In such a competitive marketing world, it’s refreshing to see partnerships forming to create lasting change. When each business simply wants to see the other win, incredible outcomes can occur.
Through conversations hosted on MTM Visionaries with 80 marketing leaders this year, we have found that when businesses form partnerships based on shared values, mindsets, and missions, they make the most noise in the industry and create ingenious solutions that surprise and delight customers.
Below is a list of the MTM Visionaries’ perspectives and first-hand experiences of winning partnerships.
Find The Right Partner to Drive Successful Campaigns
“A major component of successful campaigns is partnering with the right people and finding influencers who are authentically a match for both brands. For example, we partnered with McKayla Jane, the number one beauty influencer for our Duncan Donuts campaign. She is a genuine, authentic Duncan fan, and her fans saw and felt her authenticity. The campaign caught fire; we reached 7 billion viewers.”
– Ashley Rosebrook, Chief Creative Officer e.l.f Beauty
“Using our platform with key partners to drive things forward has helped us drive culture. We all have varying degrees of leverage and power with our brands, but the more that you can use that power and leverage to get the right partners in place to drive culture, not just participate in it, the better off you will be.”
– Tim Ellis, CMO, NFL
Look for Partners with Shared Values
“A successful partnership is about those shared values, and innovation is essential. Having a partnership with Google, one of the top ten brands in the world, provides an incredible opportunity for us to learn from them and offer our unique global platform in return, spanning 23 races per year, in Formula 1 and our Extreme E series.
Google’s diverse portfolio of products and services makes that connected journey better for our race team but also enables us to send vast amounts of data back in real-time to the McLaren Technology Centre during a race weekend. That said, it’s not only about car performance but also the human element.
We’re the only race team that has published a Sustainability Report [..it focuses on four key pillars: Net Zero; Circular Economy; Diversity, Equality & Inclusion; and Health and Wellbeing (McLaren, 2022)], which shows our commitment to the sport and uses our platform to drive change for a better future. It’s exciting that there are Google products that can help us maintain the sustainability agenda and promote well-being for our entire team.”
– Louise McEwen, Executive Director, Brand & Marketing, McLaren Racing
“More than McLaren’s background in innovation, their human values were significant as we considered organizations to partner with.
From a sustainability perspective, McLaren Racing had the same aspirations and goals as Google, and they were the first Formula 1 team to achieve significant benchmarks on their journey.
They’ve also done considerable work on gender equality, which aligns with our values. They are profoundly kind people, which matters when forming a partnership. We love spending time with everybody at McLaren; they treat all their partners like family members.”
–Nick Drake, Vice President, Global Marketing, Google
“Rebecca [Minkoff] is a fierce advocate for women. As we started to look at the partnerships we do, it’s about what partners and collaborators have similar and consistent values and represent what we’re trying to symbolize.
Rebecca’s Female Founder Collective and her willingness to share her insights and create opportunities for others were critical components while looking at the partnership. We started to look at some of the stats around women and how they feel about financial services, and we recognized that symbols matter.”
– Alice Milligan, CMO at Morgan Stanley
Co-Create with Partners
“At Pepsi, we try to unleash the creativity within our existing team rather than outsourcing it. As it relates to agencies, we have been selective with whom and how we partner. We don’t view our partners as transactional; we co-create together. Using this model, we align cultural and consumer truths alongside our brand and product truths and then brainstorm how they intersect. This collaboration is when the best ideas occur.
And keep in mind that everyone is in a constant state of learning across all levels and functions of an organization. Just because there may not be immediate buy-in to big, new ideas, I have conditioned myself to think ’no’ is just a request for more information.”
– Todd Kaplan, CMO at Pepsi
“My first bag, also known as ’The Morning After Bag,’ was based on a vintage silhouette of this banker bag I found at a Paris thrift store. When my team and the Morgan Stanley team connected, they began talking about how the banker bag is predominantly for men and stands as a symbol; people notice symbols and what they stand for.
We decided to relaunch the bag but make it about women and make it a size you can take to work but still feel stylish, strong, empowered, and confident. We wanted to recreate the symbol for the financial industry and the women working in it.”
– Rebecca Minkoff, Co-Founder & Designer, Female Founder Collective at Rebecca Minkoff
Partner With Who Consumers Are Already Interacting With
“Enabling creative exploration, and having fun while doing it, is central to Vans and Roblox. It was a no-brainer for us to work together. We wanted to work with a partner that could bridge the gap between virtual and real-world fashion by making it possible to try different personalities on from a fashion and sports accessibility perspective. That level of inclusivity was something the Roblox platform brought to our partnership.”
– Kristin Harrer, Global CMO at Vans
“Innovative partnerships enable Delta’s brand to be a part of our customers’ daily lives. Historically, the travel industry has had straightforward relationships between car rental companies, hotels, airlines, and cruise lines, but we are looking at partnerships more broadly.
Our partnership with Starbucks is a great example. We’ve had Starbucks on our planes for a long time, but we recently launched a new program where you can earn rewards if you link your SkyMiles number and Starbucks accounts. We set a goal for one million people to link their accounts in one year, and we reached one million in 16 days.
Bilateral partnerships like this have a cumulative effect. Consumers are already interacting with these brands individually, but what if we bring them together to form an ecosystem that works for them and reflects what they value?”
– Tim Mapes, SVP, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Delta Air Lines
“Two years ago, DoorDash became NBA’s partner; this was the first food delivery partnership any league has had – DoorDash is innovative in that way.
Over the last two years, this partnership has been an incredible way to engage with our fans. Most recently, with our 75th anniversary season, Kofi [Amoo-Gottfried, CMO at DoorDash] had an amazing campaign called ’The Greatest Order of All Time,’ based on the NBA debate, who is truly the GOAT? Our teams have brought some innovative thinking together for NBA and DoorDash’s stakeholders.”
– Kate Jhaveri, (Former CMO, NBA) Global Head of Marketing, TikTok
“We think about our program as a hotel experience. If you love to travel, we want to engage with you daily and not just a couple of times a year. One way to do this is by innovating with partners to get a better value proposition for travelers. We look for partnerships that help you earn towards future travel and express the lifestyle of our brands.
For example, Uber has been an excellent partner with Marriott Bonvoy. We’ve connected accounts so that every time you use Uber Ride or Uber Eats, you are earning points. This partnership drives traffic to our app, creates a simple relationship, and gets you closer to the aspiration to travel.”
– Peggy Roe, Global Officer, Customer Experience, Loyalty & New Ventures at Marriott Bonvoy
More Insights You May Enjoy…
For more insights from our 2022 MTM Visionaries Replay, click here to see what other common themes surfaced.
Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every week and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.
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