Don’t Call Us a Vendor

Jeremy Shao (@jeremyshao)
april 3rd, 2014

I abhor when people treat us like “Vendors” instead of Partners.

You might think that it’s merely semantics, but I would say that the words that we use to define our relationship actually help define the quality of our interactions and the philosophy and attitude of how we work together. Look at the etymology… Vendor comes from the Latin “vendere,” to sell, whereas partner comes from the French “parçonier,” joint owner. The former smacks of “me getting mine”, while the latter is about our mutual success.

For me, the idea of a client/vendor relationship is that the vendor is selling a product or service in exchange for a negotiated fee. The vendor has no vested interest in the success of the overall project or the client contact. They fulfill an order so that they can get paid. This kind of interaction is shortsighted and often does not result in the best project outcome.

There’s a place for vendors, but we prefer not to work that way. Ours is a holistic approach to working together. We’re an extension of your business, jointly invested in your success. We’ll deliver you a work product, but you’ll also get our attention, respect, experience, and, when required, our blood, sweat and tears. All with the goal of collaboration during the process and mutual success at the end.

We want partners. People/companies we can team with; building creative solutions to challenging problems. The key word there is “team,” with common purpose, complementary skills and trust. A mutual trust forged over months, years and decades of working together on demanding, high-profile projects. It’s this trust that allows all of us the freedom to focus on our strengths. It’s as a team that we share risk and win or lose together.

To date, we’ve been pretty successful with this model. We partner with some amazing companies and people, who bring to the table incomparable skills in creative design, strategy, copywriting, management and benefits consulting. These partners value our technical skills, problem solving, our integrity, passion and ability to pull projects over the finish line. Working together, we can achieve beautiful things.

Quite frankly, success is pretty easy to measure for us. It comes down to “Did we make you look good?” If we did, we can all walk away (or together on to the next challenge) happy. After 16 years in business, we continue to thrive and grow based entirely upon the recommendations of people who have worked with us before.

To those of you already partnering with us, thank you!

For everyone else, give us a call. We look forward to working with you.

Tags: culture partners