I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I love to watch “The Discovery Channel.” I especially love watching those Nature shows. Last time I watched I just so happened to get a Business Lesson From ‘The Hippo.”
I watched one of these recently and it got me thinking about how you can use Symbiotic Relationships to succeed. Introducing the Hero of our story – “The Hippo.” The Hippo is the king of symbiotic relationships and leverages them to the max.
The Hippo is a master networking and deliberately partners with 4 types of fish; every species cleans another part of a hippo’s body. Some of the Fish feed on vegetable matter and scraps it leaves floating around in the water while the Carp uses its wide rasping mouth to clean the hippo. The Hippo has developed other symbiotic relationships too. The African Pied Wagtails, for instance, sits on the hippos’ backs and chases insects off of it. Also, Common Sandpipers forage for aquatic organisms from hippos’ backs. Quite the arrangement eh?
It’s a Win-Win relationship – the fish get to eat algae, they get protection from predators, the birds get insects, and the Hippo gets squeaky-clean skin and teeth.
Here are 5 Hippo Symbiotic Business Marketing Lessons to give you some ideas on how to leverage symbiotic relationships in your own business (these opportunities are out there if you keep your eyes open and look for them:
1. Hippo Networking – Just as the Hippo formed a network with non-competitive partners so should you. The size of your Network has a direct correlation on how many referrals you get for your business. Focus on growing your network and great things will happen.
2. The Gift of Food – The Hippo delivers the gift of food to his partners and they in turn take care of him. When someone refers to our business and that referral becomes a customer, I gift the referrer with some delicious brownies (right Helen Dutton?) ;-) Food is a great gift!
3. Feed Em’ –One great way to get more referrals is actually REFER to your partners. If you feed them business they will feel the desire to reciprocate and do the same for you. Share the love my Hippo friend and good things will come back to you. ;-)
4. Develop a symbiotic relationship with your customers – Ask them often “How did we do?” If they say you did great, ask them to give a testimonial. If they give a testimonial, ask them to share it on Google +, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Do this consistently and you will build a 5-star online reputation and you’ll attract more New customers as a direct result!
5. Carp/Hippo Deal – The Carp feeds off the Hippo and you can set up a similar business relationship. Here’s an online example – I ordered Concert tickets from Meadowbrook and on the Thank You page after ordering the tickets I saw an ad for Mills Falls Inn inviting me to stay there. This linked over to the Mills Falls site. Check out this video showing what I saw:
How could you set up a similar deal with your partners?
Some big money has been made on symbiotic business partnerships like this so take a lesson from the Hippo and see who can partner with to grow your business.