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5 EXAMPLES OF SUPER CREATIVE BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS TO INSPIRE YOU AND APPLY TO YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY

Por María Eugenia Guidara |

What is a partnership? According to the Webster’s dictionary, it’s a “relation for achieving the members’ common goals”.  For online marketing, as well as offline, business partnerships have been shown to demonstrate enormous benefits.

“No company is an island. In an interdependent market each company has to think about working with others is they want to compete in the global market” Akio Morita

In this article, we’re going to first review the concept of a strategic alliance and its application in the marketing world. Once these items have been clarified we’re going to show you 5 examples of super creative partnerships that will inspire you (with brands from quite diverse sectors such as Reebok, Nescafé and Cirque du Soleil).

Business Partnerships: powerful competitive tools

In a complex world with rapidly progressing technology and a market full of uncertainties, it’s always best to go through it together. When we refer to business partnerships or “partner strategies” we’re talking about: “a collaborative agreement between two or more companies in order to achieve a collection of private and common interests by sharing resources”. (Africa Ariño).

Fortunately, this type of relationship doesn’t only prove to be successful for large companies. PYMEs, small entrepreneurs and any type of local business can take advantage of this strategy to obtain awesome benefits.

Of course, business partnerships have many levels of depth, types and functions. A good example of this is the partnership between Motorola and Toshiba in which they exchange vital technologies and information related to industrial processes. But these partnerships are also about competing companies.

Supplementary business partnerships are usually established in online partner marketing. This means, if you are thinking about creating a partnership you should first concentrate on searching for that company whose services or product complements yours.

Something very important: for a partnership to work both companies must benefit from it.

What benefits can you get from a business partnership? Basically, they’ve become  powerful tools for reacting quickly and creatively in competitive atmospheres.

One of the main advantages of a strategic alliance is being able to reach other audiences in order to introduce them to your products or services, thereby expanding your own audience and dealing with your competition more effectively.

It will also help you in generating brand reputation and awareness, improving your brand’s visibility and presence on social channels and maximizing business through learning.

What determines the success of these actions? It has to be beneficial for both companies and also the type of partnership will affect the outcome.

Now we’re going to dive into the main feature of this text: providing you with inspirational examples so you can create super effective business partnerships.

business partnerships

 

  1. EDREAMS + NESCAFÉ: VOLANDO UN NESCAFÉ AND “AUSTRALIA” CAMPAIGN

In 2012, Nescafé and the airline company Edreams launched two contests under the name “Volando un Nescafé”. The prize: flights for 2 to 10 different cities.

BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP EDREAMS AND NESCAFE

This is the publication from the Edreams blog. In order to participate, they asked those interested to become a fan of THE Nescafe and Edreams’ official Facebook pages by going to “Volando un Nescafé” (Facebook app) and answering the question that appeared, choosing a destination and guest and then indicating where they would have a coffee and why.

Edreams frequently makes use of business partnerships. Another interesting example is from the “Australia” campaign organized together with Qatar Airways. Prize: a flight to Sidney or Adelaide for two people. Once again there was a Facebook app created to be able to compete.

business partnerships edreams australia

 

  1. AMERICAN EXPRESS + FOURSQUARE: REAL TIME DISCOUNTS  

How does this business partnership function? American Express offers their clients discounts through Foursquare. In order to access these promotions, card users have to “check in” at their favorite spots.

business partnerships foursquare and american express campaign

American Express made sure to capture the massive young public of Foursquare while expanding its network of affiliated merchants. As for Foursquare, they dived into e-commerce and made traffic to their site grow by increasing their visibility.

The first experiment of this partnership began in 2011, in Texas; a campaign called “Spend 5$, save 5$”. And what did it consist of? More than 60 retailers offered a five dollar discount to their Foursquare members for purchasing their products, under two circumstances: checking in with the retailer and paying with an American Express card.

 

  1. CIRQUE DU SOLEIL + REEBOK + DESIGUAL: ADDED VALUE FOR THE CLIENT

Even though this example isn’t directly linked to Social Media, we thought it’d be very useful to show as inspiration.

Women were expressing their boredom in the gym and Reebok was looking to expand their hold in the women’s sports attire market. So, Reebok, in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, created a new line of clothing for exercising. “Jukari, fit to fly”, inspired by the Cirque du Soleil performances, was the result of this collaboration.

business partnerships Reebok and Cirque du Soleil

Image: beautynewsnyc

 

The product (co-brand Reebok + Cirque) is distributed in gyms around the world, and Reebok is accomplishing two concrete goals: expanding their position in the women’s sports attire market and gaining visibility in markets in which they had none.

Now, let’s take a look at the strategic partnership between Cirque du Soleil and the Spanish fashion firm Desigual. With this agreement, created in 2011, Desigual gained access to the circus company’s magical fairy tales with the goal of creating a new collection inspired by characters and costumes from the show “Corteo”.

The apparel produced from this partnership is not only available in Desigual stores, but also at Cirque du Soleil shows. Isn’t this a really creative idea?; and the results are beautiful!

business partnerships Desigual and Cirque du Soleil

business partnerships desigual and cir du soleil attire

 

  1. CREATIVE SWAP: COLLABORATIVE CREATIVITY

Creative Swap was a very ambitious collaborative project. It started in 2012 from the work of Sane & Able, Londres’ creative study. Basically, they were looking to exchange talent with other agencies in the same sector.

In just one month architects, illustrators, graphic designers and other professionals in the creative sector left their companies to work on other projects for different agencies. Companies interested in this human resources exchange only had to register on the Internet, describe their creative profiles and wait for the date in which they would Exchange one of their employees for a week.

This partnership between companies was gunning for the regeneration and discovery of new ideas and processes. Some agencies spoke of this collaboration as a “cross-pollination” process. Interesting, no?

 

  1. HARVARD + MIT= edX: DIGITAL EDUCATION BOOST

Are you familiar with the educative platform edX? It’s a collaborative project created by Harvard University and MIT (Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology) with the goal of offering multiple free courses online to anyone who has Internet connection.

But this isn’t the only example of this type of partnership. Surely you’ve tried some of the educational offers from Coursera. This platform came from a partnership between Princeton, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford. There is also a Spanish version and the platform has more than 100 partners. Some of them are: National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), University of Virginia, IBM, National Geographic Society, the Businees School ESSEC, among many others.

The goal of these business partnerships (even among competitors) is not only about building a large global educational community online but also about experimenting and investigating new teaching methods and tools.

business partnerships coursera

These are the examples of business partnerships that we really wanted to show you because they were very inspirational to us, even though they’re through large companies. But to help you in your journey towards strategic partnerships with something more than inspiration we’re going to end this article with some of them.

PRACTICAL TIPS SO YOU CAN ATTAIN BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS ON SOCIAL MEDIA RIGHT NOW

  • FIRST STEP: GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA

This is simple establishing friendly correspondence with brands that offer services and products that complement yours. The level of involvement is very low therefore, the impact on profits is minimal. It only serves in gaining some visibility and “formalizing” the relationship.

Although it may seem impractical, this is the first step when thinking about business partnerships. Its a good way of getting to know which brands/products/services could possibly complement yours and establishing contact with them.

  • LARGER DEGREE OF INVOLVEMENT: MENTION EACH OTHER AND COLLABORATE ON CONTENT

Once we’re on social networks, we can maximize the relationship through mentions and content on Social Media. We have to determine what types of mentions to use and what type of publications will be most suitable.

business partnerships j'aime bridal mentions
Let’s look at this example of the Eco-clothing design store. They mention and share a publication with a fashion blog that left a mark on the brand.

Mentions and shared content are effective on social networks for everyone. Here are some of the millions of examples, mentions, shared publications, common hashtags, etc. on Twitter.

business partnerships mentions on Twitter

Here’s another simple example from a popular television show. They mention the TV channel that their show is shown on.

business partnerships pretty little liars and freeform

 

  • COORDINATE DYNAMIC ACTIONS AMONG COMPANIES

This is one of the most interesting and frequent standard son Social Media. We have contact with the supplementary company, we’ve mentioned each other on social networks and have even shared posts. It’s time to think about business partnerships such as raffles and contests, among other different types of experiences. It’s time to take our creativity to the max!

Here are some examples of small companies that wagered on strategic partnerships with other people or companies.

business partnerships local breweries
This case pertains to a restaurant that worked in collaboration with local breweries to produce a tasting. Both could be seen benefiting from this event without even investing any extra money.

business partnerships contest

This is a post shared on a fashionista’s fan page. It’s promoting a contest launched by the clothing line La Grece J’aime to win some of their Greek fashion. It’s quite simple: the clothing line made a contest without spending any money by building customer loyalty, and the fashionista’s page increased theirs too.

 

And another thing to help you if you have a local or small business and needing to boost your presence: “TIPS YOU CAN’T MISS OUT ON TO INCREASE YOUR SMALL BUSINESS’S INTERNET PRESENCE”

 

Presto! With so many inspirational examples, what are you waiting for?; start creating your own strategic partnerships! And please, don’t forget to share this content with those it could help. Good luck!

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