Brand partnerships have been around for a long time. Perhaps the most recognizable and nostalgic are those toys that come in the bottom of cereal boxes. Usually promoting a loveable cartoon character or an upcoming movie, the toy would be proudly displayed on the box of a favorite cereal. Seeing those toys encouraged children everywhere to snatch the cereal off the shelf and beg their parents to buy it.
Those children were part of a successful brand partnership between the cereal company, the toy manufacturer, and the cartoon’s production company. Brand partnerships help grow businesses and convert new customers. That’s why they’re so important to business plans, strategies and, ultimately, success.
Brand partnerships are when two or more companies come together to improve the appeal of their offerings to potential customers. In the case of the cereal company, they hope to sell more cereal by including a toy with their product. The toy manufacturer, on the other hand, hopes to broaden its appeal through exposure to new customers and new market segments. And the production company wants to create brand awareness for its character. You can see similar arrangements with clothes inspired by movies, or even product placements on your favorite TV shows.
In the world of clichés, it’s a win-win. But, beyond these simple examples, what is a brand partnership? What are some examples of successful brand partnerships? And, why should companies consider pursuing this marketing strategy?
The Benefits of Brand Partnering
To be successful, a brand partnership needs to be well-thought-out and beneficial to all brands involved. Starting long before the brand partnership is launched, companies first need to define why they want to partner in the first place.
It’s also equally important to consider internal factors when forging brand partnerships. Any collaboration in business must consider the cultures, ideals, and values of each company. These concepts send a message about both brands to current and potential customers.
When done right, brand partnering expands a company’s reach into new clientele and markets, but there are other benefits, as well. In this collaborative process, brands share the costs of developing, implementing, and executing on their shared marketing strategy.
That collaborative process also lends to a blending of expertise. Even if you’ve hired the best talent in the market, outside perspectives are always beneficial. Approaching the marketing of a product from another angle can yield fresh insights and unexpected gains.
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Brand Partnerships Examples
Spotify, Pandora, and Uber
With the recent brand partnership between ride-sharing app Uber and music-streaming apps Spotify and Pandora, the days of being subjected to your driver’s musical tastes are gone. Through this co-branding partnership, Uber users can now customize their rides by listening to their own playlists through the Pandora or Spotify apps. Uber, Spotify, and Pandora have discovered an effective way to reach new markets and customers for their services.
Montblanc and BMW
As brands, both Montblanc and BMW represent quality, luxury, and style. That’s why their brand partnership feels natural. In 2016, Montblanc and BMW aimed to expand their markets when Montblanc unveiled its new BMW Lifestyle Collection. Including high-quality pens and luggage items, Montblanc for BMW is available though both BMW and Montblanc stores and boutiques.
Red Bull and GoPro
In a list of effective marketing partnerships, what could be more natural than to include a brand partnership between Red Bull and GoPro? Red Bull promises the energy to undertake new adventures, and GoPro promises its customers the ability to record them. Through the partnership, both companies have benefitted from exposure to each other’s customers and expanded their reach into new markets.
Nike Air Jordans and Fortnite
Epic Games recently unveiled its new brand partnership with Nike that brings virtual Air Jordans to outfits that players can choose in its hit game Fortnite. Available through Epic’s in-game shop, these exclusive Nike Air Jordan-branded outfits allow players to dress their characters in Air Jordans. While this allows Epic Games to seize on the popularity of Air Jordans in its online store, the partnership also introduces the iconic shoes and brand to a new generation of customers.
What Brand Partnerships Are (And What They Aren’t)
In any partnership, a company relinquishes some control to another entity. While brand partnerships are nowhere near the type of commitment and trust that something like an acquisition, joint venture, or company-level partnership requires, brand partnerships still require trust, thought, and plenty of planning.
In the end, each brand partnership is as unique as the pair of companies forming it. While real-world experience certainly helps to develop, design, and implement brand marketing partnerships that deliver value to all parties involved, this experience can be greatly supplemented by the knowledge delivered through quality academic programs. To learn more on this topic and other emerging trends in business and marketing, consider earning your bachelor’s degree online with Malone University.
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