How to Get the Most from Collaborations
What is a collaboration?
Google's definition is quite basic in my opinion. Both my co-host, Bonita Rochelle and I agree that a collaboration is a partnership formed on a shared objective that yields mutual benefits. We really can't stress the importance of the word 'mutual'. A collaboration is like a relationship, it simply doesn't work if only one person benefits from it.
Types of collaborations
The two main forms of collaborations that you're probably going to encounter and probably engage in at some point during your business' growth are:
1. Collaborations with bigger organisations and brands
2. Collaborations with brands of a similar size, (your peers)
As Bon so rightly said on the podcast, a fundamental reason for many to consider collaborations is the realisation that you can offer the other brand something they need in exchange for something from them that you can benefit from.
Common motivations for embarking on collaborations include:
1. Increased reach and awareness
2. Access to new networks
3. Opportunity to gain new skills and expertise or have access to them
4. Knowledge exchange
5. Synergy - understanding that you can achieve something greater in a collaboration that you could if you went at it alone
6. Economies of scale - costs go down whilst your bargaining and or buying power increases
What factors can make collaborations a bad idea?
1. You just aren't sure about their real intentions
2. Different company values
3. Conflicting company cultures
4. If the collaboration is likely to confuse your respective audiences
Tips worth sharing for brand owners thinking about collaborating with other brands
Look for the mutual benefits
You both need to benefit from this partnership, otherwise it isn't even a collaboration.
Stay true to what your brand stands for
Do not compromise what your brand is all about for a quick win even if it seems tempting - your loyal customers and or followers will thank you for it.
Ask yourself - "does it make sense?"
For example, collaborating with a similar brand, of a similar size, to do a simliar thing to what you're already doing makes no sense to me. This is just one nonsensical example, I'm sure your inbox has more (or your sent items).
Learn to say no
Not every opportunity to collaborate that you are presented with will be worth your time or worth it in the long run. It's okay to say no!
Be prepared to pay for what you want
Another gem from Bonita. The assumption that just because it's a collaboration you don't need to part with some of your coins is irresponsible - the same is also true for people trying to collaborate with you of course.
Chances are you've taken a long time to build your brand and probably pumped a decent amount of money into your business. Like I said earlier, a collaboration is like a relationship and you wouldn't just jump into one with anyone. Take your time, do your research and make sure you're both clear on those mutual benefits!
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