How Our Blue Peter Heroes Taught Us How To Keep Calm In A Crisis
It’s easy to put our business marketing on the backburner when we’re gripped by a global health crisis, but we need to be doing the opposite. Now’s the time to be more visible than ever, not go into hiding. Asha Clearwater explains why we don’t need a Blue Peter badge — or sticky backed plastic — to make it happen!
I never got that Blue Peter badge I so desired in my childhood, but don’t worry, I’ve worked through my pain.
I’ve lit my joss sticks, I’ve sat cross legged and chanted, I’ve even considered wearing a Kaftan or knitting a jumper with the lentils I found in the back of the cupboard (no, hang on I might need those — but then what do I do if I need more loo roll?). It was all in a bid to help me work through my Blue Peter FOMO.
But, with or without a Blue Peter badge, life must go on, and those treasured memories of my favourite presenters dealing with all kinds of mishaps helped get me through.
You see, today, as the C word takes on a whole new meaning, I think all of us, especially those working from home, need to channel those greats of childhood — Valerie, Peter, Lesley (be still my beating heart), John and even his four-legged friend. ‘Get down Shep!’.
They’re the perfect role models for showing us how to keep calm in a crisis, especially if we’re worried about taking some of our business online.
Are you terrified about going live on Facebook? Worried that the kids, the pets, your partner, the delivery driver will ruin your professional look? Worry ye not people, if Blue Peter can do it, so can you.
You see, Blue Peter presenters, certainly those in my day at least (child of the 70s, me), knew exactly how to keep calm and carry on and so can you. In fact, people loved them for it and they’ll love you too.
John Noakes, Peter Purves, Valerie Singleton, Lesley Judd, Simon Groom, Sarah Greene, Peter Duncan, they all knew how to deal with a crisis. Hell, they regularly took us on that crisis through our TV sets — yes, sets, in the days when they were rather square and had only a handful of channels. Remember them? I know, how did we manage?
Elephant wreaks havoc
A quick trawl of YouTube will show you some of the classic Blue Peter moments.
Here’s the elephant clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz9omscQ1F4
I may not be quite old enough to remember it happening (I was one at the time), but I’ve seen the clip countless times — an elephant wreaking havoc on set, emptying its bowel live on screen for TV presenters to deal with, watched by an audience of millions.
I do, however remember the innocence of a young male presenter, while talking about Durham Cathedral, making complements about a ‘lovely pair of knockers’. I remember when the advent candle was lit and set fire to the studio too, forcing the Fire Brigade to step in and save the day. An extreme example and one I hope you never have to contend with.
Anyway, see my point? Yes, we laughed — and often at the presenter’s expense — but was it the end of the world?
In fact, it just made us love the presenter even more. Often, it created a whole new army of fans for the TV show.
So, if you’re sitting at home and thinking about how you can take some of your services online, but are afraid of getting things wrong, of not being good enough, of making a fool of yourself with live video. I say, have a word with yourself.
What’s the worst that can happen? Can’t imagine there’s many of us that share our home with an elephant.
Laughter, joy, connection
Right now, we need laughter. We need joy and we need connection.
When we put ourselves out there to teach and share, things won’t always go as planned.
Not many of us have made-to-measure TV studios with the latest gear. For a good many of us it’s just us and the kitchen/dining table/the spare room, the back garden, the shed. So, what?
Even the latest tech couldn’t save our Blue Peter heroes when things didn’t go quite according to plan.
And that’s what made it so entertaining and, more importantly, more human.
So, if you have an idea for a live broadcast for your customers on Facebook, Zoom, Skype, then go for it.
Take a deep breath. Give your idea some thought and then dive in.
And, for goodness sake, if a dog barks (in my case it’s likely to be three), a cat miaows or plonks itself in the front of the screen (mine frequently do) or a kid decides to tell you they need the loo, don’t worry about it.
This is LIFE and it’s yours, so embrace it, love it, and your customers (if they’re the right customers) will love it too. Keep it real. Just be you, your amazing self. Those that know you, those that don’t know you, will love you for it. And if they don’t, it’s their loss. The chances are they wouldn’t have been a good customer for you anyway. If it’s good enough for Blue Peter… Hell, it might even earn you that famous Blue Peter badge.
Were you a Blue Peter fan when you were a kid? What’s your favourite memory of the programme? Who was your favourite presenter and why? Do you own a Blue Peter Badge? If so, I’ll find out where you live and do my best to get my hands on it! ;o)
Drop me a line.
Asha Clearwater is an NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) qualified journalist who’s been a news reporter, features editor and arts editor, as well as editor of several national business magazines.
Today, through her business Turquoise Tiger, she coaches SMEs on the art of great storytelling to promote their products and services.
Asha occasionally freelances as a writer for national magazines and is even behind some of the information boards you’ll find strolling through Woodland Trust Forests.
She is also curator of TEDxPeterborough. www.tedxpeterborough.com