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Collaboration = Opportunity

Updated on August 27, 2012

Reach New Heights

Collaboration is a buzz word that I have been coming across constantly in the past couple of years. One of the key elements of a leader is to be able to collaborate and to work cross functionally in a business. So when I noticed a seminar on collaboration at the Adelaide Marketing Week I thought that I would attend to hear Digby Richards talk on this important subject.

There are four elements of collaboration, according to Digby:

  1. The movement
  2. The disease
  3. The glue
  4. The opportunity

The Movement

All causes need a focus in order to enable people to want to collaborate or work together. Cause related marketing that focus on an individual or a family is powerful and works the best. This was seen in the recent UK riots clean up campaign that showed the power of collaboration around a cause driven by the power of social media.

But there is a word of warning about the creation of a movement - the more people that collaborate together the more control that is needed.

So in order to foster collaboration there needs to be a cause, whether this be a sales slump, a poor marketing campaign or a new system, if you can get people together on the same bus a movement can be born to foster collaboration.

The Disease

Collaboration can catch a disease if people don't want to work together or if the organisation cannot be nimble enough to try new directions in order for the organisation to survive or to have a plan.

Collaboration = deft touch, you need a nimble culture. Digby gave an example of theVW Group in Australia. Their aim is to introduce people to their entry vehicle, the Skoda, away from Japanese or Korean brands, then to introduce a VW as a second car or the next trade up and then an Audi. This process can take a long time, but needs collaboration from everyone in the business to build trust for the brand and the customer experience.

The Glue

The glue is the process of getting people to collaborate or picking the style for your organisation. It's what keeps collaboration going. Some of the examples were:

  • Diageo Asia. Use a combination of joint ventures & equity partners throughout Asia - so the glue is relationships. There must be trust, respect and cander
  • Adelaide & Bendigo Bank - an example of community collaboration to drive profits that benefit the community, not individuals (80% of profits go to the community, 10% to the bank & 10% to private investors)
  • McLaren Vale Beer. Started by outsourcing their brewing and bottling. Have become profitable, so are now investing in their own plant and equipment. Shows collaborating with partners.

Glue here can mean many things depending on what collaboration means to your business.

The Opportunity

Digby said that Asia needs creative marketers now and people experienced in this space. Asia is in massive growth and in certain urban centres eg Shanghai, Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok, these cities are no longer emerging, but have emerged.

Digby asked everyone to consider opportunities in Asia and especially to the children of attendees as he believes the opportunities for branding, sales, marketing and collaboration will be in Asia for the next 30 years.


Collaboration =

  1. The movement
  2. The disease
  3. The glue
  4. The opportunity

Collaboration can take your business further and enable you to reach new heights.


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