Should companies leverage collaboration as a marketing tool? That depends. Too many companies have embraced collaboration as a buzz word or initiative du jour without any real commitment to collaboration. The emperor has no clothes, so to speak. But it makes lots of sense for marketers to use collaboration in branding and corporate image campaigns if the rhetoric is based on something real.
Corporate social responsibility has hit the big time as advertisers discover that consumers and businesses are increasingly likely to buy products they associate with some greater good. The green movement falls under this umbrella. Incidentally, American Public Media’s Jill Barshay reported on this topic Tuesday, December 11 on the “Marketplace” broadcast. You can listen to the story or read a transcript here.
Similarly, collaboration can create a perception of value for consumers and business customers. A collaboration image suggests that the company is innovative, receptive and responsive. There are certainly companies that can make this claim and could really leverage collaboration from a marketing perspective. However, there are still many hierarchical companies that foster competitive cultures in which people live and work in fear and rarely interact outside of their functions, regions or business units. It’s ludicrous and ineffective for such companies to use collaboration as a buzz word or build campaigns around the idea—but it happens!
Currently, I’m researching how collaboration can be used effectively in marketing, branding and advertising. The bottom line is that campaigns must be based on reality rather than me-too marketing.