advice & inspiration

How a Netflix hit took partnership marketing to a new level

As a teenager, I wanted a career in negotiating product placement in movies. I loved the idea of cutting deals, collaborating with people in the movies, being a behind-the-scenes powerbroker armed with the perfect Casio watch or an artful packet of Twisties. It seemed like the perfect marriage of my love for both movies and marketing, and while that particular dream hasn’t panned out so far I’ve stayed fascinated with how movies and streaming shows do their collaborations. One consistent standout is Stranger Things, Netflix’s hit set in 1980s Indiana that follows a group of young friends who unravel a series of supernatural mysteries. The kids-vs-aliens trope is hardly new but what puts the show in a league of its own is the immersive and nostalgic 1980s experience—soundtrack, set design, locations—that doesn’t just draw fans but is a ready-made base for its hugely successful marketing campaigns. The Stranger Things showrunners clearly understand their show’s value thanks to its...

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The one thing all collaborations need in 2022

There are predictions the post-pandemic bounce will be fast and fabulous. After a couple of long, lonely years consumers wanting to funnel their excitement at being out and about are ready to reward brands with one much-needed ingredient in their advertising: a sense of humour. Right now, we all need a laugh and brand partnerships which feel fresh and fun but are grounded in classic principles of engagement, being meaningful to their audience and protecting their brand will soar. It’s time for shopping experiences to be whimsical, with unlikely collaborations that surprise and entertain and make us want to play again. In December an early entry for coolest, most fun collab for our farewell COVID times came from US brand Super Coffee and Poo-Pourri, the toilet spray champion. The brand teamed up in a partnership hailed as “soulmates who have finally found each other.” In a satirical 60-second ad the partners announced the “world’s most obvious, overdue” love child: a Super Coffee...

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The four steps to take when partnerships go wrong

Influencer Nadia Bartel just found out the hard way that when partnerships go south, they go south fast. Until a video of her snorting white powder at an illegal gathering went public, Bartel—a former media sales executive who used her WAG influencer status to start spray tan and clothing businesses—attracted high-vibration brand partnerships. She collaborated with luxe beauty brand Mecca, and the VRC as 2020 Melbourne Cup Carnival ambassador. But in the wake of the snorting scandal, Bartel has reportedly been ditched by a slew of sponsors including JSHealth Vitamins and Hairhouse Australia. Bartel is hardly the first public figure whose brand partnerships have soured. This year’s big story is US basketball star Kyrie Irving, who in July labelled his own Nike signature shoes as “trash”—maybe a good thing 2021 is the last year in his current $11 million a year partnership with the global behemoth. So, the point is that even in partnerships which start out with the best of intentions...

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The world’s most joyful partnership trend (and it’s not lowkey weddings)

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...

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Why everyone needs a partnership mentor like me

God knows I love my own time. Plonking onto the couch with Netflix (latest obsession: Call My Agent) or browsing sneakers online. Even just ducking into the bathroom without being followed by a kid or the dog. Everyone has stuff they like doing alone, from daybreak running to Christmas shopping. I have a friend who does her best thinking while boogie boarding alone most days. But for every blissful solitary moment, there are things best experienced with someone else. Gripping a partner’s hand while you bring a child into the world or farewell someone beloved. A Sunday popcorn movie. Holidays that involve happy hour. And as I know better than most, business is one of those things that is more profitable, fun and replicable when you do it with someone else. Since I discovered their surprising power a decade ago when I used them to build a community from zero to 150,000 in my first business, partnerships have become my secret weapon. I write about them, speak about them, sometimes dream...

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How an Italian villa sparked my interest in partnerships

When I was a kid, my mother Helen—a school teacher and single mum—taught me more than just how to plait hair and swim. She taught me the value of hard work (at 11, I had a job picking up golf balls on the local course) and of partnerships. Of working out what you needed to get where you wanted to be in life, and how other people could help you get there. That independence doesn’t mean doing things by yourself. It’s an emotional and financial freedom earned by collaborating with others to double or triple your chances of spotting opportunities and creating the life you want. The queen of finding gaps which others couldn’t see, Helen had one big dream in 1980s Perth. She wanted to build an Italian villa in our suburban backyard. “But you don’t have any money,” everyone said. So? She subdivided the yard, wangled bridging finance and invited Perth’s leading architect over for Champagne. I’m still not exactly sure how the conversation went, but the lure of being part of an unlikely...

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Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home mum who had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but was held back by fear and concern I wouldn’t be able to match my former corporate salary. Then the reality of a mortgage forced me to take the plunge and start my first business—and one game changing revelation transformed everything. The belief that partnerships have an incredible power. The knowledge that you are only ever one good marketing partnership away from success. I’m now so obsessed with partnerships that I am on a mission to show/teach one million entrepreneurs and business owners by 2030 how to successfully identify and secure their own marketing partnerships. They’ll create incredible new opportunities for their businesses—and that means more money, opportunities and greater business joy. I’m all about supporting the impact warriors,...

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The smartest way to grow your business in 2021

Are you looking for new ways to grow your business this year? I passionately believe that marketing partnerships are the fastest, lowest cost way to grow a business. I believe they should be top of the list for any business owner, particularly in during a pandemic when we are looking to reduce our marketing expenses. I’ve used marketing partnerships extensively over the past decade to accelerate my business growth. In my first business, an online shopping website for women, I relied on marketing partnerships to grow my business into a community of 150,000 women. I never spent more than $300 in any month on advertising and, as I became more experienced in my marketing partnerships, I was able to completely halt all other advertising spend. In my second business, a marketing consultancy, I’ve used marketing partnerships to minimise my expenses. Partnerships have allowed me to fund my first book and the first year of my podcast. They’ve also enabled me to position my business, drive...

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Want to know the 7 mistakes to avoid with partnerships? Download my personal strategy document here. I created it after running my own businesses for decades and falling into a ton of ‘wrong way go back’ situations.


Once you read it, let me know if you’ve made other mistakes—it’s all valuable insight!