KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Since Barkley opened its public relations division nearly a quarter century ago, the communications world has drastically changed. Today, we all live in glass houses with technology more pervasive than ever. Brands constantly find themselves at a crossroads, deciding why, what, when and how to communicate. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120507/CG02640LOGO) Fortunately, as a successful leader in public relations and cause marketing, Barkley has been a key player in this changing landscape and is now poised to tackle the communications climate with a new business unit – Crossroads, a REAL communications company. Crossroads was created to help brands identify why they exist in order to live their authentic story and connect to like-minded customers, developing real relationships that allow brands to communicate honestly in good and bad times. The new company has launched with a video invitation to introduce itself and invite brands to begin a new conversation. Mike Swenson, who started Barkley Public Relations in 1987, will be President of Crossroads. The company begins with a staff of 13 partners and several clients, including Lee Jeans, ITC, Sonic Drive-In, March of Dimes and Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure. Click here to read more about the Crossroads philosophy.. "Smart brands understand the best approach is to develop real relationships with their audiences that allow the brand to communicate and celebrate successes and in times of trouble, be not only forgiven, but supported," says Swenson. "This relationship is built on and sustained by the public's understanding of an organization's purpose beyond what they sell. It is built on an organization's demonstrated character and actions over time." Crossroads plans to blaze new trails in how brands communicate by offering a variety of services: purpose-driven strategic counsel, traditional and social media relations, crisis management, internal communications and successful, award-winning cause branding expertise. "Some brands believe they can control the flow of information about their organizations and keep issues under wraps, while some are choosing to open their doors completely and allow the outside world to influence and guide every action taken," says Swenson. "Neither approach is perfect, but the reality is organizations cannot hide or simply deliver canned messages, nor should they turn over their brand and reputation to the whims of the marketplace. The most effective approach lies in between, and a REAL communications company is just what businesses need to help lead them down the right path."