Business strategies have been madly rewritten since the pandemic started, and there’s an increasing appetite for partnerships across the globe. But don’t just take my (biased, passionate) word for it. Deloitte recently reported that partnerships now account for 10% of all income. And research shows C suite execs see partnerships and collaborations continuing well beyond COVID.

Given that, I’ve been investigating the hottest partnership trends in the world right now. As always, I’m interested not in the obvious ones that get headlines but those which I think can be best leveraged by both small business owners and large to drive growth this financial year.

One which I’m fascinated by is the increasing number of successful partnerships which focus on delivering joy to their customers and community members.

With the pandemic making life hard, businesses who are using partnerships to bring joy are reaping great benefits. Sparking joy among customers and clients is a great strategy because it opens your business up to new audiences.

The collaboration between Tee Vee Snacks and Krispy Kreme is a terrific example of leveraging simple pleasures. Suppliers love these short-term brand partnerships for the excitement they bring into the category. Customers love them as it gives them a new sweet treat to try and satisfies their curiosity about combining a donut and a biscuit. Brands love them as they deliver higher sales.


Lockdown has been made bearable for millions of us by having access to streaming platforms. Well, you have to do something when you’re lying around all day. That daily habit for many was made more joyful this year when Binge and The Iconic teamed up to launch a new range of ‘inactive’ wear. 19 piece luxe collection meant you looked cool and felt ultra comfy on the couch or bed while you were watching Ted Lasso. Perfect joy-based collaboration.

The most successful partnerships which bring joy are experience based, particularly in Australia. 71% of Australian consumers value experiences over material possessions, according to research. The result was even higher if the experience was not just for the consumer but involved their friends and/or family members too.

KFC realised this, and recently teamed up with Pokemon Go to create an augmented reality game to play on your mobile phone. You hunt for KFC buckets to win prizes including cash, hot chips and deep-fried chicken. This is perfect for the KFC audience which has a strong Gen Z component. They love the interactive nature of this experience.

In the promotion’s first week, my Year 12 had me out looking for buckets to win chips after school. Lucy wasn’t a winner but the collaboration was—stacks of laughs and big tick for an intergenerational experience done well via an excellent partnership which brings joy to consumers.

Kathmandu and mental health organisation Beyond Blue kicked off their partnership

by creating the Kathmandu Urban Zipline in Sydney Harbour. The sell-out initiative offered zipline trips of 40 kilometres per hour, epic views of the harbour and a VIP performance from Australian musician G Flip.

What did Kathmandu get out of it? Sales, goodwill and recognition. The event was broadcast on their social channels, and a pop up store sold their brightly coloured puffa jackets. The brand was able to highlight the benefits of being in nature and at the same time show support for those who might be struggling with their mental health.

What did Beyond Blue get out of it? Kathmandu donated all ticket sale proceeds then matched every ticket sale with an additional donation. Their generosity was a smart business move in a strategic partnership which I applaud loudly.

It’s not just big businesses who are bringing the joy. One small fitness brand teamed up with a gin distillery to offer an Urban Gourmet Gin Hike. Traditionally alcohol isn’t thought of or marketed as a health experience. This partnership turned that on its head, and combined the vital experience component with getting fit and gin tasting. Gin consumption is rocketing in Australia, so this is an excellent collaborating creating a new income stream for both businesses.

My advice? Consider partnering with other like-minded businesses to deliver a joyful experience to help you achieve your business goals—at any stage of the customer journey. People will heart you for it.