How To Teach An Old Dog New Tricks With Strategic Partnerships

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – an old saying that explains so much in life. From the frustration felt trying to teach a grandparent how to send an email, to explaining why people become more politically conservative with age, to literally why you can’t teach that old dog to do a cool new trick.

And this saying is certainly true in the world of retail, with many established brands struggling to keep up with the pace of digital and consumer change. The example that comes to mind is Myer’s POS system that was replaced in 2010 after being in operation for a staggering 25 years. The change was 2 years in the making and took a number of months to be rolled out across the entire store network. Hopefully it won’t take another quarter of a century for a new system update.

At BrandHook, we talk a lot about closing the gap between business and consumers. But how does a brand with a large network of stores and complex layers move fast enough to stay ahead of the consumer and their ever-evolving needs? One potential way of doing this that has caught our eye recently is through strategic partnerships with start-ups. While established brands have the reputation and resources, start-ups have a fresh way of thinking, with the ability to execute ideas quickly. Put simply, each one has something the other one wants.

For example, start-up Leesa (who sell online mattresses in a box) are partnered with well-established furniture and home décor store West Elm so shoppers can try out the mattresses before purchasing, and so West Elm can showcase their bedroom furniture.  It’s a win-win; Leesa doesn’t sell furniture, West Elm doesn’t sell mattresses, and customers can test out the mattresses and bed frames when they previously couldn’t!

While not all brands have access to strategic partnerships with start-ups, they do have the opportunity to collaborate with people outside of their business who are strategic thinkers that provide disruptive and new ways of doing things! Want to be successful and disruptive in your field? Try looking further abroad for that killer unconventional, strategic partnership and teach that old dog a new trick or two.

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