If you’re a serial entrepreneur, it’s likely that you thrive on the challenge of going it alone. Despite this, it pays to remember that striking a partnership with a like-minded business can grow your community, customer base and reach. But whether you’re joining forces with a partner to launch a new product or collaborating with an organisation to host an industry event, a few careful measures can set the stage for a union that’s bound to stand the test of time. Here’s a four-step guide to striking a brand partnership.
Choose a brand that aligns with your values
There’s no point partnering with a brand that’s focused on growing aggressively when your own service proposition hinges on exemplary customer service or joining forces with a company whose ethics or outlook you don’t share. Choosing a potential partner whose approach or trajectory you admire is far more effective than coupling up with a business that’s simply good on paper. And your customers are more likely to see your efforts as authentic.
Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions
Hoping to find a short-term collaborator to help market a new vertical or attempting to build a long-term partnership with another company so you can pool resources down the track? Make sure you find out precisely how they do business, the systems they use and whether or not they’re growing or losing money. Asking difficult questions can feel awkward when you’re trying to establish a common ground and establish a rapport. However, it’s important to note that the best brand partnerships are based on transparency, trust and open communication.
It’s essential to understand exactly what you can offer your partner in return.
Know what you’re hoping to gain from the partnership
Before you strike a brand partnership, you should know what you’re hoping to gain. Are you aiming to multiply your social media following, benefit from your partner’s brand positioning or tap into a market that you might not otherwise be able to access? At the same time, it’s essential to understand exactly what you can offer your partner in return. After all, a partnership is the kind of business arrangement that sees both parties grow and evolve, like BMW and Louis Vuitton.
Make sure you put it in writing
Even if you have the best intentions for your new partnership, it’s important to put your goals in writing and outline the scope of your shared activities in case your vision gets blurred. Drafting up an agreement describing the terms of your partnership and creating a roadmap for projects you might take on together is critical for forging a relationship that works.
From working with an organisation whose mission aligns with your values to declaring your goals up front, clarity and integrity are critical for striking a strong brand partnership. What steps did you take before you partnered with another brand?
Neha Kale is a freelance writer and editor who covers business, technology, arts and culture for publications in Australia and overseas.