“I’m all for collaborations, whether it be with business or art… it can’t be about money… there has to be something in there that’s true to both sides” – Jay-Z
I love this quote from Jay-Z, potentially the world’s most successful recording artist-turned-businessman.
Mr Z makes a good point. Collaboration can’t just be about the money. It needs to be heartfelt and genuine at its core if it is to be effective as a PR and communications strategy.
And it can be effective, especially in today’s socially-connected world where collaborators’ respective fans, supporters, advocates and followers can help spread the word, ensuring the joint venture project receives way more exposure than it may have done in years gone by.
To work successfully, collaborative ventures need to be between like-minded brands – everyone needs to be on the one page with respective goals set out by all parties in advance and a sincere all-round desire for those involved to get something out of the arrangement
Strategic brand collaboration can be powerful in a number of ways – it can help a company to:
- Attain greater reach and awareness (gain exposure in other markets).
- Leverage off another brand’s image and equity (associated positive spin-off).
- Gain implied third-party endorsement and increased cache (additional credibility).
- Stay fresh and relevant (in the eyes of employees, influencers and customers).
Collaboration might also help a company to reshape public perception of its brand, or assist in providing it access to influential people connected to other involved parties.
Indeed, the collaboration might simply be the development of a cool idea that benefits society and as such the “warm fuzzies” that come with being involved is reward enough.
Leading companies are thinking more creatively about collaborating with others. Today, it’s about genuine partnerships, transparent dealings, social interaction and shared outcomes.
Such collaborative partnerships need not just be with a charity or cause. Sure, this is probably one of the best-known collaborative strategies available to a company as it ticks the “corporate social responsibility” box (and which business doesn’t want to do that?).
But think more broadly: What about collaborating with another company in your field, or an industry association? If you want to be really progressive, how about joining forces with a competitor to offer something of value to your joint customer base?
One of the best collaborative opportunities today is with high-profile bloggers.
The type of bloggers I’m referring to are multimedia content creators – personal brands in their own right, credible figures who command authority and influence in their particular industry or niche. Such individuals bring with them a dedicated community of fans and followers and can provide a brand with a valuable “halo effect’, social exposure as well as rich content that informs, inspires and/or entertains.
One of the more interesting collaborations of late is Tourism Queensland’s partnership with one of the world’s top bloggers, Darren Rowse, of Melbourne.
Working with Rowse, Tourism Queensland selected 10 international bloggers with a combined audience of over 2.5 million readers to become “Queensland blogger correspondents” as part of a Tourism Queensland promotion.
According to Tourism Queensland’s press release, “Darren is an influential social media wiz with an audience of more than five million readers”.
How could your company collaborate?