Partnerships + Your Brand–A Recipe For Success
One of my favorite brands is Basic Training–it’s personal training as well as group outdoor fitness classes here in San Francisco. I love them, I love going to the classes, and they do a fabulous job at online marketing. One of the ways they get traction, loyalty, and referrals online is through their partnerships.
Reaching More People Through Partnerships
One of the key factors in any overall marketing plan is to find ways to reach more people in the real world and online through one single effort.
Creating partnerships with brands or companies similar to yours–but not direct competitors of yours–is a smart way to attract new clients, and build loyalty among your current clients with one marketing effort. Since I like to give examples to explain things, let’s examine a case study of one of the best partnerships I’ve seen.
Partnership Case Study
Basic Training + Juice Shop = Healthy, Happy Clients
Jennifer Pattee, the founder of Basic Training, had a brilliant and tasty idea. Her brand is already strong, and one of their key differentiators is their “happy hour” philosophy. Working out for an hour with a group of social people (and pairing people together in teams), plus social time afterwards is a brand differentiator–this is Basic Training’s Special Sauce.
Jennifer Pattee’s idea for a partnership was to work with an organic, natural juice company in San Francisco–Juice Shop–and promote free classes, where clients would:
- 1. Use a code on Basic Training’s Website, JUICY, to get a free class
- 2. Meet at the new mobile juice truck for the classes
- 3. Work out for an hour, and then get some juices back at the juice truck.
This is a brilliant idea all around. I’m going to tell you why.
Giving Your Clients More Of What They Like
The first thing that was brilliant about this partnership was the natural partnering between working out and healthy juices. Who wouldn’t want some healthy juice before and after a tough workout? Most, if not all, of Basic Training’s clients live healthy lifestyles, and that includes the outdoor fitness classes, as well as healthy food and nutrition. The likelihood that her clients would absolutely love Juice Shop was high.
Building Loyalty Among Your Current Clients
This was another brilliant move, and one that sadly, many small businesses forget.
Pay attention, and give some love, to your current clients. That means the occasional deal, special event, or something. I’ve already blogged about how frustrating it can be for current clients to see a business give discounts and deals to new clients only. It’s not really that fair, and it certainly is not a way to build loyalty.
Giving a free class to Basic Training current clients was a way to build loyalty amongst them. When clients are loyal to your business, they are more likely to talk positively about the business, and that includes sharing information about your events, classes, and deals. When people feel rewarded for their loyalty to you, they are also more likely to come back to you more often. All of this strengthens your business, because a truly loyal client is one you can count on. Most small businesses rely on repeat customers who come to you often. Anything you can do to increase the number of people who are loyal will ultimately lead to more revenue.
A Win-Win For Awareness
I already knew about Juice Shop–there is a location in my neighborhood, and I’m there a few times a week. But many of Basic Training’s clients did not know about the company. By:
- Meeting at the Juice Shop location for a class
- Using the code JUICY
- Promoting the free classes online and tagging Juice Shop
Basic Training built brand awareness for Juice Shop. I guarantee Juice Shop will get more customers as a result of this partnership. And what’s in it for Basic Training? Well, the same thing–they will get more clients as a result of the promotion. This is a win-win for both companies.
What Happened on Social Media
I always like to look at metrics for any campaign and partnership, and one of the ways to track success is to look at how much buzz the partnership generated. We want to look at what happens on social media–even if you don’t have a full-blown social media strategy, you should always use social media to post about any partnership, and any deal or special offer you have.
In the case of the Basic Training _ Juice Shop partnership, Basic Training was very active on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The posts were liked and shared by several people, and sharing is one of the most important things a customer can do for you online.
When we talk about metrics, and whether or not something was successful, we always want to look at the following:
- How many people shared what you did or talked about?
- How many people liked it, or “engaged with it” (comments, posting)
- How many people actually purchase something, or attend/go
Most of the post about the partnership were very popular. Customers liked, commented on, and shared the post. Any time a customer shares your content on their timeline it helps build awareness and buzz. Each person who shares something on their Facebook timeline, for example, has now exposed your brand to several hundred new people.
The photos on Facebook (and Instagram) showed people what to expect for the free classes–where they were, the environment, and the general vibe of the area. We would be working out at Hayes and Octavia, in a new space allocated to a coffee truck, the Juice Shop truck, and outdoor activity. An urban workout–and photos of the graffiti and the surrounding space helped give people an idea of what to expect.
Basic Training promoted the space where the mobile juice truck will be–it’s part of an effort in San Francisco by ProxySF. They used @ replies to the company, and by doing this, got retweeted by THAT company, which resulted in dozens of conversations within Twitter about the partnership.
Basic Training also actively wrote back to people interested in the class–and included the @ reply to people, again, increasing overall attention and awareness. And finally, in a brilliant Twitter move, they reached out to people they thought might be interested in the class, and promoted the partnerships and the get-togethers.
Basic Training was active about the partnership for about a week prior to the first class–giving people enough time to clear their schedules and attend, and also enough time to gain some momentum on social media. The few days before the first class, they tweeted and posted more, including pictures and links back to their Website for registration. In my Branding tutorial for B2, we go into more details about how exactly a brand can master their image, awareness, and conversations online–and Basic Training is one of my examples. They truly are stellar at engaging people online.
Do you see how many likes on this one photo? That would be 183 likes. 183 likes! That is a popular picture, and all those likes equate to more people being aware of your brand, because when they like something, it shows up in their friends feeds.
This is absolutely a best practice, and Basic Training has a fabulous Instagram channel overall. Most fitness professionals who use Instagram will find a lot of success through pictures–of the classes, your customers, of the places you work out in–because what you do is so visual. Seeing people do the actual workouts, and looking happy while doing it, is the best promotion your business can get. Plus, it gives people an idea of who else might attend the classes.
The Bottom Line–Results And Attendees
The first free class was held on a Friday night at 6pm. I attended the class and was curious to see how many people would actually show up.
Ten clients took the class, which is a good, solid number considering it was a cold and windy (typical August) Friday night. Out of the ten, 1 person was brand new, and attended after seeing all the buzz about the partnership.
What was more important, however, was the attention the class received from the neighborhood. People came up to us, and the class instructors to inquire about the class. People wanted to know what the business was, when the other classes were, and whether this was a regular class.
iPhones came out and people were actually videotaping us. Now, to be fair, seeing 10 people doing burpees and lunges in a parking lot is always going to gather some attention. And Basic Training hired a videographer to tape the class as well, and when one person is videotaping, other people will follow.
The Basic Training instructors were wearing shirts that had “Basic Training” written on them, which was another great way to build awareness for the business.
Overall, the partnership gathered attention, awareness, and attendees.
Summary–What Makes a Partnership A Good Partnership
The Basic Training + Juice Shop partnership was by all accounts, a success. The true success of any partnership needs to be measured over some time. Basic Training and Juice Shop will both see positive results from their partnership over the next few weeks, and months.
A good partnership is one that:
- Gives your clients some love
- Is a win-win for both companies, or all companies involved
- Gets attention and awareness on social media
- Gets the end results–people signing up, attending a class, buying something–anything that you’ve determined is your end goal
Consider a partnership as a way to grow your business, build loyalty among current clients, and offer something unique that helps truly differentiate your business.
I spoke with Jennifer Pattee of Basic Training to get the behind-the-scenes details and statistics on the partnership–and it turns out it was quite a success.
Has your business established successful partnerships? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.