One of the things I’ve loved most about building my brand, Caleño, is the willingness of startup brands to help one another. Sadly, during periods of economic uncertainty and rising costs, it is often smaller brands that are hardest hit, which is why I wanted to advocate for the benefits of startup brands working together.

A recent and relevant example is a stunt Caleño undertook on Blue Monday. We worked with four other drinks brands – Long Tail Mixers, Penrhos Spirits, TrueStart Coffee and Vita Coco – to create a ‘convoy of joy’ driving past iconic London landmarks and spreading a little joy through a positive parade, culminating in mass sampling activity in Soho.

Using this example I’ve tried to summarise the very real ways in which we benefited from doing this as a collective, versus individually.

  • New opportunities: The reason smaller brands are labelled ‘innovators’ is their ability to spot a trend and act on it before anyone else. Thanks to the power of social media, I am increasingly seeing brands’ abilities to capitalise on viral ‘cultural moments’ that capture the public’s interest and catapult brands to stardom.
  • Making stuff happen: If you want something done, give it to a busy person. Startups are no different, and their ability to make things happen is unrivalled. We were able to organise ‘convoy of joy’ activities in just a few weeks.
  • Appetite for risk: Collaborating with those who are willing to take risks, and try something outside of the norm, can really open doors to new opportunities you may have never tried on your own.
  • Spreading the cost: Being strapped for cash, or needing to make every pound count, can make pooling your resources a very sensible idea. By splitting costs five ways, we gained immediate access to shareable resources such as PR, designers and freelancers.
  • Greater impact: Finally, the ability of startups to combine all of the points I’ve already mentioned means they can achieve a much greater impact together. It certainly can mean your efforts travel much further.

Working collaboratively is something I’m increasingly seeing real value placed against in the startup world. I sincerely hope it will continue in 2024.