To borrow (and alter) a line from a famous advertising slogan, “Partnership has its privileges.” At Castle, we’re proud to partner with firms that augment our expertise, have similar business goals and interests, share our values and allow our networks to expand.
Later this month we’re partnering with the Boston Business Journal to sponsor their August mixer at Castle’s nonprofit partner, the Courageous Sailing Center. Through our events and PR divisions, we’re partnering every day — with our clients, team, media, vendors, complementary firms and nonprofit organizations.
A partner is defined as: A person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor. Our partnerships are created based on previous shared experiences, common approaches to quality and ethics, and the ability to enjoy working together. In practice, every day, we apply that partnership philosophy.
Here’s how to turn business contacts into partners:
Clients: Think about what keeps them up at night and what engages them. Remember their goals are your goals. Their success is your success — and vice versa. If you want them to consider you an extension of their team (i.e., a partner!), act like one. Proactively share information and ideas. Find ways to connect inside and outside of business. Let them know — through deeds and words — that you consider them a partner.
Teammates: You can take your pick from lots of sports analogies, but since it’s summer, we’ll go with a water one: everyone rowing in the same direction. Share the direction, share in the success and challenges, and help everyone see how their role fits into the big picture.
Media: PR 101 — you cannot build relationships with the media by simply pitching stories. Think — really think — about what the reporters, editors, publishers and producers need, and help find it for them, even when it’s unrelated to the story you want to place. Everyone is under the gun to get their job done, but if you understand that your objectives won’t always mesh, you can approach your interactions with true collaborative intent.
Vendors: We’re a vendor (although we cringe at the word). Think of your vendor as an extension of your team — share the information they need to do the best possible job for you. Let them know how their efforts have helped you. A kind word and some understanding go a long way. And they will go the extra mile for a partner, as opposed to just another customer.
Nonprofit/Community/Civic Organizations: They have needs, but they can also be a resource. Take the time to meet with any organization you plan to join or support and really discuss how you can help one another. You would be surprised at how many organizations have mutually beneficial opportunities, if you just take the time to learn about each other.
Complementary Firms/Businesses: During the economic downturn, we saw firms lining up to “partner,” as a desperate step toward getting new business. In many cases, it didn’t work. Partnerships require effort, understanding and commitment, and each party has to be interested in the other’s success, and in the opportunities to collaborate. That is why PRGN, our global PR network, works so well. Our colleagues — agency principals — around the world value other members, especially through the lens of how those members can help their firms and their clients.
If partnerships are like marriages, we just celebrated our 14th anniversary last week. We’ve seen other partnerships come and go, but we’ve worked hard to apply our partnership approach to all of the people and organizations we touch every day. You can ask some of them how well it’s working if you come to our event with the Boston Business Journal on August 26. Hope to see you there.