together we can do great things

Working Together as Humans and Brands

Marketing Principle for Partnerships

One principle that has become increasingly obvious to me during this pandemic is the need to work together to solve large problems. 2 people can do things that 1 person can’t do. 200 can accomplish things that 2 can’t, especially if the amount of time available is the same. The relationship should continue indefinitely as the number of people working together increases, permitted there are systems in place to keep their efforts coordinated, focused on solving the same issue.

This perspective is not universally held, unfortunately. More than one politician thinks that a lesson to be learned from the pandemic is to retract from the rest of the world. Their country leadership & residents need to be thinking more about the people of their own country rather than working together with the global community.


While it’s certainly not a simple situation, limiting the people, data and resources to battle a large scale crisis is definitely not the answer.


Working together works. Whether it is repeated studies showing that bringing together diverse perspectives can solve healthcare problems with innovative solutions (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World), the logic of Governor Cuomo presenting NY State’s operational model to shift resources to the area with the present apex, or Fundrise describing why their investments are better positioned than stocks, bringing together people for a common goal produces better outcomes for complex issues.

“Unlike in the stock market, where you are alone in a zero-sum competition against thousands of financial services firms and their software algorithms whose purpose is to make money at your expense, Fundrise exists to direct the collective force of 130K+ individuals into 1 cohesive actor.”

In fact, there’s reason to believe the main cause of humans advancing past other animals is that we can organize people together using common beliefs. We’ve built increasingly complex systems to direct the organizations of people, including money, religion and nations.

When looking to solve the largest problems and advance at a societal level, I see no reason why we should cap the number of people working together at 1 or 535 or 19.5 million or 327 million or 7.58 billion.


Brands can also solve complex problems by working together.


People expect more from brands than ever before. During this crisis, people want brands to take actions, including changing customer service policies, offering free services and providing factual information. In the US, 65% of GWI’s surveyed respondents approve of the job large corporations have done and 80% approve of small businesses’ actions.

Once we return to non-crisis time, brands will face the complex challenge of being meaningful in people’s lives. It’s no small feat, and as a result, the solution needs to have a similar approach to solving large societal issues – working together.

A group from McKinsey wrote up an article last month about the next phase of loyalty programs being ecosystems of brands working together to provide value to customers (McKinsey: Preparing for loyalty’s next frontier: Ecosystems).

Brands should look to strategic partnerships to provide consumers with more holistic experiences tailored to individual consumer lifestyles and ecosystems.

I believe this philosophy extends far beyond loyalty programs. As brands know more about customers, they realize how small of a role they play in any one person’s life. As a brand asks for more data, engagement and lifetime value from a customer, it must also provide more value. Unless a brand has the expansive reach of a company like Amazon that provides solutions for dozens of problems and use cases, and even then there is room to expand, the answer is working together.

Rooted in an understanding of the customer’s life, brands should work together to introduce that person to new services they’re likely to want, provide relevant content, deliver rewards and creating entirely new solutions to customer problems. All of these can be better for customers if the resources of multiple brands are put towards them.

More to come soon on how OurBus is doing this. If you manage or represent a brand and want to talk through opportunities to work together, get in touch.

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