I recently read one of the most concise and interesting articles regarding strategies for partnering with big brands I’ve ever read. Published by entrepreneur.com, Tom Szaky’s piece offered insights in to how best to equip your business for exciting new routes to market; something that most (every?) companies are constantly eyeing up, but few actually have experience in.
Tom, having partnered with Wal-Mart himself, reveals a check list of six key points, and it’s something I think you all should read. [full article here]
On pointing out the fact people should build on existing partnerships it said, “Too many entrepreneurs chase after the next client instead of recognizing the current client could mean a lot more revenue for them if they simply explore other revenue channels”
At one end of the scale this is simply affiliate marketing or reselling, and although these are not sexy terms, I’d strongly advise looking at your own customer base and seeing where they themselves operate. You and your customers already have a relationship, which should (in theory at least) be a solid basis for you to approach them regarding such matters. Foreign markets can be very hard to break in to, but this becomes much easier if one of your clients already has ‘an in’.
Another theme that runs through the article is thinking big, “A big brand doesn’t want to talk about a $10,000 project. They want to talk in seven figures and really big user numbers”.
I agree with this, but only to a certain extent. It entirely depends what both parties want from the new partnership. It also depends massively on the product or service you are pushing. Some companies and brands are prepared to offer financial rewards in return for exposure or a perceived ‘halo effect’. This is particularly true in the events and arts space with a myriad of big boys fronting big money in exchange for a slice of the en-vogue pie. Brandamp recently unveiled a major new study into music and brands which you can read here. Red Bull and Mountain Dew have record labels with credible rosters. Levi’s, Converse, Dr. Martens, Scion, Nike and Bacardi have all sponsored music by the kind of under-the-radar artists covered in Pitchfork and The Village Voice, and they blitz the blogosphere with promotional budgets fatter than most labels could muster.
Obviously not everyone operates in such a creative field, but start-ups and SMEs needn’t worry. There are many opportunities in countless industries, and in fact, I’d recommend reading this article which was published last year and takes a more general look at choosing the right partner brand for small businesses in particular.
Partnering with cash rich brands is not a new trend but something which over the last couple of years has seen a dramatic rise in popularity. It’s two-fold insomuch as the initial cash injection may relieve the necessity of a bank loan, whilst at the same time, long lasting partnerships can add real monetary value to your bottom. I’d love to hear peoples experience of partnering with brands or other smaller companies. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email and I look forward to discussing further and getting involved in some interesting conversations.