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Before you rush into any event partnership, you need to consider these tips and pay attention to these warning signs to make sure that the agreement is right for you.
An event partnership can be very lucrative for both parties and creates a unique way to collaborate and bring the best of both brands and businesses to improve the event experience. However, event partnerships are not to be taken lightly, after all, you are sharing your brand name, reputation and event with another party so you need to ensure you make the right choices. Here are some things to consider before starting an event partnership with someone.
The Benefits Of Event Partnerships
Make your event unique – Both parties bring something different to the table and together can make a strong combination that is not out there anywhere else. If it works it can provide a unique event experience that will keep attendees coming back for more.
Offer valuable resources – Aside from the obvious financial benefit, partners can bring other assets such as networks or client lists you can access to increase your brand awareness. Resources could also mean staff, supplier discounts or other benefits that you can’t get yourself.
Extra advertising - In partnerships, both parties advertise in their newsletters, websites and to their social media followers which means you are getting double the exposure for the event and your brand and potentially accessing a differing demographic to expand your reach.
Event Partnership VS Event Sponsor
There is a common misconception that partners and sponsors are the same thing and while they are similar, there is a main difference and this is the creative input that partners bring to the table. An event sponsor would usually bring financial incentives to place their brand or products at your event in order to increase their brand awareness. On the other hand, a partner is more involved in the planning process, is likely to have a much bigger say on the event itself and can take ownership and market the event as partly their own, i.e. they take half the credit (and potentially half of the event revenues!).
Get To Know Them
Deciding to partner up is exciting and can make you want to jump straight in, but just like the dating world, it is important to get to know them first. If both partners will be having a lot of creative control, you need to identify any annoying bad habits that kill productivity or may put you off. A partnership needs compromise otherwise making decisions together could prove difficult. It is not all about the business agreement that you have to consider when picking a business partner as you will be spending a lot of time together so it is important you can get along on a fundamental level. If you can’t stand being around each other, regardless of the benefits they may bring, it’s not worth the partnership (and your sanity).
Align Your Message And Values
Before getting into a partnership you need to know your objectives and values in terms of what you are trying to achieve. Mixed signals and sloppy advertising can confuse attendees and make the message very unclear so it is important that you discuss and align the messaging first. Aligning values is also important, especially if both partners will be replying to the press either directly or via social media as both parties need to give a coherent voice.
It’s Okay To Walk Away
Just like dating, if it’s not right, it’s not right and you can’t force it so don’t feel pressured into a partnership because it has to be mutually beneficial. While the threat of walking away can benefit the negotiation process, it is important to remember that it is a genuine option anyway if something isn’t quite right. You have to have a connection with your potential event partner and you both have to have common goals which means that you are bound to stumble across those with different priorities than you.
Be Prepared For Lengthy Contracts
A partnership, especially within events and business should be carefully planned and should always have everything in writing. No matter how well you know and trust each other, it’s essential business practice to use contractual agreements and protect all parties in any partnership. Contracts can help you to discuss and ascertain not only the roles and contributions each side will make but the smaller details as well such as expense accounts or names when dealing with clients. You should also consider adding exit clauses based on unethical or unfair behaviour that will not hold legal liability for you in the event one partner acts out.
If your potential partner is not willing to sit and go through this process, they aren’t for you. Event professionals have to deal with a huge workload, so if your partner can’t handle it now, they won’t be able to handle it later.
What Are Their Stats
Partnerships need to be mutually beneficial, make sure you look at their demographic, reach, sales figures, social media stats and any other information you need. Don’t just take their word for it on how wide their reach and networking is because you can easily be “sold” on an idea but if they have poor sales or networking then their only goal is to use you to step up and you’re going to end up with a raw deal.
It’s important to note that stats aren’t everything and they may bring other valuable aspects to the table, your reasons for partnering are likely to be different and they may have more capital and resources to offer in exchange for you boosting their brand awareness. You just need to make sure that they aren’t over selling themselves too much and that you can verify what they are offering.
Avoid Partnering With Social Contacts
This can put you in an awkward position, especially if you have known them for a long time, however, while it can be sunshine and roses in the beginning, combining work with social relationships can put a lot of strain on you personally and professionally. Unfortunately, just because they are your friend, does not immediately make them a good person to go into business with. Plus if the partnership goes sour, it leads to a lot of resentment and often burns the social bridge too.
Ensure that there is a business standing to your partnership and not just that you are going into it because you are friends. Partnering with friends can work, but even long-term friendships can’t save a doomed business partnership.
Do They Ask Questions
The best way to tell if they are as interested in the opportunity as you are is by the amount of questions they ask and the information they want. If you find them delving into your business and asking about previous event history etc. it’s a step in the right direction. Partnerships are commitments and any serious eventprof or business person will want to make sure they are getting a good deal and that you can live up to your promises too. If they don’t seem as interested or are overly eager to answer and not ask questions, this could ring warning signs.
It’s Not All About The Money
Jessie J was right, although finance is an important factor in any event or business, don’t choose to partner with someone just because you can’t afford to hire them instead. This can not only lead to resentment and you may end up giving away too much power for a service you could have simply bought. There are other opportunities to work with others without creating a partnership, if their prices are too high, try negotiating or offer creative corporate sponsorship opportunities.
On the same topic, there are some resources that are more valuable than finance so don’t discount someone as a partner because they can’t bring a big budget, they may have access to other areas of the market or excellent networks, which can be just as valuable.
Finally, it may sound cheesy but if it works, it works. Trust your gut and if the partnership feels right then put that firmly in the pro column because more often than not, if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Learn to listen to yourself.
Event partnerships can be powerful, but whether it is for the short or long-term, they are a big deal and they should be treated that way. Using these signs and considerations as guidance you should be able to determine whether you should enter into the partnership or if it is time to walk away.