another linguistic group. Doing PR in another language does not mean just duplicating the words. We have to take into account the social and cultural context of the people that the campaign is directed to.

Context and cultural background 

While working at the Alliance Française, I was in responsible for organizing cultural events and promoting them to French and English speakers alike. I couldn’t simply translate a promotional campaign that was working well in French into English, the soul and purpose had to be translated as well.

One example, for the 60th anniversary of women’s right to vote in France, we decided to organize a conference about Simone de Beauvoir – a leading figure in French feminism during the second half of the 20th century. We found that the process was quite straightforward for the French speaking public, who were very familiar with the impact of Simone de Beauvoir. However, we had to take an additional step when promoting the event to the English speaking public who were less familiar with her.  We explained who Simone de Beauvoir was in our English promotions and connected the event to the history of Canadian feminism, which proved more engaging.

This is a perfect example of why a PR campaign needs to be sensitive to its audience. Start by researching the subjects which are relevant to your audience. Then test your campaign materials on a native speaker to ensure that they are receiving the message about what the campaign is promoting. In the case of the Alliance Française, if we were assuming that all English speaking Canadians were as familiar with the French culture as Frenchmen are, we wouldn’t have been able to attract much of the English speaking public, had we not tailored our promotional materials to their needs.

“You’re welcome” is not “For nothing”

Most importantly, be aware of word-for-word translations. If you have ever used Google Translation, you might have noticed that it’s usually not the best tool to use if you want to be understood in another language. Translated literally, you’re welcome”  in French will result in “tu es bienvenu”  which means ”you’re welcome to my house”, and if we translate ”de rien” (which is actually what we say for ”you’re welcome”) in English, it will become ”for nothing”, which is not really used in English.

It’s one of the most extreme examples, but it’s definitely not the only one, and it shows us that we must pay attention to different expressions when we pass from one language to another, as what is obvious for you isn’t always obvious for others.

Speaking another language means seeing the world differently, and our diversity is what makes us interesting!

Tags: