Taking the brand beyond a single business boundary

The bigger the vision, the bigger the promise and the greater the complexity and team work to deliver on that promise.

Today, great brands extend beyond a single business boundary, engaging communities and other businesses to join them in their promise to the customer. In theory, this is where we all need to be, in practice, few have the leadership skills to deliver on this.

I have seen many businesses try, and too often under invest in the relationship required to deliver successful outcomes. Instead of partnerships, the leading brand, or the finance partner moves into a command and control position and the relationship breaks down, as does the collaboration.

The IT industry is so adept at collaboration, they regularly partner with their direct competitors, in the spirit of co-opetition.

Microsoft and IBM, in their hey day, were masters at this. Today it is Apple who shines, creating a stage and revenue stream for both application developers and user-generated content.

By creating a value proposition for other businesses and community to work in collaboration, Apple have engaged “others” in their task of building market share.

So what are the key principles that allow a brand to create value beyond business boundaries? Here are a few ideas:

1. A customer facing brand that is attractive enough that others feel more valuable by association

2. Brand Partner branding and value propositions. A clear understanding and articulation of the mutual value proposition

3. Stakeholder Branding. Generating rapport, where individuals build emotional connections with the lead brand, and feel safe enough to be vulnerable and disclose

4. Feeling felt, heard and seen by both all parties in the collaboration. This requires quality and quantity time for all of the brands partners to know each other intimately, allowing the emotional connections to form

5. Making healthy confrontation okay. This requires a de personalisation of confrontation, created when people feel safe enough to enter into debates based on principles not personalities.


6. Having clear business boundaries that make it possible to get close, be interdependent and achieve increasingly more complex tasks


In the sharing economy, collaboration will be key. Those business who will achieve the collaboration required to succeed, will be those businesses who are the masters of healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries require a clear and appropriate sense of entitlement that comes from a strong value proposition and the ability to create a space for others to prosper and grow.


Louise Kelly

Managing Director

Hearts and Minds




Thought Leaders Circle



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