mickey on coffee froth at Disney Springs

Growth by Collaboration

May 6, 2021



Do you thrive on competition? Do you love being the best, winning by a nose, or that rush of adrenaline when you reach a goal?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with being competitive, and in fact, it can make life fun and more interesting! However, we have a suggestion for a different way of growing and scaling your business: collaboration. Instead of fighting it out with your competitors, find complementary brands that will lift up your business and support you. You can cross the finish line together.   

That’s just what Disney did when they partnered with Lyft and Target. Let’s talk about how the “collaboration, not competition” mindset is a healthy one for your business.

Lyft partnership enhances the Disney experience

In the summer of 2019, Disney partnered with rideshare company Lyft to create “Disney’s Minnie Van™ Service Connected by Lyft,” as they’re officially called. If you haven’t seen them in person, Disney’s Minnie Vans are Honda CRVs decked out in Minnie’s signature style: red with white polka dots. 

What’s even cooler is that through this partnership, Disney guests can enjoy convenient pickups and drop-offs around the parks and resorts. The Minnie Vans have set hours that they operate only on Disney property. They’re often much faster than using the complimentary bus system or the gondola system. And okay, they’re just super fun and cute.

Disney and Lyft’s partnership is a great example of Disney addressing a need for their customers by teaming up with a third party — but also maintaining the Disney brand and unique experience. And rather than spend more time and resources building their own rideshare service from scratch, they found an existing company that would also benefit from collaborating.

If you come from a small town where Lyft and Uber aren’t commonly used, you may not trust or be used to rideshare services. But try the Minnie Vans, and you may feel more safe and comfortable using a rideshare service because it’s backed by Disney. That’s where Lyft benefits.

Finding a partner that’s good for your business

You may not be able to partner with Lyft or another big corporation out there, but think of brands that would complement your business. How can you forge a partnership with another brand that would benefit both of you? 

Something that’s worked really well for a lot of our clients is joint venture webinars, or JV webinars. Through a JV webinar, you partner up with someone else who has a similar audience for their business. You leverage each other’s audience and credibility to increase your reach and sales.

There are so many types of joint partnerships, and you’ll probably find a lot of potential partners out there. When choosing the right partner for you, try to find a brand that aligns with your brand! Consider what they’re bringing to the table for your business and for your audience. You don’t want to start a joint partnership only to find that you’re not right for each other.

And if they don’t mesh well with you? Don’t be afraid to say no. It’s not selfish, it’s smart business. You can and will find someone better for you.

Target partnership brings the parks to shoppers

Disney was pretty busy in 2019, because not long after they announced their Lyft partnership, they announced another partnership with Target! Twenty-five Target stores across the U.S. opened Disney store “shop-in-shop” locations in October. They also launched a new Disney digital experience on Target’s website.

These mini Disney shops carried exclusive products only available in Disney stores. This was a brilliant move to bring Disney products to people who weren’t able to shop at the parks, or who couldn’t visit a standalone Disney store at the mall. 

Again, Disney addressed a customer need and kept costs down by partnering with a third party retailer, rather than launching their own locations, handling distribution, worrying about inventory, and so on. Through this partnership, they also don’t have to hire new employees. 

Leverage other platforms and networks

In essence, Disney leveraged Target’s infrastructure and assets to sell their products. You can do the same by using large platforms to sell your products or services. Like selling your handmade wares on Etsy, putting your own designs on Minted, or selling your self-published book on Amazon.

It takes a lot of work to get noticed on the internet these days. Getting someone to your own website or online store takes a good amount of advertising, social media hype, SEO, and positive word of mouth, for starters. Using a bigger platform can help you get your business in front of more people and build a loyal customer base more easily. Plus, you can move away from that platform in the future and primarily use your own website or shop when you’re ready.

Think collaboration, not competition

What can collaboration, not competition, do for your business? Let’s recap real quick:

  • Enhance your customer experience
  • Keep marketing costs down
  • Keep operating costs down
  • Build trust in your audience
  • Boost your brand’s credibility
  • Increase your brand reach

That sounds like a win to us! Remember that it’s really important to find the right partner to collaborate with, however. 

Someone whose business and values align with yours. Someone who can share resources and bring something unique to the table. Someone whose partnership will uplift your brand and create an awesome experience for both your audiences. Once you find the right partner for your joint venture, magical things can happen!

Pitch ‘em, partner.

If you’re wondering how you can collaborate with people, or how you’d even start the conversation… start pitching! In our Biz Bundle, we have pitch templates you can customize for anything, from podcasts to collaborations and more.



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