That staying afloat for small businesses in an increasingly competitive terrain is not news. However, building alliances with other businesses might be the key to warding off this fierce competition and eventually surviving the drop. In clear terms, partnering with other brands can offer many benefits for any business, but even more for smaller ones.
Asides gaining access to a new reach, community and resources; partnering with other brands can also help reduce costs, mitigate risks, and importantly, offer a platform where ideas and experiences could be shared to breed mutual growth and expansion. Just like young Mattie Stepanek said “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”. The same thing can be said with brand partnerships and it can be a powerful weapon when done right.
How then can you build relationships and partnerships with other brands to successfully aid your business and build you a whole new reach of audience? This post proffers tips and insights that will make your efforts a success.
Choosing The Right Brands
This should be the first consideration when looking towards brand partnerships. Once you’ve set out the goals you aim to achieve in a partnership, selecting the brands to team up with to achieve these goals becomes imperative. First of all, who do you team up with? I always recommend forging alliances with complementary businesses that share a common interest with yours, but isn’t directly competing for your audience.
In many ways, you’re looking to expose your brand to new potential customers, so you might want to consider influential brands with an already loyal base of followers. The strategy here is that since these brands are already perceived as influencers and authorities within your niche or industry, any collaboration you successfully initiate will only act as a stamp of authority and legitimacy of your brand, in addition to giving you an introduction that headlines your entry into that league.
When choosing brands to partner with, create a criteria checklist of your goals and align them with potential platforms. Draw up a list of benefits and possible setback each brand might pose to your goals and act accordingly. Has a particular brand culture appealed to you in the past? Do you know a brand that’s got the same zeal towards growth and provides value like yours? Do you appreciate the content quality a brand disseminates and the unique way it engages its audience? Are there red flags from other brands that could hurt your own brand down the line? Thanks to a checklist, you are then able to separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’ to build a solid list of potential brands for possible collaboration.
How to find brands with large audiences
Assuming that you understand your business as well as the niche you operate in, you should not really have any problems with pointing to a few brand names with large audiences in your industry straight out-of-your-head. However, to identify more brands with big potentials that you might even not be aware of their existence, you can perform a simple online research. Thankfully, there are several tools available to help you out with the discovery of popular, as well as influential platforms. Some of the good tools you may want to try are: BuzzSumo, Impactana and Topsy.
With impactana for instance, you can conduct a research of influencers by any keyword or industry name. No matter what niche you are in, you can find out what platforms, as well as which individuals have the biggest reach and strongest influence within their communities. Another feature and also way of using the tool is the discovery of successful and popular content, that would then lead you to finding the best performing brands and platforms.
Brands with large audiences often have great performing blogs. It simply means you would see the content produced by them getting a lot of views and social shares. What should also be important for you is the activity of users. If you can see that the content on a particular platform frequently receive many comments, it means the audience is really engaged. And that should actually be similar with your goal – to build not only an audience, but an engaging one at that.
How to reach out and start relationships
For many, this is always the discouraging part; however, as a piece of advice – Reach Out! It might be possible to get a rejection or no response at all, but it will almost be impossible to get a collaboration rolling without initial contact. The trick to improving your chances is to properly do your homework and employ the right strategies.
First and foremost, it is important that you build and package your own brand in a way that will make it sellable for possible collaborations with proposed brands. Since its only common sense that no brand would want you to only “milk their beneficial juice alone without offering some grass to feed their cow”. Building a solid platform and audience yourself does not only grant you legitimacy, it is also provides you a leeway that guarantees other brands the fact that you will also be adding value to their businesses and that your cooperation would offer mutual benefits and growth.
Then, you might want to keep a mindset of relationship building, rather than what benefits you immediately stand to gain. In this modern world of social media, following these brands on their various social platforms might be a first step in the right direction, so is signing up for their newsletters, commenting on their pieces of content and possibly initiating the first contact through an initial pitch to inform how you found one of their activities valuable. This is always an ice-breaker and it makes the eventual reaching out for collaboration a breeze. Familiarity, they say, breeds positive results.
Finally, by having an already mapped out strategy, you will be able to sell your proposals in the best possible way. It is only important that you give it your best shot and that you work hard at oiling the engine of the relationship, which is sure to offer even more benefits down the line.
How you can leverage and benefit from partnership
As earlier mentioned, there are many benefits open to your brand as a result of partnering with other brands. At different stages of the partnership, you would be able to take advantage of being exposed to your partner’s audience, but also benefit shared ideas, experiences and innovations. The following are some interesting ways you can leverage your partnership with other brands:
- Guest-contribute content on their platform – guest posting quality content on the platform of brands you are in a collaboration with is a very solid way of reaching new audience as well as building quality backlinks to your website which helps you rank higher in Google search results
- Co-organization of events or contests – this is a very interesting way of not only raising awareness and good publicity for both brands; these kinds of contests such as blog awards solidifies the authority or legitimacy of both organizing brands in the industry in some form of ‘kingmaker’ stead.
- Cross-promotion – both brands in this case are able to minimize cost, while maximizing utility. Asides that, both brands are able to benefits from new markets and potential customers through the exposure of each other’s products to their loyal customer base.
- Reviews – with partnerships, it would be easy getting reviews of new products you are about to launch or recently launched. What better way to introduce your brand new products to a bigger audience that would eventually patronize you down the line.
- Innovations – by sharing ideas and experiences, a partnership is able to help you spring new ideas to life based on the needs and requirements of your industry. You might be able to introduce a groundbreaking product that finally sets you apart from the competition and set you and your partner unto the big league.
There are many benefits and ways to leverage a partnership. However, the most important thing is to nurture valuable relationships. Choose the right brand to team up with and stay creative when coming up with ideas that should be valuable for both yourself and your partnering brand.
The benefits are enormous and largely undervalued, however, you can be sure your brand can be amplified to a whole new audience and your new reach can only translate into greater times ahead.
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