The demands on effective and differentiating communication are changing for it to have an impact in this age of fast-paced changes taking place in today’s society and media landscape. Established standard approaches no longer fit the bill. The increasing complexity of our brave new communications world has made it much more difficult to grab people’s attention and rendered boilerplate solutions practically ineffective. Instead, brands and companies these days need to maintain a constant exchange within their broad stakeholder networks, and be keenly aware that every contact made – be it online or offline – can potentially impact their reputation in a positive or negative manner. As a result, brands and companies are no longer what they claim to be top-down. Today, brands and companies are what they do – they are, in effect, social systems. And therefore their communication approaches should no longer be conceptualised as solutions, products or campaigns, but rather as continuous processes.
So how can companies contribute to shaping the changing landscape? And how can they use it to their advantage? By developing a pronounced purpose – one that not only provides a clear direction internally and externally, but also conveys authenticity and proximity to customers, and in doing so inspires trust. After all, in our increasingly connected, ambiguous world that is flooded with information, trust is just about the most important factor in achieving market success. At Farner, we see strategic communication as being about the ability to structure relationship processes in a way that generates proximity and trust.
What do these changes mean for us as consultants?
- Firstly, that we need to be closer than the others – closer to people, to topics, to markets and to social developments. Only in this way can we recognise what actually matters and apply our knowledge effectively in this increasingly complex world.
- Secondly, that our communication measures need to promote relationships and generate a sense of proximity. In today’s complex media landscape, this no longer happens via linear, transactional communication forms, but through circular, dialogue-based communication on user-oriented topics.
- Thirdly, that we need to develop new attitudes in order to restructure the way we collaborate both with our clients and with our colleagues at the agency. We call this new approach “co-creation”. Within co-creation, our role is not that of all-knowing experts who dictate measures and provide ready-to-use products to clients. Rather, it is to cooperate with our clients to jointly develop effective, integrable solutions and processes.
In terms of our work at the agency, co-creation means adopting a multidisciplinary mindset and bringing together our numerous expert teams to collaborate on projects. Continually juxtaposing multiple viewpoints in this way and allowing for a constant change of perspectives enables us to develop effective cross-channel communication. In keeping with this concept, our content and PR specialists, creatives, digital experts, change consultants and researchers all sit co-creatively around the same table, developing ideas and creating communication measures collaboratively.
Our agency’s new strategic approach, which we have dubbed “Closer”, has also given us cause to revamp our website. In addition to the Farner blog, the new interactive feature #FragDichNah encourages discussion on topics affecting you and your sector. I hope you enjoy browsing our new website and look forward to receiving your feedback and suggestions.