When Gary Reisman and I ran into each other at a Starbucks in 2004, it was several years after we both worked at The Lord Group, an ad agency whose clients included Kraft, IBM, and Bell Atlantic.
Our conversation was “hey-what-are-you-up-to-these-days?” Shortly thereafter, we had a more formal meeting to discuss where we saw gaps in the brand and ad-marketing business and how we could address those by starting a new company.
In 2005, we opened NewMediaMetrics, which activates on the Emotional Attachment™ methodology, connecting a brand’s most attached customers to the media platforms with which they engage the most for the benefit of brand advertisers.
For the past nine years, we’ve observed some tenets that keep our business partnership healthy:
Establish respect and trust. These are the foundations of any partnership. If, as lyricist Sammy Cahn once wrote, “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage,” so do respect and trust. And to finish Cahn’s thought, “you can’t have one without the other.”
Use straight talk. If you can’t tell it straight to your partner without the B.S., you should not be in business with that person. It is not healthy to walk on eggshells around your business partner. Are voices raised? Occasionally, but you should always be able to reach a reasonable compromise. In extreme cases, business deadlines force decisions, but again, if the relationship is based on respect and trust, those decisions will be sound ones.
Present a united front. Business partners have disagreements from time to time, but it’s in everyone’s best interests to have them in private and to present a united front at all times
Keep a healthy distance. Each person must develop or pursue activities independent of one’s partner to maintain a sense of individual identity. In business, keeping a distance usually means not traveling in the same social circles or sharing intimate details about your private life.
So that’s my advice on this Valentine’s Day for keeping a partnership intact, whether it’s business or personal. Gary and I have been business partners for nearly 10 years, and we continue to enjoy our work, the value we provide, and what we’ve accomplished.
Denise Larson developed the Emotional Attachment approach and metric in 1997 and acquired patent-pending status in 2002. In 2004, Denise partnered with Gary Reisman to found NewMediaMetrics. Denise has also provided strategic brand communications planning to companies including, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Hallmark, Nestlé Foods, Burger King, Tonka Toys, Domino's Pizza, Kodak and Kraft Foods.
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