A few days ago, I shared my thoughts on why I believe companies would be wise to treat their suppliers as business partners and not enemies. As I was wrapping up that blog, another one popped into my head that carries the question of the company/supplier relationship to the next level. From time to time, we find ourselves at DeeterUSA caught between clients and suppliers on the issue of author alterations. This issue is not one we struggle with on a personal level since we are selling our time for creative services and have some flexibility about what we do and don’t charge for. With out-of-pockets, however, it is a different story and we often find ourselves as mediators settling disputes over how many edits, adjustments, or changes in a project are whose responsibility and ultimately, who needs to pay.
My rule of thumb is that every creative project is going to require one or two rounds of edits and those edits need to be factored into the supplier’s cost estimate. That said, I believe that any client who has more than the agreed-to rounds of edits needs to step up and pay for what I would consider their lack of organization and production savvy.
I am not taking sides on this issue except to say that we all share the responsibility of author alterations and that to avoid hard feelings, it is best to get who is responsible for what ironed out in the project proposal stage and not when the final bill comes in for payment. I have found that is the best way to manage the client who is “just too busy” to pay attention and that supplier who is always the lowest bidder because he or she is constantly adding on to their bill those things their competition has planned for and included in their estimate from the beginning. Is that bait and switch? Not really! Just poor estimating and even poorer project management.
Victoria’s Secret ran an ad campaign last year promoting “The Perfect Body,” that featured predominantly white and extremely thin models. The backlash was almost immediate, as people felt this continued to promote unrealistic body images. To the contrary, Lane Bryant’s new campaign has received an overwhelmingly positive response due to their use of “real” models with a variety of demographic backgrounds and sizes.
Lane Bryant’s new lingerie advertising campaign is drawing a ton of great attention. The campaign features the hashtag #ImNoAngel, a blatant blow at Victoria’s Secret models, who are referred to as “Angels.” The new campaign has generated more than 7,000 Twitter mentions alone, which is no small feat! While there is minimal copy in the ads, Lane Bryant has undeniably been able to get their message across and stir some buzz with a lot of media attention. Bravo Lane Bryant!
I don’t understand it when people in companies treat their suppliers like second-class citizens. Why do they think they need to do that? Don’t these people realize that those suppliers are providing needed goods and services and how those suppliers are treated may very well determine how they treat the company people (clients) in return?
I have always felt that those people who are providing goods and services to my company and me are really my business partners, maybe even my friends, and, as such, need to be treated with the respect they deserve. That is the same respect I would want and expect from any or all of them.
Come on folks, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to understand this. God created us as equals and if you think you are something special, there is a very good chance you are the only one who feels that way. There is also a good chance that if you are stuck on yourself, there are some people, even suppliers, who are going to delight in letting you know that you are no more special than they are. And I have to tell you that they, not you, are absolutely right.
Pick people more talented than you as your suppliers, treat them like you would treat a good friend, and enjoy the success that follows. It is really pretty simple.