The Art and Science of Designing a Global Partner Network

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Six questions to ask your agency before going international

Nearly every brand experience agency claims to have a “global partner network,” but not all networks are the same. Some are marketing alliances, some loose affiliations, and some certified partner networks.  Some work and some don’t. The best partner networks don’t happen by accident but by design.

If you’re thinking of expanding your brand strategy to reach a global audience, you need to make sure that your agency can deliver a consistent and flawless experience, no matter where you go.

To be confident that your international events are being supported by a carefully designed network of trusted, vetted partners, here are six essential questions you should ask your agency about their global partner network.

1. Can your agency clearly define goals and objectives for its network?

Your agency should be able to explain why they have developed a global partner network in the first place. What is your agency’s overall global strategy?

2. What selection criteria did your agency use in selecting potential partners?

How has the agency used these goals and objectives to evaluate the partnerships they pursue? Criteria might include the type, size, and reach of the business, market reputation, or alignment of business cultures – just to name a few. The standards for these criteria should be high as it is your brand experience that hangs in the balance.

3. What process of due diligence do they use in vetting potential partners?

The agency should have a formalized process for vetting each partner through accurate insights into the company’s financial status, competitive position and business history. Not only that, but cultural fit is important – do they value the same level of customer service and experience? Fully vetted partners will be better prepared to support programs of varying size and scope, ensuring flawless execution and seamless management.

4. What your agency’s overall partner proposition?

The best partner relationships are mutually beneficial – and this should be clearly spelled out. For example, the network might offer the partner the ability to scale instantly, enhance their market presence, or secure reciprocal business. The more invested the partner is in the relationship, the more invested they will be in your program.

5. How does your agency work with their partners on your behalf?

Partnership agreements need structure. What expectations does the agency set regarding factors such as pricing, response times, communications protocols, business volumes and so forth? These details can make or break a relationship. Having this structure in place up front eliminates any surprises later on as you work with both the agency and the partner.

6. Is partner performance evaluated on an ongoing basis?

Truly, defining the partnership is just the beginning of a relationship. How does the agency nurture and measure these relationships over the long term? How do they ensure that their partners are living up to their standards and providing you with the best possible outcomes for your international programs and events? Is this handled by one individual with a series of emails, or is there a tangible, centrally-located database that includes Yelp-like reviews to show the performance by all parties?

Building a global partner network requires a deliberate, structured design process. It’s a substantial effort for an agency, requiring a bit of both art and science. But we believe it’s the only way to ensure the integrity of our client’s international events.

Download our Insights Paper, Going “Glocal”: Successful Global Event Strategiesto learn more.

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