Fresh eyes

Is the ‘human touch’ disappearing from PR?

is the human touch disappearing from pr

Written by Michael Gregory,
Director at Freshfield

With all the talk about whether we are addicted to our smart phones (don’t ask Mrs G), a recent trip to the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) reinforced the old adage that ‘it’s good to talk’…well face-to-face that is.

I took a trip to ‘The Smoke’ to see if our client, Hawkshead Brewery, would be winning its category of the Champion Beer of Britain – unfortunately they didn’t but to be shortlisted is no mean feat in itself – and what struck me was that there wasn’t a smart phone in sight.

Ok, there was the odd one knocking around and a few tweets were being posted, but the main communications activity was a good old fashioned face-to-face chat. And it worked. People were introducing themselves to each other, talking about their products, making contacts and networking with suppliers, advisers or influential contacts.

One brewery, Cornwall-based Skinners, took it to the next level and had their own marching band led by their Queen of Cornish Ales, Betty Stogs (she had some serious stubble). Every half hour they would march around Earls Court, making a hell of a noise but people would stop and take in the procession. It was a great way of creating a buzz – a talking point and something which made me smile and, of course, I’ve remembered them. Simple and effective.

Now perhaps I should have whipped out my phone, recorded it and shared it across every social media channel, but on that occasion I thought I’d just enjoy it myself. I’m an advocate of social media and how it can help you engage with your audiences, but the trade day at the GBBF reinforced the fact that you can’t beat speaking to someone personally to make an impression.

We are probably tied too much to our computers, tablets and smart phones, and probably invest far too much time on growing our LinkedIn connections – perhaps just for vanity’s sake – and this affecting our interpersonal and communication skills.

The art of conversation is exactly that and we shouldn’t shy away from it by only using cold technological mediums that don’t always get over our personalities. After all, we are in a sector where people buy people, sometimes more so than the product.

So my friends, I challenge you to shake off your technological shackles and embrace speaking properly to business contacts. If you could share this blog though, I’d be grateful…

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