“Aligning yourself with a similar type of business can be a powerful way to expand quickly,” writes Karen E. Spaeder at Entrepreneur
. Alignment has long been a tried and tested marketing technique that can also build powerful relationships with others. When you align yourself with another brand or business, you say to both of your audiences, “What matters to one of us matters to both of us. Thus you can attract each other’s potential clients.
Alignment doesn’t have to take place online. For example, if when you shop at your favorite clothes store, you receive a “percentage off” voucher from a different store, those two stores are being aligned. The implication is that if you like one store, you will also like the other.
As famed marketing expert and bestselling author Seth Godin writes, “Alignment isn’t something you say. It’s something you do.”
Here are two easy ways to align your brand with another brand:
Choose a social cause to openly support: If there is a social cause that you not only wish to support, but would also like your brand to be associated with, consider setting up a donation scheme. For instance, if customers buy your product on a certain day, your business could donate a percentage of all proceeds to the social cause. This not only helps the cause itself, but also associates it with your brand. You can contact the social cause or charity in advance, letting them know about your plans. If you are fortunate, they will help to spread the word about your supportive gesture, therefore inviting their audience to also become yours. However, even if this doesn’t happen, you have still taken steps to align yourself with them, and this can pay off with your audience.
Buy a relevant course, product, or service and network with the creator:
An example of how this can spark alignment comes from Karen E. Spaeder’s article at Entrepreneur
. Spaeder tells of how fitness entrepreneur Jim Labadie bought a CD course from a well-known entrepreneur in the same industry, named Ryan Lee. When Lee found out that Labadie had taken his course, he saw that Labadie had created some great fitness products, and agreed to promote Labadie’s product to his contact list of personal trainers. Because Lee was better-known in the industry, this alignment with Labadie’s brand resulted in rapid growth for Labadie’s business. Clearly, the investment in the CD course that introduced Labadie to Lee turns out to have been a very worthwhile investment. Says Labadie, “You need to align with other businesses that already have lists of prospective customers. It’s the fastest way to success.”
By aligning your brand with another brand, or a charity or cause, you can bring your own business into the limelight. But feminist entrepreneurs in Africa should be careful with whom they choose to align, only seeking to associate with businesses that empower and support women.