Great relationships allow great work to flourish

great-relationships-allow-great-work-to-flourish

What separates our services from what other digital agencies offer? Our visuals set us apart. We offer killer graphic and web design, logo and branding work, and brand photography and videography. Check out these visuals.

But I can’t just stop there, it goes beyond the state-of-the-art visual strategy we hand our clients.

Schoening Digital can also be distinguished by these two things: Our enthusiasm and the way we build relationships

  1. The energy and enthusiasm we bring to every project, challenge, and interaction.
  2. The care and authenticity with which we build our client and team relationships.

It’s the latter that I want to expand upon now, because I think every professional and personal success hinges on an authentically transparent, trusting, relationship. Relationships are critical, pivotal, the catalyst for innovation, productive collaboration, and execution of every great idea.

The Art of Client Service’s Robert Solomon totes the importance of strong relationships

My team recently read The Art of Client Service by Robert Solomon. In my rereading this time around, a particular page got a bunny ear because of these few sentences, in which Solomon’s referencing advertising as a relationship business:

“I don’t mean relationship as in ‘doing lunch,’ I mean relationship as in doing all of the things, and being all of the things, that build trust with the client. Listening, asking the right questions. Anticipating and solving problems. Meeting commitments. Managing expectations. Eliminating unpleasant surprises. Taking ownership. Acting with integrity.”

Schoening Digital stands by a set of team and client relationship standards

One of my most revered mentors (my dad) advised me early on in Schoening Digital’s life to outline what successful and failed client relationships would look like for my business. I followed his advice, as I do when most of my mentors share ideas, and ended up with such a document. I have had one occasion thus far when I’ve needed to print this Relationship Document and bring it to a client meeting. I’m happy to say I didn’t have to pull it out and review our standards in detail; just mentioning that we had standards for successful client relationships was enough to move the conversation in the right direction.

Schoening Digital employees read this as part of their welcome packet, and each of our independent contractors agree to honor key communication and relationship standards as part of our services agreement before work starts. Here are a few snippets from Schoening Digital’s Relationship Standards document: 

Successful Client Relationships

Our relationships with our clients will be successful and productive if they include the following:

  • Mutual respect and trust.
  • Openness and transparency about concerns and challenges and a willingness to step back and re-orient based on initial business and project goals.
  • Collaborative attitudes. We’re on the same side of the table as our clients, not opposite sides.

Failed Client Relationships

If our relationships with our clients include any of the following, we would consider the relationship to be strained, and in need of immediate revision:

  • Unfounded blame, or a blaming attitude in general. We don’t work that way. Let’s talk about it.
  • Passive aggressiveness, bullying, condescension or communication that includes threats.

What Schoening Digital Will Do:

  • We will 100% respect our clients and their business needs.
  • We will deliver excellent work.
  • We will inspire in our clients the same excitement we have for powerful storytelling and digital solutions.

What Schoening Digital Won’t Do:

  • We won’t take relationship challenges lightly, and we won’t be emotional about them. We’ll fix them.
  • We won’t tolerate relationships that aren’t professional, mature, and that don’t include a willingness to listen to all ideas on the table.
  • We won’t be passive aggressive when it comes to work relationship issues.

Mr. Solomon might not be surprised to see that relationships take up about half the space in Schoening Digital’s mission:

We exist to help organizations tell their brand story in the digital space in a way that lets them effectively, beautifully, and consistently communicate to their key audiences, and to foster co-working relationships within our team and with our clients that are honest, supportive, and empowering.

“Business is about relationships, and a great relationship allows great work to flourish.” – Robert Solomon. Well said, Solomon, well said.

Photo credit: Shared from our Parents Union shoot.

About the Author

Julie Schoening is Founder and Creative Director of Schoening Digital, a birth child of her many years creating kick-ass visuals for brands online. She likes hiking, reading, and hanging with her hubby. She loves connecting with great people. Email her at julie@schoeningdigital.com.

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