Americans are unhappier than they’ve been in years according to the annual World Happiness Report, scoring 19th out of 156 countries surveyed, and US scores continue to drop year-over-year in the happiness polls. This is one of the many reasons that Dragon Army’s purpose is to Inspire Happiness through positive relationships, impactful work, and doing good — because we could all use a little more happiness in our lives.

Inspiring Happiness is at the heart of every decision we make, especially when it comes to who we partner with (a.k.a. our extended Dragon family). In this article, you’ll learn why cultivating positive relationships is so important to our company and how you too can foster healthy partnerships within your organization.

CULTIVATING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

As a member of the Growth Team at Dragon Army, our number one objective is to grow the company through positive relationships. And while most new business teams primarily focus on going after new clients, we take a slightly different approach.

Yes, we are always looking for new partners that align with our vision and values, but we also put a healthy amount of time and energy into nurturing our current client relationships — which is something often forgotten by most new business departments, because they aren't typically held accountable for retention (just acquisition). The real magic of the Growth Team is how 'hyper-focused’ we are on our current relationships. We put equal (if not more) focus on retaining and growing accounts, as we do on bringing in new business. We recognize that the strongest partnerships are the ones that you nurture, and it is this practice of care that sustains the business and allows for continual growth. And, as a bonus, this approach also helps us to be better partners to new clients as well!  

KNOW YOUR CLIENTS

A key element to cultivating positive relationships is knowing your clients on a personal level — what they like, dislike, and especially knowing their brand ‘almost’ better than they do. We work hard to discover what’s important to them and execute on those factors. By digging deep to uncover what inspires their happiness, we act on those findings through (what we like to call) “Dragon Delight” moments.

For example, The Honey Baked Ham company has been a Dragon Army partner since early 2018. We were brought on to enhance their web experience, and from the beginning, it was a quick realization that (although our teams were separate in location) we appreciated operating as one unit. What inspires HoneyBaked’s happiness is true team collaboration.

For us, this was a serendipitous moment where purpose and delight intersected. When HoneyBaked launched its brand refresh in late 2018, it was the perfect opportunity to activate a Dragon Delight moment and develop a joint logo that connects our teams in a fun way. Introducing The Honey Dragons logo! This was a way for our Dragons to show how proud we are of our partnership with the incredible HoneyBaked team. The logo brings to life exactly what positive relationships should embody — collaboration, fun, and some ‘swag’ to remind us every day of how fortunate we are to work together.

BE TRANSPARENT

Employing crystal clear communication is another key element to developing positive relationships. Why? Because clarity is the foundation on which trust is built within a partnership. Dragons are always open and honest about what we can and can’t do — even when it’s hard to say no. If there are bumps in the road, we will work hard to steer the client in the right direction, because we know it’s the best route to get to their ultimate goal. The greatest relationships are the ones in which agencies and clients solve problems together and create healthy work boundaries.

At Dragon Army, we often take on incredibly complex technology products (we have a great team with years of development experience). Anyone who has tried to launch products at scale understands that things can occasionally perform unexpectedly. We try to avoid this by working hard to anticipate issues in advance, but when it does happen, we make sure to mobilize our team quickly to assess the issue, identify the root cause, and provide our partners with a range of potential solutions. From a hotfix or patch to longer-term product improvements, our commitment to transparency and willingness to address issues head-on makes challenging moments for us and our partners something that ultimately strengthens our trust.

LEARN TOGETHER

The quickest way to create disharmony in your partnership is to have an expectation hangover. An expectation hangover is when you go into a relationship expecting your partner to be perfect, then are let down when that desired outcome does not occur. This type of mindset will ultimately lead to disaster because no agency or client is perfect. That’s why our Growth Team focuses on a partnership vs. perfection model. We understand that perfection is not an expectation, and we communicate to our clients that a Dragon partnership is one where we evolve and tackle challenges together to get to the best possible outcome.

“Don’t let the weight of an expectation hangover keep you from reaching your highest potential.” — Christine Hassler, Life Coach, Author, and Retreat Leader

With all the reported unhappiness American’s are feeling, don’t let your client relationships be another reason for despair. In summary, the keys to cultivating positive relationships are 1.) know your clients personally 2.) always be open and honest, and 3.) avoid the perfection trap. By following these values, you too can develop and grow positive client relationships. 

If you like this post please share with your teams and leave us a comment!

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By: Jessica Carruth, Director of Marketing & PR at Dragon Army