Editor's Desk - November/December 2017

Compete & Collaborate

Do you ever collaborate with your competition? Do you ever compete with your collaborators? Do you know when it's best to compete and when it's best to collaborate?

It can be tricky to find the right balance, but there's a right time for everything. Sure, we want to beat our competition, but there are times when we are all better served by some friendly collaboration.

On the other hand, we all want to collaborate with great partners who can help us raise the stakes and bring more to the table, but that doesn't mean we won't sometimes find ourselves in a little friendly competition with those collaborators.

This month, we take our annual look at the goings-on inside the Incentive Marketing Association, an industry group made up of a wide range of suppliers to the incentives, rewards and recognition market. Under the umbrella of the IMA, you'll find a wide range of suppliers of incentive merchandise solutions, platforms for managing incentives and rewards, gift card suppliers, global incentive houses, incentive travel planners and much more. These professionals are at the top of their game, and represent an impressive storehouse of know-how to help you get your programs up and running successfully. And part of what makes them so good at what they do, in my opinion, is that they've mastered the balance between collaboration and competition.

Most of the members of the IMA will find themselves in competition with other members at some point, and many of them are engaged in constant competition. But that doesn't stop them from collaborating with one another when doing so serves the broader mission of increasing awareness and use of incentives and rewards.

It's something that never fails to impress me, when attending the IMA's annual conference every summer. I attended for my 10th year, and once again, I enjoyed the camaraderie, networking and communication—watching as various competitors collaborated to coax a rising tide to rise even further, lifting everyone's boat.

I've been in many situations where hypercompetitive competitors make collaboration impossible, even when working together would boost everyone's bottom line. I'd encourage you to take a close look at your own practices and habits. Do you know when to put on your gloves? Do you know when to take them off?


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,