B.C.’s Best PR Moves of 2013

Global Relay’s sponsorship brought back the Gastown Grand Prix

PR specialist Jennifer Maloney summarizes the B.C. companies that earned the best press this year

The public’s perception of a company can determine its success. More than ever, consumers want to support brands that they align their values with. One wrong move from a CEO can quickly dissolve the public’s trust.
Likewise, companies that make an effort to communicate transparently showing both accountability and empathy can boost their reputation. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest PR wins in B.C. for 2013.

Global Relay

Recognition: Establishing strategic partnerships; gaining public trust through action
Public Sentiment: “This company is well-managed and poised to grow internationally.”
The best PR is word of mouth. Positive chatter about your company often comes from offering a good value proposition, giving back to your community and forming strategic alliances that strengthen your brand. Vancouver’s Global Relay has accomplished all of the above.
In 2013 the message archiving company cleaned up in the awards department: CEO Warren Roy and president Shannon Rogers collectively nabbed Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for B2B; CEO of the Year and 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada.

The recognition is, of course, due in part to the significant partnerships Global Relay has established with global brands such as Thomson Reuters, TELUS, Cisco and IBM. Global Relay has signed on 22 of the world’s top 25 banks, the Chicago Stock Exchange and JP Morgan to name a few.
The topper? Global Relay claims to have never lost a single message or compromised customer data within its 14-year history. When you’re providing message archiving in the cloud, security is of the utmost importance. There’s no better way to establish public trust.

Build Direct

Recognition: Being transparent with challenges; empathizing with the consumer
Public Sentiment: “I’m rooting for these guys.”
Home renovation may not be a sexy industry by nature, but Build Direct has certainly shed a spotlight on it by disrupting the way consumers interact with manufacturers.  Aside from saving consumers cash by cutting out the middleman, Build Direct has endeared the public by openly sharing its growing pains.
Many companies choose to mask challenges from the public, but Build Direct has been vocal in communicating how its mistakes have helped progress the business.
In 2006, the U.S. housing crisis rapidly reduced the online retailers’ sales. And when the financial crisis hit two years later, the company lost nearly 50 per cent of its revenue in one day.  So how did co-founders Jeff Booth and Rob Banks turn things around? They re-worked their business establishing a negative working capital model that enabled consumers to purchase smaller order sizes for less.
You might think the company founders would take the welcomed credit for re-configuring the company and leading it back into a position where its revenue is on track to grow 100 per cent over last year.
But Booth has publicly declared he and Banks had an attachment to being right, which was fogging their decision-making process. It was in fact, an honest conversation with the company’s entire management team that allowed the leaders an unbiased analysis of the company, that eventually helped turn things around.
Who doesn’t like a CEO that empowers his team to make the right decisions? With rekindled investment and revenues on track, you can bet the public is rooting for Build Direct in 2014, to be the underdog that made it.
Jennifer Maloney is the co-founder and principal of Yulu PR. Her media and public relations career spans over a decade. She was an award-winning journalist before transitioning into PR where she has helped dozens of top businesses such as ClearlyContacts.ca, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, the Chopra Yoga Center, BroadbandTV, the Vancouver Aquarium and Blast Radius reach their public relations goals.