Thought Leadership

Choosing Friends: How Partner Companies Are Ruining Your Reputation

TL;DRThe companies you partner with can have a big impact on how customers and distributors perceive your brand. Our direct selling expert, Garrett, explains how associating with the wrong crowd is a lot like getting pinched by a stranger. 

“Choose your friends wisely.”

I’m sure that just about everyone has heard or read that statement somewhere before, and there’s wisdom in those words. Friends are people that we enjoy spending time with and working alongside; people that we can call on when we’re in need. Our friends are often a reflection of the type of people that we are—a reflection of our own values and beliefs. You can learn a lot about a person from the company they keep.

Corporations have friends, too. Manufacturers, vendors, developers, processors—partners that help your organization complete tasks and operations that you simply couldn’t perform on your own. Companies need to build relationships with other businesses to address the limitations in their own capabilities. What sometimes goes overlooked, though, is how these relationships might impact an organization’s brand.

Keeping the Wrong Company

This is a point that UnMarketing’s Scott Stratten touched on during his hard-hitting presentation at the Direct Selling Association’s 2015 Sales and Marketing Conference back in December (you can check out my recap of that talk here). Stratten, a renowned marketing guru, took the stage to help direct selling companies reframe how they think about brand. During his talk, Scott pointed out: “Every third-party provider or service that your company uses is a reflection of your brand.”

'Every third-party provider that your company uses is a reflection of your brand.' - @unmarketing Click To Tweet

It’s true, of course. When your organization works with another company, there’s an implied endorsement of that company, and the experience the other business provides your customers or distributors reflects back on you. Returning to our earlier comparison, let’s assume that a friend of yours introduces a new person into your group of buddies, and that newbie starts to treat you and others in the group poorly—maybe, every so often, this person pinches you on the underarm. Understandably, you’re upset with the pinchy newcomer (getting pinched on the underarm is the worst), but chances are you’re more upset with your friend for having the poor judgement to put you in that situation in the first place. The same goes for your business: if you’re forcing your distributors to use a “friend” by integrating with a third-party service that gives them a poor experience, it’s going to have a negative effect on their perception of your brand. After all, you’re essentially endorsing underarm pinching.

Forcing your distributors to use a third-party partner? Better make sure they're good. Click To Tweet

The impact a third-party experience has on brand perception is amplified when your customers or distributors don’t even realize that they’re being affected by or engaging with a third party. Technically, it’s not your fault when one of your suppliers falls behind and you’re not able to fulfill a customer’s order, but your customer doesn’t care about technicalities. They care that you promised them a product and failed to deliver on that promise, and that failure that goes on to change how that person perceives your brand. When your app starts acting up and preventing your distributors from managing their business, they aren’t blaming the mobile developer that you worked with—they’re blaming you. Rather than simply hanging out with a pincher, as far as they can tell, you’re the one doing the pinching.

Maintaining Brand Perception

So you rely on third-party providers to perform key business functions (which is increasingly common and completely acceptable), but you want to ensure that your brand reputation goes untarnished. What’s a direct selling company to do?

“Choose your friends wisely.”

Here at Hyperwallet, we pride ourselves on being a valuable partner—and longtime friend—of the direct selling industry. We work alongside direct sellers to provide the best available commission payout platform, providing the speed, convenience, and choice in payouts to ensure that distributors a positive perception of your company. We took home the Direct Selling Association’s Ethos Award for Partnership in 2014, and with our new suite of payout APIs, we’re equipped to be a better friend to direct selling companies than ever before.

How do your #directselling partners handle themselves when things go wrong? Click To Tweet

When choosing a corporate partner, it’s important to consider how that relationship will impact the experience that customers and distributors will have with your brand. Will the partner company enhance distributors’ experiences on your platform? How do they handle themselves when things go wrong? What do other companies like yours say about their experiences with this provider?

And do they pinch?

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