In today’s business environment, companies are striving to get ahead. But what if getting ahead meant more cooperation and less competition? The idea of community over competition is more than a Pollyannaish proclamation or a trendy hashtag. It’s a solid business — and marketing — approach with staying power.
What does “community over competition” mean?
For most companies, the philosophy simply means adopting an approach that places people and relationships above profits. At the end of the day, it acknowledges that sometimes individual efforts aren’t enough to tackle today’s problems and that setting aside self-interests could advance shared goals. It’s also a natural outgrowth of servant leadership that places the needs of customers above profits. The idea goes by another name, too: “collective impact.”
For some companies the philosophy leads to formal partnerships with competitors, or “coopetition” as some having taken to calling it. A study by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute found that prolonged partnerships of this type, over three to five years, had more than a coin-flip chance of mutually reducing company cost. So, what does this look like in practice?
Four ways to practice community over competition
There are several ways to incorporate this philosophy into your business.
1. Contribute to your industry. You could live out this tip in several ways, whether it’s commenting on a competitor’s Instagram post with a word of encouragement or stepping in during a time of need. There are numerous stories of business owners, even those who would traditionally compete for the same customers, helping each other during the pandemic. It may also mean not keeping industry “secrets” from them or lending advice if they ask for advice.
2. Give credit where credit is due. This is a critical component of the philosophy. Don’t steal other people’s work or draft off their work without acknowledging your point of inspiration. If a competitor wins an award or receives a piece of recognition, applaud their work — and use it as motivation to up your game rather than a point of resentment.
3. Refer business to your competitors. Following this tip could mean stepping back and encouraging other businesses to step forward when the other company has expertise that a venture requires and your company is lacking. It could look like passing along excess business that you don’t have time for to a fellow entrepreneur. Or, if you encounter a customer who isn’t a good fit for your business, it could mean directing them to a competitor who is a better fit for their particular needs.
4. Cooperate. Look for opportunities to create partnerships. This could be formal arrangement, such as teaming up to respond to a request for proposals that requires expertise or a time commitment greater than either single business can manage on its own. Or, you could also team up on a community event or a fundraising initiative that benefits the greater good of your city, state, or region.
What doesn’t community over competition mean?
Keep in mind that bolstering the philosophy of community over competition isn’t a mandate to support unqualified or unethical businesses. It doesn’t necessarily require that you work for free or give anything away, including your knowledge over those infamous coffee invitations where someone wants to “pick your brain.” This approach also isn’t an open-door policy that allows people to take advantage of you or your business. Other companies operating with the spirit of community over competition will have a similar outlook as yours. They, too, will place trading ideas, partnerships, and service above profits. It’s incumbent upon you to choose your collaborators wisely.
How LuckyTamm Digital Marketing Can Help
LuckyTamm Digital Marketing uses the principles of community over competition. We approach our business keeping the greater good in mind. We’re glad to share with you about how our ship approach has impacted our organization and how these principles could drive your business strategies. We offer free consultations. Connect with us, today!