Over coffee at beautiful Manly Beach with the lovely Jessica Ruhfus from Collabosaurus, we picked her brain about the best ways to leverage collaborations as an effective tool for growing your new business. Dream & Do recently collaborated with Cool People Doing Cool Things to start a monthly breakfast series – Cereal Entrepreneurs. It’s fun, engaging, offers something to our clients and Cool People’s audience, and we can see it moving in leaps and bounds towards something great. Watch this space!
Jessica is the Founder and CEO of Collabosaurus, and here are her words of wisdom...
We are seeing incredible brand partnerships happening around us; from Samantha Wills and Yellowglen to Spotify and Uber. But what about strategic collaborations for start-ups? They are extremely effective tools for growing your business in the early days; don’t think you can’t collaborate just because you’re small!
I define strategic collaborations as: two brands working together to get awesome marketing exposure, engage their communities and grow their businesses.
When done properly, collaboration marketing is extremely effective, relevant and mutually beneficial. They’re also very friendly on the hip pocket. Now I have your attention, here are my top four tips on collaborations for start-ups!
1. Pin down a goal
If you read that and thought ‘to grow my business!’ I’m going to stop you right there. Take a few steps back and recognise the path to that growth success. What areas do you need to tackle in your marketing? Is it growing your email list? Your social media? Getting people to try your new product? Pin down a specific goal. It will determine the type of strategic partnership you engage in, as well as define the ‘call to action’ and focus.
2. Know your assets
Start-ups often cringe at this point; common responses are “but I don’t have a big social media following yet” or “we have no budget to spend! AAAH!” I’m a big believer in that you have something that someone else wants. Think outside the box here - it’s not just about money and social media. What about your skills? Perhaps you’re a photographer or graphic designer; your photography and your design are your assets. Scribble down all of the assets you have, big and small! Refine them, know them and use them in leveraging a strategic partnership.
3. Start small, add value
Yep, everyone wants to partner with Samantha Wills and Google. You’ll get there! But to get there, don’t be afraid to start small with your collaborations. Be clever with your strategic partnerships and choose brands with engaged audiences. Engagement is more powerful than numbers here - trust me! I’ve collaborated for Instagram growth with brands who have 700 followers, to brands that have 50,000. Guess which ones resulted in the most conversions? To be honest, they were almost the same. Don’t be fooled by numbers alone! In any brand collaboration, make sure it’s not just ‘collaboration for the sake of collaboration’. You should be ultimately providing something of value to both your audiences.
4. Decide on a type
At Collabosaurus, we break down strategic partnerships into seven different types:
// Event Collaborations
// Product Creations
// Charitable Initiatives
// Open to Possibilities
Which ones are the most logical when considering your goals? Once you have an idea of what you want to do and what you want to achieve as a result, it’s time to get collaborative! Look to partner with relevant brands who share complementary audiences. Reach out to brands with their benefits in mind, or save time and use Collabosaurus to find valuable brand partnerships around the globe. We make sure you already know what you’re exchanging, AND what you’re getting in return, before you engage in a partnership.
The absolute BEST collaboration we’ve ever come across is definitely the project between Bing and Jay-Z, headed by creative agency Droga 5. We blogged about it a couple of weeks ago at Creative Show & Tell, but just to recap … Jay-Z’s new book, Decoded, was set to be released, and he had reached out to Droga 5. Bing had also come on board as one of the agency’s clients to try and raise the bar as a search engine of choice. Droga 5 killed two birds with one stone and created an epic collaboration that saw New Yorkers running around the city trying to ‘uncover’ the mystery clue to reveal the next page of Jay-Z’s book, while using Bing to help them. Totally genius. Watch this short video here: