Branding

What Is Co-Branding?

By Mark Ainsworth

If you have been in the business world for some time, the chances are that you have heard the terms “co-marketing” or “co-branding” before. But what do they mean and are they the same thing?

Although these two terms are not interchangeable, they do refer to a fairly similar process. Co-branding refers to a partnership where two companies use their combined popularity to create a product or offer which is (hopefully) even more popular. A good example of this would be Apple and Mastercard joining forces to create Apple Pay.

Co-marketing is basically the same idea, except here the companies will work together to promote this co-branded product, offer or piece of content. Each company will do their own promotion and both get to share the benefits of each.

 

What Are The Advantages Of Co-Branding?

There are plenty of reasons that companies might decide to partner with another for a co-branding project. Some of the top reasons include:

 

It Is Cheaper

Marketing budgets can be pricey, especially when you are promoting a brand new product or service. Combining your budget with another company’s allows you to be more extravagant without risking too much of your own money. And with double the exposure of any of your singular marketing efforts, this really does work out to be excellent value for money.

 

Reaches New Audiences

No matter how good your marketing is, chances are once you have gotten a certain audience this will remain the same for the most part. One of the great things about co-branding is you have the opportunity to reach new audiences that you may never have appealed to otherwise. Once your project is over, there is also a good chance that many of your new audience will remain and introduce more of their network to your brand.

 

Gets A Bigger ‘Buzz’

People are interested in things like collaborations because they are curious about how it will work and what the outcome will be. This means that you get a far bigger buzz surrounding the release of your new product or service, on top of enhanced promotion thanks to both brands doing their own advertising ahead of the release.

Other advantages of a co-branding project include:

  • Brands can share the risk
  • Customers tend to trust collaborations more
  • Product has a better image before its release due to being promoted by two popular brands
  • Bigger sales due to the combined marketing effort

However, there are also some disadvantages to a co-branding project, which the two businesses must think carefully about in order to avoid problems. Disadvantages include:

  • If the two companies cannot agree on certain elements of their co-branding strategy, then the product advertising may be a flop
  • If one company gets into trouble in the future the image of both brands might be damaged
  • If the two companies are too disparate then marketing the product might be impossible.

 

What To Look For In A Co-Branding Partner

In order to avoid the potential consequences of a bad co-branding relationship, it is critical that businesses look carefully for the right partner to work with on a project. When it comes to choosing a brand, many businesses find it easier to identify the type of product or service they are hoping to create, and then selecting another brand to work with based on those who could provide a good fit.

The best companies to consider for a project are those who would benefit equally from a project such as this, and have the necessity for a positive marketing campaign, but also the financial back up to sustain it. You also need to consider whether or not your two brands have crossover appeal, and similar enough audiences that you will be able to use the same marketing techniques to reach them.

Some questions that you can ask yourself to help choose a partner are:

  • How many new leads could a partnership with this company bring me? How many would I consider enough for this investment in my time?
  • Does this company have the ability to bring something to the table that I cannot? Do I have anything to offer them in return?
  • Is this company easy to work with? Will they be receptive to my ideas and allow us to work together truly collaboratively, or will they try to bulldoze my vision?
  • Does the brand have a good reputation? What are the chances that their reputation could be damaged while we are partnered?

 

Planning a Co-Branding Agreement

Once you have found a partner that you are comfortable working with, and believe that your combined skills will create a viable and popular product, you need to come up with an agreement that allows you to plan your project and set goals and expectations so that everyone knows what to expect going in.

  • Decide your goals and be clear on what you want. Agree this with your partner so that both businesses are getting something out of the deal. If one company does better out of the deal that the other then this could breed resentment.
  • Decide on a theme or topic that is mutually beneficial to both parties and offers you a good scope for planning and creating products and/or services.
  • Agree a timescale. You want to get your project done to a strict timescale so that you can get it out at a time that benefits you both, and means that you aren’t endlessly putting time, energy and money into one project, however successful you intend it to be.
  • Agree which company will take which task, based on what your individual skills and talents are. One of the best things about a co-branding partnership is that you can each use the best of your brand to create a better one, so this is one of the most critical stages.

Write an agreement based on all of these features, which you can agree and sign to give you a legal document to fall back on in case of any disagreements during the project. Although you do want to keep things friendly, there are lots of chances for miscommunications during a partnership project.

 

Talk To MaxWeb

To get noticed as a business has never been tougher. With consumers being exposed to so many marketing channels (think Facebook, YouTube, Google to name a few) then competition for their attention has never been greater.

MaxWeb are experts at branding professional, polished, and persuasive online presences for businesses small and large. So why not get give us a call on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk to find out how we can help you.

 

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