Partnerships, mashups and collaborations are essential to building successful brands and businesses, but it can be hard to find the right fit that allows both parties to attract attention and thrive. Since the driver is business growth, companies often look to partner with organizations either in or directly adjacent to their swim lane. However, the creative pairings between seemingly random organizations can offer the biggest bang for your buck.
Collaborating with other organizations is important.
The reason most seek out these connections is to tap into new customers and markets – the assets your new partner hopefully has. Partner relationships can help your businesses grow faster, gain an edge on the competition, broaden product services and offerings.
Try getting out of your industry.
Reaching out to contacts in your network feels like a natural place to start, but, often, they have the same or similar connections as you. Working within your industry often leads to communicating in a vacuum. It doesn’t allow for as much expansion and leaves both parties jockeying to be out front. These partnerships are more work for less reward.
The best partnerships, mashups and collaborations can seem the most random.
The best marketing partnerships allow for flexibility. When flexible, organizations can creatively align goals and focus on what audiences love about their brands, products, services, etc.
Exhibit A: A Girl Scout walks outside of a marijuana dispensary
A girl scout set up shop outside of the Urbn Leaf marijuana dispensary in San Diego. They sold over 300 boxes. At between $4 to $5 a box, that’s around $1,500. The dispensary supported her by posting a photo of the girl scout on Instagram while advertising a strain of weed flavored with Girl Scout Cookies (GSC).
- Why it Worked – As you can imagine, there was backlash here. However, people also appreciated this as a genius marketing move. It aligns the Girls Scout’s goal of selling cookies with advertising Urbn Leaf’s product. The bonus is that this pairing is so unexpected that the media attention that followed was almost invaluable in terms of advertising for Urbn Leaf (albeit maybe a bit riskier for the Girl Scouts).
Exhibit B: Starbucks breaks up with iTunes and hooks up with Spotify
Starbucks for a long time had a partnership with iTunes designed to create the coffee house experience and playlist. But as both grew, they grew apart. Starbucks responded to the split by saying “Thank you Next” with Spotify.
- Why it Worked– The shift happened just when people started showing a preference for customized streaming music over ownership. Spotify fits with the Starbucks brand, catering to tech-savvy, middle-class audiences, providing public wi-fi in every store and quick easy access to products and services through apps and other digital technologies.
Exhibit C: GoPro & Red Bull, a match made on adrenaline
These two brands rarely go anywhere without each other. Or at least it seems that way since these two brands had been working together for years before finally making it official in 2016. GoPro and Red Bull at this point are hard to separate in consumer minds and it’s working in their favor.
- Why it Worked– Red Bull went all-in on product placement in the first-person adrenaline junkie videos that GoPro captures. GoPro’s videos featuring activities that test the human limits are enjoyed by almost everyone…from the safety of their couch. Red Bull gets valuable exposure through millions of video views from GoPro. And in return, GoPro gets opportunities to showcase what its product can do with Red Bull-sponsored athletes.
These are just a few examples but to summarize:
- Look beyond your own network and industry for opportunities to align goals and interests.
- Identify what your audience needs that your industry doesn’t provide.
- Get creative! Think outside the box and look at who is positioned to help you get what you need media attention, new audiences, etc.
- Connect and set expectations. Understand what you both want to gain and how your short-, medium- and long-term goals align.
Want to collaborate, partners or otherwise work with us? Contact the Anthology team and we’ll meet you for coffee.