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Collaboration over Competition

Updated: May 10, 2022

For a long time, there’s been the idea that someone doing something in the same space as you, be it product, service or simply targeting the same audience, should be seen as competition. That we should battle it out against these companies for the best results at all costs. How exhausting it must be to operate from a place of so much anxiety and comparison.

It’s time to flip the script once and for all and start putting collaboration ahead of competition, shall we tell you why?

The power of collaboration in business for good.

At CIFF, one of the largest fashion trade shows in the world earlier this year, Business of Fashion opened up the conversation on how essential it is for the industry to collaborate to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Not a quick or easy task as you can imagine, but Lucinda Chambers of luxury British brand Colville shared some wonderfully encouraging ideas for fashion brands to collaborate such as “Could we encourage the bigger companies to sponsor the smaller companies with all their waste fabrics? I would be happy to donate our surplus fabric to a young start-up and [it’s] a good way to collaborate. We shouldn’t be frightened of this.”

Talk about reducing waste, supporting emerging talent and being a force for good in the process. Brands could go on as they have, pushing a competitive environment, or they could get together, learn, grow and show an amplified voice for the solution they are championing.

We’ve seen beauty industry leader REN skincare do this already, launching their #WeAreAllies campaign last April. An industry-first initiative to reduce cosmetics planet impact by partnering with its competitors Biossance, Caudalie, Herbivore and YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE. It’s an ongoing commitment from the brands, but the future’s looking bright so far.

Two heads are better than one.

There’s no clearer evidence for this than the rise of online communities. Since the pandemic, we’ve seen an understandable rise in the importance of finding connections and support online. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Facebook found that 77% of people said the most important group they're a part of now operates online.

And the rise of exclusive styled social platforms such as audio-based Clubhouse turns this data into reality with WGSN identifying the voice-based app as a key social trend, meaning we’re likely to see a lot more like it pop up. But why has Clubhouse become so popular? The exclusivity to start with was a major factor, yes, but as time’s gone on, and the platform opened up, the unfiltered access to each others thoughts is what keeps users engaged. WGSN labelled ‘Low-key communities’ as a key change in social media and they are using emerging apps to ‘build loyal and engaged subcultures.’

We’ve personally felt the immeasurable benefit of becoming members of online communities such as The Good Business Club, Found & Flourish and Allbright whilst running a business. It’s connected us to mentors, collaborators, clients and fresh ideas and has all made knowledge sharing and support accessible no matter what.

Collaboration can be the heart and soul, not just a strategy.

Collaborating doesn’t just mean marketing activation or networking. Whilst that’s great, you can build collaboration into the very fabric of your business. For example, we’re a collective, meaning the Studio KICO team is made up of amazingly talented freelancers, agencies and teams who are contracted on a project basis.

We all operate in the same space. Bringing conscious brands to life through strategic, creative mediums. Rather than getting our pitchforks out to compete against each other for work, we choose to collaborate and make sure the perfect people for each client project are matched to it.

We empower each other to take hold of the opportunities that are uniquely suited to them and have plenty of collective members to troubleshoot with. As a result, we deliver amazing results for our clients.

We all rise when we rise together, so let’s ditch the hierarchy.

Slow, box-ticking hierarchal structures of businesses and teams need to become a thing of the past. We’ve personally seen huge business and cultural benefits in valuing every member of the Studio KICO team equally.

By removing the hierarchy, everyone in the team assumes the same level of responsibility and accountability to create the best results possible - because we all have a say in how to get from A to B whilst enjoying the ride.

Keith Ferrazzi and his Co-Evaluation model is a shining example of this. Simply put, the Co-Evaluation model is a mission-driven approach to collaborative problem solving through fluid partnerships and self-organising teams. The approach fosters an environment where every team member has equal responsibility and drive to support each other to succeed whilst leaning into their unique skills. Sounds pretty great right?

It’s nice to be nice.

Waving goodbye to the outdated competitive narrative surrounding running a successful business takes a whole lot of integrity, openness and authenticity. Oh, and customers love it.

Showing that you are confident enough in your offering to collaborate with people, share experience to help others also succeed is the mark of a true leader. And people will follow.

We invite you to forget outcomes altogether for a moment though and just remember that it feels good to be nice. That should be the motivator for any future collaborations you pursue.

The future of business is collaborative.

Before we all burn out and collapse in a heap let’s just agree that collaboration is the future of good business. It can’t be a top-line marketing strategy either, it has to be baked into your company and team culture to really work.

As you can probably tell by now, we are deeply passionate about the power of collaboration, no matter what shape or size. Because sharing knowledge and support can only ever propel your business forward.

Ready to collaborate?

Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired to align with people who can help you grow after reading this article. If that’s pulling you in the direction of collaborating with passionate creatives, you’re in the right place.

To start the conversation, book a free brand consultation with Kirsty, Studio KICO’s Creative Director.

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