How Can Small Biz Connect With Big Brands?

Do you dream about partnering your small business with a multi-million dollar brand?

Exposure to industry giants can bring entrepreneurs new opportunities to create and sell to different markets. And with the right gumption, anything is possible.

Today, 57% of companies use partnerships to further their brand. Not only is it beneficial for companies to work together, but it is also a wonderfully innovative way to bring something new to consumers. 

These are some tips and tricks to help you secure the brand partnership of your dreams.

Put collaboration above everything. 

KPMG reports that 90% of corporations find collaboration essential in promoting innovation. “Collaboration can no longer be viewed as an optional extra; it’s a strategic imperative,” says Aline Santos, EVP of Global Marketing at Unilever.

Start-ups and more established companies are able to teach and learn from each other when they partner up. For example, larger companies can learn how to be more flexible, innovative and appeal to the niche market start-ups cater to. Meanwhile, start-ups learn from established practices that a larger brand has developed from years of trial and error. 

The most important part of a successful brand partnership is to encourage innovation between the two companies through collaboration. The corporate chain can be beneficial to a startup culture by bringing credibility as well as experience in distribution, PR, and branding. 

Corporate partnerships boost credibility by helping customers and other potential partners take the startup more seriously. Partnering together can expand brand market reach to niche audiences that brands may not have had access to prior to collaborating with a company specializing in that niche. A good product, service, or solution should appeal to a variety of consumers.

Distribution equals revenue, and start-ups often work with limited distribution resources and outlets. But by working with larger corporations with more money and access to resources, smaller companies can escalate their potential market reach. 

Flexibility is also a key part of a collaboration between brands, and start-ups bring a unique approach to the table. Newer and smaller companies have more room to be flexible than more prominent brands with their processes set in stone. Bringing this mindset to the merger is a great tool for companies looking to work together.  

Established companies can also assist their newer counterparts with any obstacles that may arise with public relations or branding. Advice is worth its weight in gold in the business industry. It is invaluable to be able to get advice from industry giants who have experienced pitfalls and can make sure your company doesn’t make the same mistakes.  

The perfect partnership will expand brand recognition for a start-up that would not have been able to get that reach otherwise. 

Network your way to success

Networking events are the number one way to create partnerships and contacts in your specific industry. There are many opportunities to attend networking events both in-person and online. And with Google at your fingertips, finding tech networking events for the year 2022 is as easy as clicking search, 

The first step is to target brands that have the opportunity to bring in a bigger audience or can finance a larger project that your company might not be able to accomplish otherwise. Make sure to know what your smaller company can bring to them. The best way to do this is to brainstorm with your team about what benefits you can bring to another company before reaching out to pitch a partnership. 

The best way to get noticed is to go to trade fairs and present your organization as an opportunity to create innovative solutions. Have the courage to show what makes what you represent special and exciting to others. 

Some tips for attending networking events include going to as many panels and workshops as possible and being engaged while doing this. Be intentional in your networking! Introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Bring many business cards to pass out, and remember to share your email and Linkedin profile. 

When networking, it is important to strongly define who you are as a company, as well as what makes your company different and what they stand for.  It’s like pitching; if you only have 30 seconds to present your company, you better do it right. Companies are drawn to working with those that share their core values.  

If there are sessions you cannot attend, make a note to reach out to the speaker later and ask for resources and recommendations to learn more. Time management is crucial to get everything out of a networking event that you possibly can. 

And while you’re networking, be sure to speak highly of brands you have worked within the past. This is a way to promote both the company and past successful collaborations. 

What makes successful partnerships 

Successful partnerships hinge on aligned goals. This allows for a strong foundation that can address potential issues. However, a common goal and target audience are not all it takes to build a successful brand partnership. There must also be a clear business plan to provide and support customers in their needs. 

Identifying commonalities in creation processes and consumer markets is a great way to strengthen a partnership. Basing a business model on commonalities develops effective profitable alignments, joint marketing efforts, and communications programs. Customer data is a key way to spot such commonalities. 

The end goal of a partnership should not only be a successful product but a continued symbiotic relationship between companies. This opens up the opportunity for multiple projects. Teamwork that effortlessly flows is a game-changer in the business world. 

Partnering with bigger brands can work as a mentorship. There is infinite wisdom to be gained by working with others. There is especially a lot for start-ups to learn from established, profitable companies. Make sure to get the most out of your partnership by observing and collaborating with your mentor in the industry to learn the tricks of the trade. 

The path to success works as a math problem: networking + collaboration = a successful and profitable partnership. Following these steps is the key to acquiring the business alliance of your dreams. 

When working together, companies are able to help each other when they falter and create a product or solution that is valuable to customers. 

Chris Mut, CEO and Founder of nerdytec

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