COBRANDING: Tips, Traps and Best Practice

16 February 2017

Cobranding strategy for business

Otherwise known as a brand partnership, cobranding in the traditional sense is a clever strategy used by a number of businesses to expand market exposure, sales and cash flow. Bringing together two or more products, services or brands – a cobrand venture creates a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties blend marketing activities in such a way that stimulates a positive response from the target audience of both markets. Sounds great right?

Other ‘Real World’ Cobrand Successes

  • Bonnie Bell + Dr. Pepper = Flavoured Lip Smackers
  • Spotify (commercial music streaming service) + Genius (music lyrics and crowd sourced music knowledge) = “Behind the Lyrics” campaign
  • Target + Jean Paul Gaultier (latest amongst others) = Designers for Target Australia
  • Nike + Apple i-pod = Fitness information connected to i-pod
  • FedEx Kinkos – An acquisition during transitional phase, resulted in FedEx Office

You’ll find some other great examples of cobranding here.

Co-branding – through acquisition, merger or geographic expansion

But this is not the only example of co-branding. Another form of co-branding occurs when there has been a merge of two companies or an acquisition. The question then becomes how best to proceed? Should one brand be dominant? Does anything need to change? And what strengths does each brand to the table?

Let’s explore 5 ways to get the most from your co-branding relationship:

1. Find a Company with a Similar Target Market

If cobranding is something you are considering, targeting a relatable business is a great place to start. For example if you are a B2B in the consulting or technology then this opens the door to perhaps partner with a software or product that you are often in the business of selling. From the outset, the campaign is likely to be quite cohesive, similar markets can mean similar needs that are transferable to your product or service.

2. Brand Integrity – Keep your Essence

With any partnership it is important not to lose sight of what is important to you, or to compromise brand values for the sake of adopting this new venture. Brand integrity is of the utmost importance. Make sure that all of your bases are covered; from how your brand will appear online, logos, landing pages, emails and even internal communication. You name it! see it before sign off. Make sure that everything going out as a result of this partnership looks great and has your tick of approval.

3. Tap Into New Types of Consumers

You can strategically join forces with a completely unrelated product to find yourself a new market sector, as we mentioned earlier with Dr Pepper and Bonnie Bell. 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.

4. Maximise Returns with Customers, PR, Social Media

At every opportunity, even when a cobrand experience is the result an acquisition, what is there to leverage from this new relationship? Make sure your leadership, marketing and communication teams are thinking about how to maximise and squeeze all of the good stuff from this venture. That means how can the customer base, database, social media reach etc. be utilised. What about publicity? Who might be interested? How will customers on both sides benefit, and what’s the most effective way to communicate these benefits. Don’t miss a beat!

5. What makes you different?

This is something to consider if you business sits in a highly competitive market. This type of cobranding experience will turn heads, capture the imagination, get people talking and maybe even start a trend. A great example of which occurred when Uber teamed up with Spotify, so that users of the service, could use and access their personal playlist. ACO-BRANDON – little left of field perhaps – but certainly a cool idea. What does your business offer that sets it apart, and what other business could compliment this offering? The emphasis here is on customer experience. How does your brand stand out, and what would then make it stand out even further.

Is your business considering cobranding, or about to go through an acquisition or transformation? Get in touch with the experienced team at Make it Happen today.



Categories: B2B, Brand, Creative, Marketing


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