5th September 2019

Build stronger relationships by connecting communications


We are living in a digital age where new technology is fuelling rapid development in all sectors, communication is instantaneous, and social media networks allow a single voice to be amplified across the globe in seconds.

This brings a new set of big communications challenges, not least for the traditional mainstream media landscape, but for brands and business leaders.

In this fast-paced environment, the question is: how do we strike the balance between digital and traditional communications to deliver impact and value, and drive action?

To some, developments in technology unlock endless possibilities. To others, they do the opposite. A world where a phone replaces a face and the typed word a voice is a world that doesn’t resonate.

Whether speaking to an audience of one, or a vast population across multiple countries, success comes down to taking time to fully understand an audience, how they best communicate, and what sparks them into action.

A recent campaign in Japan, ‘Restaurant of Mistaken Orders’, saw the opening of a pop-up restaurant where the waiting staff were people with dementia. As well as raising awareness of dementia and acceptance of the condition in society, the campaign demonstrated the power of simple face-to-face human interaction and the positive impact it brings.

On analysis of the people who attended the restaurant, 37% of the orders received were mistaken but 99% of customers said they were happy. Furthermore, 95% said the restaurant could help promote understanding of dementia.   

Effectiveness demands simplicity

Seamless, impactful communication that delivers an effective message is fundamental for success, whatever the industry.

Communicating a clear, solutions-driven message, grounded in insight, provides respite from online information overload. Relaying this message through appropriate channels at the optimum time delivers results. 

  Japan’s Restaurant of Mistaken Orders concept helps to destigmatise dementia in a country with a rapidly ageing population.
Japan’s Restaurant of Mistaken Orders concept helps to destigmatise dementia in a country with a rapidly ageing population.

The digital age, by its very nature, enables quicker, more accessible communication on a massive scale. A glance at President Donald Trump’s Twitter page reveals a stream of statements that draw international attention and spark controversy. But do they have any long-term impact?

In light of rapid digital developments, it’s never been more important to maintain a personalised and considered approach to building and nurturing relationships. In general, we tend to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information we view and consume. This has resulted in people craving real, face-to-face interaction. It’s a basic necessity and essential to thrive.

A study by Stanford University showed that over 70% of relationships end within the first year. Granted, this study was based on romance, but the basic principle rings true: the more time and effort that each party invests in the relationship, the more likely it will succeed.

Relationships must be nurtured

For business leaders, it’s time to bring things back to basics. This means taking time to fully understand a client, a colleague, or any other stakeholder, getting to know what they want to achieve and what success looks like to them, and working towards the best possible outcome for both sides.

Stepping outside the corporate boundaries of business objectives and KPIs and connecting on a deeper level will form lasting bonds and make for longer, more fruitful relationships.

Nescafé’s ‘The Hello Bench’ campaign saw a public bench get shorter when two people sat on it at the same time, thus bringing them closer together to share a coffee. The campaign highlighted the gamble of sparking new relationships, but also the joy that it can bring.

Sparking a conversation to build a new relationship is step one. To nurture it, remember that a strong relationship is a happy one, grounded in mutual understanding, value-add, and consistency.


Heather-Ann is a Senior Client Manager on the brand team at PR360. She develops and executes strategic communication plans to build brand profile and reputation through creative flair. She brings the positivi-TEA to the team!  

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