Which co-branding partnerships have impressed you of late?

Co-branding is a strategic partnership between two or more separate entities to market products and services. Co-branding has stretched into almost every industry imaginable. The advantages of co-branding are beefy. The resources behind what each brand could bring together are certainly greater than what could be afforded alone.

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Co-branding is certainly not a new concept and it is something that many consumers may take for granted these days but they remain an excellent way of introducing the company’s products to the loyalists of another. There are also significant cost savings to be had when times are tough. Sharing license costs and even physical spaces (buildings etc.) is great for business and the end consumer. A successful co-branding strategy can even push itself into new markets depending on it’s uniqueness and offering.

There are largely four co-branding strategies of interest, very briefly:

  • Market penetration – Maintain the horizontal convergence of two companies. Share resources, build capability and share the benefit. (BMW and Mini Cooper).
  • Global brand strategy – Serve existing customers with an existing co-brand in new markets (take advantage of convergence). This is especially true in spaces relating to telecommunications.
  • Brand re-enforcement strategy – A decision is taken by two organisations to use a new co-brand in an existing market, deviate somewhat from the original brand names. This can be viewed as a more risky approach.
  • Brand extension strategy – Utilizing a new co-brand in a new market. possibly uncharted territory, existing strong competitors.

Read more on how to select a co-branding partner, benefits and drawbacks.

What other co-branding partnerships are you aware of? Have they all been a success story? Would you follow a brand to the ends of the earth irrespective of who they partner with?

“You can’t do today’s job with yesterday’s methods and be in business tomorrow” – George W Bush

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12 thoughts on “Which co-branding partnerships have impressed you of late?

  1. Hi Raymond,
    An interesting blog – I hadn’t given co-branding that much thought until your blog – although when you mentioned BMW and Mini of course I have seen this combination. One doesn’t have to go too far to see other examples though – Versace + H&M = more affordability and wider accessibility for Versace products in H&M stores, Blackberry + Porsche = higher premium on blackberry because of its association with Porsche, Nike + Apple = appeals to a niche market/ lifestyle (source http://www.missvinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/cobranding-nike-versace-rim-porsche-nike-apple.jpg). In business I would have referred to this as a strategic alliance and would seem like a good strategy, particularly in flagging markets. It can be overdone though – I don’t have a reference but I do recall reading where the brand Pierre Cardin became viewed as one of lesser quality because it associated its name with too many other brands. As always, less is more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Raymond and Lynette,

    I remembered that last year when I was in Beijing for holiday, I saw massive lines to queue up overnight for H&M to launch Alexander Wang’s collection (you will not expect to queue up overnight to get into H&M store). The price was from about $50 to $500 AUD accordingly. Certainly this is way cheaper for Wang’s price range, as a result it has been sold out in seconds. Co-branding certainly is a clever marketing strategy to utilise each brand’s own resources and to achieving synergy.

    There are different form of co-branding in the market place, such as ingredient co-branding; same-company co-branding; national to local co-branding; joint venture co-branding; multiple sponsor co-branding.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi everyone,

    I found this article very interesting because co-branding is becoming a popular marketing strategy in different businesses.
    I work in a bank and we do a lot of co-branding specially in credit cards with airlines or big retail shops. This used to be a good strategy because both companies share the databases of it´s customers, which it helps to increase the volume of potential clients. However, with the increasing legislation about customer data privacy, this practice is becoming to be more restricted and the co-branding is not as powerful as it could be in this industry.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Co-Branding makes sense on the face. You could, if co-branding right capture two distinct markets. Co-branding spreads cost, effort and knowledge. The long and the short, it decreases cost and increases sales.

    The one thing it doesn’t decrease is risk. The risk of one company is now the risk of two companies and only one of them needs to screw up to damage both companies reputation. The risk can only be controlled by one half of the venture and if anything goes wrong the other is just along for the ride.

    A key example of this is the Tiger Woods affair from a few years ago. None of the companies co-branding with Tiger Woods (he may be a person but he was also a brand) had knowledge of or the ability to control his actions. The impact ‘…shareholder loss caused by Woods’ affairs to be between $5 billion and $12 billion…’ (C. Kitnell & V. Stango, 2009).
    The loss of shareholders was due to an active and predicted loss in revenues because of consumer behaviour.

    Consumers have a belief of what is right and wrong. The Tiger Woods affairs in no way affected them, damaged them or involved them. But it was wrong, just ask them. This belief was then projected onto anyone that was involved with the Tiger Woods brand. Why? They didn’t do anything? But they must condone it, surely?

    It doesn’t matter. The consumer now has a polarised belief and this is next to impossible to break. Beliefs rely on internal reasoning that cannot be easily altered. The consumer will now feel the fervour of their belief every time they look on the co-branded product.

    Incitement of emotion is a good way to make a customer purchase a product. Make them happy to have something, scared to not have something. Make them feel like they need it or feel like they need other people to know they need it. This will see a product. Don’t make them hate your product and don’t make them feel angry whenever they see it. You may lose 5 to 12 Billion Dollars.

    Good advice for life, always be aware of who you are getting into bed with, your consumers are.

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  5. Working in Retail Property Management I have seen some real success with co-branding and partnerships…this week Mecca Maxim launched their Urban Decay range. While I am not privy to the financial results, what we did see was excellent social media engagement and queues waiting for the stores to open on Friday morning.

    Last year a real success store for Target was their collaboration with Missoni (Traffic through the door/website was great!) Target seem to really like working with designers to escalate their own brand in the eyes of their customers i.e Stella McCartney, Dannii Minogue. In this article it was interesting to note that the success of these collaborations weren’t necessarily measured on sales, but on overall media impressions.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregpetro/2013/02/28/retailerdesigner-collaborations-the-missing-link/.

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  6. This is an Interesting discussion on Co-Branding. I think this is a great way to get into different markets that some suppliers would ordinarily find difficult to get into and also allows them to stay in the front of mind of the potential customers for longer.
    You see on many occasions in recent years of movies / television series that are rated for children, like spiderman etc, being promoted through fast food chains. This promotion in the fast food shops generally includes visual marketing material, collectables and meal deals that actively promote movie etc.
    The traditional area of marketing to the potential customers through this practice has been increased significantly to put the product “front of Mind” longer and would obviously have benefits to both parties.

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  7. To answer your question: Adidas and Polar Electro created Project Fusion, which integrates heart rate and speed and distance monitoring equipment into sports apparel.

    This integrated the latest fitness training equipment with an already popular sports apparel brand (Adidas). This cobranding exercise has been a success story by bringing together aspects that no one brand could produce alone.

    Those who follow both brands bought into this new product which created an entirely new market.

    I strongly believe that cobranding that does not bring together the strengths of both brands together is destined to fail. The features that clients love from both brands should not be lost as this would alienate both sets of consumers.

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  8. Hello, this was an interesting topic about the strategies and benefits of co-branding. I did notice the link which provided more details. As a Blog I would have thought a little more depth such as strategic aspects (decision to co-brand or not) and disadvantages (e.g brand weakening if a product is not up to anticipated quality) could be covered.

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  9. Hi

    I agree with Lynette the first blog comment, that I equally hadn’t given co-branding much thought. I was extremely interested as having a toddler, I began to reflect on all the co-branding I have seen.
    The more I thought about it, the children’s market is saturated with co-branding. For example, Play-Doh has incorporated all sorts of characters into their range.

    I have seen fastfood outlets co-brand with cartoon characters (including McDonalds). It is a great way to bring together different brands to increase revenue.

    I read an interesting article about Co Branding on http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jul2009/sb20090710_255169.htm. While Co-branding is nothing new, this article stated “Co-branding also enables one brand to benefit from the “halo of affection” that belongs to another. That was the rationale behind Nike’s (NKE) original 1984 alliance with Michael Jordan, and the effort has done wonders for both. ”

    Overall, co-branding is a great way to generate more interest in a particular product and has the potential to increase product sales.

    Monique

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  10. Great post, thanks for this.

    My background is in the NFP sector and there are a lot of examples of successful co-branding between charities and for-profit companies. For example MAC Cosmetics co brands with AIDS charities, fashion brand Witchery co-brands with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and the ‘Pink’ for Breast Cancer can be seen…almost everywhere – from bottled water, to staplers to hair straighteners.

    I think it’s always a bit of a risk for charities to hitch their credibility to a for-profit brand. Its often ethically murky given the minuscule proportion of sales which is usually given to the charity (and then probably used as a tax deduction by the ‘generous’ corporate brand’.

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  11. Co-branding is so popular as well as enficient nowadays. A couple of example pops out:airlines and hotels, McDonald’s and LEGO, travel agencies and some camping and outdoor product and so on. Both sides of the co-branding actually service as a reference base and promote the sales of both products or services. Meanwhile, they share consumer resources and take advantages of each other’s reputation. It is definitely a smart marketing strategy!

    Like

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