29 Nov The Art of Collaboration
I recently posted a graphic on Instagram that included the words, “do cool sh*t, collaborate, hustle”. In a more descriptive interpretation, I might say create something completely unique, find others in your niche or who share similar customers in your demographic and make it happen, over and over again. I nearly fell over when someone commented “collaborate with who”? While this may have been a spammy comment or an offhand remark to grow their own profile, it got me thinking, is the method and why of collaboration straight forward?
Collaboration comes in many forms, at the heart of the word the meaning is simply working with someone to produce something. The question is, do you know how important it is for your business, and how you can really get the most out of potential partnerships? Every day in business I am presented with opportunities to collaborate successfully and unfortunately sometimes my path crosses with those that haven’t quite grasped the concept.
Seriously, the best thing you can do for your business is always strive to work with other businesses, even if that means sharing work with a competitor. Digital marketing is one of the most saturated markets on the planet, yet many start ups are still successful and there are good reasons for that. Some are to do with experience, some with capabilities and others with contacts but the one overwhelming aspect to success is their ability to collaborate.
I stumbled across a business recently called Motherhood Melbourne, and apart from their super cool branding I fell in love with their seriously smart collaboration techniques. It’s intertwined in everything they do and they totally get it, provide opportunities for businesses to leverage marketing from one another in the same niche. Aside from offering a membership which enables you to collaborate, they hold really cool events, like bringing together niche businesses and sharing the costs of photography for a product photo session. You share costs and leverage each others networks to market. I have no affiliation with this business, but totally love what they do, it just makes sense.
It’s not just about collaborating with businesses outside your competition, competitors can be just as great partners too. This week we took on a new client, a start up in the finance industry with a low budget. Four partners make up the businesses and with four different sets of contacts and opinions they decided to split the branding and marketing design into logo and print collateral and website design (we won the website design). This is standard in our industry and I’ll give some more examples in a moment. I received a call from the competitor engaged to complete the logo and business cards advising me that they would now be doing the website design as per a request from the client. My heart sank, involving clients in a turf war is akin to telling your mum your sister pinched your favourite pencil. It’s incredibly frustrating for the client, and let’s face it, no one has this kind of time. It was obvious to me the competitor was trying to leverage more business (as I had spoken to the client the day before) and I politely advised that the quote had been signed off. It was resolved quickly but not without a call from the client to say he had resolved the turf war, urrgh, cringe.
This rarely happens in my industry and in fact I partner with so many amazing digital marketing companies that sometimes it feels like we are part of one giant business. We work with each other’s strengths, workloads, contacts, partnerships and we leverage one other to grow. You win some and you lose some and often, the partnership itself is profitable in so many ways. You have different skills that can provide opportunities for growth.
So, to answer the question to our recent Instagram post, collaborate with everyone and anyone that reflect your business or personal values. Not for profits make great partnerships, you can give back to the community while strengthening your brand. Otherwise seek out similar businesses in your niche or customer demographic, suppliers, competitors or just cool humans that believe in what you do.