How to strike effective partnerships: the benefits of partnering with others

Over the last 12 months here at Nourished, we’ve crafted a number of strategic partnerships with market-leading conglomerates.

How to strike effective partnerships: the benefits of partnering with others

Over the last 12 months here at Nourished, we’ve crafted a number of strategic partnerships with market-leading conglomerates. We added Japanese corporation Suntory to our roster of investors, collaborated with Colgate to launch Nutristacks and most recently, partnered with Neutrogena, part of Johnson & Johnson, to create SKINSTACKS,  a unique concept that uses artificial intelligence and cutting-edge 3D printing technology to create an ecosystem of care, which lets consumers holistically advance their skin health goals and power up their skin vitals from the inside out.

These have all been hugely successful, and I’m very lucky that all of our partners have been collaborative and helped create exciting outcomes. I have been extremely grateful for their endless expertise, unwavering support and passion for our brand and vision, which has allowed our collaborations to flourish.

Corporate partnerships undoubtedly have their benefits for any start-up or SME if done properly. Here are some of my recommendations to consider before embarking on them; 

Think about your timing

As a start-up or SME, you have a certain degree of agility and flexibility to your advantage. However, when partnering with another company, it is important to remember that this process may take longer as there are more stakeholders involved. This is perfectly natural and can often help develop your ideas to be more refined, but it’s just important to remember when it comes to planning. 

Striking a partnership can be an extremely rewarding process where you can learn so much from great minds across industries, make new connections and share knowledge. 

Long term impact

Thinking about the long-term impact is another key thing to keep in mind. It’s easy to rush into partnerships, excited about their possibilities and the potential brand awareness. However, taking on a partnership just for money or because you’re trying to get social credit is a fool’s errand. The danger is that it takes your whole business in the wrong direction and loses focus on your core ideas. 

Ensure that any partnership will result in something long-term, and be materially beneficial. A good acid test is to consider whether what you’re doing is something you could not achieve on your own. If that isn’t the case, then perhaps you should question the motives behind the partnership. 

Make a splash!

As I mentioned earlier, one of the key benefits of partnering with another brand, particularly one larger than your own, is that it can help raise your brand awareness. This won’t happen without effort and a plan, though. 

When we partnered with Neutrogena, they came up with the plan to launch it at CES – something I think was really smart. We were able to draw a lot of media to our stand, we were constantly being recorded and videoed, so the energy that you need to bring to that is extremely high. One day we filmed from 2am-10am, for a report that was then picked up by 42 different broadcast stations all over the United States.

To give you an idea of the impact, we had over 290 printed, digital media, and broadcast pieces, which is really strong for a couple of days. We have an online checker, and it was running at over a billion impressions by the end of the CES weekend. 

When you’re navigating the start-up and SME phase, getting your name and brand out there is essential. However, often when playing with small budgets, this can be a real challenge. So, I felt very grateful that we had the opportunity to launch our product at CES, which we would not have been able to do as a start-up on our own. 

It’s simply outside of our reach from a budgeting and human requirement point of view. By partnering with Neutrogena, we were able to do that. It was massive for us, and I am so grateful to the Neutrogena team for taking us on that journey with them.

Find, and keep, your voice

It’s easy when partnering with a larger brand to think that you don’t have an equal right to approve things because of their size. The reality is though that the right partners will respect that right and there shouldn’t be an imbalance of power. If you feel like you don’t have that, then it’s not a partnership, it’s a supply agreement. 

If you aren’t happy with the direction it is going, you should always speak out and be an active participant in refocusing. This goes back to not going down the wrong route, and ensuring it’s the right partnership for your brand. 

There’s absolutely no doubt that partnering with a larger brand can be a golden ticket to exciting innovation, brand awareness and learning from inspiring people. It’s a key part of business and something you should be keeping on your radar, especially if you’re an SME. There are of course considerations that you should keep in mind, some of which I’ve outlined above, but if you get it right, it can be hugely beneficial – for both brands. 

Melissa Snover
Melissa Snover

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