Hacking our way through the jungle of consent and permission over the past few months with clients has been challenging, but strangely invigorating. No, don’t stop reading, this isn’t about that. While pausing for breath in a clearing, something occurred to us.

Focusing on ensuring we’ve got permission to keep having a direct conversation with people is important. But what about all the people we’ve never had a direct conversation with, because we’ve never had their contact details? They’ve always been out there, some responding anonymously. There’s plenty of people who identify as supporters despite the fact we’ve never met. But we call them ‘cold’. And it can be hard to reach them.

And flipping the viewfinder, what about ‘warm’? Every emergency response charity will tell you that some warm supporters will respond through cold channels when a disaster strikes. In an omnichannel world, response is porous, and supporters use whatever channel works best for them. What if we took some of the energy we put into trying to police channel response and attribution and put it to work on making ourselves warm in the wild?

What would that look like? It’s already happening, but largely by accident rather than design. Streaming service Spotify’s 2016 campaign (Dear the person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s day…what did you do?) does away with thinking about audiences or channels as warm or cold.  Speaking directly to Spotify users and music lovers alike, one to one, it breaks down barriers and used OOH, a channel we think of as impersonal, to make a personal connection.

Working with trade union Unison, GOOD put the member at the forefront of a champions campaign designed to bring to life the difference Unison membership makes one real person at a time. While the campaign ran across a range of channels, their existing membership engaged with the supposedly cold channels, rather than personal email.

So how does warm in the wild look? Catalysing and curating user-generated content, and challenging ourselves to forget ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ channels.  Making our personal connection to the values and beliefs of our audience immediate and accessible to meet our audience where they are. So anyone who thinks they are a supporter can be one.