Strong Relationships Keep Businesses Going

By Stacy Cornay for the Times-Call
Publish Date: 09/30/2012

I went crazy last week. Crazier than usual.

My email system cratered.

In a nanosecond I was no longer part of new technology. I was banished to the age of paper and snail mail, forced into doing for myself what my computer was supposed to be doing for me. For three days I was totally disconnected. I was outside the Internet looking in while the world went on communicating without me. I knew that somewhere out in cyberspace the emails I badly needed were not finding their way to my desk. Client meetings, presentations, focus groups and a host of other pending projects weren't getting deserved attention. All because of some glitch somewhere in some high-tech gizmo.

While info-tech wizards were waving their wands and casting spells at the problem, I had to somehow forge ahead. There was no time for pity (I tried, but got none). Things had to get done. Using flash drives, friends' scanners, my husband's email account and face-to-face sessions to bridge communication gaps, I was able to keep all the balls in the air. Along the way I gained a deeper appreciation for relationships.

Marketing revolves around relationships, getting new customers and clients, keeping old ones and encouraging buyers to spend more time and money with your business. Marketing is predicated on establishing trust, on instilling confidence and on strengthening ties. People do business with people they like. That's why social media have taken off. Social media put businesses directly and intimately into the lives and thinking of target audiences.

For centuries businesses have relied on media to deliver their messages. From the days of town criers to modern tweaks and blogs, businesses have been on the cutting edge when it comes to advertising, marketing and promotions.

Social media are another evolution along the way, another avenue for reaching those we don't yet know, another approach to reinforcing bonds with current customers and clients.

But social media are not an end in themselves. Taken together, social media are part of much bigger promotional opportunities that also encompass newspapers, radio, television and printed pieces. Exploiting the opportunities requires understanding, timing and reinforcement.

Businesses that know the demographics, needs, desires and preferences of their target audiences are a leg up on their competition. They're positioned to reach current and potential customers and clients with appropriate messages in a timely manner. They can strategically use one medium to reinforce others. Newspapers, radio, television and the Internet are delivery choices that can be mutually supporting when it comes to communicating, informing, enticing and interacting with the general public. Businesses may elect to use the various media separately or in combinations to implement effective advertising, marketing, communication and public relations plans.

Savvy business people don't precipitously cast aside everything they have been doing to go all in on the latest innovation. They don't throw their messages against a wall to see if anything sticks. Instead, they expand their options by weighing pros and cons, consulting with professionals and critically assessing where they are and where they want to be. Successful businesses not only target their audiences, they target their approaches. They focus their time and resources on the medium or media most likely to reach the eyes and ears of soon-to-be-satisfied customers. They concentrate on nurturing lasting relationships.

To varying degrees, all media are social. All have a common objective – creating positive interactions with current and potential clients and customers. Positive interactions lead to strong, enduring relationships.

When I was left without a twitter to tweak, that's what kept me in the game.

Strong, enduring relationships.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
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