Our clients are our partners, and each one is different, which is why we adapt our services to your unique needs and expectations just one of the ways we stand out from the crowd.
- As with all other management functions (sales, accounting, customer service, human resources, etc.), communications must be integrated into your company's decision-making process on a permanent and ongoing basis.
- We provide you with sound and judicious advice based on a disciplined approach that includes: a comprehensive analysis of the situation, identification of all pertinent issues, and the development of recommendations relative to objectives, strategies and tactics.
- In other words, our strategic consulting services allow you to achieve your objectives as well as to prevent or rapidly and permanently resolve problems.
Avoid getting wrapped up in controversy!
Following a leak to the media regarding the adoption of a new look to replace the popular packaging of a 100-year-old-plus company, a major newspaper published a very negative article that incited criticism from several customers.
To prevent this situation from getting out of hand and turning into a real crisis, we recommended that our client rapidly organize an information sessions for media representatives as well as influential stakeholders in the fashion industry.
Clear and precise explanations provided by a member of the company's senior management demonstrated that the reasons for this change were valid and enabled an appreciation of the benefits of the new packaging. By taking rapid action to counter an initial negative response printed in one media, we were able to prevent the emergence of a widespread backlash.
- Information for information's sake is worthless. For information to be truly valuable, it must be communicated to the right people, at the right time, in the right way.
- We believe that internal communications is as important, if not more important, than external communications, because it enables you to:
- Establish and maintain an open and productive dialogue with your employees
- Ensure your employees understand and buy-into executive strategies, decisions, actions and projects
- Motivate your employees to become committed and effective corporate ambassadors
- We begin by assessing your internal communications, in particular, the formal and informal information networks or channels at work.
- Next, we identify the most appropriate solutions for ensuring effective internal communications, which includes the development of credible messages.
The key: employees!
During an intensive and extensive analysis that resulted in the development and implementation of a new branding strategy for a major financial services company, our firm was involved, from the very beginning, in the development of an integrated public relations plan.
The plan we developed included a significant internal communications component in order to secure employee buy-in and ownership of the strategy and to transform employees into dynamic and effective champions of the new corporate identity.
- An issue generally presents a company with both threats and opportunities.
- We enable you to effectively manage issues by helping identify potential problems so that you can then address their underlying causes and prevent situations from degenerating into outright crises.
- We help analyze your environment, its numerous facets (economic, technological, competitive, social and political) and related trends. Based on the results of this analysis, we work with you to define a global vision and specific objectives, and develop and implement an integrated strategy.
The best cure is prevention.
The construction of a new building on the campus of a renowned educational institution necessitated the demolition of a building that, having seen its heyday several decades before, was now in a state of significant disrepair.
In keeping with our recommendations, our client implemented a committee, with our assistance, to develop a preventive strategy aimed at proactively managing this issue.
As a result, specific efforts were made to inform the appropriate public authorities and to recuperate certain key artefacts and incorporate them into the new building as a tribute to the former building.
By preventing the situation from creating a public debate regarding the building's heritage and whether or not to proceed with its demolition, the necessary permits were secured and the new building completed.
- The severity of a crisis depends on its ability to do long-term damage to a company or brand's identity or image, or to threaten its very existence, often without management being fully aware of its magnitude and potential consequences.
- Effective crisis management involves a number of key elements: in-depth analysis, sound judgement, an understanding of available methods, rapid decisions and action, transparency and honesty.
- To enable your management team and employees to act and react in a way that resolves the crisis as quickly as possible (and ideally creates a stronger and more credible image in the process), our first objective is to help them anticipate and prevent crises by implementing realistic, flexible and effective solutions.
- When a crisis is sudden or unavoidable, we provide you with experienced, on-site professionals who are trained to handle the pressure and react quickly. Until the situation is completely resolved, these consultants remain available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- If required, we establish a crisis centre to ensure a consistent and effective approach and handling of relationships with key stakeholders, especially the media, and to analyze the results in order to make any necessary strategic or tactical adjustments.
Transforming challenge into opportunity
During the launch of a new line of products, our client was confronted with the threat by a competitor to use guerrilla tactics that would have seriously affected the introduction of these products in the distribution network and, as a result, their success in the market.
We developed and implemented an aggressive and proactive strategy that enabled us to:
- Alert the media and general public to the irreparable damage that our client would likely suffer due to the competitor's actions.
- Rapidly increase the brand's visibility.
- Generate sympathy for our client's predicament.
- Facilitate a rapid out-of-court settlement.
- The decisions of governments, government agencies, municipalities and lobby groups can have a significant direct or indirect impact on your company.
- Efforts to influence the key processes and stakeholders involved serve to prevent certain decisions and actions, as well as limit or mitigate their impact.
- We work with you to develop a proactive strategy that incorporates a detailed analysis and ongoing monitoring of all relevant issues in your sector of activity, as well as an inventory of all events capable of influencing these issues. If needed, we implement one or more initiatives targeting the key stakeholders, including, if necessary, the creation of strategic alliances.
- Writing, production and presentation of documents and in-depth information kits
- Preparation for meetings, public hearings, parliamentary commissions, city council meetings, etc.
- Government relations
It pays to communicate!
A leading asceptic packaging company for the food industry sought to correct the negative and false perception that its packaging was not recyclable, a perception that had resulted in municipalities refusing to include the company's products in their green/blue-box recycling programs.
An awareness and information campaign involving key players in the collection and recycling industries, major stakeholders and government agency representatives enabled us to rapidly reverse the situation and instil a positive image of the company among the parties concerned.
Media Relations - traditional and social media
- Dealing with print, electronic and social media requires a solid knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of this industry and of journalists' methods and habits.
- In addition to having an acute sense of what is newsworthy, that is, the required knowledge and instincts to identify or create a compelling news story, our team maintains open and professional relationships with journalists based on mutual respect.
- These relationships enable us to enhance your success by timing the publication of your messages to ensure optimal coverage, benefits and impact.
- Creation of tailored media lists
- Selection and training of spokespersons
- Writing and production of media kits (media release, fact sheets, diagrams, tables, photography, etc.)
- Coordination of media meetings and conferences
- Organization of media tours
- Booking of interviews
- Planning of meetings with editorial boards
Media partnerships, a must!
In order to rapidly raise awareness among a broad audience of a new event that competed somewhat with a major event of the same nature, we opted for a very personalized media relations strategy.
After a full day of individual visits organized exclusively for media representatives, followed by intensive media relations, the second edition of the event received extensive and positive media coverage, which translated into a significant increase in the number of people attending the event.
- It is often said that perception IS reality, when in fact, it is only ONE of many realities. In today's day and age, when image reigns supreme, the media plays a decisive role in the creation of perceptions that shape public opinion. In fact, the media is readily and rapidly transformed into judge and jury.
- A company should never take the risks associated with pushing one of its spokesperson into the spotlight and the media's unforgiving glare when that person is not adequately equipped to present or defend its case.
- We help train your spokespersons to ensure they understand the media's role as well as the fundamental guidelines for preparing and delivering clear, coherent and, above all, concise messages.
- In other words, we do what it takes to make sure your spokespersons have mastered both the issues to be discussed as well as the methods for discussing them!
The messenger is definitely the message!
- Whether it involves good news or an event with the potential to degenerate into a crisis (workplace accident, plant closing, confrontations with lobby groups, etc.), companies are increasingly required to respond to media queries.
- We provided several of our clients, who faced this unavoidable reality, with training based on the following principle: since the messenger is as important as, if not more important than, the message, company spokesperson(s) must be credible, effective and convincing.
- We taught them the rules and techniques for mastering the art of all types of interviews (telephone, duplex, scrum, press conference, studio, etc.).
- These rules and techniques are communicated during a training session that includes actual media representatives, held at our offices or at the Institut Format, a pioneer and leader in this field.
Promotion or Repositionning
- Before launching, positioning or repositioning a product, service or brand, one must always make sure that it possesses the appeal and credibility needed to secure consumer interest and support.
- To ensure this, we help you present your unique selling points (USPs) as well as the distinctive features, qualities and benefits of your products, services or brands.
- A positioning statement is not etched in stone. It evolves with the times and trends that influence consumer interests, needs, expectations and demands. This explains our focus on developing strategies that are not only creative, but also flexible and readily adapted to changing realities.
Launching a cult brand in Quebec
An American company sought to launch its brand in Quebec, which had developed a veritable cult following in the U.S. With awareness of the brand in Quebec hovering at less than 4% before the company's arrival, we opted for a strategy offering just the right mix of corporate communications and marketing communications.
Bottom line, we needed to create a buzz around the brand that would grow in leaps and bounds as more and more people spread the word about the brand and the imminent opening of the first store in Quebec.
- Firstly, we helped the company preserve its tradition of handing out free product samples in select, high-traffic locations.
- Secondly, we proceeded with the strategic distribution of product to key stakeholders and media representatives.
- Thirdly, we conducted targeted media relations in order to raise the company's profile among business people and the general public.
- Finally, intensive media relations allowed us to build the buzz, generate substantial media coverage, rapidly create general public interest, and, as a result, ensure incredible traffic as soon as the first store opened its doors.
- Barely five months following the announcement of the company's imminent arrival in Quebec, brand awareness rose to 31%, an increase of 775%.
- As with many areas, there is no second chance for making a good impression in event management. As a general rule, an event is either successful or it is not, and the impression it makes usually lasts a very long time.
- Organizing or participating in an event provides an effective venue for building or enhancing awareness of your company and its products, services or brand(s).
- The event must be strategically aligned with your objectives and carefully planned and managed. Above all, it must allow you to build awareness and stand out from the competition.
- We begin by helping you accurately assess the benefits to be derived from holding a special event. We then work with you to identify clear objectives and develop innovative concepts. Finally, we help coordinate the various partners involved and related logistics, while ensuring the event generates the desired benefits and impact.
- If requested, we can also develop and implement turnkey events.
Fighting the February blues
One of our clients decided to launch a new product in a market where the competition was already extremely fierce.
To ensure our client stood out from the competition, we helped implement an extensive sampling and public relations campaign in six cities in Quebec and five cities in Ontario.
Our strategy consisted of fighting the February blues by setting up colourful and interactive "happenings" on busy city sidewalks, while providing consumers with the opportunity to sample the product.
This initiative attracted the attention of the media, in particular traffic and weather reporters, who spoke enthusiastically about the product and the promotion's originality.
- Both internally and externally, sponsorships provide you with an excellent opportunity to:
- Create, modify or reinforce your brand equity
- Highlight the product, service or brand benefits
- Motivate employees
- Increase sales
- Enhance customer loyalty
- Build and strengthen networks
- We help you carefully select sponsorship opportunities and make sure you obtain an attractive return on your investment, especially in terms of visibility.
- Following an analysis of the sponsorship based on key factors (target audience, strategic objectives, etc.), we pull out all the stops to ensure that the sponsorship increases your brand equity and generates an optimal ROI.
Try it, you'll like it!
We recommended that our client, who had just launched a new line of products, participate in a high-profile, popular event for the family by creating a unique, informative and interactive attraction.
Given the heavy traffic at the event, the strategy consisted of designing and building an interactive centre with a special theme where product samplings could be conducted. In addition, we organized special on-site activities for suppliers, partners, employees and major clients.
This dynamic approach rapidly bore fruit: tens of thousands of visitors tasted the product, which translated into a rapid rise in the brand's visibility and in product sales.