How to develop a co-branded marketing strategy
Co-branding with another organization can be a powerful way to expand your reach — either to new geographic markets or to new audience segments. The power is in leveraging the brand equity of your co-branding partner. Well-known examples include airlines and credit cards, Spotify and Uber or Apple and ApplePay — diverse products or services come together to serve the same audience. While these appear as marketing win-wins, some careful planning should go into a co-branded marketing effort.
For small or mid-sized businesses, a co-branded marketing campaign might be as simple as asking a preferred referral source to share branded content or co-host an event. Before you begin courting a co-branding partner, think through your goals, strategy and the tactics required to make it mutually beneficial.
Research options for a like-minded partner. Be transparent about your goals and your expectations for shared participation in the program. Is the organization equally motivated to benefit from the campaign? What is their brand reputation? Who is their audience and how do they engage them? How will your brand integrate into their ecosystem?
With the right partner, a well-executed co-branded campaign can benefit both organizations.
Providing value to new audiences and influencers. Co-branding content, events or even products with others in your industry isn’t necessarily “working with the competition.” Rather, think about building authority for your brand by leveraging your partner’s brand equity and relationships. Don’t stray too far away from your own brand. Influencers within your industry will be more likely to engage with your brand, or listen/read/distribute your content when it comes with the added credibility of another respected expert in the industry.
Increasing brand visibility through cross-promotions and co-ops. Co-op ad campaigns and cross-promotions allow you to reach broader audiences in a more budget-friendly manner.
Driving traffic to each other’s platforms:
Social media. Tag your co-branding partner across social channels to promote a webinar or shared landing page or some other piece of co-branded content.
Webinars. Live video presentations with both partners help to promote the partnerships and give each brand an opportunity to educate prospects about shared goals and ideas.
Podcasts. An Edison Research report showed that an estimated 32% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly. Producing your own content or partnering with a brand that has a podcast is a great way to get in front of your shared audience.
Blog posts and email blasts. Your combined existing followers are already a captive audience. Invite them to access your new co-branded content, emphasizing the value your readers will get from both brands.
Live events. Educational or networking events, fundraisers and parties co-hosted by both brands bring your collective audiences together in a space where new relationships can be fostered.
Shared landing page. Create a shared landing page by featuring both company logos on the page. Offer a download or signup to drive traffic to both partner platforms.
Be mindful that any type of partnership may expose you to risks. Vet your partners carefully and be aware that their brand reputation could impact your own.
By blending your expertise, your co-branded campaign offers both audiences greater value and stands to multiply the impact for both brands.
Marnie Grumbach is the founder of Fluent IMC, an integrated marketing communications agency in Westbrook. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .