The Olympic Torch comes past our office :-)



There was much excitement at CBC towers on Friday afternoon when the Olympic Torch came to Guildford, for its last stop outside London.

We were chuffed when we realised a while ago, that it was going to come past our office. For those of you who know Guildford, our office is on the Upper High Street, just past the RGS, on the first floor above the Marie Curie shop and Toni and Guy hairdressers. You know, the courtyard with the statue of the sheep!

Anyway — we got here early for our great vantage point of the torch, and an hour before it was due there were already large crowds in Guildford. Our friendly caretaker Tim opened up the unit above us so we had extra window space for us, our children, some friends and a reporter Surrey Ad who used our office to take photos for the paper. We naturally marked the occasion with a couple of drinks and nibbles.

And what a view we had — it was fantastic, as the police outriders came past the crowd went mad. And I’ve never seen a police motorcyclist “high five” a crowd before — good to see them getting into the spirit of things! And then the sponsors vehicles came through, the Coca Cola lorry being the most spectacular, handing out free drinks to the onlookers.

And then came the torch — and it didn’t disappoint. We were all thrilled to see it — Guildford has never seen the like of it. Congratulations to all the organisers, we all thought it was terrific!

Can’t wait for the real thing!!


The private sector must do more for SME exporters – roundtable event

A few weeks ago, I was invited to take part in a Roundtable event organised by Wilkins Kennedy titled ‘The private sector must do more for SME exporters’. The event was held in Cobham, Surrey and was a brilliant opportunity to meet with leading professionals in the area to discuss how the private sector can contribute to the UK economy through exports.

Surrey and the South East really is a thriving business community, and this event emphasised how much we can do to help the UK economy. As SME’s and businesses in the UK, we can all do our bit for the UK economy by doing what we do already on an international level.

Other attendees included Dave Birch of Consult Hyperion, Dr Malcolm Parry, Director of the Surrey Research Park and Dr Kegang Wu, chief China adviser to the British Chambers of Commerce.

“Chaz Brooks, Managing Director of Chaz Brooks Communications in Guildford, said the internet had made the world smaller, which gave English companies a tremendous advantage. “English is still the international business language. A website or a blog in English is a big advantage.”

The full article is available on South East Business (pg.26).


Is the PC really dead?

The world is rapidly becoming more mobile. The vast majority of us can access emails, facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube and anything else we’d want from our mobile phones and tablets. The use of social media on mobile phones has increased dramatically, with users logging in wherever they are to update their statuses, to ‘tag’ those that are with them and to share their current location. Social Media usage on mobile phones has nearly doubled in the past year and iPads are flying off the shelves too, with sales numbers of 25 million in just 14 months.

So where does that leave the good old PC? In comparison to mobiles and tablets, the PC may seem a little chunky and inflexible. But do they still have their own value? At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference a few weeks ago, Apple Exec Steve Forstall mentioned that the iPad is ‘ushering in this post-PC world’. Should this excite us, or scare us?

While this may be the future of technology and a goal for Apple’s devices, the PC is still very much part of a lot of people’s daily life, at home and at work. It could be said that the PC still represents reliability and for a lot of people – it’s still one of the first choices when writing, printing and uploading files. PC’s are probably the preferred choice for banking too… considering some are still sceptical about online banking, it may be a while before people confidently use mobile banking! With generally larger memory space, PC’s still have a role as a storage facility. But with cloud computing on the rise and the gadget market forever changing, how long this will be the case remains to be seen!

For the latest tips and updates on PR and Marketing, follow us at @PRexpertsUK and @UKmarketingUK

Chaz goes to the big city

Surrey goes national at the British Chambers of Commerce conference

A delegation of four Surrey businesses, plus Surrey Chambers Chief Executive Louise Punter, went to the British Chambers of Commerce annual conference last week. All were eagerly awaiting presentations from top politicians and business leaders. George Osborne, Vince Cable and Ed Milliband were on the bill.

The venue, Church House, behind Westminster Abbey, was shrouded in gloom when everyone arrived, due to a power cut — not “budget cuts” as some bright spark commented. After a gloomy introduction by BCC’s David Frost, in light terms not subject terms, the power was restored just in time for Chancellor George Osborne to take the stage. He spoke for twenty minutes, about how Government can support business and how the economic recovery will be fuelled by the SME sector. Business secretary Vince Cable then spoke along a similar theme and majored on what the Government can do to aid small to medium sized businesses, especially in the area of bureaucracy. He promoted the government’s “Red Tape” challenge, which is a scheme for businesses to question what they may consider to be unnecessary red tape – and if the red tape cannot be justified then it will be cut. A Google search will quickly bring you to the website.

After a networking lunch where the Surrey businesses were able to mingle with other Chamber businesses and representatives from over the country, Ed Milliband spoke to the conference and took questions like all the politicians. A common skill of top politicians is how expert they are at handling questions. This was also mentioned by another Chamber member about David Cameron’s recent visit to Frimley Park hospital. I posed Ed Milliband a question about his views on supporting new technology/environmental companies, to which Ed replied that, like environmental issues you have to consider moral as well as purely economic factors.

The Surrey delegation had the most businesses attending the conference from any region in the UK and Surrey Chambers Chief Executive Louise Punter commented “I wanted to take a selection of Surrey Chamber companies. Thanks to representatives from projectfive, Something Big, ramsac and Chazbrooks Communications for taking a day out of their schedules to attend what was a memorable day and to see how the Surrey business community fits in the national picture.”


Sleeping, snoring and tweeting from a sleeping bag …..

When the Surrey Chamber of Commerce CEO Louise asked me to do her a favour I suppose I should have listened properly. She said “Chaz, I’m busy that night, but someone from the Chamber should support the Guildford YMCA boss Pete Brayne at his charity sleepout in a few weeks time.” I thought “okay, Louise has asked me to do something in a few weeks time so I guess I’d better say yes”. So I said “yes”. Then it later dawned on me what I had agreed to — to sleep rough outside Guildford Cathedral in the middle of the winter. Doh! Why did I do that? Never mind, it was too late by then and one thing you can’t do when you agree to do something is not to see it through the end.

The sleepout is a worthy fundraising and awareness cause, to fight the problem of youth homelessness.

So, on Saturday night I duly turned up at Guildford Cathedral at 9pm equipped with my daughter’s sleeping bag, two pairs of socks and various jumpers, scarves etc. There was a select band of mugs, I mean volunteers, including people from the YMCA (I’m pleased to say that Pete from the YMCA always puts his sleeping body where his mouth is!) local people and a team of three from the funky Guildford games company which makes Little Big Planet. I’m ashamed to say that I had to own up that my 12-year old son failed miserably to get me to pay the game and didn’t try a second time!

The Mayor of Guildford turned up for a photo shoot and to give some much needed words of encouragement. Then we built a cardboard city. There was some discussion as how best to build a cardboard windbreak, which amazingly did survive the night. At around 11pm people settled down to try to sleep. I hid completely engulfed in the sleeping bag listening to some great music on the ipod. Luckily this drowned out the energetic snoring from one of my sleeping partners. I sent a few messages on Twitter about the #guildford sleepout (not easy to do from inside a sleeping bag) and tried unsuccessfully a bit of scaremongering based on Guildford Cathedral being used for the Omen film.

The police turned up at the site, following a lead of a stolen laptop from the University, and asked us if we’d seen anyone suspicious. We looked sideways at each other as we all looked dodgy. I hadn’t shaved for a couple of days beforehand to try and give me a bit more warmth. There was a steward looking after us with a very affectionate guard dog which proceeded to clamber all over me and try and get into my sleeping bag,

I managed a few hours sleep, in between the music, the rhythmical snoring and the bitter chill wind blowing round the Cathedral (why did they have to put it on the top of a hill?) I must confess that I had a hipflask secreted in the glove compartment of the car and an extra sleeping bag, but luckily didn’t have to resort to either of them!

The main thing I took away from the experience is the sheer vulnerability that I felt when I slept rough. Totally unprotected and isolated. I’m glad that Damien didn’t show up …..