I recently met with Harold Burson to discuss his unexpected friendship with fashion PR pro and reality TV star Kelly Cutrone.
It was a funny story, and somewhat enlightening to hear about the benefits of such an atypical relationship. But after speaking with the legendary Mr. Burson off-camera about how the industry has evolved in today's much rushed and digital world, PR's improved reputation over the years, a slightly unrealistic abundance of and arrival at creative concepts in Mad Men, and the dangers relating to Internet privacy, I realized that the Burson-Cutrone friendship had deeper implications.
Friendship, professional and personal, is built on commonality. What the individuals share goes beyond their PR-related notoriety (though it could be, in part, the cause of such notoriety). The commonality is an enthusiasm for the industry: it provides unique value, possibilities, and challenges, as well as an understanding about the relationships that sustain the discipline.
With Ms. Cutrone, this enthusiasm and knowledge is obvious and out there for all to witness (on Bravo, MTV, online).
With Mr. Burson, it can be summed up in one quote. When asked if and when he plans on retiring, he said, "Maybe when I get older."