The right business partner can help you expand your reach, create awareness around your product or service, and forge into new markets. According to the World Economic Forum, strategic partnerships play a critical role in helping companies drive innovation in our new economy.

Strategic partnerships help to reduce the risk associated with new ventures, and can often be critical in helping an organization reinvent its brand image or target a new demographic of consumer.

Below are three considerations for identifying and developing win-win relationships that capitalize on each partner’s unique strengths.

Does the customer win?

All partnerships should begin with determining what the customer wants, and then working backwards from there to how to best provide that customer with what they need to rely on (and trust) your brand. As you determine who your customer is, and what they value most, look for partnerships that allow you to enter that sweet spot for the customer. Ask yourself “with this new partnership, are we able to fulfill currently unserved customer needs? If so, which ones? If not, how are we improving something they already have or creating something our target audience cannot live without?”

Are you able to disrupt a market?

Some of the most successful partnerships happen when companies are able to leverage their collective efforts to stand out in the marketplace. Through collaborating, they are able to change the way in which things are traditionally done. This usually captures the public’s attention, sets a precedent for the rest of the industry, and makes the customer’s experience significantly better. A great example of this was Apple and Shazam. The music identification app Shazam was able to leverage Apple’s reach and marketing infrastructure to scale their new technology by an order of magnitude, while Apple was able to lead the market through bringing a completely new type of value to their customers while solving a problem that previously users had written off as unsolvable.

Combining likeminded audiences

Another way partnerships win is when they bring together two audiences that have a lot in common and can buy-in to, and get a lot out of, what the other partner offers. A great example of this is the partnership between the home improvement chain Lowe’s and the stars of HGTV’s Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott. Known for transforming average-looking homes into luxurious-looking masterpieces, Lowe’s was able to capture an audience that enjoyed the entertainment provided by the brothers and secretly wished they could transform houses (whether their own or flips) like the brothers do. Lowe’s was able to give these aspiring DIY’ers access to the custom high-end offerings directly from the minds of the brothers, while providing them an entire store of other tools, equipment and materials to carry out their vision.

Combining forces can be a strong way of creating significant value for your customers, while leveraging another brand to help build your own. With a successful partnership your company either has access to branding, technologies, capabilities, or audiences that it did not previously. To discuss ideas for how you can find, and get the most out of partnerships, feel free to reach out to the Lillian James Creative team to create a strategy based on your customer.