Big Brand : I’ve known you 5 years. I finally have something we can do together and you say, “Maybe?”

Me: It’s not about me. It’s about whether my team wants to work with your team. There needs to be a fit. Think of it as an interview.

Big Brand: We are one of the top consumer brands in the world & you are saying you need to interview US!

Me: In the past 5 years, things have changed.

I’ve worked with many brands like yours & hated the experience. I lost some of my best people. They burned out. And we lost money and time. Quite frankly, I no longer care to work with organizations of your size without mutual respect.

Over the past 5 years, you hired competitors that didn’t deliver, whereas we launched smaller mid size brands & made them leaders in their category. It’s ironic that those smaller brands are now on average 2X your size. And they are respectful, supportive people who are a joy to serve.

We are talking because you happened to have dinner with one & she mentioned us as the operator who made the difference.

Big Brand: I see.

Me: So if you want us to participate, I need to align with your key people. See what resources & talent you have, who makes decisions & whether they are qualified to do so. Does that work for you?

Big Brand: Can your team be here next Tuesday at 10?