SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT RAPIDLY GAINING IMPORTANCE FOR CANADIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONALS: SURVEY FINDING

TORONTO, August 18, 2014 – A majority of Canadian public relations and communications professionals say managing their organizations’ social media has become one of their most important functions. This was one of several key findings included in two new research studies on public relations in Canada released today by the Communications + Public Relations Foundation (CPRF). CPRF funded both studies.

Conducted in partnership with the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) and Halifax’s Mount Saint Vincent University, the CPRS GAP VIII: Canada Report 2014 provides Canadian communications practitioners and t heir employers the first national picture of the Public Relations industry and the primary issues it faces.

The study also illustrated principal difference between Canadian and American communications professions. When compared with similar studies undertaken south of the border, it becomes clear that a higher percentage of Canadian communications professionals are employed in government and non- profit sectors as opposed to U.S. data which indicated a higher concentration in corporate public relations.

The second study, conducted by McMaster University, Do They Have what it Takes?, found that writing skills are still the number-one desired competency in public relations and management communications, followed by strategy, leadership and competence in information and communication technologies.

“These studies demonstrate the high degree of relevance for public relations practice in Canadian business today,” said Bruce MacLellan, APR, FCPRS, Chair of the Foundation. “As new forms of media and digital publishing blend with trusted traditional channels, the need for credible, authentic, engaging, and high-quality communications is more important than ever. Our Foundation will continue to provide insights for the PR profession and demonstrate the growing role and importance of public relations and communication in the workplace.”

The CPRS GAP VIII study, led by Amy Thurlow, PhD, APR, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, is part of a larger international study that reflects public relations trends and practices. The international study includes USA, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand in addition to Canada. Results of the study, co-ordinated by the University of Southern California, will be released in September in Madrid, Spain by the Global Alliance for Public relations and Communications Management.

The McMaster study, Do They Have What it Takes?, led by Terry Flynn, PhD, APR, FCPRS, focused on the views of entry-level public relations professionals and senior business executives regarding the competencies, skills and knowledge needed by young professionals to succeed in today’s demanding and complex public relations workplace.

GAP VIII – A Foundational Study for Future PR Research
Completed in March 2014, the Canadian component of the study provides new and valuable benchmark data about PR in Canada and includes four key insights:

  1. Public Relations and Communications is perceived as valuable by the C-Suite by 75 per cent of respondents and as contributing to financial growth by 52 per cent of CEOs.
  2. Public Relations and Communications professionals are considered the dominant players in the strategic use of social media by organizations, well ahead of Marketing and Sales, Information Technology, Human Resources and Customer Relations.
  3. Social Media is the top tool for measurement and evaluation for PR. However, the majority of respondents (55.7 per cent) use tools developed in-house for measuring and evaluating PR, 35.2 per cent don’t measure PR at all, and 27.9 per cent use standard or proprietary tools used by consultants.
  4. As in the US, media relations continues to be the core responsibility of public relations and communications, cited by 95.9 per cent of respondents.

McMaster – Do They Have What it Takes?
The McMaster study, with a focus on the competencies, skills and knowledge required by entry-level PR practitioners to succeed in today’s PR workplace is a snapshot of the public relations workplace at a particular point in time. It offers insights affirming known trends and highlighted gaps in expectation and performance. Four key findings:

  1. At 95 per cent, the overwhelming majority of participants hold a positive outlook of the PR profession in Canada in terms of growth and development.
  2. Junior and entry level public relations practitioners are reasonably well-educated with 29 per cent holding a university undergraduate degree and 22 per cent holding a university graduate degree in public relations and communications.
  3. There is a gap between junior entrants’ estimation of their knowledge, competencies and attributes (higher) and that of their employers (lower)
  4. Writing is still the number-one desired competency in public relations/management communications, followed by strategy, leadership and competence in information and communication technologies. Based on the study results, senior business executives clearly want to hire passionate, creative, professional and enthusiastic candidates who demonstrate excellent writing, critical thinking, creativity and confidence. They want individuals who can manage multiple demands in a constantly changing environment.

To access the complete GAP study report, visit http://cprs.ca/education/research.aspx or http://cprfoundation.ca/thepresent.html#anchor-research. For the McMaster study, visit http://cprfoundation.ca/thepresent.html#anchor-research

The Communications + Public Relations Foundation is a national organization that united business, academic, and public relations leaders in the advance of public relations education and research. It has been advancing education and k knowledge about the value and power of public relations in Canada since 1979.

The Canadian Public Relations Society is the only national membership public relations organization in Canada. It establishes and encourages high levels of professional standards, ethics, and studies in the public relations discipline.

Infographic link: http://CPRFoundation.ca/infographic0.png?v=1u1k0ciz6txs77

For more information:
Chitra Reddin, Research Chair, Communications + Public Relations Foundation, 416 423-9536 Karen Dalton, Executive Director, Canadian Public Relations Society, 416 239-7034
Bruce MacLellan, Chair, Communications + Public Relations Foundation, 416 920-9000

Keep Peggy Olson’s ambition, but ditch the drab duds

Written by:Lauren Wasley, Creative Media & PR Strategist at energi PR, Toronto.

With Mad Men on its final run, it’s time to follow suit and modernize your workplace attire

We’re not accountants or corporate lawyers, but why do many PR agency professionals insist on dressing the part? This question plagues my mind at night as I toss and turn amidst bouts of insomnia, counting the tiny number of bumps in my popcorn ceiling.

Ok, that was mildly exaggerated, BUT it is a topic I often think about.

As a professional in a creative field, it makes sense to show a little bit of personality and style when dressing for the job. Now, I’m not saying wear flip flops and overalls to the office, because they’re never ok, but I do think it’s time to leave the 1960s rule book at home.  Yes, Don Draper is THE MAN, I get it, but restrictive suits, ties and (for women) nude pantyhose don’t need to be your every day.

Now there are times when it’s appropriate, of course. For example, your agency could be pitching a conservative client; attending a high level meeting or presenting at a global conference. All scenarios where you might want to find your Sunday best.

But what if you’re in a brainstorm for the latest energy drink? Or working with a fashion-forward new designer? As PR professionals we’re expected to be in-the-know and “on trend” and sometimes that ill-fitting tweed blazer with oversized shoulder pads isn’t the best demonstration of that.

Just like food, exercise and sleep, fashion trends should be used in moderation. Brightly painted nails, leather biker jackets, colourful socks and even (gasp!) jeans can be incorporated into your wardrobe if you’re properly prepared. Just leave a spare blazer and nice shoes in the office and you’ll be fancied up in no time. Seriously, Superman will have nothing on you.

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Lauren Wasley

Lauren Wasley

 

After July 1st, will you be King of the CASL? Or Just a Dirty Rascal?

If there is any doubt about whether I am frustrated, cynical or just plain grumpy over this CASL law, the answer is yes to all three. I might feel differently if I was a lawyer, or could have one permanently on staff, but that’s not the case.

As CEO of energi PR, a mid-sized, independently owned, Canadian public relations firm, I am trying to understand why Canada’s anti-spam law needed to be so complicated and costly to implement. The law applies to all individuals and businesses sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and so, ignorance or a lack of sophistication or resources will presumably not be an excuse to be deviant. And so the rational part of my brain says, wait a minute all you small and medium-sized business that form the cornerstone of the Canadian economy and are trying to do business, win business and stay in business, why would anyone want to penalize those Canadian businesses who do not send SPAM? Ours is the business of public relations. We tell stories. From important medical discoveries to the colour of a new lipstick – and everything in between. Those who take these stories and develop them for their audiences and communities generally want to hear from us and, even when they occasionally might become annoyed by a bit of persistence, they would hardly describe our email communications as SPAM.

Yes, we want to ENLARGE our client’s business and our own, but does this compare in any way with penis enlargement supplements, the latest weight loss scheme or an invitation to meet the woman or man of your dreams?

Make no mistake. energi PR is CASL compliant. We’ve distributed our consent requests, hired one of the country’s most knowledgeable internet law specialists, engaged our IT team, implemented a contact management system, ensured that our email signatures provide an unsubscribe function, trained our team, documented our procedures and anointed a Compliance Officer. Can you imagine any better use of our resources?

As I said at the start of this rant, I am tired and grumpy about all of the machinations and cost that CASL has imposed. But I am also sympathetic to those in PR and in other businesses who simply do not have the wherewithal to jump into the CASL action.. The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms, an industry association that represents more than 25 of Canada’s leading PR firms, of which energi PR is a founding member, has further supported its members by obtaining its own legal opinion that focuses on our stock and trade, including communications with journalists. The Canadian Public Relations Society webinar explaining CASL is another valuable resource for our profession.

I agree that SPAM is annoying and efforts should be made to eliminate it. I also don’t think that the authors of CASL were intentionally mean-spirited. But sometimes even the very best of intentions come back to bite one on the butt. My sense is that CASL will have little impact on the email junk we’ve received to date and convinced that unnecessary obstacles have been put in place for honest, legitimate individuals and companies that want to be profitable and contribute to Canada’s economy and society. I would have much rather have made a charitable donation than pour thousands of dollars into CASL compliance.

As a final note. I started in business before fax machines were invented. Who knows, maybe making the Canadian commercial email message such a villain will force us back into personal business interaction, which wouldn’t be so bad.

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Carol Levine (@Carol_levine) is co-founder and Managing founder of energi PR, digital, communications, an award-winning independently owned Canadian PR consultancy established in 1990 with offices in Toronto and Montreal. energi PR is the Canadian affiliate of the Public Relations Global Network, providing expertise in consumer and healthcare public relations to national and multinational brands. Carol is the immediate past Chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations firms and is a 2013 Inductee in the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame as well as a Fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Feeling entitled? You won’t get a glass slipper working in PR.

Written by:Lauren Wasley, Creative Media & PR Strategist at energi PR, Toronto.

Maybe I’m getting old, but after almost seven years in the industry I’m beginning to feel a growing sense of disconnect between myself and many of the new graduates I’ve met lately. I grew up with parents who ingrained that hard work pays off ethic into me at an early age. My first job, at 14, was a paper route which I thoroughly despised (braving the elements with a cart full of newspapers is not my forte), and so as soon as I was able I get a “proper” job, I did. It was at a pharmacy and that job remained a constant fixture in my life for a good seven years as I went through numerous other part-time jobs and paid my way through school.

But I digress.

The root of this disconnect is this sense of entitlement that seems to exist in today’s young workforce. New PR school graduates may have the theory down, but doesn’t mean they are immediately capable of putting it into practice. A good PR practitioner has years of experience under their belt. Media monitoring and reporting, for example, is often viewed with disdain, but it’s actually an ideal task to ease new PR practitioners into their roles.  So what am I missing? Do they not realize the importance of this vital task? Securing and sharing editorial coverage is what we get paid for. Arguably, it is one of the most important tasks we do, alongside media relations.

The industry has also advanced a lot in the years since I was an intern. I remember having to come in earlier than my colleagues to read each newspaper and magazine. This was followed by ninja-like Google searches. Then I’d scan and format each clip one by one in a nicely formatted word document and evaluate MANUALLY to get a dollar value (ruler and calculator in hand).

Nowadays most agencies use programs like Cision which do all this for you – that’s right, all of it. See these new graduates are unlikely to ever experience a world where newspaper-stained fingers are a daily occurrence, or where sourcing event decor or product for a mailer meant running around Chinatown in the middle of a snowstorm in 4 inch heels. They can just go online.

I think what new graduates need to understand is that in every job, and at every level, there is some tedious (and maybe undesirable) work to be done. It’s inescapable. But, if you can check your ego at the door, you’ll be just fine, trust me.

Lauren Wasley

Lauren Wasley

 

6 things from PR Boot Camp

Boot camp drills. (Photo credit CCPRF/CPRS)

Boot camp drills. (Photo credit CCPRF/CPRS)

In the spirit of Hemingway where “all are apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master,” many PR agencies recently sent their senior communicators to the Fourth Annual PR Agency Boot Camp, hosted by the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms and the Canadian Public Relations Society.

PANKs, pics and gimmicks were some of the top takeaways from six members of the APEX PR crew in Marketing Magazine’s PR Filter.

Also check out some live-tweeting from PR Boot Camp.

#AwarenessDays are the new black

Written by:Allison Goodman, Account Coordinator with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto

World Health Day, Daffodil Month, National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Week, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, International Hemophilia Day, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month – these are just some of the awareness milestones that occur this April.

Although some may consider these to be merely special awareness days, we in the public relations business view them as key leveraging opportunities.

This day, week or month is the chance for organizations, associations and foundations alike to have their moment to shine and communicate their message and story to a captive audience. This is their opportunity to spread awareness for the disease area or condition that affects their stakeholders every day.

Some commemorate the given milestone with a major announcement, some with a news release and now, the more and more common tactic is through social media sharing. Perhaps an organization will develop a video or infographic that can be shared across all social media channels using a designated hashtag.

Go ahead and search one of the above awareness milestones that have recently passed or are ongoing on Twitter and you are sure to come across numerous mentions and shout-outs.

Let’s take, for example, this month’s Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Month campaign. Type #DaffodilMonth in the Twitter search tool and you are brought to countless tweets, videos, links and articles all with a common theme – a message of awareness, strength and courage. This hashtag brings together conversations, stories and encouragement supporting the Society, its efforts and those touched by cancer – either directly or indirectly.

In addition to healthcare-specific awareness milestones, health-related organizations can also leverage non-traditional milestones to share a message and engage a community. As PR practitioners, it is our chance to get creative and correlate our clients with these milestones, becoming engaged in a conversation that extends the reach of their message beyond its typical audience.

Other awareness days this month that can be connected to a health client’s message?

World Book Day – Is there a compelling book related to your client’s disease area? Well, why not post a link to the book with the hashtag #WorldBookDay?

International Jazz Day – Did you know that Natalie Cole, jazz vocalist and daughter of the great Nat King Cole, received a life-saving kidney transplant? This is an opportunity to spread awareness and encourage the importance of organ and tissue donation.

These milestones, and others, are endless… and so are the possibilities.

Allison Goodman

Allison Goodman

 

energi PR’s position on the April 7th Quebec Provincial Election

energi PR is one of less than a handful of members of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms that began its business in Quebec before expanding to Ontario.  We hung out our shingle as Communications MECA in  1990 with a clear vision to be a national public relations consulting firm that just happened to be headquartered in Montreal. Independently owned, we were reportedly the only  PR “boutique” (ugh, we hate that term) that had bricks and mortar in two major markets. As such, we provided an option to clients who liked working with a smaller shop but who expected seamless service in English and French Canada. Born and bred in QC, we knew the market, had the connections, spoke the language and understood the political, social, behavioral and attitudinal differences. Counselling Quebec-based companies wanting to do business elsewhere in Canada and the US or firms wanting to come to the Quebec market, we bridged the gap ensuring that programs were neither Montreal or Toronto centric. We’re still here nearly 25 years later.

While politics and religion are two topics you want to avoid in a business context,  we believe it’s  important to our current and future employees, clients and colleagues that we make our views clear with respect  to the current government’s platform of sovereignty as well as to two specific pieces of proposed legislation – Bills 60 and 14.  Should the Parti Quebec government be re-elected with a majority government (not likely given recent polls)  it is our opinion that the way energi PR does business in Quebec and how YOU do business in Quebec will change, and not for the better.

If you live in the ROC it is likely you are bored by this cyclical “neverendum” referendum discussion and either could not care less or feel that you and your firms will not be affected. You may have read about PQ candidate Pierre Karl Peladeau, who in his fist pumping remarks on being named a candidate professed his determination to leave his children a country. He did not mean Canada.

The electoral campaign has gone downhill from then.

energi PR believes in a Quebec within Canada. We believe that the preservation and dominance of the French language and culture should not come at the expense of the rights and freedoms of other cultural and linguistic communities.  We believe that Bill 60 and its proposed ban on “ostentatious” religious symbols for public sector employees including day care workers, healthcare professionals and teachers, described in part as the hijab, turban and kippah is not only restrictive, but will escalate the fear, public humiliation, intolerance and violence that has already been manifested and felt by our citizens.

On Monday, April 7th, Quebeckers will vote to elect their government. We hope that the people speak with a voice of inclusion and respect.

Written by Carol Levine and Esther Buchsbaum, co-founders, energi PR

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ABOUT energi PR
energi PR founded in 1990, is a full service, bilingual, independently-owned firm specializing in public relations, social media/digital and corporate communications. With offices in Montreal and Toronto, energi PR delivers integrated public relations services to national and multi-national clients in the consumer and healthcare sectors. energi PR is a founding member of the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms and is the Canadian affiliate of the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) that offers representation in more than 80 markets on six continents. Please visit: http://www.energipr.com.

 

 

 

 

When Crisis Occurs… Who Ya Gonna Call?

Written by:Jacqueline Zonneville, Account Director with energi PR’s Healthcare Practice in Toronto

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a training session focused on Communications for Risk, Issues and Crisis Management. The day was spent examining the principles/differentiating factors of risks, issues and crisis, and strategic approaches to effectively manage each. Following, my fellow participants and I had the opportunity to put theory into practice and apply our learnings to a uniquely designed mock scenario. A very rewarding experience!

As a PR practitioner focusing on health and wellness, I find myself more and more fascinated by the intricacies of crisis communications, and best practices to weather the storm so to speak. And here’s why (most of which won’t be new to my fellow practitioners, but hopefully of interest nonetheless):

  • Crisis never sleeps; it can occur at any time: Take the recent Malaysian Airlines crisis, for example. A round-the-clock communications effort was employed to keep the public up-to-date with accurate information, and to correct the multitude of inaccurate reports making their way onto various media and internet channels, etc. Not to mention, with the rise of social media, a whole new set of crises are making their way to the public eye!
  • Crisis requires a forward-thinking approach: When crisis occurs, there’s no going back. All companies can do is find an effective way forward, and to regularly communicate the steps being taken to course correct. Remember, Mohammed went right to the mountain. He didn’t run and hide or back away from it.
  • Crisis has punch: Depending on how an organization conducts itself during a crisis, it can allow for an opportunity to gain public support by demonstrating overall worth/goodwill throughout the crisis. I think we can all agree that Tylenol recovered well from its 1980’s laced-capsules crisis.

With healthcare communications comes a mixed bag of crises that companies could potentially face – from potential product recalls to black-box label warnings to loss of life, access to medications (or lack thereof) and everything in between.

Some Qs to ask:

  • Is the situation at hand truly a crisis, or are you being faced with an independent issue? Is there a way to contain the issue before it becomes a crisis? Keep in mind, the key differentiator between an issue and a crisis is that an issue relates to an incident whereas as crisis is a more ongoing situation.
  • When in crisis, what are the key messages that are important to convey? Is everyone on your response team in line with this message track and are they effectively communicating with the broader organization?
  • What solutions to address the crisis can/should be highlighted?
  • What are the benchmarks for success for your organization when it comes to effectively managing a crisis?
  • What are the short- and long-term strategies needed?

When all else fails, a friendly piece of advice I came across from Hallmark plaque: “Just take it one gigantic, earth-shattering crisis at a time.”

 

Canadian Public Relations Industry Hosts Fourth Annual CCPRF PR Boot Camp on April 4

PR guru Paul Holmes and industry thought leaders headline annual PR Professional Development Session for PR Firm Practitioners

TORONTO, March 25, 2014 – On April 4, the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms (CCPRF) will host its fourth annual “PR Boot Camp”, which brings together professional practitioners from some of Canada’s most prestigious PR firms for an intensive day of learning and development. This one-day workshop will provide attendees with strategies and insights to advance their careers in today’s dynamic communications environment, and provide networking opportunities for emerging stars to dialogue with senior practitioners from Canada’s top PR firms.

Kicking off the day is guest speaker Paul Holmes, editor of The Holmes Report and chief executive of The Holmes Group.  Paul has been writing about public relations for more than 25 years.  Early in 2000, Holmes launched The Holmes Group, which provides knowledge and insight to public relations professionals across a variety of platforms, including a website, an e-newsletter, events, printed reports, research and consulting assignments, and the SABRE Awards competition. The group’s flagship title, The Holmes Report, covers the public relations business in the Americas, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and the Asia-Pacific region.

Other speakers will address creativity, business strategy, storytelling and workplace collaboration. Sessions will be led by the owners/operators of Canada’s top PR firms, as well as outside experts, including thought leaders from top Canadian brands.

Speakers include:

  • Steve Ladurantaye, former Globe & Mail journalist, now Partnerships Manager, News & Politics (Canada), Twitter Canada;
  • Karen Howe, Sr. VP, Creative Director and Cannes Lion judge, on making creativity stand out;
  • Kasi Bruno, VP Strategy and Cultural Insight, Y&R, on developing big ideas; and
  • Rebecca Zamon, Huffington Post Canada Living Editor, on writing compelling headlines

“With an outstanding slate of speakers and group sessions, this professional development event provides the next generation of agency practitioners with new thinking that empowers them to innovate and elevate PR as a fundamental component of business success,” said David Gordon, Chair of the CCPRF.  “We are thrilled that some of Canada’s top brands, as well as key influencers within the PR/communications community, are supporting the advancement of our profession.”

The CCPRF Boot Camp is intended for PR agency professionals with seven to 10 years consulting experience, but is open to any PR/communications practitioners interested in sharpening their skill set. There are still spaces available. For more information please visit http://www.cprs.ca/ccprf/PR_BootCamp.aspx.

About CCPRF
The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms, the only trade organization for public relations in Canada, represents close to 25 multinational and independently owned consultancies with the majority of their revenue generated from the business of public relations.  The goal of the Council is to promote the professionalism and development of public relations consulting and provide thought leadership in areas that influence industry growth.  For more information, visit www.ccprf.ca.

A “Patient First” Motto is not a USP

Most pharma companies want to be known for putting patients first, for unlocking the mystery of serious illness and for improving the patients’ quality of life. These are noble and well-intentioned goals. But they are also ubiquitous; common to most healthcare- focused organizations, and are often not based on an intimate understanding or regular exposure to the end user.  In the classic client customer dynamic, there are two key players:  the manufacturer/marketer/distributor and the prescriber, almost exclusively the physician. So, is the patient really first?

Consumers of healthcare, a.k.a. patients, increasingly see themselves as the preeminent advocate of their own health and this role may extend to others in their circle including a spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends and even colleagues. Therefore, it’s not difficult to see how a personal connection to acute or chronic illness can grow into activism and advocacy. Taking control over one’s condition; being aware and making informed choices is increasingly the profile of the savvy health consumer. To put patients first means accepting that at the end of the day, the patient voice is louder than you might think.

But how does that relationship work best, achieving everyone’s objectives and maintaining the integrity of the process? The principles may seem like common sense, but when applied diligently, they can make or break this kind of partnership.

10 tips to a happy Industry/Patient Advocacy Group collaboration

  1. Transparency is rule number one. Keeping in mind industry regulations concerning engagement, the groups need to be clear and comfortable with what each party wants to achieve through the collaboration.
  2. Write it down. Expectations should be straightforward and recorded in writing to prevent conflict down the road. This sets a reference point by which to measure progress.
  3. Define success. What is the end game? Describe what this will look like in terms of outcome.
  4. Soft skills. It is important to understand the inherent differences between large, professional, for-profit organizations and volunteer, community based not-for-profit groups. It should not come as a surprise that patient groups will view industry with skepticism.
  5. Trust. Trust is not a quick hit and must be earned over time.  When it is achieved (earned) it will signal the beginning of a strong relationship and greater support.
  6. Listening. The patient journey is more than a drama or the content of a news release. It is why the patient or family is devoting time, not only to help their loved one, but the broader constituency of sufferers. Don’t be afraid to enter their world. This may be about business for the company, but without genuine empathy, patience and compassion you risk being seen as opportunistic.
  7. Messaging. The devil is in the details and the words used in getting the points across will be more important than you may think.  Work together to develop messages that are real and compelling for both parties and each of the appropriate audiences.
  8. Training. Offer the patient advocacy group professional training and development in areas that will be relevant to the work you do together. This might include media appearance training, presentation skills; bring in speakers on public policy, market access, and best practices and show relevant case studies. Don’t discount individual and group needs to fully understand what and how things are done successfully.
  9. Accountability. You never want to ask or be asked about whether something was done. Set up a regular time to connect face to face as well as over teleconference to report and discuss progress. Determine how much and how often you need to communicate. Ideally appoint one individual from each group to be the key contact to avoid confusion.
  10. Don’t walk away when the mission is over. Far too often companies wait until they are desperate for the patient voice or endorsement before engaging with them. Successful organizations do stakeholder mapping early in the game and get to know the groups and key influencers well ahead of a need. By the same token, any good relationship cannot be turned on and off without consequence. Stay engaged at some level through a call or lunch meeting and a contribution to further the organization. And continue to provide information on your organization’s contribution in the areas of research, patient programs, awareness, corporate social responsibility and education.

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Carol Levine, energi PRCarol Levine (@Carol_levine) is co-founder and Managing founder of energi PR, digital, communications, an award-winning independently owned Canadian PR consultancy established in 1990 with offices in Toronto and Montreal. energi PR is the Canadian affiliate of the Public Relations Global Network, providing expertise in consumer and healthcare public relations to national and multinational brands. Carol is the immediate past Chair of the Canadian Council of Public Relations firms and is a 2013 Inductee in the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame as well as a Fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society.