On the most loved-up day of the year, Hatched’s Lucy Seward asks what makes a great industry partnership.
Valentine’s Day has got us all thinking about our partners. But what about our partners in business?
What makes a good professional partnership and are there parallels between our romantic partnerships? In the fast-paced world of media, what does partnership actually mean? What are the foundations for forging a strong and lasting partnership? And how do you keep the spark alive?
To me, a good business partnership is a long-term one. While some agencies might be keen on a short fling or a one-night stand, at Hatched, we’re all about putting a ring on it. Several of our clients have been with us since the start. Some of our relationships are coming into their sixth, seventh or eighth years. And we’ve only been around for 10!
Retention is important to any agency. And for us, it means going out to pitch less often. And, a testament to our existing partnerships, many of our clients have come to us from referrals. It’s like when your friends set you up with someone they know versus meeting a stranger on Hinge. Because you have a common connection, there’s an inkling of trust at the outset and the relationship is more likely to flourish. Plus they’re much less likely to ghost you.
Like dating, it’s important to be yourself from the get-go. If you put on an act in the courting phase claiming you don't fart or burp, reality is going to set in eventually.
Of course, you need to get to know each other before you commit. By developing a deep and genuine understanding of your partners and how their business works, you’re setting yourself up for the long haul.
Having great partners can help you to achieve so much. And that will benefit everyone in the relationship. If we didn't have good partners from the start, we wouldn't be the 60-person agency we are today.
The same applies to your people. When you have long-term relationships with your staff, it tends to be because they are happy at work. And that comes back to how much attention you pay to your people, their workloads and their unique talents.
As the Hatched saying goes, happy staff, happy clients.
Clients are also more trusting of staff that have been with the business for some time because they know they won’t have to introduce and induct people to their brand over and over. The ideal scenario is that the people in the room at the first meeting are the people in the room throughout the relationship. This builds further trust as well as an openness to ideas which makes it possible to test and learn together.
Then when wobbles happen, as in all relationships, you can have a better conversation and quickly resolve the issue because you've known that person for a while. You know how your partner communicates and how they prefer to deal with challenges.
Relationships require attention and care. And it’s important to keep the spark alive. But you’ve got to have fun as well as the serious stuff.
It helps if you genuinely care for your clients and show them that by remembering what’s important to them. It’s not a skill we all have but if you can authentically make them feel special, they’re going to do the same for you.
We like to keep the flame burning with our clients by bringing the outside in. It’s easy to get caught up in your day-to-day. We help our clients get out of that bubble by sharing intel and insights from the media, marketing and cultural landscape. Our job is to keep things fresh and bring new ideas.
And then there’s our relationship with our media partners which is more of an open one. We know we’re not the only ones in their little black book. So these partnerships must be built on respect and trust. It’s imperative for sharing the sensitive information required to do our job.
They know this too and that’s why they do plenty of wooing. They take us out for lunches and dinners and while it was never my thing, many people still fondly remember the days when they sent massage therapists to the office to rub our shoulders at our desks.
So this Valentine’s Day, we want to express how much we love our clients, our people and our media partners. Together we make great things happen. And have a whole lot of fun.
We're proud that our people are agents of positive impact in the industry.
We’re incredibly fortunate to work with fantastic clients.
And we love going out to lunch with our media partners.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Lucy Seward is the Head of Marketing at Hatched.