Business can be a challenging space, the partners you choose and what you do together determines your long term success – that’s true for brands big, smaller or personal.
At Dx3, partnership was brought up a lot. Here are key insights on how you should choose your partners and what you can do with them.
NHL + KRAFT CANADA
The NHL is one of Canada’s and in fact North America’s most enduring and powerful brands. Their size and longevity as a brand is their advantage, while their viewership’s waning and ever-more distracted attention is their challenge.
In the last several years partnerships have been key to the NHL’s success to maintain its market position.
The Kraft Hockeyville program, in partnership with Kraft Canada, has connected thousands of communities with the NHL brand, allowing smaller communities without the large market support to house an actual NHL team to feel closer to the game.
Communities build campaigns to have their city voted as Kraft Hockeyville, then teams descend on the small town and turn the community’s rink into hockey Mecca for the day.
Lesson: Partnerships need to go both ways: The NHL needs to reach into smaller markets in engaging ways this program gives them that vehicle.Kraft,another enduring Canadian brand, wanted to gain exposure while cementing its Canadian brand identity.
For your business or career, think about which ways your current partnerships or ones you are planning to deliver benefit both parties, can you get more from these partnerships and how can you better serve your partner?
NHL + EPIX FILM
EPIX is a film and television broadcaster and streaming service in competition with HBO. One of their challenges is a constant need for exciting new content and a vehicle to promote its service. The NHL wanted a new way to connect with its audience, bringing them closer to the game, the players and their lives.
EPIX and NHL partnered to create a continuing series of high quality documentary and fulfillment programming, with orchestral tracks and powerful voice overs introducing viewers to the game and its importance. This includes the Winter Classic, an outdoor professional game.
Lesson: Partnerships should be innovative.
Great partnerships are enduring and creative, and find novel ways of connecting two people or organizations. The NHL produces great hockey game content, but doesn’t have the experience to weave dramatic context throughout its stories. Both parties EPIX and the NHL are streaming the content free on their websites.
Keith Wachtel, NHL’s EVP of Global Partnerships. described how this content will improve the game is this way, “If you look at the Superbowl you don’t cancel your party if the teams playing aren’t your absolute favourite. Their brand is stronger than the whole of their teams and that’s what this type of storytelling can bring the the NHL,” said Wachtel.
NYMI + MASTERCARD
Nymi is a wearable band that lets you store your passwords, unlock doors, make mobile payments and any other authentication puzzle their might be. What makes it unique, beyond being a wearable or housing a near field communication tool, is that it’s personal authentication tool is your heart beat. Instead of a thumb scan or a password, Nymi uses the unique rhythms of your heart to verify who you are.
MasterCard is one of the world’s largest credit payment providers, connecting millions, of people to easy and secure forms of payment. Both brands believe in the privacy and security of their users. The two are partnering to deliver a pilot program of payment through the Nymi band connected to Mastercard allowing merchants to collect payment through a device connected to the hearts of their consumers.
Lesson: Partnerships need to align to both brands identities
It makes sense for a phone company to partner with a hardware manufacturer to make great phones and deliver great service, it makes just as much sense for two companies who are dedicated to authentication and security to join hands and hearts to deliver a unique shopping experience.
The key to this is that both parties understand their brands and communicate them clearly.
If you enter a partnership with a person or company that doesn’t communicate those values, how can you be sure that you are making a key match?
Have an open discussion about your values as a brand, merchant or individual with those you seek to enter into a partnership with.