Co-branding is the alliance of two companies that are working together to create 'Marketing Synergy.' This marketing strategy can result in sponsorships or ad placements and can benefit both brands by expanding their audience. When co-branding is executed properly, both brands should benefit from the partnership, but it’s risky because it will directly impact each partners own brand strategy. Throughout the years we’ve seen a lot of co-branding efforts; some have been extremely successful while others fell by the wayside.
Let’s take a look at some of the more successful partnerships;
Uber & Spotify: Your Ride. Your Music.
This Partnership was based off a simple idea; request an Uber, pick your music, and enjoy the ride. This was executed by having Spotify Premium users connect their account to their Uber app account and then request a Spotify-enabled Uber. From there, once you got in your Uber the music selection was in your hands! They promoted a new partnership through special events for users which included artists’ ride-a-longs and exclusive live sessions in certain cities. This co-branding partnership allowed for consumers to have an incentive to use both Uber & Spotify due to the added benefit of being the DJ while heading to a destination!
Betty Crocker & Hershey’s
This epic combination of two iconic brands to make one delicious product is a perfect example of co-branding done right! The original lineup included 12 new Betty Crocker products based on Hershey's Milk Chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joy and Cookies ‘n’ Crème. The partnership was first revealed during “Betty’s Big Bake Day,” where 40 fans were invited into the Betty Crocker Kitchen to bake the products and provide feedback. After seeing the success of the event, they kicked off a 12-day food truck tour where they provided samples. Overall, this co-branding turned into a huge success for not only the brands but also the consumers who now have a new way of enjoying two fan favorites!
GoPro & Red Bull
GoPro and Red Bull announced a multi-year global partnership back in 2016 that included content production, distribution, cross-promotion and product innovation. Both brands have established themselves as “lifestyle brands” which allowed for a perfect pairing due to the shared values. They executed this co-branding through GoPro equipping athletes/adventurers with the tools and funding to capture races, stunts, and sports on video while Red Bull sponsored the events. This allowed for both GoPro and Red Bull to raise brand awareness and boost business.
It’s evident that Co-branding can result in an extremely positive promotional technique that can drive brand awareness, recognition, increase business and break into new markets. With that being said, how exactly does a business ensure they nail co-branding resulting in a successful campaign?
Find the right partner:
Your company’s partnership needs to be with a brand that has a similar culture and shared values. Like in the GoPro & Red Bull example, both brands are viewed as “lifestyle” brands with an emphasis on adventurous and action-packed lifestyles. Having this shared value allowed for the brands to pair seamlessly, if GoPro was viewed as a brand that promoted comfort and leisure rather than risk-taking and adventure the pairing wouldn’t have made sense.
With that being said, opposites do attract so not all partnerships need to align perfectly, but there does need to be a common vision and goal. Some aspects to address when considering a partner should be if they have a similar audience and marketing ideologies and if the brand has a good reputation that can positively impact your own reputation.
Your partnership should be one that will “break the mold” or bring something new to the table, this will give the consumer an incentive to engage. When we look at the Betty Crocker and Hershey’s example, we see how the two brands came together to merge their products into one new product that will interest consumers of both brands as well as those who don’t consume either due to the curiosity of what this new product will taste like. So, when developing a co-branding partnership, ensure that you’ll have an offering that will entice consumers.
Aim for a Halo Effect:
The “Halo Effect” gives the impression created in one brand to influence the opinion of another. As stated before, when choosing a brand to pair with it’s imperative to pick one that has a good reputation because this will, in turn, reflect positively on your own brand. So if consumers are going to begin to associate your brand with another, you want to ensure this association will help and not hurt your brand.