Last week I shared a few thoughts on how I have experienced the changing of the communication landscape from the days when email was just introduced to today’s various forms of instant and constant communication.
It is my feeling though that regardless of the way you communicate it is word of mouth that is still regarded as the most trustworthy form of communication. And if I look at the sheer number of PR, Marketing and Communication companies called Word of Mouth it seems that I am not alone!
Whether someone’s opinion is personally communicated, tweeted in less than 140 characters, updated on Facebook with a picture, shared as a video clip on YouTube, sent by text message or even blogged about extensively, their experience and stories are what gets the attention of the audience. Stories and experiences that are shared in a way that comes across as unbiased and believable.
One can ask the question whether in a modern era people would talk about your brand or business if there is nothing in it for them. My feeling is that they do. People are social and they share even if they will not gain anything from it.
I also feel that in a digital age and global village, it is more important than ever before to maintain a village attitude. And for us who are part of a small community and village life, this is no stretch of the imagination. When it comes to relationships, forget about being a global player in whatever industry you are. Rather focus on the individual and their needs. It is the message these people communicate that will influence what the world thinks of you, more than your own well-planned PR and communication strategies.
In the hospitality industry and especially the wine tourism and restaurant industry in which we are involved, creating relationships with guests and visitors are essential. Of course it is easier to create a conversation if you have an exceptional offering, if you excel at what you do and if you impress your audience with your service. It is however also about a focus on the visitor or consumer and how we make them feel.
They might not spend a lot of time or money with you, but they are important. Make them feel welcome, take an interest, be accommodating and turn your guests and visitors into your brand ambassadors. And this is true for guests to your estate, to your Facebook page or anyone who interacts with you on whatever platform.
For those worried that in a time of anonymous communication we are losing the human factor, this should bring some peace of mind. Nurturing your audience, guests, visitors, customers and relationships still is the most important part of your communication strategy – whether you are doing this online or face to face.