A client since 2015, I have helped transform West Park’s narrative and external relations outreach into one that is vibrant, consistent and meaningful. Once a little known institution that was originally conceived as a TB (tuberculosis) sanitarium more than 100 years ago, West Park needed to better promote their expertise in complex rehabilitation for patients who had suffered life-alerting traumas.
Through strategic counsel and consultation, I worked closely with hospital staff to develop communications that included:
- Supported their brand positioning of Get Your Life Back
- Development of provocative and compelling narratives
- Creates a consistent calendar of media relations activities keeping West Park in the news in the GTA’s most prominent media
Rebuild the communications department
To accomplish this, I was initially retained on a six-month contract to revitalize the Foundation’s communications department, building it from the ground up. This meant: implementing best practices, developing a new over-arching narrative and key messages, plus creating sustainable ongoing communications collateral.
Every output had to support the end goal: develop a fresh and relevant West Park story and a sustainable suite of communications collateral that would inform internal and external stakeholders. Working with team members from both the hospital and the Foundation, we accomplished:
- Creation of a compelling new narrative highlighting the hospital’s most important pillars of communication.
- Worked with an external epidemiologist and the internal cross-functional team
- Developed, wrote, edited messaging that highlighted West Park’s pillars of strengths to cement their place as an essential service within the healthcare system
- Quickly created positive working relationships with hospital experts, doctors, senior administration to ensure messaging was evidenced-based and approved
- Developed materials that made it easy for board members to talk about West Park
- Created and oversaw the design of a new newsletter (hard copy and digital)
- Presented final outputs to Senior Leadership with overwhelming buy-in
On-going media relations
Once the narrative was built, it was key to start building awareness in the GTA. The hospital’s PR department has since retained me on several projects to ensure media attention is maintained throughout the year. These projects include:
- Development of West Park ‘Green Book’ highlighting media-ready spokespeople
- Doctors’ Notes – an ongoing partnership with University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine which produces columns for publication in the Toronto Star and on the Faculty’s website
- 5 successful media relations executions highlighting West Park’s respiratory, amputee and neurological rehab; all resulting in substantial GTA media coverage
- Narrative development for the hospital’s 5-year campus development plan
“Since Elissa has been working with West Park Healthcare Centre, Elissa has proven herself a highly skilled communications strategist and media relations tactician that has helped the hospital really step up its game. She took lead in developing foundational narratives that have allowed us to bring our brand to life. Her skills in cutting through the clutter have helped propel our story onto the front pages of national newspapers and prime-time TV spots. She brings a no-nonsense approach that is refreshing and deeply appreciated.”