Sometimes It Takes Some Good Old-Fashioned Communication
WE Communications, a full service communications agency, has worked in an office block building in Illovo for the last three years. The Paragon Group, an Architectural firm has been in the same building for three years. Neither office could have told you a single name of anyone in the other office. That is until the second week of June 2018.
Separated by a slate quad, dusty blinds and different skill sets, WE Communications and The Paragon Group really didn’t see much of each other – literally. Strange for two neighbouring companies in the communications field.
It was only when the property’s managing body sent their army in hard hats to seal the windows that this changed. The blinds came down and the light came in. Suddenly we could all see each other across the quad and it was…well awkward. First meetings usually are between strangers.
Paragon made the first move. “Hi guys nice to see you,” was the first hand-written note tacked on A4 papers to the window. This was followed by some coy waves. Then WE responded with some humour and flirtation to break the ice. “Any1 single? Call Me?” followed by a WE employee’s phone number.
Within minutes the phone rang. One of theirs called one of ours for tentative drinks. But it didn’t work out. WE tried again. “Office drinks, Friday 3pm?” “Your place or ours” came the response. “Ours,” WE said. This was followed by an official invite via mail from us to them.
The following day we had more post to let us know that The Paragon Group came with 102 employees, so we opted to host drinks at their offices instead. “We are outnumbered. 22 vs 102. Can we come to your place? Will bring wine!” About an hour later: “It’s a date. Smooches xxx”.
Our friends at The Paragon Group know a thing or two about old school communication.
Breaking through the clutter
Living in a world cluttered by digital communication, sometimes you need a more innovative approach to break through that clutter and reach your intended audience. Sometimes, thinking outside the box means thinking beyond tech.
Landing a message is also all about repetition – in a creative way of course. They were serious about this get together and wanted us to know it. The following day we received a co-branded Paragon and WE box with 22 numbered invitations for every member of the team.
We responded with a gift of wine and a letter signed with all our names so they could put faces to the numbers. The next morning we received a thank you letter for the wine and a metre-long scroll with all their 102 names.
So it’s all set. Today we have a date with our long lost office neighbours and we’re all pretty excited. Stay tuned for Part 2 to see how it went!
Recap of what we learned this week when it comes to communications:
- Start talking to more people – you never know what may come from it (who knows what will come out of our inter-company drinks).
- Think of different and creative ways to reach your audience.
- Say something – anything – a nice greeting usually works well.
- Respond when someone else plucks up the courage to speak.
- Humour goes a long way.
- Iron out the details.
- Remind each other of the things on which you have agreed.
- Learn each other’s names.
- Spend time in real time.