I remember the first time I received an email from a company that stated they wanted to partner with me.
Back then, I was the marketing contact on the client side, and running point on brand strategy and integrated communications, direct response being a strong component, alongside a robust research and what people refer to as "thought leadership" programs.
There are all kinds of ways a business can trade its assets in the form of upstream and downstream opportunities. For example, flow aggregators, flow distributors as in resellers, and so on.
In fact, in some mature industries, cutting deals with other companies, some for sourcing, others for distribution, it makes a ton on sense when it comes to efficiencies, leveraging relationships, the strengths of each respective business, etc. For example, a formulator and an active ingredient discovery company.
What the person who wrote that message meant, though, was: please hire us to do your creative campaigns. Which could potentially lead to a partnership of sorts in the longer term.
Partnering with brands in social
When you think about the content needs of brands in social networks, they are by and large still not at the level of focused and purposeful fluency they could have.
A question I raised more than a year ago, came up again in conversation today: Do social networks see organizations as customers? From the recent changes to Facebook timeline, to the Google+ business pages, I'd say there is still a missing piece.
To me, the answer comes from a blend of adaptive algorithmic support, a longer term view of where the brand wants to be, and the integration and coordination of a hands-on group of people. A true partnership just like you'd have with other products.
Where the brand is the active ingredient, and the algorithm and the consulting power is the experience in formulating different versions of the end product designed to have a longer shelf life.
I have a lot more to say about this topic. At this point I'm curious to hear your take.
On the brand side, do you see the same disconnect I saw when I was in your very same seat? Are there missing pieces when you look to go beyond just fulfillment to shelf life?
You may want to check out what Noah Brier and team are doing with Percolate.
On the agency side, are you truly thinking in terms of integral partnership?
There is at least one person I know who has been doing a lot of work to bring those conversations to the fore - if you don't subscribe to Edward Boches, you may want to do that now.
[the Apple store in Grand Central is impressive]