Brand Partnerships – 5 Things To Keep In Mind When Creating Partnerships
While the marketing and social media landscape is continuously changing, one theme that remains constant is brand partnerships. I’ve been developing partnerships for a little over 10 years now and I’ve seen how the right partnerships can help your brand grow beyond measure. Partnerships, especially in social media can become – and often is – self righteous, focused only on one party without truly cementing the benefits and value formulating the right union can bring all parties involved.
The message always seem to revolve around the same thing, X brand or influencer wants to sell us on how amazing a brand/product/service is, while forgetting to highlight what we truly care about: the value that this brings to our lives. Consumers are inundated daily with partnerships, it’s everywhere you look. What makes yours effective? What makes yours memorable? How do you make sure that you create partnerships that are genuine, authentic and are leaving consumers and brands satisfied. I often wonder if this over-saturation of brand partnerships is making the consumer numb to it all.
Here are 5 points that are integral to keep in mind as you seek to create brand partnerships:
1 – Don’t be lazy, do your research
This rule is number 1 for a reason. If you start this process with a hint of laziness, you will end up with a less than perfect end result. You want to partner with a brand but don’t have the contact? The internet is your best friend. While this seems like an obvious one, many people get stuck at this step and won’t do what it takes to find the appropriate contact. Cold call if you have to. In my early days that’s how I got my feet wet, there’s no better way to learn about a brand and craft your pitch then to cold call.
2 – Is it a win-win?
If you want to build a brand partnership, you should first figure how the partners involved will benefit from this. It’s easy to think about how you can win from this, but that’s often the easiest way to lose a deal. If you can’t clearly explain to prospective partners how they stand to gain from this opportunity, you need to go back to the drawing board. It needs to be truly beneficial, this is where doing your research comes into play. You should have more or less of an idea of how you can bring value to them to create a win-win opportunity that all parties are happy with.
3 – If you gotta force it…
Not all brand partnership ideas are right for you, not all brands are right for you. If you have to force it to happen, chances are it isn’t the right fit. Always keep in mind the reasons why this partner is aligned with your brand, why it’s a fit. If it’s clear to you, it will be clear to them as well. We’ve all seen examples of partnerships that aren’t a right fit and leave us feeling with a sense that X brand or partner isn’t being authentic to their voice.
4 – Scratch beyond the surface… Get creative
The best partnerships in my opinion are not only genuine and authentic, but they push the boundaries of what we know. Create a lasting impact, you are the captain of this partnership. How can you make a lasting impact? It’s easy to resort to the cookie cutter ways of doing things. How can you scratch beyond the surface and make sure that the value you bring to the table in a partnership goes beyond what they are used to? How can you creatively weave in elements of their brands to integrate them seamlessly? Get creative, make an impact.
5 – Focus on your value, not your follower count
As you build our partnerships, it’s important to know right away what value you bring to the table. Why should X partner want to partner with you? What is your value proposition? If your answer involves how many followers you have on social media, dig deeper, go back to the drawing board. I say this because I’m of the belief that numbers of followers don’t translate to a great partnership. Can you engage your audience? Are they the right fit for the partner? High number of followers or not doesn’t guarantee a single thing. It’s important to banish this myth. Furthermore, if your value proposition is your number of followers, then be prepared to be placed in a crab bucket. If there is no way to differentiate from others what you bring to the table other than numbers, then how can a brand really see all of the other great facets working with you brings. A friend of mine always says, if social media is over tomorrow, you want to make sure that you can transfer your skills anywhere. That being said – think outside of the box and learn to sell yourself beyond the numbers you bring to the table.
These are some key tips I always keep in mind when I work on partnerships. I hope they are useful to you. Let me know if you have any specific questions you would like me to answer.
Photo Credit: Naskademini