Collaboration is a potentially powerful strategy to enable marketing to scale its impact but few brands use it, says Adam Morgan of eatbigfish; he has a framework to help change that.

Writing in the November issue of Admap (topic: partnering for growth), he notes a recent Deloitte study suggested only 17% of CMOs collaborate inside their company, let alone outside it.

But marketers can learn lessons from two areas where, he says, “collaboration has genuinely become an integral part of a brand’s growth strategy”: the music industry and YouTubers.

In Finding our X: A strategic framework for collaboration, he explains how music artists began to collaborate more actively to maximise their commercial return, selling to one another’s fan bases.

Then, when the streaming model kicked in, this culture of collaboration allowed artists to feature on each other’s playlists, reaching a broader audience. “YouTubers share the same cultural and commercial instinct to collaborate.”

Morgan identifies four key strategic needs, with different triggers, to which collaboration can contribute a powerful answer.

Mutual survival and navigating the rapids (working together at moments of great change) are driven by various kinds of existential crisis, he suggests, while entrepreneurial impact (tapping into another brand’s resources) and hybrid vigour (for continual learning and renewal) are opportunities for growth.

Collaboration in such cases, he maintains, can result in numerous benefits, including, at the most basic level, survival, but also “robust transition, ambitious growth, and cultural renewal”.

To really lean into the opportunities and benefits offered by collaboration, however, will require a change of mindset, Morgan adds.

To this end, he poses some simple questions, from ‘Can you identify the business need for collaboration?’ through ‘What do we need, and who has what we need?’ to ‘What do we have to offer in return?’

“The companies we see collaborating with one another are really trying – whether really trying to give us something new and interesting, or really trying to have a greater impact, “ he says.

And that spirit, he adds, is what informs many new challenger brands who are supportive of each other and seek mutual benefit.

This issue of Admap on partnering for growth features a series of nine articles. WARC subscribers can access a deck which summarises the expert advice from contributors and key considerations on the topic.

Sourced from Admap