9 min read

#0013 Brands that play well together, win together.

#0013 Brands that play well together, win together.

Hey - Jane here. Welcome to issue #0013 of CVB weekly, where I will share some of the most practical experiments, learnings, ideas, and news related to building customer value for marketing leaders, thinkers and creators who a passionate about building value for the people that matter - customers.

Creating customer value unlocks transformational growth & innovation, and in this issue, we will cover the topic of partnership and collaborations. Consider partnerships a growth hack that also feels really good when you choose the right partner.πŸš€

Each edition will be broken down into 5 sections so you can skip over or dig deep.

  • TL;DR - there is nothing short about this topic so buckle up! πŸ˜†
  • context for those who want to dig a little deeper
  • action for those who want to choose one action to implement
  • inspiration if you need it
  • help if you want it

πŸ‘‹ Get CVB weekly (ish) on a day that inspiration and space are in alignment πŸ‘‹

First things first. A partnership combines two brands to create shared value, including business and personal brands.

The shared value can come in the form of shared customers/ audience. This type of partnership is like when two pools of water (your combined audience) combine to make one large pool that benefits both brands. For each brand, there will be new customers in that pool. But thanks to the brand that encouraged them to join the pool, the other brand inherited the trust of the original brand. Trust fast tracks a sale. So consider your partnership a rocket booster to a sale.

The cost of acquiring a new customer: it can take an average of 11 touch points. Imagine if 4 of those touch-points are paid - that's a cost to the business. A partnership delivers many touch points in one go due to the inherited trust, often making it a more cost-effective solution.

The TL;DR is simple. A good litmus test that will guide you on how effective a partnership will be is to look at how collaborative your internal teams are. If they aren't collaborative, don't waste your time on partnerships. Invest in creating a collaborative culture first.

A great partner IS a great collaborator.

βšͺ If you are a creator, you can partner with a brand looking to bring more authentic storytelling into their feed.

βšͺ If you are a writer, you can partner with a brand seeking to expand its storytelling channels & formats.

βšͺ If you are an artist, you can be like Yayoi Kusama and partner with brands seeking to tap into what it is to be human. Brands like Louis Vuitton.

βšͺ If you are a business, you can do all of the above.

In this week's newsletter, I will run through the context, the framework, the actions and the inspiration. It's a choose-your-own-adventure.

Partnerships and collaborations are great ways to help a business stay relevant and attract new customers. A valuable creative strategy when new customer acquisition costs have increased by as much as 20-30% in 2023.

But it requires two brands to work together and leverage each other's strengths. The benefits include.

  1. Increased reach: According to a report by Nielsen, "79% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, making word-of-mouth the most credible form of advertising." When brands partner with other businesses, they can tap into each other's community and expand their reach beyond their existing audience.
  2. Improved customer experience: Collaborating with other brands can help improve the customer experience by offering a more comprehensive range of products or services. For example, Starbucks and Spotify have joined forces to create a personalised music experience for their customers. They have created a unique and memorable customer experience by combining their strengths.
  3. Increased revenue: Data from Harvard Business Review shows that "partnerships can increase revenue by up to 15%." This is because partnerships allow brands to access new markets and customer segments, which can result in increased sales. A great example is the partnership between Airbnb and Samsung, which allowed Airbnb to reach new customers and drive more revenue.
  4. Creativity and fun! Partnerships will teach you more about your brand, yourselves and your customers. And the creativity it takes to build a win-win partnership is fun, and the output can feel like creating a new piece of art together. The impact is often unknown until it's revealed. That's the true magic of partnerships!

Partnerships are not new - In 2006, Nike and Apple teamed up to create the Nike+ running system. Coca-Cola and McDonald's have had a successful partnership for decades.

A more recent partnership is between Clarks and Zara, a marriage made in heaven where Clarks gets to leverage the brand and audience of ZARA's retail footprint, and ZARA gets to leverage the trusted shoe brand that is Clarks.

The Tiffany | Nike partnership is still under much debate. Who benefits? Where is the creativity? And why did the partnership result in a shoe resembling my son's school shoes? Luxury? Reviews so far have been more '1 star' than 'five stars'.

And it's not just for the big brands. It's one of the key strategies I am using with clients ranging from micro businesses to 9-figure business clients for 2023 as a great way to gain new customers without the hefty customer acquisition costs. In the next section, we will break down a partnership framework so you can make it work for you. πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡

Take one step (or four)

Here are four steps and actions to build storytelling into your marketing efforts in 2023 based on a lot of experimentation with my very willing, talented & creative clients. Choose one, build it into your plan, and let me know how you go! Share your wins and tag me on Instagram using #yourdigitalcoach.

STEP 1: Do the research

Look for brands that have the following attributes. Follow brands and watch them from your feed before reaching out. Check for alignment. (I am so sorry... corporate lingo is a hard habit to break🀩)

  • Aligned category: like soft drink to fast food, shoes to fashion retail, women's handbags to women's shoes, shoes to jewellery, kids toys to kids shoes, high end vases to high end rugs, chocolate to red wine, candles to massage oil, artist pain to artist etc. The goal is to find a brand where there is no direct competition.
  • Aligned goal: for example building an audience and database with the added benefit of building direct sales. You want to make sure your goals are the same as this will ensure the partnership doesn't sour over time.
  • Aligned customer: get clear on who your ideal customer profile is - for example a person identifying as a woman (that we will call Sally), a carer and someone who loves quality things but has a tight budget. Make sure there are lots of Sallys in your partner brands audience. You are doing this to get new customers so make sure their audience is full of your customers.
  • Aligned values: for example, you value diversity and inclusion as well as fun, creativity and taking care of the planet. Don't partner with a brand who shows one persona in their feed and actively demonstrates a lack of care for the planet. Partnerships should help you communicate your values so don't budge on this one.
  • Aligned stage: this one is important. Don't go for brands that are further along the journey from you. You can tell by the size of their audience - make it a similar size unless you are actively undertaking a partnership to build a smaller brand up. Make it a win win and show your enthusiasm for their brand. Prepare beforehand and show them you will do the work for them to make it easier. Keep it simple!

STEP 2- Choosing a structure

  1. Shared competition - a group of brands coming together to create a prize pool. One of my favourites is the 16th Birthday celebration by Edible Blooms
  2. Co-design a product - the Tiffany/ Nike example
  3. Share a retail space - the Clarks/ ZARA example
  4. Collaborate on shared content - Mont Marte is a great example of this style of partnership. Choose a creator and work with them to create content that builds their profile. If you are a content creator, think of ways you could pitch brands in the reverse.

STEP 3 - commit to the delivery

This phase can't be underestimated. Too many brands I have seen do all the work in steps one and step 2, only to drop the ball in steps 3 and 4. This is the most critical step as a community will happen only if you engage daily and fan the flames of the partnership daily.

  1. Be welcoming! Welcome new audience members into the feed - make sure you put your best foot forward during this time, as the partnership will push people to your accounts.
  2. Be creative: Regularly share a different insight, idea, or angle on the partnership.
  3. Be a contributor: Comment on the content on the partner's account.
  4. Be a cheerleader: Tell stories about the benefits of the partner brand.
  5. Squeeze the juice: Add the partnership to all channels - even writing about the importance of partnership on LinkedIn. Or join my content. πŸ˜‰

After - measure the impact

Report on the impact, as you want to ensure this works for the business and delivers the intended impact. Here are a few ideas on what to track. And please don't be afraid of the data; choose three metrics that match your goal. And it only needs a fancy Canva presentation if you really love creating fancy Canva presentations.πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ

  1. How many new audience members did you acquire?
  2. How many new subscribers did you add to your email database?
  3. What was the impact on engagement? {measure your baseline and watch the impact of the new content related to the partnership - need help, read edition 11}
  4. What was the impact on revenue?
  5. How did you feel? Was it fun? Did it inject something new into your storytelling mix?
  • Logan Paul x KSI and Nutraceutical Innovations - Last month, this collaboration launched PRIME, a 'natural' energy drink targeting gen Alpha and Gen Z that sold out before the stock hit the shelves. The influence of Logan alone is 30M on YouTube, with over 2 billion views. Add to that 20M on Instagram, and he commands an audience of consumers. Consumers who are ready to consume whatever he puts out. Nutraceutical brings manufacturing and trust, and Logan Paul x KSI bring an engaged audience of willing consumers.
  • Nike and Apple - In 2006, Nike and Apple teamed up to create the Nike+ running system. By integrating Apple's technology into Nike's products, the partnership allowed users to track and share their fitness data with friends. This partnership was a huge success and helped both brands reach new audiences and increase their market share.
  • Coca-Cola and McDonald's - Coca-Cola and McDonald's have had a successful partnership for decades. By offering Coca-Cola products at its restaurants, McDonald's has increased customer satisfaction and revenue. In turn, Coca-Cola has benefited from increased brand exposure and customer loyalty.
  • Netflix and Stranger Things - The partnership between Netflix and the creators of Stranger Things has been an enormous success. The show, set in the 1980s, features numerous references to classic movies and products from that era, including Coca-Cola and Eggo waffles. By working with these brands, Netflix has created a more immersive experience for its viewers.
  • Subscribe to the weekly CVB newsletter for leaders looking to transform their businesses by creating an engine for customer-led growth and innovation starting from a place of love.
  • Access the micro lesson - Storytelling with listening where I will teach you the steps to building listening into your content and storytelling using data in a way that is simple, valuable and actionable.
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  • If you are a leader looking to monetise your magic in 2023, check out the Unlock and Amplify program.
  • If you are a CEO or founder and interested in the strategic focus program that brands including Mont Marte and Spendless Shoes have used to fuel customer-led growth and innovation and you are looking to do the same, let's talk.

Thanks for giving me your time and have a lovely week! 🀩

πŸ’šπŸ’š And remember, when you love your customers, you will change the way you do business forever. πŸ’šπŸ’š