Building Relationships Across Boundaries

This summer has been a big summer for us at Five Brand. We have participated in different programmes throughout the UK and Switzerland in order to build our skill set. Overall, it’s been some pretty inspiring stuff.

Rebecca has been asked to write a short reflection for Success Network about what it’s like to build relationships across cultural and physical boundaries. Her blog post focuses on the best way to relate to people, reach your audience and be yourself.

We hope you’ve had an equally inspiring summer, and we’re looking forward to an even better autumn.


What’s the easiest way to build relationships across boundaries?

Guest post for Success Network by Rebecca Wheatley, Founder of Five Brand Communication


I’ve been building a business in Switzerland, which isn’t my home country for the last two years. I’ve worked hard at learning German and how things are ‘done’ here. I’ve adapted the way I work to fit this.

I have also started to work back in the UK, where I originally come from. I’ve thought to myself, this should be easier. I can speak English and people will trust me more. Right?

Wrong. They are two very different places – yet incredibly very similar.

There is so much material out there to help you understand others. Culture, language, coaching, training. None of it really comes into play though unless you learn one thing – everyone is a human being.

There are different ways of doing things, sure. But it’s easy to forget that language is just clothing for feelings. And feelings are always rooted in basic human needs.

I run sessions with my customers on knowing your audience. We sit down. We work through an audience persona. We take facts, surveys results, insights and we think about what their ideal customer or buyer really wants, needs, desires.

Interestingly, regardless of which country we do this in, it always eventually comes back to the same thing. Security.

Taking into account that there is air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat, what does security look like? Family & friends. Money to live a decent quality of life. Social acceptance.

Culture and society attribute many different things to how people behave and make decisions – ego, power, anger – but they are just layers on top of the fundamental human framework.

This is why marketing techniques are always outdated and will always need to be on the move. People adapt. They are wiser, quicker and language is less of a barrier than ever in our globalised economy.

To truly reach your audience, you just need to be yourself. Of course, think about the layers on top of their basic needs. Think about their challenges. What makes their day to day lives and jobs that little bit easier. But don’t forget the foundation where all this sits.

Use this information to form your communication messaging. Say it how it is – don’t overcomplicate it and always get feedback to help you be as clear as possible, as well as evolve with the market.

You can dress it up however you like, but if you don’t live who you say you are, people will see through it. Relationships built on trust, a common understanding and good intention will win out. That goes for B2C brands and B2B relationships alike.

So put language and culture to one side and focus on the person you are dealing with. What do you do that would make their lives better?

Now, tell them about it.

It’s really that simple.


About the author: Rebecca Wheatley is Founder of Five Brand Communication – a business that works with teams and initiatives across UK & Switzerland to build their brands from the inside through brand identity, employee engagement and social impact led communication strategy. She also blogs about her personal development and art projects at Life in Zuri.