When you are looking for ways to build your brand, seeking partnerships with other brands is a great way to increase interest in your products or services and establish an overall brand notoriety. However, partnering with the brands that will offer the most benefit to your own is often easier said than done.
Business owners should not only learn how to identify the most advantageous partnerships, but also how to coordinate those relationships and get the most for their own brand out of the partnership. With proper coordination, partnerships can help brands reach a broader audience, increase brand awareness, and positively impact their profit.
Finding the best match
All partnerships start with research. Finding the best match for your brand will take data analysis, looking at your own goals and comparing them to possible partners, and analyzing your target audience.
Partners should be from a non-competing company whose products, services, and company culture align with your own. For example, a makeup brand partnering with a movie that heavily relies on the use of makeup effects is a good collaboration, as they likely have some overlap in their target audience, but are not in direct competition.
Coordinating a brand partnership
Once you zero in on a brand you would like to partner with, how do you coordinate that partnership? It all starts with outreach.
Be prepared to show the brand you are targeting for a partnership the numbers behind your own brand, including market reach, revenue, and social media metrics. These will all be important in proving to the possible partner how mutually beneficial the relationship will be.
During meetings, both brands should ensure that their goals for the partnership are aligned. Without similar goals, the mission will likely go off the rails before anyone on either side sees a benefit from the partnership.
The potential partners should determine what kind of partnership they would like to have, such as co-marketing partnerships, which include joint marketing efforts like guest-hosting each other’s podcasts or building an entire joint marketing campaign. When influencers have social media giveaways and include other influencers in that giveaway, that is a co-marketing partnership.
Integration partnerships — when two or more brands create a product together — are another option. You can also choose to enter into a sponsorship agreement, which would be another type of partnership.
Regardless of what kind of partnership you choose to forge, an ironclad contract should always be in place to clearly define and explains the roles and responsibilities of each partner’s business and the terms of the relationship. As the partnership is put into play, there should be regular communication and check-ins to ensure that the values and goals of each partner’s business are upheld.
Complete transparency should be the expectation on all sides. With transparency and open communication as the cornerstone of the partnership, both brands can see increased brand notoriety and business growth.
Getting the most from your brand partnership
The ultimate goal of any brand partnership is increased brand recognition and increased profit on both sides. Any partnership needs to provide value for all parties, and data should be regularly collected and analyzed to ensure that goals are being met for everyone.
By leveraging brand partnerships, fledgling businesses can grow exponentially without the need for a large boost of capital or expensive marketing efforts. Some ways to leverage a partnership include the following:
- Strategically placed content — Social media is the prime place for content born from your partnership. By using co-marketing efforts, contests, guest posting, and SEO effectively, you can quickly leverage your partnered relationship and capture the attention of your partner’s market, and vice versa.
- Clever integrations — One of the best examples of integrated partnerships is the LEGO brand. They draw the attention of fandoms from “Stranger Things” to “Star Wars” with their specialized LEGO collections that allow superfans to build everything from the Millennium Falcon to the Simpsons’ House. By being savvy about integrating your brands, you can quickly grow the recognition of your brand and gain a whole new market.
- Special targeted offers —To gain the attention of your partner brand’s customers, it can help to create an offer that targets those customers only.
- Trade services — If you’re a service provider, you may want to partner with another service provider to do a trade and publicize the results. One example of this is a photographer and a makeup artist. The photographer can offer to capture the work of the makeup artist in exchange for the artist doing makeup for the photographer’s clients. Both businesses get a marketing boost for their brand through the arrangement.
Leveraging brand partnerships is one of the most effective ways to build a business and grow a customer base. With thoughtful cooperation, brand partnerships can quickly grow brand notoriety and help people scale their businesses.
Aja Bradley-Kemp is a marketer and experiential event designer who has spent over 20 years growing consumer, lifestyle, and tech brands in the United States and international markets, including Expedia, MAC Cosmetics, Sunglass Hut, and Reebok. A natural connector, she loves bringing people together and is fueled by technology’s impact on how we interact socially. Aja founded Conversate Collective, a brand experience agency, to help businesses develop lasting relationships with their audience through the power of shared experiences. The enjoyment she gets from bringing people together, coupled with her personal mission to get the perfect curl led her to create Love My Curls Festival, the first beauty event celebrating women in Australia & New Zealand with curly and textured hair.
Aja Bradley-Kemp is the founder of Conversate Collective.