Articles, Blog

Cultivating better relationships in business (The Art of Life-ing @Work with Keka)

November 5, 2019

Cultivating better relationships in
business – that’s the topic we’re pondering today on “The Art of Life-ing @Work with Keka.” [MUSIC] I’ve worked in marketing and public relations for 23 years, and
when I look back at how much things have changed over those past two decades, it’s
quite astonishing. I’m going to be aging myself here, but my very first PR
campaign that I did, I was actually faxing press releases to the media! To
which my two sons are saying: “Fax? What’s a fax?” That’s how long I’ve been
doing this. But one of the things that I have noticed over the last little while,
especially as technology has risen, and our our marketplace has become much more
dense, you know, there’s many more players in marketing and public relations in the
last little while, I find that we are increasingly getting more transactional
in North America. You know, I grew up in in a dichotomous environment where at
school I would be exposed to Western cultures and values and practices, and
often at home, I had Eastern rules and Eastern values. And I always found it
really interesting when we would go to India, where my parents are from, (we would
go to India over the summers), and I would see that most things in India, at the
time, weren’t sold on fixed prices. It’s not like you went to a store, you saw a
price tag, you knew that that was the price, and you paid for it, the way we do
in North America. Everything was negotiable, and so nothing had any price
tags on it. You would go in, you’d say you want this,
and then you would haggle and bargain for a price. But what was really interesting in
seeing that, was the expertise that some of those store owners had, in terms of
reading people’s signals, and finding the win-win, in terms of that negotiation. And
in North America we are so transactional, and I find that we’re just getting more
transactional, where if the dollar figure fits or doesn’t fit, is often, at the end
of the day, the determining factor in terms of whether somebody hires an
agency or works with other people. But in so many other parts of the world, when it
comes to business, it is still very relationship-oriented. And you know, my family and I traveled to Dubai a few years back, and
we were speaking to an Emirati there who said if you want to do business in
Dubai, if you want to do business anywhere in the UAE, you have to not talk
about anything business- related first. First, you have to get in,
with the person you’re trying to do business with and create a relationship
with them. But not just with them, also with their family. That means coming
over for dinner, meeting the mother-in-law, meeting the uncles, the
cousins, the babies. Just really getting a chance to really know everybody. And only
once you have cultivated that relationship, do you then have the social
permission to start creating a business relationship, and enter into business
talks. And so, this got me thinking about the fact that in North America, you know,
so often, we as brands, we have a brand persona, you know, if our brand was a
person, what would they be? And we give ourselves all kinds of profiles, you know,
larger companies, banks, for example, will say: “Okay, our target market is a woman.
Her name is Susan and she’s an architect. And she lives in the city and has two
kids, and she drives this kind of car. She watches this kind of TV”…like, there’s so
much data connected to that profile that we give. Conversely, when it comes to our
customers that we’re serving or our suppliers were working with, we have all
kinds of data around that too, but having a public relations background in
marketing, for me, the one thing that I think that we’re moving further away
from, and we need to change course, and reverse action in my opinion, is the
relationship between people. You know, if we were as addicted to people in our
business as we are usually addicted to numbers, our businesses could skyrocket!
And in public relations, so often you know, when we are pitching a story to
somebody, when we want our brand in the news, what we’re looking for is what’s
the commonality between a media outlet’s audiences and our brand and what we have
to say. What’s going to connect them? What’s going to make them like each
other and create some conversation, and create some value out of that? And then,
we take that as our PR messaging and bring it out to the media. But in
business, we often are like, this is what we sell, and you are a target market, and
you need to buy this and we become very flat
by way of the product or the service that we offer. And we forget that
people-to-people connection. So I am sharing, this with you today, because I would love
to ask you to think about, if you’re in a decision-making capability, and you’re
working with suppliers or customers or clients, what is the connection that you
have? Let’s think back to the essence and the purity of PR, and say: “What is the
connection that you have with your client or your audience, outside of the
products or services you sell? What is the relationship you’re cultivating
between these entities, between these people?” If we could really focus on
becoming more addicted to creating relationships with people, then business
will come and not only just come once, but it’ll often tend to repeat itself. So
let’s not just look at the dollar figure and the transactional relationship we
have, but let’s get into the human-to- human connection that we have, and build
a relationship based on that humanity and that connection. When we do, business will
thrive. Thank you so much for watching this video! if you liked it, please give
it a thumbs up, and share it with anybody that you care about. If you want to be
notified every time a new video comes up, Then hit that little bell icon, to be
notified. I put up new videos every Tuesday. And finally, if you have any
comments for me, please share them with me.I really want to do this
journey with you, together! 🙂

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