Lately, I've been working with some brands that I really love, t-shirt companies, restaurants, coffee shops all places that I inherently can get behind.
When working with brands it's all about mutual benefit and relationship. If what you bring to the table is valuable to the needs of the brand, and you receive the benefit that you expect, then things tend to work out. The missing piece that sometimes creatives lack is follow-through. We tend to push deadlines, get lazy, tired, or busy with other priorities. That's not going to get you very far in such a competitive field.
It's really important to build actual trust. To me, this means you need to put your cards on the table, tell the brand what makes sense to you, what your end game is, what you hope to accomplish. Listen to the needs of the company. What are the benefits that they will tangibly receive from your work? What does a win look like? What is a miss? Is there a good avenue for constructive criticism both ways?
Then once expectations are set, follow through with your commitments and over deliver. It's just like any other relationship you have, building trust comes from a genuine care for the other party. Of course, you don't want to undervalue your work, but you also need to care about their goals as a top priority for your job.
It's one of those simple to say, hard to do, things.
Let me know in the comments if you've experienced either a huge hit or miss when it comes to business relationships and why the results ended up being what they were.