🏆 When to explore partnerships (and when not to)
Take risks in order to develop a reputation that is one-of-a-kind.
Partnerships are a critical component of a brand’s marketing strategy, no matter the size, scope, or discipline of your business. However, with societal demand for constant public praise and notoriety, too many companies ignore the potential for quality, thought-provoking alliances, and instead choose to work with other brands that are extremely like-minded in their vision. While logical and reasonable on the surface, this cautious approach lacks creativity and initiative, and dismisses the enormous opportunity that presents itself when you make bold and unexpected partnership choices that push your brand forward to develop an ethos and reputation that is truly one-of-a-kind.
Partnerships are more effective in reaching new audiences and breaking into new networks than feeding into existing ones. Therefore, it is important to focus on bold, original, and unexpected partnership targets as opposed to giving into the temptations of more neutral and turnkey options.
No matter the size of your business, aligning with other brands, companies, organizations, or individuals is a critical part of how you establish your positioning in the market. These efforts allow you to draft off work that resonates with your messaging, align with causes you aspire to champion, and associate with companies in other disciplines in ways you may not expect or immediately see.
Who to partner with:
While there is inherent value in many different types of partnerships, there is a common misconception that the most viable partnership targets are those that are most like you. Brands will often look at the overlap of social media followers and target demographics to determine if a partnership is worth pursuing. Similar brands, goals, industries, target markets? Sounds like a win! Why not, right?!
This train of thought is exactly what leads to partnerships that, while maybe noteworthy in a small community of fans and followers, fall short of having a real and long-lasting tangible effect on the growth of a business. These are obvious collaborations – not partnerships - that people passively see the connection between. Counterintuitively, brands should be trying to identify which companies don’t have overlapping social followings – and don’t have a directly parallel target audience. Good partnerships combine communities as opposed to forcing execution of a specific one-off campaign. If the true goal of a partnership is to increase your market share, bring on new users and deliver ROI, it is critical to partner with brands in wholly and authentically different industries, cultures, and value sets. Notable and industry defining partnerships should make people uncomfortable, think harder, and maybe – JUST MAYBE – consider things from a different perspective and point of view. By identifying partnership opportunities as a vehicle for growth as opposed to a tool for reinforcement, your brand is able to position itself in a more unique, personable, and authentic way.
When to explore partnerships (and when not to):
At a high level, creating noteworthy moments and conversations is the ultimate goal of aligning with people and organizations that are different from you. Exposing yourself, and your audience, to other diverse outlooks on life and business is the whole point of looking externally to deliver value for your brand as opposed to internally in how you are promoting it yourself.
Is it just your network you are trying to impact engagement with? Then spend time, money, and resources on emboldening your own marketing strategy, organic/paid media efforts and brand activation goals. However, if your goal is to expand your network, challenge the status quo and create a meaningful and recognizable brand identity for your company, then think outside the box, and align yourself with partners who are trying to do the same. Create new, thought-provoking conversations. Make people remember you and your brand as different and unique.
Quality engagement with unique consumer bases set the successful partnerships apart from the unsuccessful ones. Think differently — the safest path might not be the right one for your brand.
🤝Let’s work together. If you would like to learn more about Robin, or want to talk about your brand’s marketing, communications, and product development initiatives, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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