Comradery is not a marketing term.
For many, the word comradery invokes a sense of battle – “comrades in arms” or comradery between soldiers saying “we are in this together” as they face the fears and unknowingness of conflict.
Certainly, in my nearly 10 years of performing marketing and communications roles for non-profits and small-to-medium sized tech companies, the word comradery was not part of everyday conversation; it was never listed as a responsibility on my job description; and my most admired mentor did not address it in the wealth of knowledge she passed down to me.
Conversely, marketing is not a battle (most of the time!). But, looking back on a decade, comradery was an identifiable and crucial aspect of my work. Beyond networking and teamwork, comradery is the foundation for all truly prosperous and lasting relationships. It is trust, understanding, empathy, and respect for the needs and working styles of those “you are in this together” with. And it is also rewarding. Think of all the war movies you’ve seen – passion, laughter, a sense of belonging – these weave into our often serious and strenuous work; it is the glue the keeps us together at even the toughest moments.
For marketing and communications professionals, across any role – accounts, PR, creative, digital – comradery serves as the vehicle for us to most successfully work in collaboration with our clients. It creates more seamless interactions between agency and client teams because it is established on the foundation that each party is sincerely vested in the success of the outcomes and individuals involved with project at hand, not just checking off the box off a next to a job.
Funny, as important as building comradery is, it actually isn’t all that difficult. The most successful people do it without even trying; others’ efforts are more deliberate, but no less fruitful.
- Listen, don’t hear – active listening is a skill many of us skip over because we don’t have time, or we just aren’t interested. The person talking to you knows this, too, and your message becomes: “you are boring and not worth my time.” This is likely not the message you meant to convey.
- Engage – as you are actively listening, a classic lesson from the Dale Carnegie handbook tells us to pick up on the topics the speaker is most passionate about and dive in with related questions or conversation. This spark of connection will create the memorable impression helpful to move the relationship forward.
- Be you – don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. As all mar/comm professionals are trained to tap into, people make decisions using their emotions as equally as they do using the “hard facts.” Leaving out the personal connection out is leaving out half of the equation.
- Be sincere – let’s face it, you are not always going to hit it off as BFF’s with every client or member of their team. You might not always be passionate about the same things they are. That’s ok. Your sincere respect for their goals and your genuine work to help them come to reality are strong foundations that can be easily recognized and reciprocated.
Marketing is not a battle, but a comradery-driven approach to relationship building and work styles commonly results in victory for all involved. Life-long professional relationships; client loyalty; becoming a valued contributor to your team and industry – these are all badges of honor and comradery. After all, we’re in this together.