Brand partnerships are a great way to build business in any economy. Properly constructed, all the participants gain. It is often difficult to gain brand traction for Small and Mid-sized businesses (SMB’s) so working with other compatible brands can boost awareness faster and more cost-effectively. A brand partnership is a mutual agreement between two or more businesses or organizations. Through these partnerships, companies help one another to increase brand exposure, break into new markets, and add extra value to products/services. Brands can help each other through a variety of ways, advertising tie-ins, content, social media, promotions and so much more
Successful Brand Partnerships
Brand partnerships are not always obvious. Some great recent examples are Starbucks and Spotify, or Global Fund and Gap for Product RED. Streaming music is extremely popular with young audiences and Spotify is a brand younger listeners trust. The coffee-chugging crowd at Starbucks also tends to be young and hip, a great target for Spotify. By promoting each other’s brands, they reach their ideal customer. Global Fund’s RED campaign for funding AIDS treatment in Africa had many corporate partners. But GAP actually created new products for the campaign, used celebrities to promote the products and gave profits back to the cause. GAP had a great feel-good campaign and Project RED got needed visibility.
Benefits of Partnerships
There are a number of benefits to a brand partnership. One is to build trust. When reputable brands work together it demonstrates that each believes in the other. If a consumer has a good experience with one brand, then they are much more likely to trust the other brand as well. A good partnership can add value to the products or services each company offers. If each brand brings something unique to the relationship consumers will see the benefit of working with the partnership as opposed to two standalone entities.
Brand partnerships can also exist to cross-promote one another. Content marketing can lead that effort. Increasingly people hide behind social media and websites to remain anonymous. Consumers who are loyal to one brand may not be interested in anything new. Many people claim to value individuality, yet converge on the same brands because they like what others like. However, when the brand they love promotes another brand, the exposure can be enlightening. A good partnership will allow each company to access new audiences which can lead to revenue growth.
A few things need to be considered in any brand partnership. You and your potential partner should not compete on any level. Both companies need to understand the goals of the other and be prepared to promote each other equitably. With that agreement, tactics can be discussed. The target audience of each company should be similar and yet different. Most Starbucks consumers did not subscribe to Spotify, and many Spotify listeners got their coffee from Dunkin. But they both talked to young, hip, tech-savvy consumers.
When considering a brand partnership look at other successful partnerships for ideas. A successful partnership does not necessarily require a large monetary investment, if each partner puts in the time. As marketing budgets come under stress, this is a great way to reach new consumers for little or no capital outlay. Consider the types of companies/entities you could partner with. Make a list of a half dozen and reach out to them. You might be surprised by how many like-minded businesses are out there.