CBC is 15 years old!

We’ve just celebrated our 15 year anniversary at CBC in style with a full day of events with all of our employees…even those from France and Italy flew in for the occasion! We had bucks fizz and tasty pastries in the morning whilst we reflected on our best moments, then headed off onto the streets of Guildford for a treasure hunt – boys vs. girls – the girls won  Then we finished up the celebrations with a lovely lunch in the Rumwong on Guildford High Street. A lot of you spotted our tweeting and online competitions with the questions from the treasure hunt – well done to the winners!

It’s hard to describe how much the PR industry has changed since CBC first opened, and it was great to have the opportunity to look back and see how much we have achieved as a team. We have contacts locally, nationally and internationally for PR as well as in the media, all to better service our clients. We’re also an Investors in People accredited company.

And for the local Guildfordians reading, you may wish to ponder some of these questions…let us know what you think the answers are in a tweet to @PRexpertsUK or as a comment below!

-Which town is Guildford twinned with?
-How high did the big flood of Guildford reach on the Yvonne Arnaud theatre’s wall?
-Who was Mayor of Guildford on 5th February 1902?
-How many books is the Surrey Scholar in the High Street carrying?

Work Experience Students….the future of PR is in safe hands…:-)

We are so pleased that so many students have shown an interest in our company this year. We have received some really interesting letters and placement requests from some intelligent and talented individuals. Client commitments and workloads made it difficult to offer any places this year but we have managed to rearrange things a little so we can take at least one student for a week. We are looking forward to welcoming Darcie Akhurst from George Abbott school next week. We are hoping Darcie will enjoy helping us with some facebook and twitter work and we’ll give Darcie a real taste of working in PR….

Thank you to everyone who has been in touch and sorry that we can’t offer more placements but good luck to all of you – hope you are successful in your placement search and you all get a good taste of working life…..

CBC is recognised as ‘a beacon of good practice’

We’re so pleased, we’ve done it again! We’ve passed our Investors in People assessment 🙂

This is the fourth time we’ve passed, and things just seem to get better each time we’re assessed. This time, our assessor Jim (regular and long-standing readers of our blog will know that he’s assessed us every time) went as far as to say that we’re a ‘beacon of good practice’:

“Work-life balance is embedded as a company ethos. This is a real strength of Chazbrooks and other organisations could learn a lot from them.”

Passing is no easy task, though. The assessment involves one-to-one interviews, phone interviews and discussions, and Jim also examines our working environment and company documentation like business plans, appraisal documentation, training plans and training evaluation reports.

We now have nearly 10 years experience with Investors in People assessments, and are putting it to good use! We help our clients with their own Investors in People assessments. By advising on the structure and content of company documentation as a whole, we help our clients save time and money and ultimately, gain the Investors in People accreditation. Also, as a team of writing experts, we ensure that the messages in the documentation are well communicated.

For us, Investors in People isn’t just a certificate for the wall. It’s a business marker – proof that we take time to make sure we are a team that are positive, motivated and efficient, and proud of the service we offer. And as a result, our clients get to deal with enthusiastic professionals who deliver great, cost effective campaigns.

By investing in our team, we are investing in our clients!

For more info on how we can add value to your company, tweet us at @PRexpertsUK, email us at chazb@brookscomm.com or call all on 01483 537 890. Look forward to hearing from you!

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 …..