There’s an old saying, businesses don’t do business with businesses; rather, people do business with people. Over the last decade, as I have watched Green Rock from a one-man band post-production operation to a growing content production agency, this is something that I have felt strongly.
From early beginnings setting up Green Rock’s post production arm, I was able to make some great relationships, learning that this is a world full of proud techies and super-geeks, who are always on the lookout for a challenge on which they can flex their problem-solving powers – and, when they find it, they relish it. It is a refreshing difference from the competitive, secretive world of creative development and production. In this fast moving world of tech, you are not only championed for trying to do something differently, but for sharing your findings for others to improve.
What is also refreshing about the tech world is the access to large organisations looking for partnerships with SME’s to help them innovate. It is in Green Rock’s DNA to be continually curious and, even whilst experiencing growth, we have always been agile and flexible enough to change and adapt quickly. Because of this, we have found ourselves partnering with bigger companies to try new creative workflows. One might think that big companies like ITV, Sky, Apple and Adobe have no time to work with the little guys, but in fact we have worked with them all on some key development projects.
In this Digital Revolution that we are in, these huge media oil tankers need to be able to change direction, which can be a long and sometimes painful process for them. By partnering with smaller businesses, they can innovate and achieve change much faster, with less risk attached.
We have enjoyed these sort of partnerships over the years, but never so much as with Adobe. Last week Broadcast wrote an article about Green Rock becoming the UK’s first exclusively Premiere Pro post facility. It is a seminal moment both for us and for Adobe, as it celebrates our dreams of innovation and the results from hard work.
Adobe have been a key partner to us and as we take stock of the journey over the last couple of years, I am always a little blown away by how open and transparent they have been with us – and us with them. So when Matthew Gyves, Adobe’s Strategic Relations Director for Creative Cloud writes that “…our shared company values of high-quality output and commitment to customers have made this partnership particularly successful, and we look forward to supporting Green Rock’s growth in the years to come”, it is the kind of endorsement gives us huge confidence in the partnership to deliver for the long term.
I’ve written a previous blog on how we moved from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro, and from Mac to PC, and that has been partly driven by this relationship with Adobe, and the confidence it gave me to change. Where we have previously had a good relationship with Apple, it could sometimes feel a little one-sided due to their infamous cloak of secrecy, and during a time in which we were about to invest a lot of money in new hardware and new systems, we needed transparency from our partners. With FCPX no longer the right fit for our business, we turned exclusively to Adobe and, from the very first meeting, there was a mutual desire to build a strong and trusting relationship.
We were able openly to share with Adobe what was on our minds and what we wanted to achieve with our growing business, while they not only gave us confidence that they could help – they shared some of their roadmap. This helped us appreciate that their intention was not merely a short lived partnership. They supported us (not just me, but the whole Green Rock team), opening up their black book and connecting us with contacts both inside and outside Adobe, to make sure we were getting the best advice. It has been a partnership that, over the years and in times of uncertainty, has given me confidence in our big plans together.
I am writing this blog to encourage leaders working in big businesses to realise the benefits of seeking out partnerships with small business – not as part of their CSR programme – but to help their business, and their culture, improve.
Likewise, any entrepreneur reading this should also try to seek out these relationships: do something different that leaders at larger companies could only dream of doing. Innovation is what gets noticed, while even the cleverest InMail just stays in its box.
I wanted to share our journey with Adobe, as I feel it highlights there has never been a better time to access and build these relationships. It’s not about finding partners of equal size and wealth, but rather having commonality in values, people and vision. These are the partnerships that give us the the confidence that means you can achieve more, together.
You can hear more about Green Rock’s story, on the Adobe stage at IBC 2017.