The goal in any partnership should be the development of value for each brand, as well as for their respective stakeholders. In order to create a great strategic partnership, there are five key points that need to be met.

1) Identify your objectives
This tip starts from the very first thought of engaging in a strategic partnership. Before reaching out to anyone externally, make sure you know your brand’s specific objectives articulated in a way that demonstrates opportunities for collaboration. No brand can engage with you if they don’t know what exactly it is you want done, how you believe they can help you do it, and what you can do for them at the same time.

2) Identify partners that can help achieve those objectives
Once your specific objectives are created, don’t just approach the biggest and most influential brands in major industry categories. Identify key players that relate to your brand’s goals and actually have the ability to help you achieve your outlined objectives. At this point you should also be thinking about which partners make sense for your audience, choosing to approach those that will provide the greatest value for them.

3) Set clear parameters and measurements
You’ve secured a partner – now the work really starts. Be sure to set clear parameters from the outset of the partnership. As we’ve written in the past, if you have to go back to the contract to resolve an issue, you aren’t working in a strategic partnership. Strategic partnerships are constantly worked at and evaluated against a clear set of objectives and measurements.

4) Constantly evolve, measure and respond based on success
Because both parties in a strategic partnership need to be gaining value in order for the relationship to be considered successful, that value needs to be constantly measured and the strategies in place should be forever evolving. Don’t be afraid to change direction when needed – so long as both partners agree that it’s the right step to take.

5) Co-develop your messaging strategy
The whole point of a strategic partnership is to work together to achieve your goals. This of course means co-developing the messaging strategy to present a cohesive picture to the audience. If traditionally your brand’s messaging is different than that of your partner, that’s okay. A campaign message that reflects the values of both brands for your shared program is the ultimate goal.

At TACK10 we specialize in working with brands to help them develop strategic partnerships within their respective industries. If moving past the typical sponsorship is something you’re interested in learning more about, give us a shout in the comments below and we’ll be sure to carry on the discussion.