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Chinese food delivery company Ele.me (owned by Alibaba) and youth entertainment site Bilibili offered joint membership for a limited time at the end of December. Aimed at video game and anime fans, the plan allowed membership of both platforms for 25 yuan (around 3.65 US dollars) per month and offered significant discounts on food delivery as well as unlimited anime streaming. The promotion ran under the tagline Zhai E Kuai, a play on the phrase ‘be otaku together’. Otaku is a Japanese term for a person so obsessed with a hobby – typically anime – that they seldom leave home.

It’s often said that creativity is simply a case of smashing two already-existing things together to make something entirely new. When it comes to B2C innovation, partnerships can be a great way to make that happen. So let’s break this partnership down:

First, This Ele.me and Bilibili match-up leverages a massive demographic overlap: most users of both platforms are under 25. Take a look at the demographic profile of your users. Could that point you towards an unexpected partnership in 2019? Ele.me and Bilibili tapped into a shared youthful customer base, but you could get all POST-DEMOGRAPHIC and partner with a brand with a demographic profile entirely unlike yours – it could be a hugely powerful way of reaching out to entirely new customers.

But this partnership also hangs on a deeply complementary set of customer behaviors. After all, what does a person who spends 16 hours a day watching anime need more than anything? Yes, home-delivered food! A key challenge, then, for you: analyze the behavior of customers as they engage with your service. What unmet needs arise during that process? How could a surprising partnership help you meet those needs in 2019? See the Burger King/Playstation #BurgerClan initiative for additional clever context inspo.

Last, this partnership allows Ele.me to tap into one of China’s fastest growing market. Food delivery apps now have 355 million users in China according to iiMedia: that’s around 40% of the population. Five years ago that was 100 million. How could a new partnership see you hitch a ride on that kind of rocket?

 
 
 
 
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