Josh Collins, Digital Communications Manager at Visit Franklin, and a past speaker at eTourism Summit events, contributed these thoughts on the importance of human relationships and trust in the business arena.
As a Creative Marketer in travel/tourism (a huge growth industry) I’m CONSTANTLY hit up (cold called, cold emailed) from new emerging tech and agencies. And they all tend to have several things in common. They ask for the sale right out of the gate and present me with decks which put themselves on top of all the competition (a GIANT look at me fest).
Here’s the thing, first of all, that’s an impossible promise to keep. There’s just no way everyone is always better than everyone else out there. Numbers can lie and deceive us and a healthy statistician knows it’s all in how data is gathered and presented. In the end, the story and relationship still matter most.
On top of all that, one of the greatest successes I’ve had in the last 3 years leading the digital ship at Visit Franklin, TN so to speak, is in partnering with an media agency team who out of the gate was brutally honest. They said they didn’t know if it would work. They were new but were extremely vulnerable and honest about it. They didn’t pose, or promise anything. They were (and still are) passionate about their work, people and their audience. It wasn’t until AFTER a relationship was established that they asked for the sale. And you know what? They didn’t have to. I bought because it made sense and because I WANTED to partner with them. Since then, Franklin has become the brand they showcase most amongst a crazy roster of brands now. They’ve grown hundreds of percent, taken on a successful round of funding and I’ve gotten to sit and watch the whole thing. I love that.
I guess my point is this: humans are beautiful and smart. They deserve more credit than they get. And one thing they are great at is sensing when they are being asked to become the means to someone else’s end. That never works. In the end it just never works. Humans were made to thrive in a rich and beautifully dynamic community full of mutual trust and respect. That’s when the magic happens. And I love being a part of stuff like that!