14th February 2019

V-Day or D-Day? Why real customer relationships still matter


The need to build strong and meaningful relationships has been a fundamental human necessity since time began. For brands operating in a digital age of AI and all things artificial, the need for authentic, long-lasting relationships, with consumers and brand ambassadors has never been more important.    

Rapid developments in technology have changed how we communicate. At a time when we can see our conversations, voice activate our product orders and automate our grocery shops, we shouldn’t forget the power of a positive and personalised consumer interaction, and the importance of real, lasting bonds between brands and their customers.

Due to dramatic advancements in machine learning, “chatbots” have become an increasingly popular form of communication between brands and their customers.

Chatbot technology uses artificial intelligence to simulate human interaction with consumers. In the retail sector in particular, chatbots provide shoppers with smart and responsive access to information, and for businesses, a useful and efficient way to deal with customer queries. For this reason, we’ll likely see more of them pop up.  

 AIs haven’t quite yet mastered romance.  (Photo credit: Unilever)
AIs haven’t quite yet mastered romance. (Photo credit: Unilever)

But let’s take a moment to step back and smell the roses. Today, Unilever launched a digital social experiment that questioned the ability of two AIs to “fall in love”, then put it to the test.

The owner of Closeup toothpaste played on the brand’s mission of bringing people together.

After just over two minutes of conversation between a “male” and “female” chatbot, the female asked the male “Do you love me?” The conversation ended abruptly when the male replied “I don’t want to share it.”

Real human being

There’s no denying communications is changing rapidly. Staying ahead of the curb is essential for brand progression and success.

However, dependence on screen-to-screen communication alone can reduce a brand’s connection with their customer and increase a feeling of isolation.

To shape consumer opinion, brands must provide consumers with a personal, face-to-face experience that leaves a lasting impression.

Recently, the Jameson Black Barrel pop-up quite literally popped up on Dublin’s South William Street just in time to fight off the icy winter cold and bring the warm fuzziness. 

The experiential campaign targeted Jameson’s growing consumer market with a luxurious whiskey-tasting experience. Personalised whiskey bottles, a festive atmosphere, and friendly, human staff drew a crowd, engaged new customers, and put the Black Barrel on Christmas shopping lists. Jameson, simply by bringing people together, made a lasting impact.

For brands, it’s time to strike the balance between leveraging technological advancements and getting back to basics.   


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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