Building Winning Brands – 14 Of 16

The fourteenth most important thing to know about building winning brands is that co-creating your brand with your customers is a powerful thing. Harley-Davidson executives are masters at this.  They attend – and ride in – HOG rallies, talk with their customers at those rallies, observe new product accessories and debrief every HOG rally back at the office for new product ideas and other action items.  Today’s Internet technology makes it much easier to have real-time dialogs with your customers and to alter your approach to serving them.

The concept of coopetition broadens this concept to all of an organization’s partners. This competitive strategy recognizes the value of viewing the marketplace not as a “zero sum game” in which your gain is always someone else’s loss but rather as a place in which value can be created by discovering mutually beneficial relationships with other organizations that would traditionally have been considered competitors.

This approach recognizes that organizations become stronger the more value-generating relationships that they forge.  We believed in and extensively practiced this approach at Element K.

•We provided our content/courses to Learning Management System vendors.
•We offered our Learning Management System to organizations that wanted to host other companies’ content.
•We actually private labeled our entire e-Learning solution to organizations that wanted to compete with Element K in the e-Learning space.
•We provided referrals to online degree granting schools in return for their referrals to us for continuing education.

And the list could go on and on. Suffice it to say that most of our competitors were also our business partners in one-way or another.  This approach offers numerous advantages for the company that pursues it:

•Value-added exchange of information (latest product/service features, competitive information, industry trends, etc.)
•A cooperative relationship with your competitors
•More business referrals

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