Business connections and collaborations can help grow your business regardless of your industry. Collaboration encourages learning. Much research has found that organizations engaged in on-going learning grow and flourish as a result. Partnering with others exposes you to new or different ways of doing things. It informs you of new tools and resources you might utilize to more efficiently run your business. You can also learn from someone else’s stumbling blocks or their non-example of poor business practices.
Collaboration provides a sounding board and arena for conversations to discuss ideas, data trends, and so on, to help you see beyond the confines of your own day to day existence. Sharing your strengths and challenges promotes self-awareness. It provides opportunities to help and be helped.
Collaboration also helps you expand your network and customer base. It is an effective way to generate more leads as it offers your brand a credible introduction to prospective clients. This allows you to broaden your customer base while staying close to the demographics of your brand’s target audience.
Working with other organizations can provide a financial advantage by giving you access to each other’s assets. You can team up on marketing campaigns and special promotions to be more efficient with those efforts. You can also share common business expenses like space, equipment and specialized professional staff. Collaboration lets you lower expenses while simultaneously increasing the quality and expanding the expertise you offer your clients.
Often, you can better serve your customers by collaborating with complimentary businesses. It not only provides a financial advantage, it also allows you to extend your marketing reach and reduce the time it takes to pursue a new channel. Collaboration projects increase exposure for all of the businesses involved. You can involve your brand in larger projects such as sponsoring a community event or local sports team. You might also involve your business in joint media appearances via radio or television ads.
Collaborations help you connect with and better serve your community. It increases your exposure and builds momentum in the local business scene. Businesses working together strengthens not only the individual organizations but the locality as a whole.
Collaboration is most effective when it happens between business that don’t directly compete with each other. Purposeful choices must be made to pair with organizations that have a similar target audience and offer products or services complementary to your own. Most importantly, businesses should collaborate with others that share similar professional ethics.
Of course, it is best to create written agreements that outline the actions and financial responsibilities for each party. These agreements serve several purposes. They help you define and ensure clarity of expectations, plan how results will be evaluated, and provide a source to reference throughout the partnership.
Working with another brand can create richer content and attract a broader audience. Not every new connection will lead to a collaboration but reaching out allows you to, at the very least, expand your network.
Tips for Collaboration
Host a contest; pool resources for a prize; create a specific landing page that allows online entry.
Create postcards that feature special offers in each other’s establishments. Increase your reach by mailing the piece to both of your customer lists.
Ditto the thought directly above but with an email piece.
Invest in a joint print advertisement.
Share a trade show booth and split the cost.
Co-produce a blog or newsletter that organically mingles the two brands.
Co-sponsor a local charity event or other cause in your area. This helps stretch your budget, increase reach, and build loyalty within your local community.
Purchase joint media opportunities such as radio and television ads.
Host an event together. It could be for educational purposes or simply for enjoyment.
Team up to volunteer, fundraise, or donate services and products to local charities and shelters.
Create packages that combine products and services from both of your businesses.
Mention each other on social media platforms in “Thank you,” “Welcome,” or, “Did you know,” types of messages.
Create discounts, coupons, or gift cards that feature cross specials. “Buy one sandwich basket from Moe’s and get 50% off an ice cream cone down the street at Icy Treats.”
Print promotional messages for each other on customers’ receipts.
Include each other’s flyers in shopping bags or bulletin boards and provide counter space for business cards and other leave behinds.
Guest blog on each other’s websites.
Offer consumer incentives for referrals between partners.
Add each other’s names, logos and contact information to your websites.
Verbally recommend each other in your casual conversations with customers.
Add messages on emails regarding upcoming events or promotions in partner stores.
Host pop-up retail locations in each other’s space.
Throughout any collaboration project or campaign, maintaining your brand identity is essential. Stay true to your brand, its mission, and values. Have frank conversations about what you hope to get out of the relationship from both a monetary and non-monetary standpoint. Also discuss what you are willing and able to invest in regards to time, energy, and finances. If your goals and anticipated input are not aligned, the effort could be painful, at best, but more likely a waste of everyone’s time.
Plan clearly responsibilities, timelines, and other expectations. And set up key measures that will enable both brands to track results of your combined efforts. Have a conversation about whether the overall goal is to collaborate on a single promotion or event, or if the desire is to create a long-term, collaborative relationship. If the situation is the latter, establish a friendly “get out” option for all parties involved.
Collaboration is a fabulous way to grow your business, build brand awareness, and break into new markets. It is important for each participant to find a mutual benefit from the relationship. The ideal collaboration promotes the best of both businesses. Ideally, your collaboration partners should have a target audience, quality level and core values similar to your brand’s. Find people you like working with and create professionally driven partnerships that will benefit both of your organizations.
To dig deeper into what types of business collaborations might help your brand, contact Strategy Driven Marketing. Our experts are ready to help you with all of your digital and marketing needs.