Beyond digital: joy of analogue

Anthony Haynes

Anthony Haynes writes: The post below (the fourth and final post in our ‘Beyond digital’ mini-series) contributes to our attempt to articulate the rationale for a hybrid communications strategy founded on the belief that analogue communications can be both effective and exciting.

Our previous post argued that “whether considered strategically or piece-by-piece, analogue  provides an opportunity for distinctiveness — in particular, when it comes to conveying a sense of classiness”.
In practice, we’ve focused on two forms of analogue comms: print resources and face-to-face meetings.
An example of the print resources we produce is our Employer Resources series, in which we provide practical guidance on talent acquisition.
Though we do make this content available digitally (here), our main medium is designed and printed postcards. For an example in PDF, see here.
Why postcards? We’ve consistently found that people tend to value postcards. (In my work for my own company, Frontinus Ltd, I frequently  give out postcards during a meeting. I find at the end that some people say, ‘Is it OK if I keep this?’ – as if the card might have great monetary value.)
We find that people’s behaviour with postcards is different from their behaviour with A4 handouts knocked out on an office printer. The size and thickness of cards means that people tend not to file them away in the way they do with documents. The cards tend to hand around, on people’s desks.
When cards are used to guide practice, users tend to stick them on the edge of their monitors, or on the walls next to their monitors, or on the desk itself. This brings out a practical advantage of print over digital, namely that it obviates the need to constantly switch between windows — an example of what Sven Birkerts has called ‘the ungainliness’ of digital technology.
As well as print, we use face-to-face meetings. After all, talent acquisition is — or at least should be — first and foremost about people.
In the early 1990s, when the British Labour Party was seeking to improve its relationship with the City, it mounted what was termed its Prawn Cocktail Offensive. For key stakeholders, we’ve done something of the same, suitably updated (the “Super Salad Offensive”).
Who says the business lunch is dead? Provided it is not over-inebriating, can be a creative occasion – certainly more so than an email string.



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