In every fast-paced industry, business leaders constantly talk about overcoming “the competition.” Sometimes, however, the best opportunities lie not in defeating a rival but joining them. Joint promotions, business networking policies, and charity events are excellent ways to attract customers and enhance brand visibility. If you approach co-operation with the same vigor as competition, it’s possible to:
Share customers during unique promotions
The common perception among many companies is that customers who visit a competitor are lost, but that’s not entirely true. When brands team-up to support and showcase each other, they can share customers who find value in each business. What’s more, the partnership can lead to joint marketing efforts that highlight both brands simultaneously, increasing awareness.
Such partnerships are rare among large companies and conglomerates, but the results are absolutely visible at a local level. In London, Ontario, for example, comic book retailers offer each customer a passport during Free Comic Book Day. If customers collect stamps from every participating business, their passport will be entered into a draw for valuable prizes. The result is that FCBD has become a popular community event where customers get to know a little more about what each competitor has to offer.
Work with competitors to fill in blind spots
In the Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street, there’s an amusing sequence where Macy’s management realizes their Santa Claus is referring customers to rival stores whenever products aren’t in stock. While their instinctive reaction is to halt the practice, the customers love it and become more loyal towards Macy’s in the process. Kringle’s method of recommending competitors is eventually adopted as a successful promotion — but that’s just a movie, right?
Not necessarily. While there are few quantitative studies on the subject, anecdotal evidence does suggest loyalty increases when brands are willing to recommend competitors. The reason appears to be twofold:
- Customers associate the recommendation with high-quality customer service, and,
- Naming the competition shows confidence in your service and leadership in your field.
What’s more, when brands join forces, they can make a conscious effort to network professionally for each other by sending referrals back and forth as needed. This increases the appeal of the referring brand while driving leads for the referred company.
Grow your industry through co-operation
In a grocery store, the supermarket’s goal isn’t just to have best-selling products on the shelves – they want a line-up that will attract the most customers to each category. Sometimes that even means working with brands that rarely drive sales but encourage customers to see what else is available. If a supermarket were only to offer one brand or product, it would ultimately turn customers away and limit category growth.
If the entries mentioned above don’t convince you to work with competitors, the cynical truth is that co-operation is good for the bottom line of entire industries. Much like a supermarket category, industries thrive when multiple brands can play off each other. By forging mutually beneficial partnerships, each brand working in the industry will benefit.
This trend is also apparent in influencer marketing on social media. Usually the influencers collaborate on promotions and giveaways, for instance, all while recommending their fanbase to follow other similar accounts. Not only is this great for exposure, usually followers go through with it as they have similar interests to both accounts – it’ a win-win.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t remain competitive, especially in a modern business climate where so much can change overnight. But in some cases, co-operation can bring about the stability businesses need to grow and thrive. After all, just because you have competitors doesn’t mean you can’t make friends with them occasionally.
The post With Friends Like These: How Working with Competitors Improves Your Brand appeared first on Post Funnel.