Brand partnerships are a great way to help you build brand awareness. Some of the most successful brand partnerships have thrived because they were able to accurately come together to reach similar audiences. These partnerships are most often complementary, and not competing. For example, when the paint company Sherwin-Williams partnered with furniture company Pottery Barn, they created an exclusive line of custom paints. When potential customers visited the Pottery Barn website, they could take a look at how various pieces of furniture paired together with certain paints.
Similarly, West Elm, a high-end furniture company, partnered with Casper, a mattress company, to showcase top-of-the-line mattresses with high-grade bedroom furniture. Potential customers could visit showrooms and check out both products.
With those examples in mind, there are several benefits to brand partnerships:
- Create higher brand value perception
- Generate breakthrough creative ideas when two or more teams are working together towards a common goal
- Enjoy double the budget, for marketing ventures and other strategic campaigns
- Capitalize on new segments and markets
Here’s how you can get started with your brand partnership:
Choosing the Right Partner
For your brand partnership to be successful, there are several things you need to consider. First and foremost, you should choose a partner that would benefit equally from the arrangement. This will increase your chances of actually scoring a partnership contract. For example, if you decided to open up a coffee shop in your neighborhood, you might want to partner with a bakery that’s also local. This way, you can provide great pastries to your customers without having to make them in-house, and your partner gets the additional exposure.
Furthermore, you should work with a company whose reputation and revenue is fairly close to yours. It may not make sense to partner with a bakery that has several locations and a growing brand if you just opened your doors a few days ago; this would mean that you would unfairly benefit from the partnership. And lastly, the partnership has to make sense. Baked goods paired with coffee is a sensible matchup, but it may not make sense to pair your coffee shop with, say, pizza.
Reach Out the Right Way
Once you’ve gathered a list of potential partners, it’s time to take action and start reaching out to some of them. Begin with a simple introductory email. Your introduction should be as short and simple as possible, without being too cryptic. Introduce yourself with a one-liner, and add 2-3 sentences about the business. From the very beginning, mention that you’re interested in a partnership.
The most important thing in this initial email is to clearly list the benefits of this partnership. You could even include early ideas that may be of interest. Use bullet points to list what your brand can bring to the partnership, and invite them to have a phone call or in-person discussion. It’s also important that each email is tailored to the brand you reach out to. Never copy and paste a message from one potential partner to the other. And be sure not to reach out to too many potential partners at a time; to start, 2-3 will do.
Host an Event
What better way to celebrate a partnership than by hosting an event? Hosting an event allows you to introduce your partnership to the public, and help generate buzz. You’ll be able to get face-to-face interactions with your target customer in ways you might not have been able to before. This is also a good time to give out discounts and freebies and encourage visitors to come back again. And as previously mentioned, you can share the costs of hosting an event with your partner.
“For instance, if you want to use SEO and paid campaigns to reach your target market, you can split the costs and extend your reach further,” says eWebResults, a Houston web design and hosting company.
Start Off Small
You don’t have to launch directly into full contracts on the basis of a few meetings and discussions. To ensure everyone is comfortable with the arrangement, try organizing a trial partnership to start. For instance, if you plan to have a long-term partnership, perhaps you could start off with just a month of cross-promotion. See how their products do in your store, and vice-versa. Or, see how your target markets react to the partnership. This also gives you an opportunity to learn more about the management style and communication of the company you’re partnering with.