You’ve heard our tips and tricks for landing great strategic partners and continuously evolving those partnerships. One of the most important tips we’ve mentioned is to set up specific criteria that your list of potential partners must meet. What we’ve yet to do is take you through some examples of criteria you should be setting for these partners to ensure they’re going to be as beneficial to you as you will be to them. 

1. The brand should not be in direct competition with yours
In order to create flourishing strategic partnerships, you need to work with brands that are willing to work with you, not against you. Look for companies that are aligned with yours, or work within the same industry as yours, but that don’t offer identical products or services in the same market. You want to be able to offer each other value you can’t already bring to your own respective tables.

2. The brand must either have the same target market as yours, or have a target market you want to start engaging with
The whole point of a strategic partnership is to create and share value between brands and their consumers. Sharing the same target market makes it easier to work toward the goal of easing customer pain points, while engaging with a partner that caters to a target market different than your own could be a valuable way of entering a new market. This ultimately comes down to your brand’s goals – do you want to engage a new consumer, or provide deeper value for your current customer? 

3. The brand must have a good reputation with its customers and stakeholders
Why engage with a brand that doesn’t live its brand promise with its stakeholders? While some say “any press is good press,” your brand will benefit or suffer from the halo effect of the alliances you create. Protect your brand’s reputation and align with companies that provide value in more ways than one, including shared values.

4. The brand must have room for growth within the partnership
The ideal strategic partnership lasts longer than just its first contract term. As one of the key differentiators between a sponsorship and a strategic partnership is the work put in to constantly evolve the partnership over time, any brands you engage need to have the resources and commitment to doing so.

5. The culture of the organization must have flexibility
Much like the importance of room for long-term growth, the ability to work fluidly and constantly learn from trial and error is a key staple of a potential partner. Having the flexibility to work on differences in opinion or ideas is a must, therefore you should be approaching brands that promise flexibility and show they aren’t opposed to learning from others.

Each company seeking strategic partnership will have its own unique goals and therefore partner criteria to mirror those goals. A mixture of your unique criteria and our suggestions would have the potential to produce the best results.