Episode 65: Growing Your Business With Collaboration - pixiedustandprofits.com

Episode 65: Growing Your Business With Collaboration

Aug 2, 2022



Our Summer Series continues this week with another back-to-the-basics episode from Pixie Dust’s past! As you might already know, we’ve been spending the summer revisiting some of our favorite episodes and also providing some much-needed updates from a 2022 perspective! 

This week, we revisit Episode 014, where we discussed the successful collaborations that Disney has created — with some unexpected brands. We dig into Disney’s versatility and ability to leverage any and all opportunities, while also providing some insightful information about how to make brand collabs work for YOUR biz.

Minnie Vans: Disney + Lyft

If you’ve visited Disney recently, then you might have seen the world’s cutest car cruising around Disney property – the Minnie Van! These red buggies, decorated adorably with Minnie’s well-known white polka dots, are Disney’s answer to skipping long bus lines at the end of a long day and receiving faster transport back to your hotel.

But, no, it’s not actually Minnie’s car. The Minnie Vans are a collaboration between Disney and Lyft Services. Disney knew that they didn’t need to build their own proprietary system for this, but they also knew they had a really strong brand that could attach itself to something already established. Enter: Lyft! 🚗

But what’s special about the Minnie Vans? What makes them different? That’s where Disney’s brand comes in. The Minnie Vans themselves are owned by Disney, operated by Disney employees, and only run during park hours/on park property. This adds a level of safety and security to both Disney and their patrons. 

So really, the only part that truly uses Lyft Services is the app itself. This is how Disney maintained their high bar of quality/safety experience within the partnership. 

The Disney/Lyft partnership is an important example of how to be strategic in your collaborations. They recognized a pain point (people wanting a faster, safer way to get around Disney’s properties) and met it in a way that was mutually beneficial to both parties (Disney got what they needed, Lyft got more subscribers to their mobile app). 

How do you apply this to your business? Thinking about the collaborations or partnerships you can find even in the most unlikely places.

You find a brand that is complementary to your field/industry and leverage their audience to sell your product – Presto! You’re in a partnership! 

With a joint venture or partnership, the other person/brand already has credibility with their audience, and that trust they’ve built bleeds into your brand, increasing conversion rates and revenue. The percentage that you end up paying out to affiliates or partners is something that you’d be spending anyways in marketing and promos, but without doing all the audience-building work. 

If you’re thinking a collaboration might just prove lucrative for you, think about the right brands or people for your business. It’s not selfish to think about you, and make sure their branding and visions align with yours. Think about it like this: Even if you are a nutritionist who serves mostly moms, you can still pair up with a local bike shop if they want to help more moms get active. It isn’t necessarily the most logical fit (unlike if you paired up with a prenatal nutritionist, let’s say), but the collab still works — and can prove really fruitful!

Disney & Target: A match made in heaven

The Mickey Mouse clubhouse has officially moved venues – but don’t worry, it’s to another simply magical place most of us know and love: Target! 

In October 2020, Disney and Target worked together to launch 25 mini-Disney stores inside Target locations. They also launched this on their online stores so others in the U.S. and outside it could get the goods.

This was a seriously smart move for Disney. They ended up getting foot traffic that drive sales, but didn’t have to handle distribution, retail, or hiring new employees. They leveraged Target’s infrastructure and assets to sell their exclusive products. 

In return, Disney agreed to open a Target store in Orlando in 2021 on Disney property. For Target, this was definitely a win in itself. The added convenience of having a store like Target is an awesome perk for vacationers who don’t feel like having to go off-site of Disney property for much-needed necessities.

We all know the benefits of a good Target run, after all! 💓

How does this relate to your small business? 

This example is for all of our favorite product-based small businesses! Consider your platforms – do you sell your products on Etsy? Sell your designs to sites like Minted? Maybe you self-published through Amazon, it’s essentially the same idea! 

What you’re doing is taking advantage of someone, or some site, with a bigger audience and a larger platform in order to sell your product. They receive a cut of the sale, but you’re getting more visibility and more traffic.

If you were to have your own site, you have to do a lot of work to drive traffic there – they don’t just come because you built it! But starting on a bigger platform and working your way up is a good way to leverage an audience of your own. And you can always have both, too! So many product-based small businesses use one site to boost the other, like using your Etsy to drive people to your website. 

What’s changed: Exclusive episode updates!

Well, it’s pretty obvious that things have changed – remember that whole global pandemic thing?

Because of COVID, the Minnie Vans went away for TWO years! But don’t worry, they’re back this summer and Disney’s partnership with Lyft is still going strong. Disney also has maintained their collab with Target stores and has officially shut down a large majority of their standalone Disney stores.

But things certainly have changed for the…well, we’ll let you decide!

  • We’ve noticed that Disney’s collabs have become a little more expensive than in the past. Disney has partnered with high-end brands, such as Gucci and Coach, to sell Mickey & Minnie-covered purses and apparel at super high price points. They even recently collaborated with Drake (yes, that one!) to create a collection for his OVO Fest called the “Nostalgic Capsule Collection.” It’s an interesting choice, but it’s definitely getting the Disney brand out there, and making it accessible to people from all walks of life. Disney is becoming chic, trendy, and desirable, all at very high price points.
  • Another new brand collab technique that Disney has been sporting is the renovated Disney Springs outlet. Downtown Disney has officially been reinvented into a high-end, more luxurious-styled boutique waterfront outdoor mall. What this does for Disney is that in order to have a store in Disney Springs these high-end brands (think Lilly Pulitzer) need to be onboard with Disney’s technology (think Magic Bands, Disney Gift Cards). There’s certainly value on both sides, but Disney continues to elevate their brand status! 

Now think about the potential collabs you can have: are they pretty casual? High-end? Both? Look at opportunities from all sides. Ask yourself: How can I serve both our audiences best and how will it benefit everyone involved? There may be different audiences you can reach with a higher-end collaboration, while you may be able to reach even more people with a more casual connection. It’s all about assessing opportunities to see what’s beneficial for everyone.

Download the original transcript right here

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