On visit & event management: We’ve got your back

It felt like an a-ha moment.

I was sitting recently with the commercial counsellor at an embassy based here in Ottawa.

She mentioned an upcoming trade mission she is organizing.

More than a dozen high-level industry leaders will be coming to Ottawa later this year looking for ways to strengthen ties with, and grow their businesses in, Canada.

Organizing and ensuring that each participant gets the most out of such events is a *LOT* of work.

My embassy friend knows this well.

When I said, ‘I can help you with that.’ She asked: ‘how?’

I proceeded to give her a couple of examples of how we might connect and support different participants.

‘It’s part of what I do,’ I told her. ‘I connect people.’ (I also love to show off my hometown to visitors.)

Back to the ‘a-ha’ moment. For my friend, it was learning that there are people ‘out there’ that can support her. For me, it was that I’d not done enough to let people know about that aspect of my consultancy.

And so, today, we are launching a new website devoted entirely to visit and event management.

Please click on www.capital-concierge.ca to check it out.

You will hopefully be hearing much more about it in the coming weeks and months, because it fills a need that is absolutely out there in a G-7 capital like Ottawa.

Canada’s international trade agreements give us unparalled market access but we’ve not yet exploited that fully. Capital Concierge can help.

We have more and more visitors coming to our city, and they’re looking to make the most of their time here. Capital Concierge can help.

Ottawa Tourism, Invest Ottawa, and the Shaw Centre have set out some laudable objectives with the Think Ottawa campaign. Capital Concierge can help.

And when you look at the luxury travel trends for 2020, they include personalization, learning from locals, up-skilling, and off-season surprises. Capital Concierge can help.

Capital Concierge by Winston Wilmont operates at the intersection of business and leisure travel.

It’s about customized itineraries and individual support to make the most out of every minute a traveller (and her/his co-travellers) will spend in our city.

It’s about connecting visiting business travellers with potential clients, policy- and law-makers, and other stakeholders to deepen relationships and grow our economy.  

It’s about creating meaningful, authentic experiences whilst here, and memories that people will rave about once they’re home.

Working with visitors to meet their needs and wants, while also exposing them to experiences and opportunities they won’t get anywhere else…THAT is what it is all about.

Each traveller is different, and so our support to each with be different.

But the key takeaway is this: when it comes to making the most of a visit here, we’ve got your back.

The potential is enormous. A-ha moments await. Get in touch today.

On media relations & issues management: We’ve got your back

Not long ago, an acquaintance of mine was having a really bad week. Likely the worst week of his professional life.

He had done some admittedly dumb stuff years ago. It was stuff he’d grown to regret because he had matured and he had long since changed his ways.

He had the benefit of hindsight, and he hoped his actions would stay in the past.

They didn’t.

Someone found out about them, told a competitor, and the competitor used that information to their advantage.

The competitor called a friendly reporter, and the reporter ran with the story. It was front page news and the news report said my acquaintance had refused to comment.

His side of the story, his regret, and the actions he had taken proactively and privately to make amends for something he felt genuinely bad about were nowhere to be found.

All that his local paper’s readers (many of whom were his customers) saw was what his competitor wanted them to see, along with quotes from people who were critical of actions he knew clearly were wrong.

When I asked him why he didn’t comment (or come to me sooner for advice), he said: “I was so embarrassed, I didn’t know what to say. And I didn’t want to say something that could make things worse. So, I chose not to say anything at all. I realize now that was the wrong call.”

(The harsh black and white of a newspaper can do wonders for realizations like that.)

Ultimately, we got his side of the story out, and people who were paying attention would have seen some of the things my acquaintance had done in an (honest and good faith) attempt to reconcile past actions he regretted.

But, invariably, some people who only saw that original report missed his side of things.

Those people’s views are likely forever coloured about my acquaintance and his business.

His experience, while cautionary, is not unique.

And simply hoping that something unflattering or inconvenient stays quiet is not a strategy.

Canada’s media landscape has changed dramatically in recent years.

Social media, of course, means any story – whether true or not – can go viral in mere minutes.

And traditional journalists are fewer in number and face greater demands than ever.

With tight deadlines, scarce resources, competing narratives, and fierce competition to get a story first – journalists today won’t necessarily wait for you to get your act together to respond.

When their call comes, you need to be ready.

And if something online puts your reputation at risk, you need to respond effectively.

After all, your brand – your reputation and how people feel about your organization – is your greatest asset.

That’s where we come in.

We understand the needs and realities of journalists today, and we’ve been on the receiving end of breathless and urgent media calls.

We’ve turned the temperature down on simmering issues just as they threatened to boil over publicly.

We’ve helped guide organizations of all sizes and across sectors through challenges to their organizational integrity.

We’re ready to put that experience to work for you.

People deserve to hear your side of every story that affects you.

They deserve to have the facts at hand so they can share the truth within their own networks.

They need to hear from you directly so they can support you going forward.

We have more than decade of high-level crisis communications leadership and support.

We can help you avoid spin, tell your truth, and be your authentic self as you fight to preserve your reputation.

Investments in issues management will help you protect your greatest asset.

And because the best issues management happens well before a crisis hits, we can help prepare you and your organization for *if and when* things go wrong.

We offer bilingual media relations training to help you get through critical interviews and thrive in scrums.

We can also help you weather those toughest of times with strategies and tactics tailored to you.

When it matters most, we’ve got your back.

Make the bad weeks better. Let’s discuss how we can help. Get in touch today.

On Advocacy: We’ve got your back

Letting you in on a little secret: Our president, Chris, hates braggards…and he isn’t terribly good at talking himself up.

He’s always preferred – and excelled at –telling others’ stories.

He loves rallying people to a cause. Moving people to act.

He’s great at connecting people and opportunities.

In other words, advocacy is his jam. And Winston Wilmont delivers real results.

In an era, where public trust in companies, governments, and other organizations is on the decline, you need all the supporters you can get in your corner.

You need a coalition of backers that are there for you – ones that will be for the long run.

We spark conversations, connect dots, get others to care about what you have to offer, and help you close the deal.

We make your looking good look effortless.

We know what goes into business and public policy decisions.

We get who needs to be on-side and can help you get them there.

We can guide you through complex procedural, legislative, and regulatory hoops.

We maximize your advocacy efforts and respect every dollar you put in.

After all, we’ve been on both sides of the table. We can see things from all angles. We’ll craft advocacy strategies and campaigns that help you win.

We’re like water through rock. (That’s what our ‘double W’ logo is all about.) We find a way…for you.

Whether it’s working with investors, governments, media, or some other group, we believe the secret to doing well is doing good.

If you agree, we’re on your side. We’ve got your back.

We’ll do your business development – or complement the work of your in-house team.

We’ll work to secure the resources you need to grow and thrive.

We’ll help you clear barriers that trip other organizations up.

If you are looking to get to the next level, get in touch today.

On MarComms: We’ve got your back

“Just do it.” “Because you’re worth it.” “Finger lickin’ good.” “I’m loving it.”

Sound familiar?

These well-known brand tag-lines are just four of the more than 3,000 marketing messages you likely encounter every single day.

In our highly mediatized, highly connected world, marketing is truly everywhere.

(In fact, Forbes suggests the average American adult may see as many as 10,000 marketing messages daily.)

The above tag-lines are omnipresent because Nike, L’Oréal, KFC, and McDonald’s all have multi-million- or multi-billion- dollar ad budgets to imprint their messages on our collective psyche.

The companies also drive messages and imagery consistently across all channels simultaneously. No small task.

The good news for smaller organizations, however, is this: people who are inundated with marketing messages and ad pitches, ‘fake news’ and influencer hype are, increasingly, craving authenticity and memorable experiences.

As author and marketing cartoonist Tom Fishburne says “the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”

People want to connect with organizations (and their stories).

They want to do business with people and companies that share their values.

They are happy to tell their friends (real and virtual) about a welcome surprise, a great customer experience, a touching piece of content.

(Conversely, people will savage organizations that get any of the above wrong.)                                                                                                       

Seth Godin, a godfather of modern marketers, rightly says: “Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.”

And we couldn’t agree more.

Winston Wilmont delivers integrated marketing-communications solutions, whatever your budget and goals.

We ensure that all your communications activities and messages work together and support one another.

We craft strategic comms plans and help you implement them brilliantly.

We work with you to understand your story, your truth, and to tell it well to the audiences that matter.

We look for creative ways to breakthrough in our digital-first era and grab people’s attention.

We are fueled by your purpose, and will rally others to your cause.

You may not have the ad budgets of corporate titans like Nike or KFC. But we can help take your efforts to the next level, and help you find success – however you define it.

We’ve got your back. Reach out and start a conversation today.

(With apologies to Nike…just do it.)

On Strategy: We’ve got your back

Businesses have been told to adapt or die since the turn of the millennium (at least), with those that fail being swept into the ‘dustbins of oblivion.’

Since then, the pace of STEEP (social, technological, economic, environmental, and political) change has only increased.

The need to adapt is even less of a choice today; it’s essential – for organizations of all types.

Having a plan that helps navigate the choppy waters of change is more critical than ever.

That’s where good organizational strategy comes in.

As a leader, people look to you to set the course. But, in reality, strategy is most effective when it is owned by everyone in your organization and when it speaks to the external folks who are counting on you as well.

And *THAT* is where we can help.

Getting strategy right is vital, but tough.

It takes time, energy, and effort. It requires people to be clear-eyed and open-minded in challenging assumptions. It involves ‘thinking big’ and asking tough questions. Often, it can also require difficult choices.

It’s for all these reasons (and more) that an estimated 90% of organizations fail to execute on their strategies.

We can help you be in the 10 per cent that do strategy right.

We’ve helped organizations of varying sizes and from different sectors through strategy-setting processes, from planning to execution.

We’ve led the development of multi-year plans, and helped organizations set themselves up for success.

We’ve used different models, convened diverse groups of stakeholders, and helped turn ambition into action.

We have also led strategy rollouts and communications with key audiences – a key but sometimes overlooked component of effective strategy execution.

Your organization wants to change the world. We can help you craft a plan that will set you up for success. We’ll help you to get others see the vision. And we’ll give you the tools to keep competitors at bay.

Strategy, after all, is intensely competitive. It’s about making choices, and playing to win.

The first step is a conversation with us. Let’s have that chat today, and let’s get you on the path to strategy success.

NEWS RELEASE: January 8, 2020

WINSTON WILMONT RECIEVES IMPORTANT, PRESTIGIOUS CERTIFICATION

OTTAWA, ON (Jan. 8) – Winston Wilmont’s journey as a supplier of choice to purpose-driven organizations that want to change the world for the better today takes a major step forward.

The bilingual, Ottawa-based public affairs consultancy is now certified by Canadian Gay Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) as a diverse-owned business.

This designation, styled as LGBT+ Business Enterprise, opens several important avenues for growth for Winston Wilmont:

  • Some of North America’s largest and most iconic companies and organizations understand the social and economic value of diversity in all its forms, including supplier diversity.
  • Leaders in this field have formalized procurement policies that mandate buying products and services from companies run by traditionally under-represented groups, including sexual minorities.
  • Some even incorporate these goals into performance objectives for procurement employees.

This certification tells leading, diversity-minded organizations that Winston Wilmont’s fundamentals are solid and that its ownership and structure can meet diversity procurement targets for parts of their supply chains.

CHRIS DAY, President, Winston-Wilmont, Inc.

The certification process is a rigorous one, and deliberately so. Winston Wilmont has been working with the CGLCC and its third-party assessment specialist toward this goal over recent months.

ABOUT WINSTON WILMONT + CHRIS DAY

Winston-Wilmont, Inc. is a bilingual, boutique consultancy specializing in integrated marketing communications, public relations and issues management, government and regulatory affairs, and event management and support. Founded by Chris Day in 2016, Winston Wilmont benefits from his extensive executive-level experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Chris has worked in and/or travelled to 77 countries on six continents (including work with both foreign affairs and immigration as a senior government advisor) and as such he forged deep connections around the world. Based in Canada’s capital city, Winston Wilmont has the knowledge and expertise to help global clients find success however they define it. Winston Wilmont adds value at every client interaction as part of its brand promise. A member of Ottawa Tourism, Winston Wilmont’s Live Local and  Capital Concierge business lines operate at the intersection or business and leisure travel, with a focus on forging meaningful connections and creating memorable experiences.

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For more information, please contact Chris Day at cdayottawa@live.ca or leave a reply below.

On Hindsight, Hard Work + Appreciation

This past fall, my partner and I crossed an item off our travel ‘bucket list’ by spending three fabulous weeks touring Japan.

Japan didn’t disappoint: it’s marvelously rich with history and culture.

We got to see a lot of it firsthand.

One place that really impressed me is Yamadera — a cluster of Buddhist shrines and religious structures built into a mountain-side and linked by 1,000 steps.

We started climbing.

And climbing.

The higher we got, the more in awe I was.

Building at Yamadera temple began in the mid-9th Century.

As I huffed and puffed my way upward nearly 1,200 years later, I thought about those passionate, dedicated devotees who carved their way through rock faces and felled ancient trees to make this place.

The sheer scale of the vision. The incredible effort required to bring it to life over several centuries. It was all very humbling.

And yet, our reward awaited.

Onward we climbed.

At Yamadera’s highest point is Godaido – a viewing platform that overlooks some breathtakingly beautiful, mountainous countryside.

From here, everything that went into making this place just seems worth it.

Closing out my first year as a full-time entrepreneur, I have a renewed appreciation for hard work and big goals.

I’ve always been someone who’s poured myself into my work. I’ve had some incredible professional opportunities in life.

But none has been more satisfying and passion-fueling than forging my own path, with great clients, and clear purpose.

I am building, learning, growing. And I have never been happier.

High atop Yamadera, I was again reminded that I am not alone in this journey.

Tucked into the wooden planks of Godaido’s roof covering I saw the business cards of entrepreneurs from around the world.

Who knows if these folks were hoping for divine intervention or simply a potential lead?

But my blue business card is now among them.

And if a call ever comes as a result, I will be ready to take it.

There are some big things in the works already for 2020. But I honestly feel it’s just the beginning.

For that, I am grateful beyond words.

The coming Parliament

Canadians have spoken.

Unwilling to give any federal party the power that comes with a parliamentary majority, Canada’s political leaders will have to work together to move agendas forward and get anything done.

Party leaders of all stripes are doing post-mortems on their campaigns.

What worked, what didn’t – it will all be dissected and analyzed in minute detail.

That work will continue for months.

But federal leaders and their teams must also look ahead.

The Prime Minister this week said he will unveil his new Cabinet November 20th.

A Speech from the Throne will follow.

And Parliament will resume sitting.

That’s where the certainty ends.

For many parliamentarians, this will be their first time in a minority context.

It’s uncharted, complex, volatile territory.

The governing stakes are high. One misstep, and it’s game over.

For organizations of all sizes and across sectors, there’s opportunity to be seized.

In the absence of a formal coalition, the government must secure support from at least one other party to maintain power: issue-by-issue, bill-by-bill.

Parties will look for causes to support and initiatives to back that have broad, mass appeal.

Smart politicos are also already thinking ahead to next platforms.

Because the reality of minority Parliaments is this: the next election campaign could be right around the corner.

Is your organization on political radars? Should it be? If so, what’s your plan? We can help. Get in touch today.

The power of ideas

Ideas power change. Big ideas can change the world.

As Richard Jerome wrote in a recent special edition of Time magazine dedicated to creativity:

Other creatures may be bigger or badder, but only people imagine possibilities — and make them happen.

“The Science of Creativity,” Time magazine, March 2019.

Human history is littered with examples of powerful ideas – good and bad – across every field of endeavour.

Arts. Politics. Science. Medicine. Invention. Commerce.

The list goes on…

Progress springs from an innate human trait: productive creativity.

People can harness our curiosity, consider new and different ways of doing something, and make things better (or worse). But the fact remains: ideas power change.

I have been very fortunate over the course of my life to meet and know some truly incredible, brilliant, and inspiring people.

Ideas people.

People from all different backgrounds, with very different perspectives and approaches, who have used productive creativity to do amazing things – each in her or his on way. In their communities, and well beyond.

Thinkers. Doers. Makers. Disruptors.

It’s the ideas people that have historically changed the world, and it’s those same people that will power it forward.

Winston Wilmont is a proud sponsor of TEDxOttawa’s “Solving for X,” October 10, 2019, at the National Arts Centre in downtown Ottawa.
TEDx events are all about ideas worth spreading.
And this year’s lineup is sure to get people talking and thinking.
Event details and tickets are at: http://www.tedxottawa.ca

Three (full) months on…

…Thank you!

If you’re reading this, it means you’re part of my now three-month-old journey of full-time self-employment.

You’ve stopped by my site, followed me on social, dropped a line of encouragement, acted as a sounding board, offered counsel or assistance.

You’ve helped. So, thank you.

The past three months have flown by.

I have had the chance to work with new people, old friends, and old friends in new ways.

I have come to know, and become inspired by, organizations that are doing great things – some for many years and each in their own way – to serve people and change the world for the better.

I have attended conferences, networking events, and courses. I have met interesting, impressive people and emerged with new insights, new contacts, and new skills.

I have joined new professional associations.

I have also formed a great new strategic alliance with my BFF and an American friend. Together, we’re lining up some truly exciting, even game-changing things. (Stay tuned!)

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.”

— Roy Ash, WWII veteran and Litton Industries co-founder

There has been much to chew on over the last three months.

At times, it has felt surreal. At points, it has felt almost overwhelming. But not once – not even for a moment – have I felt regret.

Here’s why.

Because over the last three months, not only have I become a better communicator, a better strategist, and a better business person. I have also become a better partner, a more present son, brother, uncle, and a more engaged friend, yogi, and volunteer.

I’m busier than ever. But I am a better busy. A fully energized, firing-on-all-cylinders busy. It’s a busy-ness that shows no sign of letting up, and I pray that it doesn’t.

I have so much to do and so much to look forward to.

And each of you still reading has not only got me here, you’re part of what’s next.

So, thank you. Sincerely. I am forever grateful.