December 7th, 2014 - Crisis Communication

Making Change

I sat down yesterday afternoon to help a client work through a particularly nasty reputation crisis.

As we prepped for the media interviews that were sure to unfold over the coming days, we dissected the ‘messaging’ — rethinking each word. Then when we were almost out of time, I came to something and I watched his beleaguered face show a hint of a smile.

I said: “You are trying to do something good and positive. Be proud of yourself and make sure that reporters understand your good intent, the need your business fills. Tell your story.”

And so with this thought we drafted the message:

‘We all need to make a living and, at the end of the day, we can only hope that each of us will choose to do something that we love … to do that something ethically and with integrity … and that maybe we can give something back to our world along the way.”

I hope he says that when interviewed, but more importantly, I hope we all live this. It’s why I changed up my business this summer. I choose to spend more time using my powers for good – supporting non-profits and small businesses. Helping change happen in my world.

PS. Check my list below for some simple ways to give a little back along the way.

Guilt Free Holiday Shopping

With the holiday season officially underway, it’s a good time to think about doing some small things that make a difference. In that spirit, I offer you my list of gifts that give back. There’s a little something from each of these projects either on my giving list or my wishing list this year.

FEED Projects
OK, I confess. I love this site and the shopping. Buy fab products and help feed the world. There’s lots on my wish list from these folks.

The Brave Collection
Here’s a stunning website with a mission to empower women and end human trafficking. In exchange, beautiful jewelry handcrafted from Cambodia.

Me to We
“Me to We was created to help transform consumers into socially conscious world changers, one transaction at a time.” Profits support

Charity Water
One of my favourite bloggers Seth Godin recently turned me on to this great cause. Seth can’t abide charities that merely pay lip service, so when he supports something you know it’s an organization making a difference

RED fights HIV/Aids by joining forces with iconic brands and sells the products online.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.