Considering Regional Differences When Forming B2B Relationships: The Midwest

We are not looking to toot our own horn, if you will, but we were recently inspired to explore the regional differences across the U.S. when a potential client pointed out the positive differences between working with Second to None, a Midwest-based company, versus those on the East Coast or the West Coast.  Of course most people are aware of the verbal differences, like how people in the south say coke whereas those in the west say soda, but the differences extend beyond accents. 

So, how do geographic locations affect the relationships between clients and businesses?  Should you consider the origin of a business when choosing who to partner with?

Assumptions and Clichés

It is widely known that professionals across different countries take different approaches to business.  Cross-cultural business models are a pillar of international studies.  Each country has their own way of getting things done based on their cultural norms, their histories and their general perceptions.  The U.S. is known to be direct in communication and to form relationships oriented around business objectives.  Yet the US is a large country with a number of various regions with their own unique subcultures.  Though the divide is more commonly recognized between the East Coast and the West Coast, technically there are eleven different regions that are recognized here in the states. [1] Taking a uniform approach across these regions would only hinder your success.

If the clichés were true, everyone on the West Coast would be wearing flip-flops to the office and going surfing during their lunch break.  People’s diets on the East Coast would only consist of coffee and bagels, and their proposals would be written in ‘sarcasm’.  Here in the Midwest, we typically just get that we are “nice”; not completely untrue, we will take it.

The Midwest

Though often overlooked, the Midwest offers notable perks in the context of forming B2B partnerships.  An article examining startups in Chicago boiled the “Midwest Mindset” down to the pragmatic attitude of those in America’s heartland.  [2] While pragmatism may not be ideal for startups whose plans are mostly theoretical, there is something to be said about its root in practicality when it comes to forming client relationships, especially in the customer experience domain.

Pragmatism means that decisions are based on a well-thought-out plan that leads to clear goals.  Whereas startups in the west may begin by creating a promising app and obtaining funding through its predicted success, worrying about the business model and finances later, those in the midwest look for a sturdy roadmap with tangible steps and objectives.

Maybe we in the Midwest move at a reduced speed compared to those in the east, and maybe we are less willing to risk it all based on the potential success of an idea such as those in the west.  This does not mean that success cannot come from a Midwest approach.  Cayton, Sisson and Zacher examined this assumption when they proposed that, “perhaps we tend to slight the significance of the Midwest because its history is largely a narrative of the accumulation of ordinary events into large-scale change rather than a story of dramatic turning points.” [3]  Here, it is a carefully planned out marathon towards a visible finish line rather than a spontaneous sprint into a foggy mist. 

This brings us to the next point: forming relationships based on your needs.

Do What is Best for your Goals

As we stated, we are not claiming that the Midwest is the be-all and end-all, but rather that it may be the key that has been missing from your current partnerships.  Perhaps the reliability of the ‘Midwest Mindset’ is exactly what your brand needs.  That being said, perhaps you are looking for a rapid, revenue-driven approach and the Midwest may not be the place to look.

At Second to None, we base our business around people.  Our business is customer experience and this runs true for our relationships with our own clients.  When building programs with brands, it is counterproductive to throw around complicated jargon that the client needs to google on their phone under the table.  Instead we use practical language, propose sturdy plans and provide support throughout the entire journey.  We strive to form relationships on quality, integrity and respect.

Perhaps we can attribute this type of thinking towards the fact that Second to None is independent, which allows us to gear our goals towards people instead of profits.

Trial and Error

In the end, there is no exact formula for choosing the right company to work with.  Trial and error is inevitable for all brands, young or old. Considering the regional difference may help to narrow your search, though.

If you are looking for a fun article that looks at the different ways that people pronounce words across the U.S., check out this Business Insider article. [4]






Second To None empowers customer-centric brands to deliver consistent, intentional and authentic consumer experiences.

We adeptly design and manage mystery shopping, compliance, engagement and voice of customer solutions grounded in strategic relevance, program integrity and actionable insights. Our solutions are developed on the basis of solid research and statistical science. We achieve success through a relentless focus on quality and innovation, consultative relationships and a talented team of professional associates.

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