Growing your brand awareness can be expensive when you are relying on your own channels or paid channels. One awareness strategy worth considering is co-branding. Co branding is a partnership between like-minded brands. When executed well, it can open each of the businesses to new markets and new audiences. It can raise the profile of a brand, position a brand within a specific market, create a unique point of difference for your brand or simply open your brand up to a whole new audience.
There have been some great brand partnerships over the years. Some have been short term campaign specific co-branded experiments, and others have become life-long linkages. It is essential to have the right ingredients when considering a partnership between brands and decide whether the outcomes of the co-branding agreement will be mutually beneficial.
A few things to consider when assessing co-branding opportunities:
1. Brand Integrity – Make sure your values are aligned
For many businesses, brand integrity is their greatest asset and partnering with a company that may pose a risk to this integrity could be damaging. Assessing your potential brand partners integrity is extremely important – what do they stand for, who else do they partner with, what is their internal culture like, what messages do they portray in their advertising and tone of voice? You can tell a lot about a brand from looking at their past but it is equally important to understand their vision and strategic direction for the future.
Think very carefully about a co-branding partnership agreement. Make sure you fully evaluate it on all fronts when it comes to how your brand will be perceived and portrayed. Make sure that all of your bases are covered; from how your brand will appear (advertising, logos, landing pages, emails etc) to how your brand will be perceived from a values and ethics perspective.
2. The audience/target market is suitable
Partnerships and co-branding opportunities can open your brand to a whole new audience or market sector. Extensive planning and marketing strategy is required to maximise success. But the benefits are obvious, the chance to appeal and connect with a wider variety of consumers. A great example of this was the co-branded offer between Arnott’s Tim Tams and Adriano Zumbo, who is an Australian and French-trained chef, best known for his elaborate desserts and who’s fame peaked due to an appearance on the popular MasterChef television series. For Arnott’s it was a great way to capitalise on this popularity wave, at the same time as innovating and testing new ideas for the Tim Tam product. For Zumbo it was a way to an opportunity for extend his exposure to a mass audience and further position and profile himself and his brand as the master of exotic desserts.
Reaching a new audience is a great reason to partner with another well-established brand, however social media has changed the balance of power and in many cases it’s the smaller businesses who have the power of the audience through social media. Influencers are partnering with major brands and allowing big brands to reach a very large and lucrative market without spending millions on television advertising.
3. What is the benefit to the consumer
After all is said and done about the exposure and benefit to each of the brands, you must ultimately consider your customers. How are they benefiting from this partnership? Does the cobranding partnership showcase innovation, capture imagination and have a positive impact on their experience of each brand? The emphasis should be on the customer experience.
Many partnerships have evolved from one off, campaign driven partnerships to longer term, loyalty programs offering the consumer more value or added benefits for their ongoing loyalty. Other larger corporations partner aim to ‘give back’ to consumers and society through corporate social responsibility partnerships. Either way, if the consumer wins in the end then partnership and co-branding opportunities are a great way for businesses to grow and prosper.
Getting the co-branded message and visuals right is an essential part of the partnership. Since both brands would have vested interests and may find it difficult to execute from within, it would be beneficial to get help from an external branding partner such as BrandMatters. We understand brands and the value of getting this right for the long-term viability of both parties.