Alliances work so much better, when a true relationship is built.
To form bonds that resonates with a wider audience, it is as simple as getting to know someone a bit better.
If you are looking to build and widen your reach, the alliances that you form can be a key part of your growth armoury.
This article has its roots in what has been a goldmine of the old school/new school approach to entitlement and the bad way of declining in a public way.
Where It All Started…& Then We Can Move On
Until last week I had never heard of Elle Darby or The White Moose Cafe in Dublin. There are better places to read a more in-depth account of what happened, but in a nutshell:
…A YouTube vlogger asked for a free five night hotel stay, in return for publicity on Instagram and YouTube
…The hotel responded via social media by pouring fire on the blogger and then deciding to ban all bloggers from the hotel and rounding off by saying, “if you went out and got real jobs you’d be able to pay for goods and services like everybody else.”
…Vlogger achieves widespread exposure (including getting featured here) and over 2million views on YouTube
…White Moose Cafe becomes just as popular as White Christmas on Google, achieves notoriety and sends a very public (again) invoice of €5.2million.
No one really came out of this with their head held high. Both vlogger and hotel both wanted to win at the expense of the other.
As the dust settles and we all forget about Elle Darby, until I’m A Celebrity and The White Moose Cafe, until the owner is on I’m A Celebrity, both parties have received huge publicity at the start of the year, if not the right publicity.
Bringing You & Me In
On a wider level that relates to you and me, it just goes to show that not everyone wants to work us. If we are looking to form bonds with others, we have to get to know them a bit more, rather presume we are worthy of someone else’s time or money.
No one is entitled for free accommodation and at the same time, no one has a right to behave in a discourteous manner on social media. However, it is the gloves off, slagging matches that get exposure and takes centre stage.
When there is no fit, things will never work. Perhaps if everything started in a more personal way and without thinking that a truckload of strangers, whom you will never meet, but you call them followers, then the conversation starts on a more even keel. If the audience on one side of the fence were people interested in travel and discovering European cities and the other side had a healthy mix of visitors who were into fashion and lifestyle, then that opens up a healthier conversation. That way one doesn’t drag the other by the hair, through the playground and to outside Subway.
Creating Alliances Is About Relevance
When bonds and alliances do materialise, it becomes a way of having control of your own space but becoming even more relevant and attractive to your target audience and bringing others to your own little space on the fringes.
This is something that LastMinute.com and Rough Guides are doing. They are forming a publishing alliance.
This will pool together small and medium sized travel publishers that don’t have huge advertising budgets. Rough Guides attracts over 3 million visitors to the website each month, but monetising this has been a challenge. By forming an alliance, new revenue streams are potentially created.
The offering, according to The Drum, will also see “Lastminute.com use its search and booking data to direct customers in its website to the relevant content on Rough Guides’ site. For example if someone is booking a trip to Paris they will be directed to Rough Guides content on the city.”
The thing that stands out here, is that alliances work when there is alignment. Something is made stronger than the sum of its parts.
Here is another example. In 2017, TripAdvisor announced they were partnering with Deliveroo. This means users can order delivery via restaurants featured on TripAdvisor. According to Bertrand Jelensperger, senior vice president, TripAdvisor Restaurants, “our goal is for TripAdvisor to serve as a one-stop-shop for diners around the world.” Again, alignment becomes the core of when an alliance makes that step up.
Bringing It To A Personal Level
On a personal level let me share with you the importance of alliances and realising you can’t tackle everything on your own. When there is an appeal on both sides, it does work.
The You Are The Media Lunch Club is about to start it’s third year as a monthly event in the local area where I live/work. The thing that makes it such a communal event is the food. Before we start, we eat and Oli Perron from Lunchd prepares his lunch boxes for people to sit down, chat and enjoy. It is perfect, it is not a case of forming a queue for a buffet, or slowly waiting for each course to be served to you. People pick up their Lunchd box, sit next to someone they know, or even better, someone they don’t know. It has become the cue that Lunch Club is starting.
Being in the local area, this also provides Oli with exposure to other companies. It doesn’t stop there, when you work with someone and you both ‘get on’ it becomes easier to make things public.
Lunch Club wouldn’t be Lunch Club without Oli. An ally in creation is an ally in promotion. You could prepare the most original format for any event but if there isn’t anyone to help with distribution apart from a search engine, it is a lonely ride. When you find alliances, as Oli proved at the end of last week, there is such a thing as organic social for business (even if Facebook are telling you otherwise).
Organic reach is very much with us, to make it work, you need to focus on the content AND THE marketing.
I asked what Oli gets from this and joining forces for Lunch Club.
“When you stop worrying about networking and just get involved, more contacts and additional work seem to just materialise. I also get a real nice feeling when seeing new people and helping them feel involved or just introducing them to a person that they may find interesting. I underestimated how helping something grow that wasn’t my own business could be rewarding, and watching new people find other people in this lovely part of the world where we’ve chosen to live and work.”
What About You?
If you have an initiative, event or series in the pipeline, when you find an alliance with someone else and there are benefits for both sides, what isn’t there to enjoy?
Just like when GoPro formed an alliance with Red Bull for the ‘Stratos’ jump and also cross-promotion and product innovation, it can also be achieved at a much smaller level. GoPro and RedBull work because there is an alignment and a goal to, ‘inspire the world to live a bigger life.’ For a much smaller B2B level this can be achieved when:
Something has real appeal for both sides. For instance, I like the idea of people eating a really healthy lunch and the menu changes every month. Oli has access to a potential wider customer base and also build familiarity within the local area, that is also his core marketplace.
You realise you don’t have to do everything from scratch. When it comes to creating, someone else shares the burden and the responsibility. When you bring other people in with you, it becomes something far more manageable than taking it all on yourself.
There are advantages for both parties. Back to the beginning of this article, is there was a sense of connection between Elle Darby and The White Moose Hotel, the world would be a different place and this article would probably never have seen light of day.
You create something so good, that people will come back. When there are shared values that are apparent to the target audience, it makes it easier for them to interpret and to build a level of trust.
What is created and delivered is relevant and attractive to others. When an alliance is formed, what has to be central is the appeal to the audience. If I worked closely with an estate agent for Lunch Club, it would completely miss the point, where the only benefit is one sided ie. turning it into sponsorship, where the money goes in my pocket. People come to Lunch Club to be fed, entertained and informed. I like to think that what is created at each event is congruent for what people want ie. if they want to just network, it probably isn’t for them.
Lets Round Up
Call it collaboration, call it unity, call it a partnership, when there is a close relationship and a connection, this surpasses the need to go into potential ventures cold with a sense of entitlement, when there is no winner (as highlighted at the beginning).
When there are shared values you start to curate a culture of helping others and producing something that stands out far more than if everything was done in isolation.
Leave the ego to one side, figure out how to create something that others want to be involved in and participate and make that step with an open mind. As long as someone else doesn’t decide to drag you through the social media mud, there is absolutely nothing to lose apart from not stepping up and asking. When you find the right people to stand alongside you, the opportunities become shared.