Long-term partnerships or even short-term collaborations have been an increasingly popular way for brands to generate excitement from consumers. The past year alone has seen Timbiebs come to life — a very Canadian partnership between Tim Horton’s and Justin Bieber, curating an entirely new line of Timbit flavors.
It's also seen HBO Max and Duolingo coming together in tandem with the House of the Dragon premiere to offer a High Valyrian course to help fans learn the fictional language.
Brand partnerships can be highly beneficial for all companies involved to reach a wider audience, increase growth and drive sales by creating exciting campaigns they wouldn’t be able to do on their own. However, if partnerships are not done right, they can fall flat.
Below is our guide for creating memorable brand partnerships:
Determine your goal
There are a number of different ways to go about creating a partnership, but first, you need to think through the end goal. Is it to specifically drive sales? If so, perhaps it’s about working with a brand that offers a complimentary product or services in a long-term capacity to create an opportunity for consumers that’s a natural fit. Is it to try to get your customers to think about your brand differently? Or to drive awareness through media and social coverage? If so, perhaps a short-term partnership that’s unexpected with a brand completely outside of your industry will have the biggest impact. Remember when Nike collaborated with Ben & Jerry’s to create a Chunky Monkey themed set of sneakers? It was completely unexpected, but it just worked.
Now that you have your goal determined, brainstorm some partnership ideas to reach it. Brands create partnerships all of the time, so think outside of the box to create an idea that maps back to your goals. Maybe it’s a partnership that creates a solution to your customers' problems (i.e. saves them time or money) or maybe it’s going to get people talking. A great example of the latter is when Ketchup partnered with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty on “Ketchup or Makeup?” They created Ketchup packets that were either red Fenty Beauty lip gloss, or well, Ketchup. Was it a necessary product? Absolutely not. But it positioned both brands as fun and drove a ton of social coverage.
Find the right partner
Whether you’re working with a brand in or outside of your industry, it’s good to set some parameters on what you’re looking for. Ideally, you would have a similar or complementary target demographic, as you’ll be tapping into each other’s audiences. As well, you’ll want to align your brand with one that you admire and has a similar set of values. For example, does your idea revolve around partnering with a make-up company to create a certain shade of lipstick? Make a shortlist of brands and then do your research into their practices beforehand to rank them in order of which is the best fit for your brand specifically.
Establish the partnership
For a partnership to truly work, it has to be a win-win for both parties. That means both audiences need to find value and that the outcome needs to be fairly equal. In requesting a partnership with a brand, ensure you’re outlining a particular idea as a starting point, what’s in it for them and how you’d like to work together to execute it.
Go all in
To ensure success, both brands need to commit to the idea and promote it equally. Align on commitments and expectations beforehand so each party has a clear understanding of what will be done to generate awareness of the partnership. For example, post on social media as collaborators to announce the details, draft and distribute a press release from both brands, participate in interviews together and more.
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