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Take it from a man who describes much of what he does as putting out raging infernos. No, he’s not a firefighter. UofGH Media Studies professor Heath Applebaum is a reputation doctor of sorts, a public relations and marketing expert, and director of PR at Canada’s leading online reputation management company.
What this means, (sadly, he adds), is that he’s often called upon for damage control by small to multi-national corporations along a spectrum of industries in crisis. And that crisis has already escalated.
“In this era of digital transparency, organizations’ reputations have never been more vulnerable to attack,” he says. “Anyone can start a blog on WordPress, and tell the world what they think. Any employee can anonymously share sensitive information about a company through any number of ways.”
He argues that the traditional negativity associated with PR, where the term spin-doctor might be expressed, is dead. It doesn’t work because people will find out the truth – and usually quite quickly.
“The entire industry has been flipped on its head. Things cannot be swept under the rug.”
“I want for my students to understand the untarnished truth about the field. I want for them to understand the significance of change in this field, and to be able to succeed in a world where convention has lost its place.”
With nearly 20 years experience in public relations and marketing, Heath Applebaum has led corporate PR strategies for multinational companies including PepsiCo, Cadillac Fairview, Deloitte and MasterCard.
He is the President and Chief Reputation Officer of Echo Communications Inc., a reputation management consulting firm based in Toronto, which he founded in 2000. He is also the director of public relations at Reputation.ca, Canada’s leading online reputation management company.
He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Corporate Communications Post Diploma from Seneca College, and a Masters in Communications Management from the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University.