There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224
I grew up in Australia and spent most of my summers by the ocean on the south east coast. Like most Australian kids I learnt to surf. It’s harder than it looks.
To start with you have to pick a wave that has not broken, and be far enough out among the sloping swells, before the waves begin to stand up straight. As the right wave approaches, you turn the nose of your board toward the beach, lay down and start to paddle.
As you feel the wave lift you and your board, you then go as hard as you can and lean your weight forward.
This goes against instinct. Our tendency is to lean back to keep the nose from going under water, but that slows momentum and you can miss the moment. You then lean forward and raise your chest so that your weight is just above the center of the board. You should now be sliding down into the trough of the wave. You start to stand just as you feel the pull of the wave.
It isn’t easy and it takes a lot of practice.
[Thanks for the surfing lesson Hamish]
What’s my point? I think surfing is a pretty decent metaphor for modern PR and brand communication. Before you start to feel seasick, consider the parallels: Timing of our interventions and announcements takes as much skill as the crafting of the message itself. There are all sorts of forces and tides at play. What idea will truly resonate and when is it best shared? When can I best deliver copy that feeds the need of a news site that wants to be top of the Google News rankings? When do I deliver a perfect 140 characters that thousands are motivated to retweet? When, when, when.
News and conversations both emerge without warning, often creating opportunities. Launching initiatives for our clients requires a deftness of touch and a feel for timing. Get it right and you ride the wave. Take too long or go too early and the opportunity can be lost.
We specialise in PR and brand communication and a great deal of what we do is to keep an eye on eddies, currents, rips and waves. The art is in the application of the eye, the ear and the instinct. We’ve done this countless times for world-class brands, riding waves that span news and create social ripples in the UK and around the globe.
Our work has won many awards and has transformed the fortunes of brands that we represent. We’d love to work for your brand – and help you navigate your way through the digital swells.