When Jedi Meets Disgruntled Bird

Last week’s launch of Angry Birds Star Wars was no small event to their many diverse fans. Nor was it a small profit for Rovio, founder of Angry Birds, and the Star Wars franchise, now owned by Disney.

Rovio’s value was recently estimated to be between $6 and $9 billion, with over $106 million coming from merchandise alone. Star Wars, not to mention Disney, is valued at $30 billion with $20 billion in merchandise. Clearly the relationship is not absolutely necessary for either company’s survival, so why do it? Because it generates renewed excitement and revenue over both franchises, as well as creates brand equity in terms of Goodwill for potential divestment of assets or valuations.

This recent marriage of bird and Jedi reminded us of another unlikely friendship that turned out beneficial for all involved parties.

The latest season of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race is a great example. (This reality competitive cooking show features a handful of food trucks from across the nation who gather together in various cities to compete for business and ultimately a monetary prize.) The Korean sausage truck, Seoul Sausage, the Italian food truck Nonna’s Kitchenette, and the Belgian waffle truck Pappa Waffle, found early and long-lasting success when they parked their trucks, and opened for business, within mere feet of one another. Because the food offered at each truck was different enough they were able to draw large crowds without infringing on one another’s business. It was no surprise then that these food trucks were the last three standing, as it was a relationship that resulted in more business, revenue, and publicity for all involved.

So how can you take these two examples and turn them into your own profit? By considering working with another company whose business could help yours.

For example:

1. Obvious: An insurance company could team up with realtors and construction firms—all these companies offer completely different services but in complementary industries. Maybe this means the insurance company promotes the realtor and construction businesses while they in turn refer clients to the insurance company.

Less Obvious: An insurance company might offer reduced-priced coverage to the local TV station in exchange for reduced-priced air time.

2. Obvious: A cupcake store can offer the chance to win free lunch at the sandwich shop or or flowers from a local florist across the street with the purchase of two dozen cupcakes, while they might display a sign that says, “Interested in dessert? Try the cupcakes next door!”

Less Obvious: A cupcake store might provide cupcake catering to the local newspaper as trade in kind for advertisement space. They might do the same to obtain web development, or graphic design services. Finally, the cupcake store might pair with creative local artists to carry unique wares which are otherwise unavailable – items that could be put on top of cupcakes, in children’s goodie bags, or greeting cards.

3. Obvious: A graphic designer, photographer, local artist, and web developer can use their websites to promote each other.

Less Obvious: These four can also coalesce by renting a shared office space. This will allow all parties to reduce costs but obtain studio space and storefront.

However you chose to do it, we think you’ll find success when you find an ally.

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