Unleashing the Unfair Advantage of Unlikely Alliances

Posted by

A laundromat and a bar share a common wall. The owners get to talking and realize they have an opportunity to expand both of their businesses simply by opening up the wall. Now people all over the city flock to this laundromat because they can get a drink and play a game of pool while they do their wash.

A garden shop and a coffee house are both floundering when the owners get together for a cup of coffee. Brainstorming, they realized they can save on expenses and improve their traffic by combining the two businesses. Now customers get to enjoy coffee and pastry in the flowers. Garden customers now impulse purchase coffee and bakery, and coffee drinkers impulse purchase plants. The combined business is thriving and plans for expansion are under way.

If you’re looking for a way to differentiate your business, stand apart from the crowd and get noticed, you might want to consider forming an alliance or even partnering with another business.

Here are some key benefits of partnering to consider:

  • Expanding reach and audience – Partnering with a non-competitor taps into their audience base, exposing your products to new potential customers you might not have reached on your own.
  • Enhanced credibility and trust – Aligning with a reputable partner can boost your own brand image and attract customers who might be hesitant about purchasing your products.
  • Innovation and creative spark – Collaboration can lead to fresh ideas and perspectives. This can lead to innovative products, services, or marketing strategies.
  • Strengthened competitive advantage – A strategic partnership can create a stronger force to compete against larger or more established brands.
  • Increased brand awareness and engagement – Joint marketing campaigns and initiatives can generate more buzz and attention for both brands. This can lead to increased brand awareness and engagement, ultimately driving sales and customer loyalty.

Partnering is not a magic bullet, but when done thoughtfully and strategically, it can be a powerful tool for accelerating your journey towards achieving your business goals.

More Examples

A budget travel blogger might team up with a hostel chain to offer exclusive discounts and promotions to their readers. They could also create themed hostel tours based on their blog content, or write guest blog posts for the hostel website, driving traffic and mutual brand awareness.

A fitness influencer and a sportswear brand could host joint workout challenges using the brand’s gear, offer exclusive discount codes to their followers, or even co-design a limited-edition sportswear line based on their workout style.

A more unusual example might be a yoga instructor teaming up with a recipe site. They might offer packages of virtual yoga instruction with virtual “mindful baking” workshops for healthy treats.

How about a language teacher partnering with a travel agency to offer immersive language packages, combining language lessons with trips to the target country.

Or imagine a meditation app partnering with an organic tea brand to create a “Mindful Morning Ritual” bundle. This could include a subscription to the app, a selection of calming teas, and guided audio meditations focused on mindful tea preparation and enjoyment.

Hopefully these examples are sparking your brain with ideas on what businesses you might partner with.

For example, what if you have one of those cute sites that feature pet photos, or maybe an exercise site? Combining the mood-boosting power of pets or exercise with the professional guidance of a psychologist or mental health website could be a fantastic partnership. And this might work with dog walking services, animal shelters, or pet therapy organizations. Target audiences might be anxiety or depression support groups, mindfulness apps, or fitness programs for mental health.

Bundled packages of online therapy sessions with pet adoption consultations could be offered, as well as personalized exercise plans with virtual pet yoga classes, or community forums for shared experiences with both pets and mental health challenges.

The point is, you can revitalize and differentiate your business by forming a partnership with a non-competitor.

Here are 7 real examples of online businesses combining to create unique and successful online ventures:

1: Squarespace + Peloton – This unexpected duo teamed up to launch a series of inspiring stories called “Sweat It Out.” They featured entrepreneurs building their businesses while staying active, highlighting the link between physical health and business success. The campaign resulted in increased brand awareness and engagement for both Squarespace and Peloton.

2: Skillshare + Patreon – The online learning platform Skillshare partnered with the artist-focused crowdfunding platform Patreon, allowing instructors to offer subscription-based classes directly on their Patreon pages. This combined the educational resources of Skillshare with the personalized support and community features of Patreon, creating a win-win for both businesses and creators.

3: Spotify + Chipotle – This unique partnership saw Spotify curating personalized playlists based on Chipotle orders. Customers could scan a code on their receipt to access a playlist inspired by their meal, creating a more immersive dining experience and fostering brand loyalty.

4: Glossier + Warby Parker – These beauty and eyewear brands teamed up for a limited-edition collaboration called “See + Glow.” It featured a curated eyewear selection paired with complementary makeup shades, offering customers a complete look and highlighting the importance of self-expression in both style and vision.

5: Etsy + Depop: The online craft marketplace Etsy acquired the fashion resale platform Depop in 2021. This combines Etsy’s focus on handmade and vintage goods with Depop’s strength in trendy and pre-owned fashion, expanding reach and attracting a wider audience within the online shopping space.

6: Dollar Shave Club + Old Spice – While seemingly targeting different demographics, these grooming brands joined forces for a limited-edition “Fresh Takes” line. It featured co-branded shaving products with playful names like “Smell Yeah!” and “Beard Boss.” This collaboration surprised and delighted both their customer bases, demonstrating their willingness to experiment and connect with new audiences.

And sometimes even a direct competitor can be a great partner:

7: Headspace + Calm – These mediation giants surprised everyone by collaborating on a joint podcast called “Sleep Code.” The podcast explores various sleep challenges and offers guided meditations for better rest. This unexpected collaboration showed their commitment to supporting mental well-being beyond competition, generating positive buzz and expanding their audience reach.

These are just a few sparks of inspiration to get you thinking in the right direction. Remember, the key is to find creative common ground between seemingly unrelated businesses and leverage each other’s strengths to reach new audiences and offer unique value propositions.

So, when brainstorming your next online venture, don’t be afraid to step outside the box and think about potential collaborations with businesses in unlikely corners of the internet. You might just stumble upon the next groundbreaking online empire!