by Jeremy Galbraith on 18th March 2008 • The Cast Blog
Today marks many ‘firsts’. We have a new website for Burson-Marsteller in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and I also have the pleasure of being the first writer on our new blog, The Cast. This is not just the first time I have blogged, but I am also doing so one-handed. Thanks to an out-of-control skier who crashed into me at high speed on the piste in Zermatt, I am writing this at the digital equivalent of a hobble.
Already before having my arm broken in two places, I had thought about skiing as an allegory for running a communications business: you need to develop a strategy and plan ahead; you then set off at the fastest speed you dare, keeping under enough control to turn elegantly around the obstacles you hadn’t spotted at the beginning of your run. But then a lunatic runs into you from behind… reminding you that you should have been better prepared for the unexpected.
How to react to these sudden crises? Well, I’m sorry to report that as I lay writhing in agony my Crisis Communications were limited to howls of pain and abuse. It’s surprising how instinctive that reaction is, how hard to resist, even for hitherto serious, calm and articulate business leaders.
Clearly, what I needed as I lay winded and in pain was a friendly professional to arrive quickly at my side and inject some calm words of reassurance into the situation – call in the appropriate emergency services; and say a few carefully chosen, legally safe words of remonstrance to the person who had injured me! Where was Burson-Marsteller when I needed my team?
For that matter, where was the St Bernard with a barrel of brandy on his collar?
Turning adversity into advantage, I suppose I could try to turn the whole wretched episode into yet another “how-to-do-business” tome to clutter up the high street book stores. But at the speed I’m typing today the world of communications will have moved on too far by the time I finished.
So back to this new Burson-Marsteller blog: you’ll be relieved to know that it will not be a long chronicle of my recovery. Nor even, just a series of corporate ‘hurrahs’. Our intention is that this blog will become home to the random thoughts and collected words of wisdom of our senior team in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
I hope we will be able to offer you a few insights into our working lives, some perspectives on communications in different areas and highlight some of the tools and services that Burson-Marsteller has to offer. It will, I hope, be lively and fun, with the latest thinking about Public Relations, Communications and Public Affairs from both inside and outside Burson-Marsteller.
That’s the plan. This morning, there was just one last remaining detail to settle. Even as I started to stab slowly, one-handedly at the keyboard this morning, this blog still didn’t have a name. It is something that has eluded us for months, ever since we decided to include it on our new website.
We had come up with many suggestions. None of them was quite right – or summed up what we wanted to create.
The answer, however, had been staring me in the face all along… at my fingertips, so to speak: a collective noun for the bunch of talented and creative individuals that I work with – and who will be writing for you. It’s also something that will hold and support you in times of trouble, usually after an unexpected and nasty incident. Lastly, it’s the only really good idea to come out of my skiing misadventure.
Ladies and gentlemen, gentle readers; it gives me great pride and pleasure to lift the curtains and present to you…
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