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Better Together: The Art of Co-Branding

Published on December 5, 2018, at 9:50 a.m.
by Anna Jones.

Films, cosmetics, technology and restaurants. These are just a few of the fields that make up the promotional partnerships that we encounter every day. Promotional partnerships, also known as co-branding, have become increasingly prevalent over the last few years.

According to HubSpot, “Co-branding is a strategic marketing and advertising partnership between two brands wherein the success of one brand brings success to its partner brand, too.”

HubSpot also noted that promotional partnerships are a great way to build business, increase awareness and break into new markets. The many benefits of promotional partnerships make it important that we, as PR practitioners, understand what to look for when deciding which brands to collaborate with.

You should keep the following four factors in mind when determining which promotional partnerships will work best for your product.

1. Choose companies that your target publics are interested in.
In order to ensure you get the most out of brand partnerships, it is vital that you collaborate with brands that will reach your target audience. Are your target publics predominantly female, are they millennials, are they senior citizens? Determine who you are targeting, and research brands who have similar target audiences. By doing so, you will be able to reach a larger percentage of your target public.

2. Choose brands that will benefit from a partnership with your company.
According to Inc., it is important to research potential partners to find how your film or product can benefit the brands you’re looking to collaborate with. Brands deal with numerous promotional partnerships all the time, so you have to find what makes your product different. Create a

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compelling case for how big brands can benefit from a partnership with

your product, and determine why this situation is a win-win. Once you discover what makes your product unique to a company, use this insight to craft a pitch to your potential partner.

For example, when Uber partnered with Spotify, they created an experience where the user could play their favorite playlists during their ride. Uber gained a competitive advantage because of the experience it provided, and Spotify benefitted from this partnership, because it gave users an incentive to subscribe to premium level.

3. Choose brands that share similar values as your company.
When co-branding, try finding a brand that shares similar values as yours. Its audience may be interested in your product or brand as well. For example, BMW partnered with Louis Vuitton for their “The Art of Travel” campaign. Even though these two brands do not have a lot of characteristics in common, they share themes like luxury and travel. These commonalities allowed them to reach a larger audience, which resulted in a successful campaign.

4. Choose brands that will build your reputation.
An article on Cision stated, “When working alone, trust takes time to gain.” Your target audience’s trust is extremely important, which is why it is necessary to partner with other well-established brands in order to build trust with your target audience. For example, if there is a new product

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or film coming out that no one has ever heard of, partnering with a company that your target audience trusts allows you to benefit from that company’s credibility.

Take, for example, the partnership between Airbnb and Flipboard. These two companies worked together to create Airbnb experiences, which according to Flipboard “are special activities designed and led by local experience hosts who have devoted themselves to sharing their passions.”

For the most part, people were unaware of the brand Flipboard; however, partnering with a well-established brand that people trusted put Flipboard into the spotlight and allowed it to gain credibility by partnering with a well-known brand.

These are just four details to keep in mind when deciding what brands to partner with. Promotional partnerships can be hard work, but by taking the steps to form mutually beneficial partnerships, your brand will achieve much more than it would alone.

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