In a digital world, the value of face-to-face communications is heightened, not diminished.
Last week we took a group of editors on a behind-the-scenes visit to our client ADEY’s Research Centre. This specialist facility is where the science happens; the only laboratory in the heating sector to be accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for testing central heating system water and water treatment products to the highest industry standards.
A tour of the lab, factual presentations and a chance to ask questions not only to the technical team but also the CEO and marketing director, goes far beyond any objective of imparting knowledge or generating editorial.
Naturally, everyone prepared thoroughly to present the firm’s ‘best self’ – to make a great impression – but authenticity reveals itself through the warmth of personal connections that are most easily shared when we’re face-to-face.
Trust makes this possible. Trust is earned and grown over a period of time, between Target’s team, the client, and the editors we deal with daily, mostly via digital channels. It’s enhanced by an incalculable multiplying factor when we create moments to come together in person. Listen to an answer when we can see the whites of someone’s eyes. Chat about the industries we dedicate our working lives to. Share family news. Eat cake.
For most of us working in PR today, stories of long lunches with journalists have been consigned to the status of ‘urban myth’, outside of our reality, and rightly so.
But we shouldn’t underestimate the value of personal relationships in the way that we share information, encourage understanding among media and influencers, and develop brand reputation.
The enthusiastic explanations of chemists whose mission is to drive up industry standards; the disarming frankness of directors with years of industry experience behind them and ambitious goals in a challenging market before them; real people, ready to have a conversation, to share something of themselves. This is the gold dust that can be gained from face-to-face communications.
A market leading ethos, and the support of a skilled client-agency team, unlocks the confidence to open the doors to journalists, helps to build insight and understanding, and reflects authenticity in a brand.