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Strategic Brand Partnerships:
Finding the Right Fit
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A branded marketing partnership between aligned companies, each with their own equity, can be a powerful thing. From collaboration on new products and services to digital content creation, these relationships take many forms and can help accomplish a range of goals.

Whether it’s two brick and mortar businesses coming together, or a relationship between a brick and mortar and a digital brand, strategic partnerships can be a powerful thing. From collaboration on new products and services to digital content creation, these relationships can take many forms, allowing brands to tap into new trends and cultural phenomena, and gain exposure to new customers and markets.

Take Macy’s and Google, for example. They’ve partnered to create an omnichannel experience, allowing shoppers to see items in stock at a store nearby, place an order, and pick it up within minutes ­– all powered by a simple mobile search. This partnership has not only increased sales and foot traffic for Macy’s, but it’s given the retailer a powerful opportunity to engage and build loyalty with their customers.

A strategic partnership can have transformative effects—if you have the right partner. Here’s some advice on finding the perfect fit.

You are the company you keep.
Who you associate with can say a great deal about your brand, so choose wisely. Good partners are typically established brands in their own right, with stature compatible with your own. Protecting your own brand is the golden rule here, meaning your partner should never compromise your image. The pressure Lego received from customers and Greenpeace protesting their partnership with Shell became headline-worthy news last year. Activists were vocal about the toy company’s perceived support of Shell’s arctic drilling plans, resulting in Lego’s swift termination of ties to the oil company.

Know what you want to accomplish.
Whether you’re pushing the release of a new product or expanding perceptions of your brand, know what goals you want to meet through a partnership. Identify how you’ll measure success­—sales, online engagement, brand awareness or perception. And, if you’re actively searching for a brand to partner with, do the research to find out if your potential ally has had success delivering those results in past co-branding endeavors.

Choose a partner who adds value.
It’s important to choose a partner who possesses values that complement and enhance your own brand’s standing. When Spotify partnered with Uber to give riders a personalized soundtrack to their commute, the link between the two brands was obvious and natural. Through the collaboration, Uber was able to offer customers an exclusive, individualized service that gave them an advantage over their competitors. At the same time, it generated an increase in paid Spotify Premium memberships. It’s a great example of how the right partner can help promote your brand, drive business and improve quality perception as well.

Strategic partnerships are vital in helping brands remain fresh, dynamic and relevant in today’s constantly changing marketplace. When done right, the benefits to your own brand can be remarkable. Just remember to choose wisely.

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