This paper discusses how the critical elements of 'developing relationships' and 'understanding emotions' within a social marketing framework can be used to influence local government strategy and communications aimed at improving community cohesion and addressing negative myths. Under New Labour, community cohesion became a national and local priority. This is a case study of how one local authority - The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) - has addressed this issue by taking a social marketing approach. The paper also briefly discusses the 'tone of voice' adopted by LBBD in response to extensive insight work before outlining an innovative staff training programme. Most front-line staff have now participated in this programme, and the authors are currently evaluating its effectiveness in improving communications and cohesion within the community.