food for thought

Reputation and Community Building: Partnership Marketing

With your 2024 marketing planning and smart budgeting in mind, we’re dishing up a new series of easy PR tips on our social and our blog, here. We’re sharing some often-overlooked or misunderstood basics on how to build your business with reputation- and community-building tactics including working with the press, partnerships, events, and awards.

Today, we’re sharing how to effectively collaborate and connect with other businesses, organizations, or people in your industry.  Check back next week for part three, “Reputation and Community Building: Industry Recognition.” 


Collaborating with organizations that are aligned with your company’s mission and promise can help expand your audience and increase consumer engagement across the board.

It can be a powerful boost when you join forces with another business, organization, or individual who shares a connection with your ideal audience.

First things first:

Step 1: Define your goals for forming partnerships 

  • Ask Yourself “Why?”
    • Why do I want to elevate my company’s impact work?
    • Why do I want to engage new audiences?
    • Why do I want to reignite my audience’s excitement for what my company does? 

Step 2: Make your goals SMART

  • Your “why” answers will provide you with goals. The next step is taking those goals and making them SMART by defining your objectives.
  • Goals should be:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-based

Step 3: Take it to the next level

  • Once you understand your objectives for your partnership marketing, the next step is to ask yourself these questions:
    • Can this partner help me reach and engage with my customers?
    • What unique approaches does this partner bring to my marketing strategy?
    • What value does my business bring to the partner?
    • How well has this partner handled past collaborations with other businesses?

When you collaborate with an organization that you genuinely admire and that shares your mission, your customers sit up and take notice. Partnership marketing is all about living your brand’s promise and seeking new ways to show it to your customers. Remember to be selective in your partner choices, as you’ve only got one opportunity with those potential customers. It’s not worth jeopardizing your reputation by teaming up with a partner who doesn’t align with your values.

Consider joining or working with organizations such as nonprofits, B2B partnerships, and government alliances. Here are some of our favorites:

American Herbal Products Association
Cornucopia Institute
Food Tank
Gates Ag One
Good Food Foundation
Green Biz
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
J.E.D.I. Collaborative
National Organic Program
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
Natural Products Association
Naturally Network
New Hope Network
Organic Consumers Association
Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF)
Organic Produce Network
Organic Trade Association
Regenerative Rising
Rodale Institute
Specialty Food Association
Startup CPG
The Organic Center
The Soil Association
Rainforest Alliance

Make sure to check out Part One and Part Three of this series on Reputation and Community Building:

Reputation and Community Building Part One: Events and Networking

Reputation and Community Building Part Three: Industry Recognition

We feel you. The smorgasbord of partnership opportunities—nonprofit partnerships, B2B partnerships, product partnerships, government alliances (and more)—can be overwhelming. The most important thing to consider is that your partnerships complement your company’s mission and promise.

If you still have questions about networking and how building community can build your business, let’s connect! We love helping food and natural products brands grow their reach through events and relationship-building. Let’s see what good we can do together.

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