IABC Saskatoon wins Chapter Management Award

On Feb 7th, Saskatoon Chapter President Dan Gold and VP Ben Borne accepted an IABC Chapter Management Award for Strategic Alignment. In 2017 IABC announced the IABC1720 framework to grow the organization globally. This award recognizes the work carried out by the leadership to reposition the chapter within the new structure.

IABC is the World’s leading organization for the communications industry.

“As we celebrate 35 years of the IABC Saskatoon chapter, this is a wonderful time to reflect on the success that we have had and a great opportunity to look to the future. A significant thank you goes to Ben Borne, he is not only a fantastic leader, but someone who masters original thinking, development of strategies and the tactics to deliver them. Our portfolio leaders on the board have also been key to the forward planning. We met in the summer to review the direction from international and we each looked at how we can implement the framework within our portfolios”.

Harley’s Digital Marketing Toolkit

Thank you to everyone who came out to December’s Professional Development session with Harley Rivet – Get Fit with an Online Communication Toolkit. We left the event with added confidence when it comes to the tools that we need to have in our bag.

It was interesting to see communications from a marketers point of view and that objectivity was very helpful.

Here is a quick video that Dan put together.


Issues Management & Crisis Communications PD Event Report.

Introduction and Examples of Crisis in the World

–      Dove campaign of different bottle sizes to reflect women’s body shapes. Horrible. Didn’t focus test so campaign was a total flop.

–      Examples of United Way and #notguilty.

–      Karen talked about how journalists cover topics what they believe will be in the public’s interest.

–      Amber alerts require media and law enforcement relationship to work together.

–      Public interest is high in crisis situations, which is why journalists push for getting this information.

–      United Airlines fiasco led to a bigger conversation for all airlines – should overbooking happen?

–      Maple Leaf listeria (2008) – Public safety and accountability. ML apologized and went above and beyond of what was required of them to do in that crisis situation.

–      XL Foods e-coli (2012) – hid for a while and didn’t want to talk about this crisis.

–      The difference is that XL Foods had to close their operations down but Maple Leaf only saw sales drop for 2 months then went back up to normal. Maple Leaf didn’t suffer long-term implications because of how they communicated after their crisis hit. They got in front of their story and told it before anyone could fill in the blanks for them.

–      Karen: “Mistakes are going to happen – it’s how you handle it (that matters).”

–      Karen: “If that one story sparks a conversation – other stories will arise around it.”

–      Confirmation evidence.

–      Mary-Lynn: “It’s easy to blame the media. People get mad in crisis situations.”

–      Saskatoon has a bigger appetite for international news than Regina. Regina really likes crime stories.

–      Mary-Lynn: “No comment doesn’t work in the time of a crisis.”

–      People will then think you’re not trustworthy or the crisis is worse than it is.


The Golden Hour

–      The Golden Hour: From Awareness to Action.

–      Get prepared, pull your crisis plan out and get going.

–      Who is going to speak? Figure out who you’re spokesperson is. Prepare them for the media.

–      Run your crisis plan through legal ahead of time.

–      Mary-Lynn: “We call it the Golden Hour but it’s really the Golden Minute and a half. It flies by!”


Digital Media

–      Digital media gives us lots of Freedom, but also incredible responsibility.

Five positive aspects of digital media for communications

1.    Digital media is great for communicating directly to your audience.

2.    Convey instructions/reassure (have predetermined messages).

a.    Prewrite your tweets and Facebook posts in your crisis plan.

3.    Listen to external sources for information.

a.    Case in point: Las Vegas tragedy

4.    Post content/respond in a timely fashion.

a.    Red banner site takeover on website when something happens – very good strategy.

5.    Control the narrative, avoid the void.

–      Dan: “Know your spokesperson – don’t get Bob down the road to talk to the media.”

–      Dan: “You need to control your story. If you don’t someone else will tell it.”

–      Focus on getting your story out on Facebook first.


Five negative aspects of digital media for communications

1.    Rumour/misinformation

2.    Not updated

3.    Automation – Switch off your marketing pieces during a crisis.

4.    Poor security

5.    Leaks


–      Dan: “Communications has 2 sides – positive (marketing and why give back) and negative. If you go quiet during the negative – the positive won’t matter.”

–      Check your sponsorships, media buys and ads during a crisis.

–      Most senior person in the organization speaks in a crisis.

–      If Maple Leaf incident happened today, would it have the same result? Social media 9 years later. MCC believe that they would have handled the situation as well now. The fundamentals are the same and it’s just the timescale and additional tactics that would come in to play. As they took it seriously back then, they would surely have an effective plan now.


Thank you to Martin Charlton Communications for delivering this session to the IABC Saskatoon members.

Rocktober @IABC!


Membership Month

IABC Saskatoon announces Röcktober—a mind-blowing membership drive-apalooza!. Learn more and join our band at rockit.iabc.com

Fall Mixer Takes Off – Review of STARS Air Ambulance PD Event.


Thank you to everyone for attending our Fall Mixer. IABC Saskatoon board member and event attendee Colin McHattie gives us his thoughts on the event.

We started IABC Saskatoon’s 35th anniversary off right with a wonderful and eye opening fall mixer hosted by STARS Air Ambulance. Mark Oddan, Communications Lead for STARS Air Ambulance Saskatchewan gave a brilliant and in-depth presentation that highlighted the importance of communications at STARS. Mark went through various examples, including, how dispatchers need to be able communicate with the crew quickly and effectively to save lives. Mark also talked about his role in maintaining relationships with past patients and transitioning them into VIPs (Very Important Patients). These VIPs are people who have been saved by STARS and have decided to share the stories of how STARS changed their lives. It was touching to hear the stories firsthand and how patients have willingly reached out to the STARS crew and act as spokespeople, helping to spread the message and raise funds. Helicopters are expensive!

Following Mark’s presentation, Luc Duval, Community Education Leader and Flight Paramedic, discussed the process of what happens when a call comes in. He explained how the team gets ready after being alerted and how they’re able to be in the air within eight minutes of being dispatched. Next, he showed us the simulation room used for training and took us to the helicopters. We were fortunate enough to go inside the helicopters and get an in-depth look at the advanced medical instruments that are used to help keep patients alive while they’re enroute to hospital.

The fall mixer was an absolutely amazing way to spend an evening. Talking with, and learning from, other communicators while being able to raise money for STARS Air Ambulance was great! Seeing the level of training and the advanced equipment that is used was very reassuring. While I still hope I never need to ride in a STARS helicopter, if I do I know I’ll have the best care possible. – Colin McHattie

Even if you didn’t manage to get to the event you can find out more about STARS and donate to them via their website.


Websites, Thanks and Coral – a few words from our new President.

Dear IABC member (and those yet to join),

I would like to start this by thanking all of the members who came to our AGM which was sponsored by Federated Co-op. It was well attended and we walked away knowing a lot more about wines and wine tasting. We also discovered that FCL value their IABC membership in-part because of how it enables them to stay on top of trends. They also explained how putting themselves up for awards is a great way of benchmarking their work against other communicators nationally and internationally.

To the 2016-2017 board, thank you for your hard work and dedication. You have made the chapter stronger and have delivered real value for our members. Upon reviewing the membership surveys from various events, I cannot express enough my thanks to those who made everything come together. From finance to PD, membership to sponsorship, and everyone in-between – Thank you.

The continued success of the chapter is also down to the drive and determination of Alisha Edgelow and Shaun Dyer, our former Past President and former President. You can both step back with the knowledge that your work has made our chapter stronger. Thank you for inspiring us.

Now to some news…

The 2017-2018 IABC year will be our 35th anniversary.

We shall openly invite all former and current members to the fall mixer – this event will be a celebration of how far we have come in 35 years. Whether the change has been the growth of our beautiful city or how technology has changed the way we work. Details to follow.

A New Website!

After a lot of consideration over the last few months, the IABC board has come to the conclusion that we should redevelop our website. As a not-for-profit organization we feel that membership dues should be spent on programming that will help them advance their careers. Therefore we are seeking in-kind or financial sponsorship for a new website. This will be a branding opportunity for your organization with exposure to individuals, SMEs and corporations across the city and beyond.

Interested in helping us with this? Please do get in touch via email.

Here’s to our 35th!!