On this cozy, rainy, Sunday morning, I’m drinking my coffee and mentally preparing for the week ahead. A week, just like the last one, and those before it; filled with tons of meetings, campaign launches, creative production craziness, and an endless “to-do” list that comes with managing a boutique agency.
There’s no “9-5” about it. Not even close. But you know what? I love it. Our team rocks and I feel privileged to work with them every day. But, that’s not what this post is about. It’s about our clients – the other equally important reason why I don’t mind spending my Sunday thinking about the work week ahead…
Typically, in an agency-client relationship, the agency works really hard to keep the client happy – with good service, top-notch work, and the little extras. We do all of that and we think it’s really important. But here’s why we get so excited. Our clients actually give back to us, too. And I’m not talking about fee for service. I can’t begin to count the ways in which I, personally, along with the rest of our team have benefited from working with them.
Last week, some of us came back from a meeting with a large non-profit who greeted us with two full bags of organic vegetables – freshly picked from their gardens. A gift for us. And last month, as we were leaving a meeting with one of our favorite New Hampshire-based clients, we were handed 2 Phillies tickets and more of their products than we could eat in a week. We felt spoiled. The generosity and kindness all of our clients bestow on us is… humbling.
My world is now significantly influenced by them. We have some of the coolest second-hand, planet-friendly furniture from some of our retail clients and we now know how to get our electrical power from renewable wind energy. Our recycling bins are filled with the remains of many of our clients’ nutritious products – yogurt cups, milk cartons, tea bottles – many have been generously gifted to us, but we also happily purchase them on our own – not because we’re kiss-asses, but because we think they’re just plain good. They taste good, they’re good for us, and they’re often good for the planet. You can’t get much better than that.
I mean, sometimes, it feels like we’re the clients, not them. But it only makes us want to work harder for them, for their cause, and for our shared goals. So… I smile because of how lucky I feel to be able to say that I love our clients (our friends, really)… and NOT just because they give us stuff.
We all have a core set of values and beliefs about the world. When we find like-minded individuals and companies, especially those that are on a mission to make the world, and the niches they have chosen, a better place, we can’t help but get excited to help them compete and succeed. The warm, fuzzy feelings surface regularly, and that makes our work really rewarding. And, often times, we get an education along the way. Sometimes, I learn so much in a day, my brain hurts… but it’s temporary as I grab the natural stress-relief lozenge one of our generous clients recently sent for such occasions.
The depth of knowledge I gain from getting to know each one of our unique clients, their industries, their challenges, and their strategic goals… to be a part of their mission… is priceless. I’m a better business person, consumer, strategist, and advocate because of it.
And now… I’m hungry for breakfast. I think I’ll start with that awesome organic Greek yogurt… the one that starts with an “O” (smile).