Hard work, preparation, and a bit of chance combine to create that rarest and most prized of business outcomes: the win-win. Birk Creative and Google are collaborating for a win-win.

This is what Birk Creative founder and The Honest Field Guide podcast Co-Host JinJa Birkenbeuel feels has happened in the case of she and her agency’s ever deepening relationship with Google. Through her work as a member of the tech giant’s National Digital Coaches Program team, she works to enhance the online presence of small- and mid-sized businesses, finding new respect for community along the way.

Birk Creative is adding value in many ways, including providing listening tools for the company. “We’re helping them listen to individuals, people on the street,” says Birkenbeuel. “They have a challenge engaging at a hyper local level because of their size. We’re helping them find gaps and opportunities they may find challenging to see clearly.”

Building Relationships
It’s an ongoing commitment, a relationship that is being cultivated, maintained and grown. It’s been integral in keeping Birkenbeuel open to change, new ideas and concepts–always strengths of hers. “I’m happy to work with such a tech company that is generating so much technology and extraordinary wealth for others,” she says. “They’re helping me learn. I bring back all that knowledge right to the doorstep of my clients.”

Birk Creative’s relationship with Google is also unique in that both are leaders in their respective fields, though they operate on different scales. Google is ubiquitous at this point, and also very effective in what they do on many levels. “Experiencing and understanding their leadership has helped me become a better leader for my own clients and my community, entrepreneurs and business leaders working to grow their organizations and themselves,” says Birkenbeuel. “That includes small- and medium-size businesses looking for help, advice and ideas.”

From her own position as the innovator and team builder behind Birk Creative, Birkenbeuel advises other entrepreneurs to cherish different relationships for different reasons. Each brings something unique to the table, though not always money, and need to be cultivated and protected. The idea is that a good client can mean much more than a paycheck.

Finding Community With Google
Through the Google Digital Coaches Program, now in its second season for 2018-2019, Birkenbeuel has assumed a hands-on role, acting as an ambassador for Google in local business communities throughout the State of Illinois.

Providing community outreach for the program has given Birkenbeuel the opportunity to go deeper into the challenges the small business communitie, in particular underrepresented ones face. “We’ve never had a client relationship that has wanted us reach so deeply into communities. We didn’t even know we had the capacity to do this,” says Birkenbeuel. “I have learned how capable I am of doing this kind of business community outreach and activation work.”

The moral of the story? Don’t look at clients only like you’re delivering a service or a product. “Many entrepreneurs learn after the fact that they did not recognize the hidden value and gems of the client relationship,” says Birkenbeuel. “We underestimate the long term learning and benefits. That’s a mistake, but one that’s easy to self-correct with better listening and being ready to receive discomfort and change.”

Contact JinJa Birkenbeuel when you need an agency to help you think and create effective strategies for your company or organization.

Google, Inc. is a Birk Creative client.

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