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You know how you know a good thing when you see it? Sometimes when you see it, you want to spread it. You want to LIVE it. That’s how goodness grows.
I recently had a chance to speak with Mary Ann Pruitt, the President, and CEO of Mosaic Media. Her company is a paid media firm that works with agencies and in-house teams on paid media strategies and implementations.
When we spoke about the successes and challenges of relationship building as an agency owner, we had so much fun talking about her positive experiences and the impact they’ve had on her as both a person and leader. It was so clear to see how much she appreciates a true human connection and how proud she is of the efforts they have in place today. I’m excited to share her stories and show you just how much all that goodness is contagious.
When we dug into how Mary Ann creates a best-in-class place to work, she was proud to share that team recognition and appreciation are something they excel at. And it’s not surprising when you understand the great example she follows. Mosaic Media is located in Alaska. As she started her company, she really wanted to draw inspiration from her husband’s family business when it came to how they would treat their employees.
There wasn’t a lot in the way of industry in Alaska when their family business was growing, so when you did have a business, it was complicated to get employees. Mary Ann said, “They had to be very creative on how to get people to work in Alaska.” The family business was known to throw Christmas parties for the kids and each child would have an individual gift, even though there were thousands of kids. And it wasn’t just a general gift, each kid would get what they asked for.
Mary Ann wanted to make sure she replicated this same family feeling for her own company. Mosaic makes sure that they take special care of the employees AND their families. Each spouse (significant other) and child receives birthday presents and they’re invited to the holiday party and other events. She shared that they had a spouse who one time applied for a job at Mosaic telling Mary Ann that she worked for her company for 10 years and never once received a birthday card, but when she received a present from her husband’s place of work she knew there was something better!
The results of Mary Ann’s care and attention clearly show up in the creation of a magnetic culture that others want to be part of. She tells me, “We’ve actually had employees who are our biggest recruiters because they love how they are treated.” That’s when you know you’re doing it right – Your employees are your biggest advocates. And guess what, in this case, so are their significant others! Imagine the power behind that kind of relationship building!
What’s great about Mary Ann’s experience with relationship building is that it has started so strongly internally that it’s starting to roll over into all other components of their business building – Goodness is contagious. “I want to take that extra personal touch and train our team to do that with our clients. We’re in the process of doing that and trying to build that with clients and making an intentional calendar…making sure that we are making them feel special on days that are special to them.”
This is generally how we see our clients expand their intentional relationship building efforts. Most companies tend to be really good at nurturing at least one category of relationship. That is, they’ve got a consistent and solid system for nurturing leads. Or maybe they have a plan for celebrating existing clients that is working really well. Whatever category it is, we usually find that once the leaders see the engagement and the results of all their efforts to build those relationships, they usually start to expand their efforts to another category of relationship. We have our team down, great, let’s do that for clients now!
And we’re happy to say that this is how business owners create that momentum in business. They’re relationships in all categories thrive, which starts to bring in more referrals, create longer retention of both clients and employees, and leads to an increase in word-of-mouth marketing.
When I asked Mary Ann about relationship building experiences that she has been most impressed by, she shared that it’s when people “find a way” to make someone feel special. What she remembers most often are the times when people showed up to acknowledge her not because they were told something specific, like it’s her birthday or she just launched a new website, but when it’s because they learned something on their own. Maybe it was a conversation you had from a year ago and that person remembered to come back to it. Or maybe it’s that they saw you had a big win online and they went out of their way. However it is that someone comes up with the information, the act they take as a result is what Mary Ann felt was most powerful. She said “It’s the real special connection. That human connection. It’s not over the top or anything other than just making somebody feel listened to and needed. That they really cared about what I said.”
A while back she received a card from a good friend of hers in the agency world. The message was in celebration of an award she had received and told her that he was proud of her. He acknowledged how far she’d come. She tells me that she still has that card on her wall. She said, “It’s those little things that are not really little at all. They’re gigantic, because at the end of the day, that is something that keeps you going if you have a rough day."
The reason that acknowledgement works so well is that it clearly serves as a motivator that inspires her to keep pushing through when she needs it. It also serves as a reminder of all that she’s already accomplished. It brings up the good feelings that come with accomplishment. Her friend will forever be connected with the positive emotions that this particular card and message stir up. All the power in the one simple act of recognition is worth the effort.
Watch your LinkedIn feed (or any other social media platform) for the important personal milestones your connections are sharing. Collect 3-5 of these per week and handwrite a message of acknowledgment.
Follow your clients company page or newsletters and watch for mention of goals that could be an opportunity to drop them a message of encouragement. These messages are very motivating for people.
In any of your day-to-day conversations, when someone mentions hearing about an achievement, launch, challenge or family milestone related to someone you know, make note of that for a personal follow-up. As Mary Ann mentioned, it goes a long way when you reach out based on information you learned about.
Ask your team to listen for you and report back. Let them know you can’t be everywhere and see all the wonderful little things taking place, but you’d like to be someone who recognizes when they do. Ask them to tell you when they see or hear moments that should be recognized.
These moments of acknowledgement or celebration could relate to your team, clients, vendors, you name it. They all play a role in your business success. The more you make an intentional effort to show up on a human level, the more you will find that you’re creating an entire culture of goodness that will be contagious and automatically attract more goodness.
Helping business leaders spread goodness and create a magnetic culture is what we do at The Expressory. Let's get to know each other and find out if The Expressory can help you grow your brand through personalized experiences. Click here to set up a Marketing Strategy Session or click here to download our free guide for Creating Emotional Loyalty by Design. Let us show you how to design a unique experience that sets you apart.
If you enjoyed this post, you can check out a couple of others in our series of interviews with agency owners. Explore nurturing your partner organizations with Kim Jones or take a look at some ideas for client nurturing with Jason Mudd.