By Jim Giammarinaro
President & CEO of the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce
FRAMINGHAM – There has never been a more important time for groups to come together and collaborate. The strict definition of collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals or groups work together for a common purpose to achieve a benefit. A local example of a collaboration is the MetroWest YMCA, Framingham Rotary, and MetroWest Chamber of Commerce coming together to have a golf tournament. The tournament raises funds for their individual Education Foundations which provide scholarships for area students. In a typical year we would have a nice outing at the Framingham Country Club which includes lunch & dinner and has both a raffle and silent auction. In 2019 we had the golf tournament and raised over $20 thousand for scholarships. In 2020, because of COVID, we did not have a golf tournament. We hope to be back in operation in 2021. The bonds which were forged between the three groups coming together provided benefits for our community. Working successfully together also leads to a comfort factor that we can come together on a variety of projects.
There are some well known business collaborations which have led to greater success for both businesses:
1) Apple & Hermes – Apple defines this collaboration as “the culmination of a partnership based on parallel thinking, singular vision and mutual regard.” The collaboration resulted in a partnership of two highly esteemed brands, making Apple’s must-have watch even more desirable with a luxury fashion boost.
2) IKEA & Dreamworks – IKEA recently launched a line of products called Lattjo , with the goal of bringing more fun into everyday lives. They came together with Dreamworks to animate a collection of toys, instruments, and costumes. Through a series of short films, IKEA gets a boost from one of the most imaginative film studios around. Dreamworks has established credibility among children, while IKEA has already won over parents with affordability.
3) Ford & Hearst – Ford’s branded content partnership with Hearst took “Built Ford Tough” to new levels with over 120 pieces of original editorial content. Running with the slogan “The Code,” this content conveyed a set of skills and tools that every Ford man should possess. Running in Esquire, Popular Mechanics, Road & Track and Car and Driver, the Ford F-150 lifestyle organically reached its target audience with thoughtful content offering practical lifestyle advice.
An example of a business coming together to work with a non-profit can be seen with UNICEF & Target. UNICEF’s recent Kid Power partnership with Target merges a philanthropic initiative with a wellness-wearable device. As kids in the U.S. complete fitness-based missions, they earn points that can be used to “unlock” therapeutic food packets that UNICEF delivers to malnourished children around the world. Partnering with Target — which sells the fitness trackers for $39 — will allow UNICEF to reach a projected audience of 70,000 kids. The combination of encouraging healthy living with greater global awareness is a promising partnership.
On a local level our chamber is invested in collaboration to provide more benefits for our members and the communities where their organizations reside. Below are just a few examples of collaborations our chamber values:
1) Collaboration with Downtown Framingham Inc., Ashland Business Association, Natick Center Associates & Natick Cultural District – Our groups have come together to provide visibility for restaurants, retailers, and hotels through daily profiles of individual businesses. In addition, all our networking events will draw on these organizations to highlight an individual business virtually prior to engaging in networking.
2) Collaboration with the City of Framingham – Chamber businesses and organizations are meeting every two months with the Mayor and her staff and a few City Councilors (Michael Cannon, Janet Leombruno, Adam Steiner, and Christine Long) to identify the most critical factors to encourage business growth in the city of Framingham. In addition to Bose and Sanofi, Staples will be a new member of the group. The collaboration places the right people at the table to identify pathways for effective business growth moving forward. In addition, our chamber, and Downtown Framingham Inc. participate to represent smaller businesses and non-profits. The City also provides resources from the Department of Public Health and Economic Development to answer questions of members related to business reopening.
3) Collaboration with the Marlborough & Worcester Chambers of Commerce – Our chambers come together annually to raise funds for local charities supporting veterans. This is accomplished by a fundraising event involving the American Heritage Museum.
Many of the collaborations I have mentioned give examples of independent parties with differing political views and ethnicity working together to provide outcomes to benefit members of our community. Our US Congress also consists of individuals of differing political views and ethnicity. It is time for them to work together in an expeditious way to assist our citizens and organizations in need.
The focus of any relief legislation should be targeted to those most in need. The virus has placed the sustainability of individuals and organizations in jeopardy through no fault of their own. Help will be needed on many fronts for months to come. It will only be after everyone is vaccinated, the economy is fully opened, and people feel comfortable living in a way as they did prior to COVID, that those who are most hurting will be able to recover. If you feel the same sense of urgency, please reach out to your Representative or Senator and ask them to work collaboratively to help those most in need.
Editor’s Note: SOURCE and the MetroWest Chamber have formed a partnership. The Chamber’s column will run on Tuesdays on the digital news media outlet.