So You Want To Form Brand Partnerships

Forming partnerships for your brand can be a bit daunting when you’ve never done it before.  But it’s really not so bad.  Whether you’re looking to partner with fellow brands, social media influencers, or anyone else, you can start forming partnerships in just a few easy steps!  We’re walking through how to get started, how you should approach partnerships, and how you can ensure success below.  

First Steps

Once you have decided you would like to form some strategic partnerships for your brand, you need to figure out a few details that will guide your decisions going forward.  Start off by deciding, at a high level, what exactly you are looking to get out of a partnership.  Do you want to increase your brand’s visibility in a certain geographic area?  Make more sales amongst a certain demographic?  Emphasize certain values or aspects of your brand?  Based on what you are trying to accomplish, you can then narrow in on the type of partnership that would most benefit you, and what specific companies or individuals you would like to partner with.    

With your business objective and who you would like to partner with in mind, you can then start to work on forming relationships with these individuals or companies.  It is often beneficial to establish some sort of rapport or relationship with your targets first, rather than emailing them out of the blue to ask them to collaborate.  Start to engage with them on social media, reach out to them conversationally, and get them familiar with your brand before even broaching the idea of a partnership. How to Approach a Partnership 

Once you have established that groundwork and built a bit of a foundation, you can then propose the idea of a partnership and begin working on the specifics.  When suggesting a strategic partnership to a business or individual, there are a few things you should keep in mind. 

First, be mindful that you are not coming across as too pushy or aggressive.  You will of course want to follow up with people you are not hearing back from, and put in some effort to keep the potential deal moving forward.  If you don’t hear back on a partnership at first, you should give it another shot!  But try to avoid being naggy or overbearing in your communications.  

When suggesting or offering a partnership, you will also want to be prepared with some ideas ahead of time.  Do not merely ask if they would like to partner and leave it at that.  It is best to come in with a basic proposed framework and some ideas for the collaboration, while still leaving room for flexibility, and incorporating ideas your partner offers as well.  It will be beneficial in the long run if both sides feel like they have equally as much stake, and have contributed equally as much to the project. 

Keys to Success 

Once you have a potential partner on board, the work is still far from other!  There are a variety of actions you should take throughout the partnership to ensure that it is successful.  

You’re likely entering a partnership because of the potential benefits it can bring for you, and the other side is likely doing the same.  Thus, for any partnership to work, and to last, it needs to be mutually beneficial.  You should not only work to ensure you are benefitting from it, but that your partner is happy and reaping the benefits as well.  If only one side is really seeing a positive impact, your partnership will dissolve quickly.  

Communication is also a big key to a successful partnership.  Establish the best way to reach each other early on, so that you are able to keep the lines of communication open throughout the partnership process.  When people or brands get busy, it can be easy for things to get pushed to the back burner.  Don’t let this happen for your partnerships.  You and your partner should regularly check in on progress, and hold each other accountable for completing the agreed-upon terms.  

Finally, most partnerships will involve social media in some way, shape, or form.  Whether it be a sponsored post, an influencer agreement, or just a post announcing a new collaboration you are releasing, social media is almost sure to be involved.  When there are posts that go out pertaining to your partnership, you want to be sure they are in the same style and tone as your other posts.  Even if content is sponsored, or otherwise tied to a partnership, you do not want it to stick out like a sore thumb.  It should fit seamlessly into the overall look and strategy of your social media channels.  Ensure the branding is in line with your standards, otherwise the post can come off as disingenuous or confusing to your fans.  All in all, partnerships can lead to great benefits for your business.  But you do not want to form partnerships just for the sake of having partnerships.  Be selective in the collaborations you undertake, approach the topic of partnering carefully, and keep the keys to success in mind to make your partnerships the best they can be!

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