For many businesses, online and digital connections are the most popular way of communicating internally – and increasingly, externally and with customers too. But not all organisations are following what is becoming the status quo; we caught up with Virgin Radio Lebanon to find out how they manage the balance between online and in-person connections.
“With the era of digital, social media and internet, people are closer than ever in exchanging information,” Virgin Radio Lebanon's Jenny Abou Jaoude says. “But when it comes to gut feelings, intuition and understanding the other party, physical connection is key, if not crucial.
“In every business meeting we have face-to-face, a bond is created and a feeling is generated that can never be replace by a virtual connection.”
Generally the station focuses on face-to-face meetings for their team, Jenny says. “We rely on physical meetings to assess our weekly performance on such matters as campaign handling, music programming and social media preparations and scheduling. Then, throughout the week, and through our open space, we are in constant meetings and brainstorming sessions with each other.”
One of the ways that Virgin Radio Lebanon encourages connections between staff is with offices that are open to anyone. “Whenever you come to our offices, you see friends from different industries working or ex-colleagues starting up their business right from their old desks,” Jenny says.
The open offices also make external connections easier to build and develop too. “Our customers visit us as friends and exchange ideas with everyone here, listeners pop by and shareholders check in as their offices are close by,” Jenny says.
Of course, interacting with ‘customers’ for a radio station is quite different to many other businesses, and much of their listener interaction is done over the radio waves. “We already have our radio programmes which engage with the Lebanese audience which, together with our online activities, help us reach millions of people on a daily basis,” Jenny explains.
“But, with this connection comes greater responsibility. In a business where we need to make money from advertising, we also need to keep our customers trust and not overwhelm them with ads, and this is the balance we try to keep through a well-organised advertising pipeline. After all we are the home of ‘10 hits in a row’, which in essence means not to bother our listeners unnecessarily!”
They do aim to connect physically with listeners whenever possible, though - and this gives them an advantage over their competitors. “Physical connections are giving our business an edge with the roadshows and other events we organise,” Jenny says. “These events bring the Virgin brand closer to our listeners who then feel connected and engaged with it, helping make it their top radio choice.”