However Accelerator Programmes, Hackathons and strategic partnerships are not the only worthwhile ways you can create meaningful and worthwhile brand and startup collaboration.
Here we list three more ways Startups can work with brands, and fear not, unlike the last post, there’ll be no Rihanna and Sir Paul McCartney collaboration analogy!
To get to work with brands, it’s of course really rather handy if you can meet with them first. After all, collaboration generally comes after that initial connection has been made. We will go into detail on how startups can connect with brands in a little more detail in a future post, however you're looking to connect right now, there are a whole host of networking and collaborative events / meetups that can help make that connection happen.
Startup Events company 3 Beards run monthly, events such as Silicon Drinkabout and Don’t Pitch me Bro where connections are made, collaboration happens and heaps of brands and brand agencies can be found. TableCrowd Founder Kate Jackson, organises intimate social networking dinners - often for specific types of Startups and brands. A novel idea perhaps but it works - food + networking = great collaboration potential. If you'd prefer something a little less intimate, then perhaps MiniBar might be more your scene. It's where Tech Startups can meet, other Startups, Investors, and of course tech folk and brands a-plenty. If you are a brand who wants to meet lots of startups in one go, a meetup like this is a fab place to make that connection.
Of course as well as meetups and events where startups are in attendance, many brands will take the effort to put on their own startup specific happenings. If a Brand wants to demonstrate that their fingers are on the ‘startup pulse’ then organising events with industry specific speakers, panel discussions, workshops and some free booze will always be be a good way of getting Startups interested and showing that they are ‘part of the scene’ so to speak.
None of the above means that you will automatically start working with brands, but at least getting in front of key points of contacts is a good way of getting face-to-face and on the radar to make those connections in the first place.
As a quick signposter, if you are based in and around London and want to find Startup Specific events and happenings, we highly recommend checking out the London Startup Events Group on Facebook. It's a fab timely resource of loads of the events and meetups that are happening and often with big brand involvement.
Of course, if you are a Startup building an online two sided marketplace then you might find that if one part of your community is a B2B or B2C then many Brands / Businesses who want to reach that community will be willing to help you put on events and link that ecosystem together.
If you're interested in attending any of the events we've mentioned, and you need to brush up on your networking skills, these Networking tips or this article on beginner tips for Networking might be worth a quick read.
Agencies are often the ‘brainstorming’ partner of the established Brand and are responsible for increasing brand innovation and engagement, two things Startups are pretty good at in all industry sectors.
Brands need to show that they are aware of new ideas, trends and innovations and agencies can help them do this by establishing the connections with the new startup players. As a startup,it is often easier to make a connection with an Agency Partner than with the brand itself, particularly with global and international brands are concerned.
There are quite a number of UK media / marketing agencies leading the way in terms of brand - startup collaboration. There are others too who are innovating this space,people like Ken Valledy from Tech2Brand which as the name suggests, links Brands to Tech Startups, thereby enabling brands to innovate and Startups to work on leading Brand's briefs.
Sharing of Content / Thoughts
Content is one area where you will find that as a Startup you can reach out to more established players and brands within your space and they will often listen. As a Startup (unless you are already ridiculously amazing or you’ve already created unbelievable engagement with your target customer) you will need to become more synonymous with the space you want to be in and known for. You can create that awareness by writing and sharing content by brand channels.
More ‘established’ Brands in your space will often not see you as a competition, but more a valuable way of using content to strengthen their own position and brand within the industry and sector they also want to be synonymous for. A win win perhaps.
This need and the reality that it takes time and effort to write or source content, means that as a Startup you have the immediate chance to work with brands in your target space by writing content / informative thought articles on subjects which the Brand will be happy to share on their blog / website. This might not be a paid collaboration between more established Brand and Startup but it may lead to better association with a business sector or consumer type and could lead to further collaboration and opportunity down the line. For example (hint hint) we are always on the hunt for startup guest writers to share their thoughts and tips here at Startacus.
We work with brands, business accelerators, enterprise themed events, programmes and services who want to make a difference and connect with the Startup and small business sector. Click Startup & Brand Collaboration to find out more.
Next time in our Startup and Brands themed posts, we return with - ‘How to connect with a Brand if you are a Startup’
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.