Stop press - the internet has changed everything. Now I know that’s not news. The only thing is, I’m not sure it’s true.
Yes, it’s undeniable that digital has changed human habits and the internet has given us so many compelling and effective ways to start debates and conversations and to build brands!
And of course, I’m a huge believer in using the exciting tools, platforms and media out there to disseminate your messages, create networks and connect relevant audiences to your brand and investment case. It works – we all know that – and ensures you remain competitive, international and relevant.
However, in a world where the internet is the first point of call for everyone (or nearly) it is easy to forget to make time for meeting people.
I’m a true believer that you can’t beat those truly ‘vintage’ moments that establish relationships that add value to you and your company. These human interactions are what differentiate you, make you premium and unforgettable. It is it is when you blend these digital initiatives with spending time with investors, contacts and media in the flesh that the real magic starts to happen.
The Reuters’ Digital News Report 2017 stated that its research is a “reminder that the digital revolution is full of contradictions and exceptions”.
Indeed, there are plenty of everyday examples of how people of all ages still hark back to the nostalgic experiences of our past: in the wake of music streaming came a resurgence in vinyl manufacturing; with e-commerce came a rise in artisan markets. As communications specialists, our job is to ensure that we cover all bases and that our clients engage with their audiences via all relevant mediums – both old and new.
If you approach communications activities with authentic intention, and the goal to instil trust and lay the foundations for a long-term, positive relationship, then you can’t go far wrong as you create networks and build your business.
Every business will have to deal with the rough as well as the smooth, so make sure you engage with people throughout all these phases, and follow up in person with those you have connected with digitally.
I recently found myself sat between a leading corporate broker and a prestigious institutional fund manager; we were answering questions at a seminar, on the subject of “how to manage your investors”, put on by the London Stock Exchange for some of AIM’s financial directors.
The three panellists had not known each other particularly well before that but it didn’t take us long to find ourselves all singing from the same hymn sheet.
It was reassuring to know that we all agreed on one important thing: humanise your communications campaign; speak and deal with your stakeholders, whoever they may be, as you would wish to be spoken to.
So, I’m here to remind you that when you’re planning your 2018 campaign, be sure to build in time to make these conversations human as well - don’t miss that bit out! It is only in person that you have the opportunity to build rapport, empathy and genuine excitement in your proposition.