October 4, 2014 by

In the last issue of this magazine we explored the notion of B4B, the idea that the relationship between businesses doing business with each other is markedly improved when it is interactive and supportive, rather than one-way as the traditional “B2B” acronym connotes. In that issue I invited you to tell us about your B4B business practices to showcase in this column. We received several edifying submissions, but this one really stood out as one to pass on to readers:

Renze Display has been working with businesses locally for more than 119 years. Started by Gus Renze, the company once designed amazing floats for the Ak-Sar-Ben extravaganzas of the earliest days, and the company was instrumental in the development of the faux city that put Omaha on the map when we hosted the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition. Through the years the company has maintained the ability to develop “really crazy things for people who don’t know where else to go, and very effective mainline display products, too,” said Mike Compton, executive vice president of the firm.

“Our key to longevity and growth to national stature has been our can-do mantra,” Compton added. “We approach every project with the notion that it can be done in some fashion and go from there.” How they do this at Renze Display is where the B4B theme comes in. He told me that when their customers come to them with problems and need solutions, the account people simply will not parrot out answers with assigned costs for off-the-shelf products. They take a minute, draw together all the experts they’ve got, and brainstorm the best solution. They liken their process to what some may know from Disney and “Imagineering,” but at Renze they call it “Renzineering.”

“Renzineering is our way of engineering a solution,” Compton said. “We have great printing equipment, but not that much greater than our competitors in bigger markets. The difference is that the people in those markets have come to count on Renze Display in the Midwest because they know they get better attention from us and collaboration and care about their goals.”

He said that when he read the article about B4B it resonated with him. “Never once in my career have I considered myself a salesperson,” he said. “People come to us because they need something and, like my peers at Renze Display, I am here to help them solve their problems. In fact, so many of my conversations are talking my clients out of buying things because it’s not in their best interest. I may be actually an anti-salesperson!  But in the end when I recommend a smarter solution that costs less and performs better (as I believed it would), the customer trusts me and comes back to me tenfold in a collaborative, business-building relationship. That’s why the phrase B4B strikes a chord with me. We are for our customers.”  When I asked Compton if he thought the phrase had legs, he told me, “If any market can turn this phrase, it’s Omaha.”

I’m with Mike on that one. Let’s turn that phrase.

Wendy Wiseman is creative director at Zaiss & Company, a customer-based planning and communications firm. What’s your B4B story at your company?  Let us hear from you and you may be our next feature. Contact our editor, robert@omahamagazine.com

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