How to create purposeful, lasting partnerships
Relationships are a big part of our work. Only with trust, openness and true collaboration can we begin to find what matters – then make it matter more – for organisations that want to do good.
As we heard one sagacious client say recently: “Don’t necessarily go with biggest (or glossiest) agency, but with a partner who resonates with what it is you want to achieve.”
With that, here are our five tips for finding and building the most meaningful partnerships. Those that’ll help you to change the world for the better.
1. Dare to ditch the pitch
Pitching favours the salesperson, not the craftsperson. We dare our potential clients to break out of the boardroom (will you find what you need in the Dragons’ Den?), think and feel outside of the tick-box, and trust in a process that reaches well beyond the surface of instant solutions however seductive the veneer.
Isn’t it better to be wowed by work that comes from the substance of a beautiful collaboration than sold a flash-in-the-pan idea?
2. Get to know one other
Good communications work is about creating meaningful connections, after all. That’s where we begin. Being curious, listening, asking questions about people’s needs. Don’t be afraid to answer openly and bring your whole selves – strengths and pitfalls alike. Inviting us to do the same could help you to sort genuine would-be-partners from profit-hungry performers.
By nurturing and deepening relationships from the beginning, we can foster an intuitive, rewarding way of working. And if it doesn’t feel like a natural match from the beginning? Be upfront.
3. Let nature take its course
“Aligning our values” is a phrase that makes us want to gag, quite truthfully. Jargon aside, though, values are vital. They’re our inner compass and the lenses through which we communicate. Demonstrating them helps us to attract the right partners and collaborators. Values, therefore, can be a natural matchmaker – a bit like the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts.
As in our work, we advise looking beyond the givens: honesty, integrity, reliability etc. (And, actually, who doesn’t say they possess those?) What’s your prospective partner’s outlook on the world? What do they believe? Do they prioritise purpose over profit? Do they genuinely care for the cause? Equally, do you want someone to bring a fresh perspective to the table?
4. Dig deep for the right qualities
Of course, you’ll ask if a potential partner has the skills for the job. But finding the real deal – dedicated craft, rich experience and creative potential – means diving beneath the surface. Talking to us and meeting us as equals. Asking for referrals and references. Reading case studies. Being curious.
5. Ask if they’ll go the extra mile
You’ll want to know if your preferred partner has the right approach to help you to achieve the impact you desire. That’s down to intention and tenacity as much as it is methodology. For us, they go hand in hand. This is where you’ll see a truly supportive partner emerge. Someone to help you to navigate stormy waters. Challenge you in the spirit of finding the right path. And go outside the confines of comfort to complete the quest.
Building a relationship in this way, we often find, equates to more. More than a website, a campaign or even an identity. More in the long-run. It could be a ripple of positive momentum or a seismic change. A new way of communicating or an entire shift in how you work.
Whatever the outcome, the right partnership can make all the difference to the difference you want to make.