Connecting through the online slack channel, 99designs and Corus quickly found synergies that helped deliver a timely product. Tips to help you do the same.
I believe collaborative content to be some of the best content you can produce. It is created when multiple parties leverage the best of themselves and their abilities to craft unique messages. Before diving into how Corus met 99designs and where the conversation went, it might be helpful context to check out the piece that came out of our partnership here.
I joined the online geniuses slack channel a few years ago, and have always found it to be an insightful lens into full-stack marketing globally. When David launched the OG marketplace, I immediately positioned this as an opportunity for my firm, Corus, to get in front of more marketers (our core customer base is agencies and in-house marketing teams like myself) in an informational setting, as opposed to traditional outbound strategies.
The Online Geniuses Collaborative Content Connection
I didn’t consider the additional advantages of the OG Pro slack channel until a few weeks in. There, I connected with the team at 99designs – and as many of you I’m sure have found, the creative juices started flowing immediately. I have always respected 99designs and what they’ve built – and my firm actually ran a design contest through their platform (try it, it’s great), and thought we might be able to provide some unique insights for the content that they were sharing with their customer base. I didn’t expect that we would build such a strong friendship and working relationship, but it was definitely an added bonus.
After connecting with their marketing team, 99designs’ PR and media team approached me about an idea they wanted to explore. 99designs came up with the great idea of trying to learn about how entrepreneurs (like most of their clients) were “pivoting” during these unprecedented times. We decided to also gather insights about how 99designs customers compared to the general population in their response to this crisis.
Like many of the experiences on the OG channel, seamless conversation and ideation happened naturally. We soon transitioned to video calls (adjusting to our new norm). Before long we mocked up what our survey would look like and how we would distribute effectively through Corus. The 99designs team worked their magic on the design side and the finished product came out great. All in all, it was a really interesting study that shed some different perspective on this current environment. Most notably, our unique approach focused on individuals and firms innovating out of both desire and necessity.
Tips for Collaborating
So with our experience fresh in my head, here are three completely unsolicited tips for how to get the most out of partnerships, particularly through the OG network:
- Think about the benefits for your partner FIRST – chances are really good that if something you’re working on is beneficial to the company you are partnering with (or would like to partner with) it will benefit you as well. Having a “give first” mentality will also help position you and your firm as a great partner for others should the opportunity arise, and will hopefully turn those partners into promoters as well.
- Understand your partner’s business and clients – this might involve a little digging or even a scope call, but people bombard the bigger companies on OG, and certainly just going cold and saying “hey let’s do something together” probably isn’t going to get you to stand out. Think about what their customers need and how you might be helpful in delivering it. Which leads to the last point…
- Think through the entire partnership cycle before your discussions – you don’t need to have every detail ironed out, but certainly it’s helpful if you have an understanding of what your partnership will look like and accomplish in your early conversations. This will generally also build some great mapping for your ideation stages as you have a clear end goal in mind. Not rocket science, I know, but still really helpful and often a missed stage.
As you can see from the infographic, the partnership led to some really top-notch work. I’d like to think that we brought out the best in each other. Online Geniuses in particular is a great way to make these connections! I personally find that the majority of the community is eager to see how the myriad puzzle pieces of our tangential roles/businesses fit together. The OG community fosters creativity and innovation, and thus is a great place to nurture strategic partnerships to help you develop better and more engaging collaborative content.