Those of us who are of a certain age were surprised recently to see the classic American crooner, Tony Bennett, performing alongside Lady Gaga.
They started singing together in 2011 and, despite a 60 year age gap, they have recently released an album of jazz standards, ‘Cheek to cheek‘. They also appear together in the H&M holiday advertising campaign.
Similarly Sting has teamed up with and performs live alongside Paul Simon (of that classic duo, Simon and Garfunkel). And for less mature readers there is a new pop rock ‘supergroup’,McBusted who have been touring and recording together. McBusted is made up of most members of two boy bands; McFly and Busted.
What lessons can we draw from these unexpected collaborations?
- However long established you are, you can still ring the changes and find new audiences by collaborating with someone from a different generation who has their own fans, contacts and clients;
- You can also reach new audiences by collaborating with someone of a similar age as you will each attract your own fans, contacts and clients. In so doing they are exposed to a wider range of work and activities than if they only came to see you;
- Your collaboration could well be newsworthy and generate positive PR – possibly more so than anything you have done alone;
- Longer-term collaborations develop over time and are built on friendships and small steps before the big reveal of a full scale collaboration;
Although I am unaware of the specifics I would expect that, in each of the cases identified above, the performers’ managers were involved in the financial negotiations. I recall from my own experiences advising professional firms on their merger negotiations, that this topic, more than any other, could scupper a deal. In the simplest cases you may be able to identify a simple split of income and expenses. But ‘normal rates’, differing perceptions as to relative value and distinct past experiences may all need to be considered.
I have been fortunate to have been invited to collaborate with a number of providers of complementary services and presentations over the years. None have become permanent partnerships, nor was this ever the plan. In each case we were simply looking to secure those benefits set out at points 1 and 2 above.
Who do you know and who knows you well enough to be happy to collaborate with you to reap similar benefits for your business?