(By Buzz Knight) Each year that I attend CES I’m reminded of the power of partnerships necessary in order for brands to find their best path to success. CES 2020 is no exception when it comes to this critical business opportunity, and in our business we need to be more mindful of crafting these opportunities.
We all know that when we begin the long roadmap of innovation it’s tempting to think we can go it alone. Ego and pride drive the initial calculus, and unfortunately many times that can be the death of the initiative. But the one-plus-one-equals-three mindset is still a tried and true hope that can lead to strategic success.
Partnerships can be a challenge to get off the ground and they take patience and resilience, but they can produce large results with long-term sustainable benefits. Think about the brands that are complementary to, rather than competitive with, whatever you offer your customers when considering the all important beginner’s mindset process of customer relations and your available market.
This year take Microsoft and Ericsson, who are partnering around the integration of both companies’ connected vehicle solutions. Their intent is to fast track the penetration of connected cars by bringing together Ericsson’s Connected Vehicle Cloud and Microsoft’s Connected Vehicle Platform that runs on the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform to deploy scale globally.
Facebook is approaching CES cautiously with the many issues it is facing, but they are partnering with Lyft on a cryptocurrency initiative called Libra, not to be out matched by Twitter who will continue to deploy their partnership from last year with Lenovo.
Another interesting example of unique partnerships at work is the tech startup Pulse Labs, which provides consumer research, data, and analytics for voice platforms and works closely with Amazon and Google to define best-in-class voice experiences. Both mega giants are also part of funding Pulse Labs as this is a unique example of a partnership crossing battle lines in a category to feed optimum results for voice platforms.
One of the wildest concepts on display this year at CES is the flying taxi innovation that Hyundai and Uber are partnering on, which, if it makes it to market, will create urban air mobility with an all electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically. Don’t expect to see this until 2029 at the earliest.
Delta Airlines is here at the show for the first time and their commitment to partnerships is significant in their quest to improve the customer experience. They acknowledge that delays are often unavoidable and their goal is to “cancel all delays” in the future with continuous improvement in the travel experience. Using the Fly Delta app as the central hub, they are partnering with Lyft so passengers can use points to use the ride service.
They are also partnering with the delivery app Roadie to create an option for travelers to get luggage delivered directly to the hotel. Every chance they get to solve customer “pain points” is viewed as a new opportunity for the company to innovate. What a great lesson for us in our pursuit of innovation!
It is wise for senior leadership at companies to believe in the importance of partnerships in these competitive times. Take Marc Pritchard the Chief Brand Officer at Procter and Gamble. When asked what he looks for at CES, he said, “We are always looking for ideas, inspiration, and partners to help us innovate how we innovate.”
What an excellent spirit to build contagiously in your organization!
Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]