Well, are you?
Several weeks back, I wrote about being tainted by association – that the location of your marketing materials can raise or decimate your company’s “cool factor”.
This week, we’re taking a slightly different track. Because, in addition to location, our company’s reputations are also integrally linked to the crowd we hang with. Or, in other words, the shops and companies we align ourselves reflect directly on our own. Here’s what I mean…
Are we all acquainted with the difference between symbiotic and parasitic?
Symbiotic relationships are those in which both parties benefit from each other – where 1 + 1 equals greater than 2. In business, this might be a situation where, say, a running store and a bicycle shop team up to better serve the triathlon community. Both stores promote the adventure, fun and satisfaction of participating in tri events, and pull in new customers that they are able to “share” and mutually support. Win-win.
Parasitic relationships aren’t warm and they’re anything but fuzzy. One party benefits at the expense of the other. This might be a goliath book store chain swooping in on a mom-and-pop book nook’s fundraiser. Mom and Pop might initially celebrate: “Wow, this could mean great exposure!” But what it really means is that Big Guy is tapping into Little Guy’s customer base, and siphoning off their customers. Win-lose.
So, who’s cool enough – and symbiotic enough – to “hang” with you?
The answer relies entirely upon who you are as a company, along with your business goals, ethics and mission. The very best thing you can do for your business is to associate yourself with the type of business you’d like to become. If family-like customer relations, involvement in pertinent community events and being a one-stop resource for your customers is the way you run your business, look for companies that already do it with great success.
It doesn’t necessarily matter if the industries are entirely different. A first-rate tool and die manufacturer might help produce a bicycle shop’s conceptualization of a new crank design. In turn, the bicycle shop might provide a package bike deal to the manufacturer’s employees to help keep them fit, healthy and happy. Think creatively. There’s symbiosis to be found in nearly any positive relationship.
DMT Challenge of the Week
Starting locally, take a look around you. Which companies uphold or exemplify the standards you’ve set or aspire to set for your business? List 5 that you see most closely aligning with your corporate ideals. Now crank those thinking caps up to “Dangerously High”. Next to each company, jot down ways in which your businesses could benefit each other. If the symbiosis is strong enough, you may just have found someone “cool enough to be your friend.”
Your friendly, symbiotic, neighborhood graphic design and marketing firm:
Dawn M Tomczyk | DMT Artistry LLC | 810.923.4582 | firstname.lastname@example.org