Consistently reaching new audiences is essential for any brand--especially for a startup. As the founder of a startup, and working with many of them on a daily basis, I know this can be very challenging--as aligning with the wrong brand can be a loss of precious time, money and reputation.
A common way to gain influence in places that may be your secondary (or part of your primary) audience is through partnerships.
The goal is to reach a new consumer demographic and to do that with a partner you must play on a common thread and have the same target in mind.
More and more young companies have found success collaborating on campaigns using social media influencers, subtle branding and layered integration. Whether these are paid or not doesn't entirely make a difference but the goal in any of these campaigns is to ensure the partnership garners organic buzz.
And I really mean organic.
An example I came across recently was from the ACM awards, Cracker Barrel created a huge hangar space with different themed rooms at the Party For A Cause Festival where the artists and some popular social influencers interacted to create original, sharable content.
The share-ability of the content and the originality (or perhaps the surprising pop up) resulted in over 171 Million impressions for Cracker Barrel's platforms. That is a lot considering Cracker Barrel would typically not be able to reach that audience on their own.
Cracker Barrel is hardly a new company, but any brand can learn something from this.
What you can learn from them
Obviously this concept might not be in the budget for your next brand partnership, but think about taking this on a smaller scale. According to Don Hoffman, the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's VP of Marketing, they partnered because, "The Content Creator Studio is the latest example of our strategy coming to life by providing a one-of-a-kind musical experience that extends our brand far beyond the four walls of our store."
There's always a way to tie in a platform partner on a geo-targeted level, especially if there's something unique that will benefit the platform's growth goals as well.
The more layers to the conceived concept and subtle customization in branding, the greater the chance for success. Remember, you don't have to do it all by yourself and two partners with a similar vision can lead to real impact in the growth of both brands.
Content is King
Reach out to local brands that have similar messaging to your company - or one that will attract the type of customers you want. Propose a partnership as simple as a co-branded email campaign or a giveaway to drive engagement. The goal is to create your own content that will drive entries, opt-in's or followers on social media and an email campaign is an easy way to test a new partnership.
With the right angle or idea, any brand, big or small, will consider a partnership with you. Just make sure whatever you propose is beneficial for them as well.