It’s personal and it’s business: the power of real partnerships

Recently, a large brand came to Fervor for help identifying challenges in their current marketing relationships. I asked a fairly simple question of the group: Did they know the names of any of the spouses of anyone in their current marketing relationships?


Okay, so I asked a few more questions. Kids’ names? What were they passionate about? Who do they cheer for on football Saturdays? What do they value? Again, crickets.

It became clear that they did not have marketing partners; they had vendors. These vendors cared if the check could be cashed, and that was the extent of it. So we began a plan to help them find the right marketing partner.

You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” But I couldn’t disagree more. Humans were built for relationships. We were built to walk alongside each other in every aspect of life — business included.


We’re so conditioned these days to expect a simple transaction. Try it online for 14 days free. Cancel anytime. No obligation to buy. It’s too easy. We can even treat friendships and marriages that way. God intended for relationships to be deep and meaningful . . . I don’t see a lot of that in business anymore and it saddens me.

Think about it for a minute: when business is tough, doesn’t it affect your home? When business is off the charts, doesn’t it impact your family? When you’re working with a real partner, business is absolutely personal.

When we talk about the term “partnership,” we all take it seriously. My crew and I know we have to advocate well for each of our clients, and we have to believe in each of our clients. It’s what we’re called to do.

We’ve learned that our clients are hungry for a partner. They want someone who acts like an owner. They want someone who takes it personally when it doesn’t work, who will work their ass off to fix it when it’s wrong.

In a partnership, you actually care about the people in the organization. You believe in what they’re doing, you care enough to align yourself with the brand and you make a personal investment. Partners want to know your wife’s name. Partners want to know your perspective. Partners want to get to know your heart.

In his book Leadership, Rudy Giuliani writes about some of the events he attended after the 9/11 attacks. He talks about how he found it so easy to show up to a wedding and so hard to show up at funerals. But he knew it was more important for him to show up during times of strife than times of rejoicing.

Keep your doors open long enough and your organization will inevitably face a challenge. Hey, God never said this life would be easy. Anyone who’s been at it long enough knows that there will always be a hill. So if you’re choosing a partner, ask yourself: who do you want to travel up the hill with? Pick a partner who will lean in, step in and help you get back up that hill. If your partner isn’t feeling the pain you’re feeling, chances are they’re not a partner in the first place.

But here’s the real joy of partnership. When we climb that hill together, real partners understand the weight of that win! When Shelterwood Academy fills beds in their boarding school, when more than half a million people hear the Gospel through Max Lucado . . . we know how monumental these wins are because we’ve been doing the work to get there. If we have alignment as partners, then our goals are the same. There is no sweeter celebration.


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