The subtle dynamics of partnering with BigCo

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It’s become essential marketing messaging for big companies to address the needs of small business, to present the good face, to talk the talk in the most empathetic manner possible. We feel you and all. The problem is it’s really tough for most big companies to pull this off with much authenticity. Fact is they don’t really feel you, they can’t, it’s just a matter of physics.

But, small business is hot. Small business represents almost all of the potential growth for most big companies. Smart organizations, including banks, manufactures and even credit card companies have found that they can gain access to small businesses by partnering with smaller, established brands that already serve this market. Conversely, small companies are finding this trend a great boost to their bottom line. Partnering is potentially a big win for all involved.

If you’re a small company considering partnering with a much larger provider of goods and services you may be able to strike up a relationship that can add a tremendous amount of credibility to your brand, a flood of new opportunities and increased revenues and profits. This prospect can be pretty exciting for your little venture, but move forward with care and understand fully these two dynamics:

1) BigCo probably needs you more than you need them

Now on the surface I don’t really mean that they need you, you, but if BigCo wants to move into your market then they need the trust you’ve developed with your market, your brand. They may need lots of companies like yours, but in the end, what they need to succeed is to borrow your authenticity because, even if they had it once, they probably lost it from years of being BigCo. And that leads me to the next dynamic

2) You probably have much more to lose than they do

In many cases BigCo wields the upper hand in negotiating a deal, because you want the promise of what their name can bring, but if they get the first point then in reality you have lots offer. You must understand this and be willing to walk away from a partnership based on you adhering to their rules of engagement if it requires you to risk the authenticity and trust that got you to this point. If the deal goes south, BigCo moves on in a flurry of memos and you’ll be left to try to rebuild your brand, feed your family and send your kids to college.

I can tell you from some experience, when you partner with an organization that understand the above dynamics, gets the true value that your company brings and treats your brand with the respect it deserves, you’ve found a match made in heaven.

Be true to your school is your theme song when considering partnering. If it’s good for your customers, readers, prospects, employees, vision then move forward, if not, stay the course.

I would love to hear your stories or anecdotes on the subject. BigCos and SmallCos welcome to share


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