Celebrating Collaboration

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Neil Roach, Head of Business Development at Partner to Succeed, wraps up the five stages of Collaboration

Attraction, Identification, Formation, Implementation and Evaluation; some companies have seen all phases of collaboration and what better way to wrap up our series on the five phases of Collaboration than by celebrating some of these companies.

Helen Davies started EKO Sense in 2009, designing and manufacturing organic, sustainable clothing. She soon realised that to achieve success, she needed the greatest market exposure for her products. At this stage she was introduced to Partner to Succeed by Business Link, along with Minky Publicity, her PR agent, to discuss how collaboration could be made to work for her.

Following our meeting, Partner to Succeed conceived an idea which would help not only EKO Sense but other related Cornish Brands expand their businesses through the development of a combined trade mission to London to meet relevant distributors, buyers and journalists – the aim? To increase consumer market potential whilst sharing the risk together.

Those other brands included Frugi, The Day That, Fifteen Cornwall, 100% Organics, Poppy Treffry, Fay Page Silver, Beyond Skincare, Hager-Vor, The Wool Company, Blacker Designs and Koa Jewellery.

The concept was designed around the single connection between all of these businesses: they all share a similar customer demographic – high income ABs based both in the UK and internationally.

In addition, they all sell directly to their consumers through a highly sophisticated web presence. In short, the concept was to establish a small network of high quality, highly developed Cornish lifestyle brands with common goals and bring them together before a select group of influential lifestyle magazines and high-end retailers.

Newquay-based Minky Publicity had two roles within the collaboration. Lucy Jenner-Brown was able to use her existing pool of contacts within the London media to ensure attention and coverage.

Secondly she was able to coach the businesses to promote within a trade and press environment – ensuring the success of the trade mission, and providing each business with the tools to take into the future.

This, in fact is where the greatest success of the collaboration has emerged. The Cornish dozen as they have been dubbed, are already in discussion for a repeat of the event, some are even considering it as part of their year-on-year growth strategy. Other businesses in the collaboration are now beginning to seek out new partners, recognising the opportunity that collaboration can give.

Other businesses have been on similar journey. In a product development context, QES and Silvertree Engineering came together with Partner to Succeed’s help. When we first spoke, QES and Silvertree Engineering discussed the idea of adapting a temperature monitoring system currently used in food manufacture which monitors water systems and alerts people to the threat of legionella.

Having carried out some testing with positive results both companies saw the opportunity to expand their markets by offering existing and potential customers an extra value added service. QES and Silvertree Engineering are now in talks with a number of Primary Care Trusts and trials of Ice-Spy are proving successful.

Whether in product development or marketing & distribution these companies have collaborated effectively – they identified, formed, implemented and evaluated, all for the growth of their business.

www.partnertosucceed.co.uk