Content is one of life's necessities "like food and fresh air" and "we in PR play a critical role in setting the content standard," Burson-Marsteller founder Harold Burson told the firm’s 60th anniversary celebration last night.
The event, attended by nearly 200 including many top B-M executives from throughout the world, was held at the Christian Scientists’ church at Park and 63rd St., which is available for private functions during the week.
Burson recalled the founding of the firm in 1953 in an office on 42nd St. with adman Bill Marsteller and two other employees, one of them being Elias Buchwald, who was present at the celebration.
"Buck was one of long line of Burson persons who made the firm what it is today," said Burson. "I was the good cop and Buck was the enforcer."
B-M from the start was "dedicated to the relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to clients," said Burson. Another goal was growth since he and Marsteller saw that as the hallmark of a successful business.
"Looking to the future, I am bullish on public relations," he said. "Increasingly, it is the driver of our economy and the driver of our personal lives. What the digital world refers to as 'content' now ranks with food and fresh air as one of life’s necessities. We in public relations play a critical role in setting the 'content' standard and monitoring and directing it toward the positive in the service of human kind."
Baer: B-M Continues Burson's Values
Don Baer, worldwide chairman and CEO, said B-M not only carries the name of Burson "but embodies his very legacy."
"Harold is my role model, mentor and friend," said Baer, noting that the firm retains his commitment to providing the highest quality services.
Baer at the start of his remarks thanked "our friends in the media" who were at the event, saying that "working with you is part of the joy of what we do" and that B-M "appreciates" the support of the media.
Christopher Komisarjevsky, retired CEO of B-M, was also recognized by Baer for his contributions to the firm.
Added Burson: "I suspect the next event of this kind will be our seventy-fifth anniversary. It will interest you to know that I have put in my request for an invitation."
Full copy of Burson's speech is below.
Sixtieth Anniversary Remarks
April 22, 2013
New York, New York
Colleagues and Friends:
It goes without saying that I am happy to be here tonight. At my age, I am happy to be anywhere – so long as I know where I am. And especially when I am amidst colleagues and friends.
I am less surprised that Burson-Marsteller is celebrating its sixtieth anniversary than I am at my presence. From the beginning in 1953, our vision was to establish a business that would perpetuate itself. Our objective was to create a meritocracy composed of the best of the best public relations practitioners committed to rendering high quality service to its clients.
From the outset we were committed to growth. Bill Marsteller and I felt that growth was the essence of a successful business enterprise. Only with growth can exceptional individuals experience new challenges and new opportunities – and receive the increasing rewards, psychically and materially of outstanding performance.
I have always credited the success of Burson-Marsteller to its people. Like our nation as a whole, we had our equivalent of a “greatest generation” the hundred and fifty – plus or minus – who joined us in the sixties, seventies and eighties and remained for twenty to forty years. They are our equivalent of pioneers – both functionally and geographically. The equivalent of our founding fathers. Some of you are here in this room and I offer you a special salute and heartfelt thanks.
The most remarkable aspect of Burson-Marsteller to me is its culture – as strong today as ever. Burson persons are recognized as special people around the world. Our commitment to excellence requires exertion – and most of the people we hire thrive upon it. We are client-centric – especially on weekends and holidays when a lot of the “stuff” happens.
Looking to the future, I am bullish on public relations. Increasingly, it is the driver of our economy and the driver of our personal lives. What the digital world refers to as “content” now ranks with food and fresh air as one of life’s necessities. We in public relations play a critical role in setting the “content” standard and monitoring and directing it toward the positive in the service of human kind.
I suspect the next event of this kind will be our seventy-fifth anniversary. It will interest you to know that I have put in my request for an invitation.
Thank you one and all for being here – for sharing with me and my associates the Burson-Marsteller experience.