Sports, Corporate and Social Enterprise
I spent two seasons working for the Vancouver Canucks. In my second year with the Canucks I joined the Media Relations Department, where I honed in on my passion for the industry.
Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) Majoring in Communications with a Minor in Print & Digital Publishing and Co-operative Education Distinction from Simon Fraser University
I currently volunteer with the Canucks for Kids Fund.
If you were going to write an autobiography, what would it be called?
The best is yet to come: a tale of pushing yourself to achieve your dreams.
Profiling families who benefit from the Canucks for Kids Fund (CFKF) in order to raise awareness and funds for the cause. Meeting these deserving families and sharing their stories was a heartwarming experience.
Favourite part of Peak life
The people! Peak nurtures a positive and collaborate environment, with ample opportunity to develop and grow professionally.
Favourite social media site
Favourite B.C. pastime
I have a great memory when it comes to song lyrics, my friends call me a walking karaoke machine.
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.
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: brand engagement, branding, business, marketing, Media relations vancouver, Public relations, Vancouver PR, Vancouver social media
As the world’s knowledge grows exponentially, the challenge to sort through the information clutter gets more difficult. We have been bombarded with fake online news stories that are sometimes difficult to differentiate from legitimate news. A proliferation of fake online stories during the recent USA presidential election made decision making even more difficult for American voters, as they tried finding out the truth about who to vote for. Recently USA Today College posted a story on seven ways to spot fake news stories. It’s an important list that all online news consumers should remember.
Some of the seven ways are obvious but worth repeating. For example, check the date of the news story to make sure that it has not been repackaged or reposted, which is usually an attempt to generate new “clicks” and start the story trending. The original news story may in fact be true and accurate, but repackaged it may be taken out of context and turned into misinformation. Take a look at the publication date as soon as you load the story.
Check the source of the story and find out what other articles they have posted. Does it seem legitimate with a history of good posts or do most of their articles read like a checkout counter tabloid. After that, do a quick Google search and see if any other legitimate news sources are running similar stories. If you can find it on www.cbc.ca or www.cnn.com it’s probably real news. Another simple way to determine if a news story is fake is to do some fact checking and find out the source of any accompanying images. Websites like Snopes, Factcheck.org, and TinEye allow you to compare the information to the facts or determine where images, that often add great credibility to a story, come from.
Finally, don’t get trapped by Clickbait – headlines, stories, articles and images that are so funny, so scary or so frustrating that you feel compelled to read or even re-post. After a minute of reflection, ask yourself if this story is too funny or too scary to really be true.
There are other tools available to check news story sources, but it’s also important to use good common sense and a healthy dose of skepticism about anything you read from an online news source, at least until you are certain it is real and credible.
Investment banking, finance and private equity, technology, real estate, telecommunications, mining and natural resources, corporate and retail.
Prior to moving home to Vancouver and joining Peak, I spent 15 years in Asia, most recently as Head of Corporate Communications for Barclays, Asia Pacific. I started my career initially as a financial correspondent, before moving into banking, first on the trading desk at HSBC, and then joining what was then Barclays Capital in 2008.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Political Science and Government from Simon Fraser University
Joining Barclays only weeks after its purchase of Lehman Bros at the height of the Global Financial Crisis, and working to promote the firm as it was expanding its footprint of the business across Asia.
Favourite part of Peak life
The diversity. After 15 years working in finance it’s fantastic to work with such a wide array of clients from such different industries.
Favourite social media site
Twitter. The democratization of information has fundamentally changed the nature of how the world understands and views itself.
Furthest flung place you’ve lived?
Tai Kok Tsui, Hong Kong
Was recognized in PR Week’s 2015 Power Book, which names that publication’s list of the most influential PR professionals around the world.
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.
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: multilingual communication
Facebook is often one of the first social platforms a business sets up – and with good reason. Facebook has over 1.59 billion monthly active users as of January 2016, marking a 14 percent increase year on year. Each day, over a billion people log into this channel to review their news feed and messages.
Brands are fully aware of the potential of this platform. In the US specifically, 80 percent of companies have a Facebook page.
What is worth considering is how your Facebook page can be optimized, and whether your business is utilizing all the tricks available. Below are some ideas to make your content work harder for you.
- Add value: The trick to creating great content is producing images, text or videos that your audience values – rather than what you want to ‘sell’. If you sell ice cream for example, have fun with it and create ice cream based recipes, run contests for the quirkiest ice cream flavour or incorporate posts on keeping cool during the summer months. Whatever you post, add value every time to your audience.
- Community-focused: People ‘like’ Facebook pages to feel part of a community – whether that’s supporting a specific cause, interest or business. While you may have other business related objectives for setting up your page (such as increasing web traffic or sales), keep the idea of ‘fostering a community’ in mind. You can enhance the sense of inclusion by facilitating group discussions and responding to comments in an authentic and helpful way.
- Consistency: Posting content sporadically or leaving a Facebook account dormant is a big ‘no no’. People will ‘unlike’ your page when they see it’s not adding value. Create a content calendar and post ideally once a day, minimum, to justify being a worthwhile page to follow.
- Facebook Insights: Facebook has a great tool called ‘Insights’ that provides an overview of how much engagement your posts are generating. As well as tracking the number of followers to your page, take time to look at the insights – paying particular attention to the levels of engagement generated by each of your posts. Facebook Insights also tracks clicks, reactions, comments and shares. Use this to learn what your audience likes and responds well to – and provide more of it.
- Pin that ‘wow’ content: If you have important content that you want to promote over a longer period of time (say a week, rather than a day) or a post that’s receiving an impressive amount of traction, you can ‘pin’ it to the top of the page. This means even when you post your daily content, your ‘pinned’ post will remain in prime position. It’s a neat trick to make important content go further – without creating a new post.
Most of these are content-focused suggestions. What other ways do you recommend for optimizing your business Facebook page?
Tags: content creation, facebook, social media
Deb has been writing and producing television commercials, corporate videos and television programs for more than 20 years. From multi-media interactive to 21-hour Telethons, Deb’s production portfolio continues to grow as technology changes.
Deb was a writer at Palmer Jarvis / DDB Advertising and, for the past 12 years, has been a writer / producer with a loyal client base.
Deb is also the winner of three Television Bureau of Canada Awards (for commercial production) and two BC Association of Broadcaster Awards.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia is a non-profit land conservation organization that acquires and manages ecologically significant land in BC.
Peak has worked alongside The Nature Trust of British Columbia since 2013 to boost brand awareness, and promote the organization’s mandate to exclusively protect land in the province.
Peak created and executed a streamlined, cost-effective media relations campaign that generated widespread coverage across British Columbia, Washington state and Canada-wide.
The campaign platform, in line with the organization’s tag line, is “Conserving land in B.C. for future generations.”
Over an 18 month campaign, Peak has generated over 110 pieces of media coverage for the organization, including in The Vancouver Sun, The Huffington Post, Global BC, VanCity Buzz, CBC Kelowna, Global Okanagan, CTV Vancouver Island and much more.
Peak worked on a monthly retainer with Pacific Blue Cross for four years.
An example of the work we did can be shown by Pacific Blue Cross’s launch of an innovative free online tool called the Pharmacy Compass. The tool helps consumers find better prices for their medications by comparing drug costs and dispensing fees at pharmacy locations across B.C.
The Pharmacy Compass also provides the generic equivalent to brand name drugs and the cost difference between them. Generic drugs listed with PharmaCare typically cost 35 per cent of brand-name drugs in B.C.
We felt the story hit a number of key news buttons – it was a new and innovative tool, the company was headquartered locally (Burnaby), and, most importantly, the Pharmacy Compass directly affected the wallets and health of people the media are trying to reach with their news.
The launch and media campaign were a runaway success. The story was front page headline news in the Vancouver Sun, it was a top story on Global BC, CTV Vancouver and Chek News on the Island. Pacific Blue Cross representative Leza Muir also did interviews on CFAX and Fairchild TV.
The media attention boosted traffic to Pacific Blue Cross’s website literally overnight. There were some 11,200 hits in the first 48 hours and more than 16,000 hits in the first week. The extensive preparation by Pacific Blue Cross and messaging also paid off – the organization was well prepared to respond to various inquiries about the new service from the media, its customers and the public.
The City of Trail had a long outdated image of being a dirty smelter town that couldn’t be further from the truth. Although Teck Resources lead and zinc smelter has operated in Trail for over a century, the company had spent a billion dollars making enormous improvements to air and water emissions. Trail is a beautiful southern B.C. city right on the Columbia River but it needed a new image.
The City of Trail brought Peak on board to act as an extension of its communications function. The goal was to highlight the benefits of Trail for people looking to travel, move to the region permanently or do business in the city.
Peak worked with the City of Trail for over a decade. Our scope of work ranged from issues management and public consultation to media relations and communications counsel.
At the heart of the PR program was the e-newsletter we created quarterly, which contained a number of local stories that had potential for national appeal. This e-newsletter was pitched to journalists, who then selected their favourite stories for publication. A selection of journalists came to know and expect this newsletter as a source of real-life stories.
Over a three year period, we secured 200+ articles online and traditional media hits for the City, promoting a variety of community and cultural stories. These stories highlighted the benefits of Trail as somewhere to live and work, and a city worth visiting as a tourist.
One story highlighting the inexpensive homes for sale overlooking the Columbia River resulted in a housing boom in Trail, new families moving into the City and business being started.