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Public Relations

In a world awash in apologies from actors, athletes and politicians, businesses remain laggards when it comes to saying those words.
In this writer's experience, voters and consumers are forgiving. They are profoundly aware of the tendency of humans to have human failings, being human beings themselves. And, as long as mistakes are not being made all the time they will forgive and forget and move on.
Spicer, at 45 years of age, is no neophyte. He has served as press secretary to four Republican Congressmen. In short, he should know better. At a minimum, he should have known that he'd have about as much chance controlling his own destiny in a twitter-mad Trump White House as did those monkeys the Americans used to send into space to test the Mercury space capsules. Meaning none.
A fresh year is upon us with new opportunities and challenges in all areas of your life. One such vital area is public relations for your organization.
This year, in addition to the great work that we're doing on behalf of clients, let's make a commitment to look inward and focus on expertly communicating our own brand stories.
Pot. Dope. Weed. 420. Bud. Doobie. Toke. Even 15 years after marijuana was approved for legal medical use in Canada, the language describing it obscures, conceals and hides. Can cannabis shed its dubious and illicit past so that this compound can be looked at within a medical framework first, and a recreational one second?
When I explained to a journalist standing next to me on the red carpet, about to interview such-and-such star at a premiere, that I was a freelancer covering the event on my own dime, he was a bit dumbfounded. "Ah, so you're a backdoor journalist, then," he concluded. As much as the label bothered me, he was right.
There is no other way to describe it -- Justin Trudeau has been a public relations superstar from the very moment he took office as prime minister almost a year ago. However, just as September has shorter days and produces a tinge of frost in the evening air, this prolonged period of public basking in the sun may soon be coming to an end for our prime minister.
New digital personalities pop up daily and although we often hear about the PR behaviours that annoy bloggers and influencers, it's also important for us to recognize some of the shady influencer behaviours that can leave a communicator frustrated and far from their PR goals.
The press is aiding and abetting the PMO's strategy of image first, substance second, to the point that we can't seem to go a few days without seeing our country's leader in that all too common, casual photo op, reassuring Canadians that he is unlike his predecessor, Stephen Harper. We get it. Trudeau and Harper are different. Only, they do have one huge leadership component in common; both men have taken an element of public relations and used it as their main mechanism to influence public perception. In fact, both men have staked out their preferred piece of PR and taken it to heights previously unknown in the stale world of federal politics.
It's a common experience among many communications professionals: after helping an organization build its brand reputation during good times, we often see our efforts unravel the moment an economic downturn hits and senior management decides to cut spending on brand communications. It's understandable. But it's also a mistake, since difficult times are exactly when an organization should remain visible and emphasize its brand.
I can still feel the knots in my stomach when I remember back to my first presentations. I'd sweat about the damage a heckler could do by sidetracking me. I also worried that my credibility would be damaged if I gave away control. I've learned from each time standing at the podium it doesn't have to be this way.
This generation is paving the way for both small and large grocery chains and independent stores to diversify what's in-store and the overall experience grocery stores provide. Remember, this is a generation that puts great emphasis on experiences, especially ones that truly resonate with them.
Going from corporate keener to lone crusader takes more than courage and vision, it takes a new form of motivation, a new way of working; relying solely on yourself to get things done. When you decide to strike it out on your own, nothing even remotely resembles your corporate gig. Basically, your world has lost its safety net - until you create it again.
Strong relationships have always been at the heart of good public relations. Today, with newsrooms shrinking, relationships are of the utmost importance in telling your story.
There used be a great divide between the advertising and editorial departments of media outlets; they operated in separate silos and never the twain shall meet. But those days are gone. At the end of the day, the media is a business -- and it's a tough business. Revenues are drying up, falling year after year. It makes good business sense to leverage earned media opportunities with a paid advertising buy.
Our world has some incredible non-profit organizations that are working to solve some of the greatest challenges of our time. Unfortunately many of these organizations are not equipped to effectively articulate their story to the public, potential donors and supporters, thought leaders, and politicians.
Shame. It's not the type of subject you would openly discuss at your friend's baby shower. Nor is it the topic du jour at the local yoga studio as you head in for your morning workout. Nobody wants to talk about shame or -- more specifically -- the one event, experience or lifestyle choice that has led to them feeling shameful. But choosing to do so can change your life.
When Mayor Denis Coderre, the spokeman of the 82 municipalities of Montreal 's Urban Community, said "no" to TransCanada's Energy East pipeline, there was an uproar in Western Canada. Many, including Premier Brad Wall and Rick Mercer made wild accusations, saying this was a national unity question.
As much as running your own family requires keeping things straight from an internal perspective, let's face it: sooner or later these little buggers are going to have to face the outside world and subject themselves to the judgement, which can only come from other parents, teachers, and so-called authority figures.