Peak Communicators
December 6, 2019

Squamish Nation

On August 30, 2018 at 6:00 a.m. the Federal Court of Appeal handed down a landmark ruling on a challenge of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) by the Squamish Nation and other First Nations and environmental groups.

The court ruled there had not been adequate consultation by the federal government, a significant win for First Nations.

Client Objective

No matter which way the decision went, Squamish Nation leaders wanted maximum positive news coverage. Peak Communicators worked closely with the Squamish Nation to make its position understood within its own membership and across the country.

The Campaign

Calling on Peak’s extensive media experience we knew that all media would want instant reaction, even before the decision was fully understood.  Media is a competitive business and if Squamish Nation leaders granted one outlet the first interview, all other outlets would be angered by what they would see as favouritism. That would taint media coverage on all the other outlets, turning a positive story into a negative one.  We advised against any interviews until after the 9:30 a.m. news conference.

  • Working with Squamish Nation leaders and the legal team, Peak prepared two short holding statements in the days leading up to the decision: one based on a positive outcome and the second a negative outcome. The purpose of these statements was to have the Squamish Nation reaction to the decision included in the news cycle until we held the news conference.
  • The positive statement was edited and distributed across the country, directly to the desks of news decision-makers and instantly began appearing in news coverage before 8:00.
  • The strategy ensured the Squamish Nation was heard, with all media feeling they had been dealt with fairly.
  • Peak began preparing the news conference site before 6:00 in the morning. A large turnout was expected.  Approximately 50 media members attended, representing all major news networks in Canada and local news outlets.  The three major TV networks, CBC, CTV and Global all carried the news conference live.

After the event, Peak spent the next several hours coordinating additional radio, newspaper and television interviews for Squamish Nation spokesperson and Councillor Khelsilem.

Key Results

  • Squamish Nation appeared in over 120 positive news stories
  • At least 40 different newspaper articles including the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, National Post and Vancouver Sun
  • 58 TV hits with coverage on all major newscasts across Canada including CBC’s The National – the messaging was clear: First Nations needed to be respectfully and properly consulted by government; a meaningful and deep two-way dialogue is required
  • TV interviews with Khelsilem on BNN Bloomberg and CBC’s Power and Politics and radio talk show interviews on various CBC shows
  • Over 20 pieces of coverage online

 

November 12, 2019

Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival

Client objective

After an outstanding media success on Vancouver’s 30th anniversary of the dragon boat festival in 2018, how would Peak attract another 90 media hits, in addition to the 28 event listings a year later? The goal was to attract the same or more media coverage, in advance of and during the festival.

The Campaign

Peak went out and pitched the same media for stories, interviews and calendar event listings. We crafted creative profiles and backgrounders. In early June, three weeks before the festival, Peak held a news conference to preview the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival and unveil a new light-weight dragon boat that was in development. We also gave media the opportunity to get into the newly built boat and race against the older models.

The Results

In 2019, Peak drove an astounding 68 per cent more media coverage than in 2018. This is one of Vancouver’s biggest annual festivals and fun events, so it is worthy of repeat coverage. The morning news conference with real news received a significant amount of media coverage in the lead-up to the festival itself. That was a differentiator. Peak also harnessed established media relationships to ensure success in 2019.

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September 13, 2017

Victoria Ullrich

Sector experience

Sports, Corporate and Social Enterprise

Career background

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.

Education

Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) Majoring in Communications with a Minor in Print & Digital Publishing and Co-operative Education Distinction from Simon Fraser University

Volunteer experience

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.

Career highlight

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

Instagram

Favourite B.C. pastime 

Hiking

Secret talent 

I have a great memory when it comes to song lyrics, my friends call me a walking karaoke machine.

March 29, 2017

Nick Anstee

Sector experience

Predominantly in retail, music, ticketing and technology

Career background

I have spent much of my career working in communications agencies in London, account managing fully integrated campaigns and media pitching for five to 10 clients at any one point. Hallmark clients include Nokia/Microsoft Mobile, Canada Goose, Puma, Casio G-SHOCK, Amazon and Patagonia.

Education

Leeds Metropolitan University – BA Hons (2:1) Marketing and Public Relations

Volunteer experience

Working annually at fundraising events for Medical Detection Dogs (UK). A charity that trains dogs to detect changes in an individual’s personal odor triggered by their disease (Cancer, Diabetes and others).

If you were going to write an autobiography, what would it be called? 

There and back again: An intrepid look into the soul of an English fella.

Career highlight

Landing a national primetime broadcast slot for my client by hijacking the viral sensation of the blue or gold dress debate.

Favourite part of Peak life

Bouncing ideas off my colleagues and seeing if it sticks or what comes back.

Favourite social media site

Instagram – it is experiencing such growth in the retail and brand sphere currently and also evolving influencer roles in the marketing mix.

Furthest flung place you’ve lived? 

London

Favourite B.C. pastime 

Skiing, climbing and enjoying the great outdoors.

Secret talent 

Flipping and catching beer mats in one movement – my record is 27.

Random fact

As a toddler I went wondering from a restaurant table in Spain – my parents found me sitting on Steffi Graf’s knee.

 

 

September 23, 2016

Klaudia Budniak

Sector experience

Arts and Culture, Non-profit organizations, Corporate

Career background

During university, I worked with multiple student associations on diverse cultural events. After that I was at the Alliance Française of Vancouver, where I worked in a communications and events coordination capacity.

Education

BA in Languages and Literatures and MA in Multilingual Communication from the Université de Louvain, MA in General Management from the Louvain School of Management

Volunteer experience

I currently volunteer for the Canadian Public Relations Society, the Alliance Française and the YMCA on their major annual fundraising event

Favourite part of Peak life

The people and the company’s culture. No matter how stressful work might be, a touch of humour is always present!

If you were to write an autobiography, what would it be called?

The day I decided to move to the other side of the world

Career highlight

While working at the Alliance Française of Vancouver, I organized a conference about Simone de Beauvoir and the history of feminism in France. A few days before the event I received a call from CBC Radio-Canada asking if I would like to be interviewed. The next morning I was in their studio speaking about my conference for the ‘Boulevard du Pacifique’ show.

Favourite B.C. pastime

Rollerblading on the Seawall around Stanley Park

Languages

French, English, Polish, Spanish

Secret Talent

Singing terribly, I sing so badly that my friends once bought me a ‘dislike’ stamp

Furthest flung place you’ve lived? 

Brussels, Galway, Madrid, Warsaw, pick your favourite!

Random fact

When I was travelling through Ireland, I met a gentleman carrying a big boar (a stuffed animal, not a real one). Marc (the boar) had his own Facebook page with pictures from all the places he has visited. I ended up on his Facebook page as a ‘boar travel companion’

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!

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February 15, 2016

An Insight into 2016 Marketing Predictions

This year’s BCAMA annual marketing agency panel did not disappoint. Expert speakers from top agencies provided a strong sense of what’s to come this year and created a healthy debate around what’s really going to be some of the key drivers. There was a ton of information relayed to the hundreds of branding and communications professionals in the audience. Here are few of the highlights we took away with us.

marketing-peak communicators
Speaker #1: Andrew McCarthy – President, Tribal Worldwide Canada

The theme of Andrew’s presentation was around using content to connect with consumers. Research has recently shown that 71% of consumers who have blocked ads have said they’d consider whitelist advertising if the content was decent. Basically, people hate bad advertising.

So, how do you increase the shareability of your content?

  • Relatability – your content must be relevant
  • Have a point of view – this will help streamline content and ensure it’s consistent and interesting
  • Findability – search rankings are key when it comes to content dissemination
  • Mobility – make sure your content is where your audience is hanging out
  • Likeability – it’s an obvious one but your audience has to want to genuinely share your content

Snack Time, the milk producers of Western Canada’s cartoon series, was shared as a successful campaign where all the above was put in motion.

Speaker #2 Kelly Stephenson – Director of Strategy, Creature Agency, Seattle

Kelly’s talk centred around the prediction that there will be a rebalance between data and “creative bravery”. Kelly acknowledged the importance of data but cautioned that often marketers can get so caught up in data that the ability to connect with consumers is lost. Her argument around brands not becoming too obsessed with data was effectively summarised when she said, “data looks backwards; insights look forwards.” Marketers need to consider data and use this to create consumer insights in order to produce relevant and creative narratives that will increase the value of the relationship between brand and consumer.

An example used to highlight this argument was REI and its decision to shut up shop for the day on Black Friday and encourage its followers to #optoutside. REI chose to prioritize its shared values with its Millennial audience, putting a short-term need (a lot of revenue on Black Friday) behind the longer-term relationship. It was a smart move as the retailer generated millions of media impressions and a significant amount of content and engagement around #optoutside.

Speaker #3 April Yao – Senior Account Manager, 6S Marketing & Sheng Li Digital

April got up on stage and immediately said she had to disagree with some of Kelly’s points as 6S still uses and responds to data to ensure successful client campaigns that are closely tracked and clearly show ROI. April primarily presented on two topics: retargeting (also known as remarketing) and marketing to the Chinese population. April discussed the virtues of retargeting and dynamic remarketing (getting specific products that someone has already looked at on your brand website in front of the user when they are viewing another site). She said that, if you follow the cost per click (CPC) model, you’ll see the value quickly.

On the Chinese front, April said that approx. 20% of the Vancouver population is Chinese and encouraged the marketers in the room not to forget this growing market which often has high spending power. She talked about some of the equivalent Chinese social sites such as Youku (video), Baidu (search), and Weibo (think Twitter and micro-blogging).

April gave the example of Cirque du Soleil and how they were selling tickets fast in the English-speaking Vancouver community but not in the Chinese community. Through a Weibo contest, creating a Chinese landing page and a retargeting campaign, Cirque saw a significant increase in its ticket sales. Her final point on this community was that ethnic markets shouldn’t be forgotten but they also require their own distinct strategy.

Speaker #4 Dan Scherk – Partner & Creative Director, Traction Creative

Finally, Dan Scherk took to the stage to discuss the importance of brands adopting a user-centric approach in their marketing campaigns. He talked about how social marketing in particular has proven how brands cannot be organization-centric and that they have to prioritize user needs. Using his psychology background, he delved into social marketing behavioural theories and touched upon reasoned action approach, a benchmark for understanding and predicting human behaviour. Dan emphasised the need for marketers to tap into consumers’ beliefs, showing how that would impact attitudes which would in turn formulate intentions and lead onto certain behaviours.

bcama-peak communicatorsThe last case study of the morning was an interesting one: it was the “Dumb Ways to Die” campaign that was launched by Metro in Melbourne, Victoria. The cartoon campaign series was focused on reducing the number of accidents on its trains. Based on this, it was extremely successful and resulted in a 20% reduction in accidents. The campaign won top industry awards and was hailed a great success by many. But it was viewed as a failure by others. Why? In the real world, the true issue was suicide. So, a successful user-centred approach would have been around suicide prevention. Instead, the brand took an organizational approach and focused on an issue that was not the real problem.

Finally, the panel moderator, Claire Booth of Lux Insights, said that, while #FOMO (fear of missing out) was a real thing last year, this year, it’s apparently going to be all about #FOLO (fear of living offline).

 

 

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August 7, 2015

MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual

MR MIKES SteakhouseCasual launched a brand awareness campaign called ‘Mikes Unite’ to gather a record number of Mikes and Michaels in Regina. The campaign raised $30,550 in support of KidSport. Donations went back to kids in all 26 MR MIKES communities in Western Canada.

www.mrmikes.ca

August 7, 2015

Pacific Blue Cross

Pacific Blue Cross, British Columbia’s leading benefits provider, supported Mental Health Week, presented by CMHA. This year’s theme for Mental Health Week was ‘Get Loud!’ aiming to promote ongoing dialogue and open discussion about mental health issues.

www.pac.bluecross.ca

July 29, 2015

Tien Sher Balance Micro-Suites

Client Objective

Prior to the sale of Canada’s smallest condominiums—Balance micro-suites—developer, Tien Sher, wanted to raise wide-spread brand awareness and encourage potential buyers to attend the opening of the sales centre.

The Campaign

Tien Sher worked closely with the Peak team to boost print, online, TV and radio media attendance at the initial opening of the sales centre, by pitching the Balance micro-suites as “Canada’s smallest ever condos,” measuring 305 square feet or smaller.

The Results

The campaign saw many media outlets attend the sales centre opening, to shoot live footage and interview key spokespeople from Tien Sher. Extensive media coverage was secured throughout metro Vancouver and wider Canada, including print, online, television and radio media hits, with a total circulation rate of over 20,000,000. Key media outlets included; Global BC, The Province, Vancouver Sun, CTV, The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette.