Walk through the supermarket and you would struggle not to identify at least 10 brand partnerships; many of which would include big food brands, partnering with new movies and popular culture. This form of promotion has been used successfully for many years. Who remembers getting a toy of their favourite cartoon character in their morning cereal? Or watching major sporting events sponsored by their favourite soft drink? However, brand partnerships can now also become part of an effective digital marketing strategy with your online campaigns. eSense explains why this can be so effective, particular for new businesses and those with a small budget, and offers some tips for how best to get the most from this strategy.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for new businesses, despite their great ideas and excellent potential, is simply making people aware of their presence. It can take months, even years, to organically build up enough online brand awareness, using methods such as content marketing and SEO techniques, to begin to achieve enough conversions to make a business successful. Most small businesses cannot wait that long. If a bigger budget is available, paid search engine marketing is undoubtedly a quick and effective way to direct new business to your website, but without careful management, costs for this method of marketing can quickly spiral out of control. Brand partnerships are therefore an excellent way to achieve this brand awareness by using the reach of your partner business to showcase your own brand.
Whilst brand partnerships have proved to be an effective, cost-efficient marketing strategy for many businesses, important considerations should be made before entering into an agreement. eSense shares 5 points below to consider.
- What are your customers’ likes and interests?
Create profiles for your customers, their pastimes, hobbies and interests and from this, create lists of all the products and services that they may engage with. Use this list to generate potential brand partners. Remember, as with any other marketing campaign, to get the best ROI, your customer should drive your actions.
- What are the values of the brand you wish to partner with?
It is important to form brand partnerships with businesses that share similar values to those of your own business, as these will be the ones that your customers identify with. For example, if your business creates an environmentally-friendly product, find a brand that has a similar planet-friendly outlook. This could be in the way they produce their product or the type of fundraising they complete. The business could be from an industry sector completely different to your own (in fact often these work best), but their brand identity should still be similar to that of your own. Brand-fit is the most essential component to a successful brand partnership.
- Where and how do your potential brand partners market their brand? Is it relevant to where your customers ‘hang out’?
When considering your potential brand partnerships, research what type of marketing your partners do and where? Do the platforms on which they have their customer engagement match where your typical customer interacts online?
- Who is in control of the message?
When forming a partnership with another brand, it is important to be clear from the start who will be in control of your brand’s message. Will you have control on the content of your marketing and your partner will simply provide you with the advertising ‘space’? For example, ad space on their website, guest blogging for their brand or sharing your message on their social media platforms. Alternatively, will they be talking about you, i.e. recommending you in their content? Be clear about this from the beginning and be sure that you are happy with the way in which your brand is being portrayed.
- Plan, agree, execute and measure
Within your brand partnership, plan your marketing strategies in the same way that you would go about any other marketing campaign. What are your objectives? How are you going to achieve them? Who is responsible for what action and how will your success be measured? In this way, both parties can bring benefits to a brand partnership and share the success it brings.
At eSense, we can help you identify suitable brand partners and assist in negotiating mutually-beneficial terms for your brand partnerships. Just contact us for more information.
By Lorna Paice