Communication – Don’t Let It Scare You
Thu, 08/01/2013 - 11:31 — Dawn Turner
Communication is a topic that is relevant in all aspects of life, and since I have noticed it coming up more often in my property/brand relationships I thought it would be good to address during the time of year when most teams are gearing up for a new season.
The questions in mind are how often is appropriate? Is it possible to communicate too much or not enough? I am sure everyone reading this has a distinct opinion on the answers to these questions based on past experience, but I wanted to offer some guidelines that have proven successful over time.
First of all, it is important to understand that there is no one right answer to these questions. The best brand/property relationships are ones where the both contacts openly discuss what communication process and timeline works most efficiently for them. I have seen everything from weekly catch-up calls to only catching up when there is pertinent information to share, and sometimes this is directly related to the level of partnership and how many assets are being utilized.
From a brand perspective, I do recommend scheduling regular calls with properties at least once every 3-4 weeks (maybe more often during the season or when planning meetings and discussions are occurring) to ensure communication is continuing. Doing so allows for a constant flow of information related to objectives, activations, priorities, upcoming events, and other pertinent details regarding the relationship.
Scheduling regular updates via phone should not completely replace in-person meetings or other types of email updates that can occur over the course of time. If a brand contact lives in the same general vicinity as a property I recommend they meet in person at least once quarterly, and if they are not in the same area I suggest in-person meetings a minimum of 1-2 times per year.
Of course there are many reasons properties and brands should proactively communicate with each other outside the course of these regular calls/in-person meetings. Some examples of these times are when team/event schedules are released, new lists of assets become available, specialty nights are scheduled, staffing/ownership changes are forthcoming, there is an update regarding a change in objectives, questions about assets or problems/challenges that need to be discussed.
These are just a few examples, but in all of these instances I recommend that both brands and properties be prepared to communicate both via email and phone as often as possible to ensure pertinent information is shared and challenges are overcome.
To make things a bit easier to digest, I have broken it down in the following list:
-Work with your property/brand contact to determine a communication schedule that works best for both parties
-Plan to meet in person at least once per quarter if you live in the same vicinity or at least 1-2 times per year if you don’t
-Make sure you communicate pertinent property/brand updates to your contact so both parties remain on same page throughout the year
-Assume your brand/property contact fully understands your business objectives, etc.
-Let too much time pass between your regular meetings/updates
-Be afraid to proactively pick up the phone and share information (whether it is good or bad!)
-Let yourself get too busy that you forget about all of these tips. After all, you do want repeat business, right?
Everyone is busy with multiple projects and partners (and there are only so many hours in a day), so these are just guidelines to help make your relationships more successful. It is my hope that you take a look at how you handle your business and make appropriate adjustments to ensure you are giving and receiving proper communication with your brand/property contacts. I would guess there is a direct correlation between high levels of communication and renewal rates, so why not give it a try?