‘I love creating partnerships, I love not having to bear the full burden of creative storytelling.. – Steven Spielberg
Rather than trying to do it all alone, strategic partnerships can be an effective way to build business. As each partner leverages the other’s assets, they can expand or penetrate more deeply into existing and contemplated product markets, compete in new markets, gain access to new distribution channels, benefit from positive brand imagery, or hone new business models. . Partnerships are especially valuable for companies seeking quick entry into a particular market or line of business due to technology disruptions, new market entrants, or aggressive moves by competitors.
Not surprisingly, they can take various shades of gray from joint ventures to more flexible alliances and often have a specific focus:
– Strategic marketing partnerships Enable well matched companies (eg target audience, brand / value perception, etc.) to enhance their brand image and increase awareness in a cost-effective and synergistic way, combining two brand budgets and marketing outlets.
For example, the partnership between Christian Dior Fusion Sneakers and Colette gave Christian Dior the opportunity to launch its new modern, innovative and luxurious line (a fusion between traditional sneakers and Dior haute couture shoes) in the exclusive and prestigious distribution network. of Colette. For Colette, being chosen as the store where the sneakers first appeared generated great public relations for the trendsetting retailer.
If partners are in different parts of the same market, customers can be referred to each other and partners can expand beyond their respective customer base, as illustrated by H & M’s ongoing collaboration with high-fashion designers such as Karl Lagerfeld. , Lanvin or Alexander. Wang. This enables H&M to offer high-end fashion brand items for a limited period of time to attract people to its stores and support its brand’s positioning as a trendy fashion destination. Haute couture designers increase their own brand awareness and forge a bond with a new generation of potential customers, who will hopefully aspire to own more pieces from their high-end collection.
This can also take place in different product markets, such as the partnership between high-end camera company Leica and luxury fashion brand Moncler. The limited edition ‘fashion’ camera is the ideal purchase for the high-end target audience and reflects the sense of aesthetics of camera owners.
– Strategic partnerships with suppliers It may include manufacturers, distributors, or suppliers. They provide security of supply (including new products tailored for specific needs) and can lead to special discounts and lower prices, a classic example is that of Apple and Google working with many small application developers to create an ecosystem of services mobiles.
Sometimes this relationship can lead to schizophrenia. Apple’s main supplier of microchips for its iPhones is Samsung, its main rival in the smartphone market. They compete aggressively in the marketplace while closely collaborating on the design of the semiconductors that Samsung sells to Apple.
Strategic partnerships with suppliers can also be created to provide a unique competitive advantage to one of the partners. H&M is collaborating with I: CO, a logistics company, as it has started offering customers the opportunity to bring their old clothes to their stores and receive a discount on new ones. I: CO sends some of the used clothing to the second-hand market or to be recycled.
– Strategic technology partners helping companies share the burden of the high costs often associated with new technologies. The need to develop electric, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell and other forms of propulsion, while also investing heavily in their gasoline and diesel engines, has led car brands such as Toyota to partner with their rival. BWM in fuel cells. technology.
Technology partnerships can also bring together companies from different industries, such as Allianz partnered with Google to create an “accelerator” center in Munich, to foster startups looking to use data analytics to improve the insurance market.
They can also bring together companies operating in different parts of the technology spectrum, such as the Apple and IBM alliance. Big data analytics from IBM and more than 100,000 industry sales consultants and software developers help Apple penetrate the global corporate enterprise market with a new class of applications to connect users with big data and analytics on devices. iOS.
Despite all those successes, making partnership relationships work is often very difficult. They are similar to marriages of convenience, where trust and respect are often put to the test by underlying rivalries and occasional feuds.
Rules abound for successful partnerships, but the focus should be on partnering with a company with a similar vision and culture, and continually building trust by working together openly and transparently. In any case, most partnerships don’t turn out exactly as expected, so flexibility, as always, is critical.