Marketing Collaboration – A lesson from a Panda and a guide for small business

We’ve being hearing it for the past two years – the key to business success lies in collaboration.

Successful organisations of the future will collaborate and engage with their customers to get clarity and buy-in, leaders will collaborate with their teams in a flexible work focus to implement innovative ideas and processes and brands will collaborate with each other to share their values and messages with the world.

As humans we’ve always achieved more working together than competing with each other so why shouldn’t it work for business too?

Wix and Dream Works Animation  (the movie studio behind newly released Kung Fu Panda 3) bypassed the traditional advertising studio to collaborate directly on a TV commercial designed to engage viewers and promote both brands. It was released for the Superbowl in early 2016 and is now airing in Australia, timed for the movie release here.

{Click on the image above to play in You Tube.}

From a consumer’s point of view, it was a good collaboration. Wix is a simple-to-use website creation platform for the web beginner / start-up / small business owner and hobbyist. Plus it’s a fun brand. Kung Fu’s panda, Po, is a fun, energetic and try-hard character. He’s got a similar personality to many founders and small business owners who are great at what they do, are usually juggling many things and have a lot going on.

Collaboration in marketing can be a powerful practice for small and large businesses alike. Small businesses especially can benefit by aligning with another brand to share their message with each target market. With advertising as some of the more expensive marketing media available, sharing costs can buy more air or page time and reach more people.

If you’re thinking about collaborating with another brand for marketing here are four points to consider:

  1. Have absolute clarity of your target market and your brand values. This will help you decide very early on if there is a synergy between you and the other brand.
  2. Know the numbers. Know how many of your tribe you might expect to reach and have a clear understanding of the goals you set for achieving total reach. Make sure you know your conversion rates and have a template for recording the stats for reach.
  3. Make sure you have a fail-proof data collection strategy. It’s all very well to have a branding opportunity, but if you can’t convert it, it’s a waste of money.
  4. Treat the process as you would a business contract –  have clear expectations of each party and have an exit plan in case it doesn’t meet them. Put it in writing.

There are many ways brands can collaborate when marketing. Aside from the Wix/Panda ad collab, here are a few more ideas:

  • Share an online or offline event
  • Drop letterbox flyers with an advertisement on each side
  • Share a table at an expo
  • Donate door prizes for other event holders in exchange for the data
  • Share an office space (or go into a collab/co-working space) together
  • Write articles for each other’s blog/newsletter
  • Co-create a newspaper advertisement
  • Create a testimonial strategy
  • Swap services to reward clients
  • Record a podcast/audio together

If you’ve got a marketing goal consider what collaboration could do for your business and brand – you might find that you get there faster and have more fun on the way.

For that matter, if you have a life goal the same rule applies!

Happy collaborating.

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