Listen to business leaders, and each one will have a different take on what it is you should do to grow your enterprise. This is because everyone, and every business, has a different path to take to achieve their potential. Some things link business success stories, however, and, more often than not, partnerships with other firms have been a part of this.
There comes a time in most businesses' lives when finding the mutual benefit in coming together with another brand makes sense. Something they’re doing would be appealing to your customer base, and something you’re doing will likely appeal to theirs, and the opportunity to level up is too good to say no to. So, why not get together and collaborate?
What Are Brand Partnerships?
The above scenario is essentially what a brand partnership is. It describes a time when two or more companies join forces to offer a product or service that will appeal to their joint customers. Famous examples include Apple and Nike coming together to work on an Apple Watch tailored to people with an interest in fitness.
This appealed not only to Nike’s customer base but provided Apple customers with the perfect opportunity to get into fitness. This is an important element of brand partnerships people don’t always pick up on. You’re not only looking to attract those customers that may already be invested in both companies – it’s about bringing some of their customers over to you for the first time and vice versa.
Why Choose Brand Partnerships?
Apart from the obvious short-term turnover opportunities partnerships like this create, there are other advantages. Brand partnerships with a good partner relationship management strategy allow a company to be seen in a different light.
For example, before they came together to create Stratos, Go-Pro and Red Bull were viewed by the casual observer as one-product companies. Go-Pro made cameras. Red Bull made energy drinks. And yet, after Stratos, both are seen as lifestyle brands with a penchant for extreme sports.
This not only brings both businesses to a wider audience but opens up further business opportunities with companies that exist in the space both Red Bull and GoPro have moved into.
All this sounds exciting, but where should you begin with your brand partnership? That’s the question this article aims to answer. Below, we share five tips that’ll set you on the path to partnership greatness.
Tip #1: Choose the Right Partner
By “the right partner”, we don’t mean the most suitable in terms of existing brand image. Nor do we advise trying to buddy up with a company that exists on the other end of that spectrum to you.
What selecting the “right” partner is about is finding the one that most suits your brand values and can maximize the potential of the product or service you create together.
Explore a few options before committing. Compare skill sets, existing audiences, and current trajectories, and build trust before plumping for the company you want to collaborate with.
Tip #2: Know Your Worth
If you’re new to this game, it can be a daunting prospect. Approaching other companies with a collaborative idea or proposition is a complex process. It can leave you and your business feeling exposed to criticism or at risk of giving away your USP.
It can also lead you – especially if you get in the room with a market leader – to sell yourself and your business short. You may think this exudes the humility people are looking for in a partner. However, there’s a fine line between that and presenting yourself as out of your depth or unappealing.
Instead, be confident, assured, and practical in how you present in meetings, and be sure to talk up what you can bring to the table. With content like video being the most desirable at present and encouraging increased engagement, use marketing examples that play to your strengths and demonstrate your value to partners.
Tip #3: Leverage Your Plan
It’s becoming increasingly rare to find a marketing collaboration that will be successful by targeting only one channel of communication. With so much content delivered to an increasing number of platforms daily, it’s difficult for anyone other than the most established brands to cut through by utilizing a single avenue.
So, when producing your plan, make sure it plays to the strengths of both/all brands. If you have a greater footing on a site like Instagram, tailor picture content to the style that’s made you a success. If your partner has a bigger following on YouTube, feel secure enough to move more in their direction with video content.
If you can do this while ensuring both brands are included in the posts or videos, this will do wonders for your social media reach.
Tip #4: Seek Continuous Collaboration
Don’t just look at collaborations as a one-time thing. This often gives off the idea that the collaboration has been unsuccessful, which can be a difficult hurdle to get over when you enter conversations with future prospective partners, making PRM marketing more difficult.
By ensuring you and your partner brand see this collaboration as a multi-campaign or even continuous partnership, you can think bigger with your ideas and view the benefits in both a short-term and long-term context.
Tip #5: Success Doesn’t Stop at Posting
The planning and developing of a campaign isn’t the whole thing. You don’t just hit “publish” on your content, put your feet up, and watch the money roll in – what a lovely world that would be!
The key to creating a great brand partnership is as much to do with analytics, something you can run through Google automation tools, as it is creative ideas and content development.
If you’ve been smart enough to follow tip #4, then building analysis into your subsequent collaboration with this partnership is key to understanding what to do more of and what to avoid in the future.
The last 18 months have been difficult for everyone. As a lot of businesses emerge battered and bruised from having their customers cut off for the best part of two years, different ways of thinking are going to be required to turn the tide.
Business partnerships may not be a new idea, but in a time when we are, collectively, looking to come together to overcome humanity’s biggest challenges, more collaboration in business seems like the best way forward.
Following our tips here should set you on the right path to becoming one of the thousands of businesses successfully exploring partnerships today.
Sam O’Brien is the Chief Marketing Officer for Affise—a Global SaaS Affiliate Marketing Program Solution and startup growth strategy for businesses. He is a growth marketing expert with a product management and design background. Sam has a passion for innovation, growth, and marketing technology. Here is his LinkedIn.