Previously, we discussed what you should do before you seek to create brand partnerships. If you are just now joining us, make sure to read about it here before you continue! So, now that you know the DNA of your brand, and you have chosen people to partner with based on the knowledge that they support your brand's values, what do you do? Well that’s easy- love them like crazy! I always say, the number one thing that people want is to feel loved and valued! Think about what makes you feel loved then do THAT to your partners! Here a few helpful tips that I have found to work.
Communicate. Drop in to say hello! Check in and see how things are going. Or maybe you need to let a partner know that things aren't going the way you hoped. Always honestly communicate. Let the partner know and work things out in a mature way. If you have a long and lasting relationship with someone, chances are you are going to have to communicate things that aren’t always rainbows and butterflies. But that is the key, tell them- respectfully of course. Try building them up and encouraging them first, because you want him/her to know that you although something may not be working, you still respect them.
Support and value. This is huge. Do you have a project you need to outsource? Check in with a partner first and see if they want in! This lets a partner know you value and support their work. To let him/her in on a project that might grow your business, is to let a partner know that you trust them. I know when someone entrusts something of value to me, I feel worthy. It makes me feel like he/she believes in my gifts and talents. Think of it in this way, when my friends who have no interest in the creative industry supports my social media, it makes me feel like I am valued by them! I believe the same is true when we trust our partners with their creative talents. When releasing our control on something we hold so dear (like our business!), we allow others to use their passions, gifts, and talents to become a source of encouragement and blessing, by simply letting them be a part.
Serve. Serving is a selfless act because it expects nothing in return. A healthy brand partnership is one that is mutually beneficial, so serving your partner may seem contrary to this idea. But let’s think about it for a second! I have this habit of hanging my towel on the door after I shower, in a way that won’t let you shut the door. It drives my husband NUTS. He has told me multiple times to please not do it, but I just forget and keep doing it! One day, my towel fell on the bathroom floor (after being hung on the door), and my husband saw it. He told me that he considered throwing my towel on the floor every time he saw it on the door to teach me a lesson, but instead, he dismissed that thought, picked my towel up, and hung it on the hook. After he told me that, I stopped hanging my towel on the door. He served me in such a small way, that it made me want to serve him in return. This is such a tiny example of a big idea, but what if that’s the way we all treated each other! How awesome would our partnerships be if we began to serve each other without always thinking of ourselves first? If you chose this partner in the first place, based on what we discussed in the first part, then serving one another should lead to a healthy and encouraging relationship.
It has been such a joy to work with The School of Styling managing our brand relations. I don’t consider myself an expert at relationships, I am just a human afterall! But I do know that we need to have a healthy view of our business before we can work well (being the keyword!) with others. Know who you are and what you value, then seek out others who line up with your mission. If you do this, then you are on your way to creating and maintaining healthy brand relationships. Remember, we all just want to be loved!