Five reasons why collaboration is such a powerful marketing tool

Image courtesy of Bluebell Gray

Image courtesy of Bluebell Gray

Creative Marketing

Nobody wants to spend lots of money on marketing, especially a small business without a marketing budget.  So when the marketing spend is limited, or non-existent, marketing managers have to get creative. Collaboration can be a really good way to generate leads and raise brand awareness without incurring huge expense.  All businesses can benefit from association and it doesn’t require a big investment.

Promoting your brand

I loved this recent example of collaboration from The Chelsea Flower Show.  Fi Douglas, founder of Bluebell Gray was invited to decorate the Farrow and Ball window in Chelsea with a selection of their paints.  The result is so eye-catching, and very ‘instagrammable’ (is that a word now?).  Not a big expense for either company but a great way to promote both brands to new audiences and showcase the beautiful Farrow and Ball colours and Bluebell Gray’s wonderful painterly designs.

The advantages of collaboration

Here are the five reasons why this strategy works so well for small businesses -

1. Exposure to new customers

It's likely that both companies have an existing social media following and an email list.  Work together and share news to the respective customers and gain exposure to each others followers and subscribers.  Perhaps one business is primarily B2B but wants to start targeting B2C, find a complementary business with the audience you’d like to reach and explore ways that you could both benefit from working together.

2. Think more creatively

Creative people bounce ideas off each other and if you are looking for inspiration a bit of brainstorming can lead to a lightning bolt moment.  You don’t have to know the other business, if there is common ground, give them a call with your proposal. Most business people are open to networking and new opportunity.

3. New and more interesting content.

Attracting people to your website or showroom is difficult when you always have the same thing on your homepage or in your shop window.  To keep it fresh and interesting, to delight and inspire, you regularly need to show potential customers something different and new.  An extra advantage is the SEO boost that you get from any links back to your site (backlinks) created through someone elses website content.

4. Build Trust

Your existing customers already trust you to provide them with a product and service that meets their needs. By collaborating with another business you are basically endorsing it, and they you.  But a note of caution, make sure you have confidence in the brand you are collaborating with as the downside is that you could risk your reputation by associating with the wrong kind of business.

5. Press interest.

It’s not easy to get press coverage unless you have a really stand-out product.  If you don’t have the advertising budget or some spare marketing cash for influencers then the collaborative story can make for a more compelling read.

Mairi Helena bed

Mairi Helena Textiles

A collaboration I worked on with up and coming textiles designer,  Mairi Helena Textiles and Robinsons Beds to produce a showcase, bespoke headboard.

Raising Awareness

It doesn’t need to be an expensive product launch.  Like the above example, it could be a one-off piece to showcase both sets of skills. It can be promotional activity such as a co-hosted event or a pop-up shop.  A local cafe might host an online jewellery company for a social selling morning.  A shop selling kitchen goods may have a local bakery provide a baking demonstration.  

 There’s lots of opportunity to raise brand awareness through association with other companies. It’s all about networking and building relationships, to pool resources and reach new audiences.

Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

I'm a marketing consultant providing creative marketing services for small and medium sized businesses  in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the surrounding area, on a project or freelance basis.  Contact me at the email or number below for more information