by Lucy Adamson
Whether you’re looking for a brand to work with on a short term, seasonal promotion, or as a long term partner for strategic mutual marketing, brand partnerships open up new and unique opportunities to grow your eCommerce business. Refusing to make any friends doesn’t get you very far - and the same applies for your business.
Why Partner with Another Brand?
Partnering with another brand, even for just a single campaign, can set up the foundations for a strong relationship with them in the future. If you ever need to work with another brand, or you need to ask them for a favour later down the line, you’re much more likely to have a positive response from a company you already have connections and a relationship with. Not everyone will be willing to send their loyal customers to an eCommerce store they know little to nothing about.
Nurturing your existing customers is important, but so is continuing to acquire new customers. A brand partnership that involves mutual marketing, or a focus on both customer groups, will also introduce your brand to a whole new audience - and ultimately drive some new customers to your store.
These new customers are then likely to see you as a reputable and trustworthy brand. If a brand that they know and love is happy to work with you, it’s likely that you offer products of equal quality. And having the support of a known brand will work to decrease the risk that often comes with shopping with a new brand for the first time.
Who Should You Partner With?
When looking to form a partnership with another brand, it can be difficult to decide which brand to choose. You need to make sure that the partnership makes sense to both your potential partner and your customers.
When identifying potential partners, it’s crucial to consider who that brand’s customers are, and how similar they are to your customers.
- How old are they?
- What are their interests?
- How much disposable income do they have?
- What is their lifestyle like - and do you and your potential partner fit into this lifestyle?
While your brands are similar in customer base, make sure you don’t partner with a competitor - you don’t want to be unintentionally sending customers to their store instead of yours. You don’t need to be partnering with a company that sells the same products you do in order to have similar customers. For example, if you sell kitchen appliances and cooking utensils, partnering with a local restaurant, or even a local cookery class, could be a good fit.
As well as considering who your partner brand’s customers are, you can’t forget to consider who your partner is.
- Do they have the same brand values as you?
- Do they use a similar tone to you in their marketing?
- Do they use similar visuals to you?
When choosing a partner brand, you need to make sure that your messaging will be consistent - if it turns out that the way you communicate your brand is completely different to how your partner communicates theirs, this could damage your brand more than it benefits it.
Partnering on Competitions
If you’re not looking to commit to a long term partnership with a brand, partnering for a competition is a popular, and effective, option.
Choosing a theme that fits with both of your brands, and will appeal to the interests and lifestyle of your customers, will ensure that the competition is relevant and makes sense to your audience, and will allow the opportunity to offer a prize that raises awareness for both brands.
Using our previous example again, if you sell kitchen appliances and cooking utensils, partnering with a local cookery class to create a competition would allow for the appropriate and inspiring theme of a passion for cooking and fine dining. This would then mean that the prize offered could be a free cooking class, therefore promoting your partner brand, and a gift voucher that can be redeemed on your online store, which raises awareness for your products and directs entrants to your brand.
Partnering for Products
If you partner with another retailer, as opposed to a business that offers a service, then selling bundles of both of your products could be an interesting and effective way to drive new customers to your eCommerce store.
Whether you choose to do this on an ongoing basis, or you offer these product bundles as an exclusive, limited time offer, bringing related products from two brands together gives the impression to your customers of a high product value and also selling these bundles on your partner’s site will raise further awareness for your brand.
Partnering for Events
Once your partnership has been established, planning and holding promotional events together can be an effective way to drive both existing and new customers to both of your brands.
Hosting an event that relates to both of your offerings, and appeals to your target customers, will not only help to retain the customers you already have, anyone who shares similar interests and lifestyles with your existing customers will also be able to come along and discover your brand.
Whether you book a stall at a local town fair and host an interactive activity that combines their service with your products (no-bake cupcakes with their instructors and your utensils?) and give gift vouchers or a discount code to attendees, or you plan something a little more extravagant, incentivising coming along, and making sure it’s an event that is interactive and worth the journey will ensure that your attendees leave as customers.
Partnering for Charity Events
It’s likely that a partner that shares your values, will also care about the same social issues and support the same charities as you.
Working together to hold fundraising events for your chosen charity won’t just build the relationship between you and your partner brand, and make your customers aware of this partnership too. Charity fundraisers will also show that you are both caring companies that are involved members of the community - all whilst working to raise money and increase awareness for a cause that you are passionate about.
How to Promote Each Other
When forming a brand partnership, it’s important to remember to actually promote it. If you choose to launch a competition, promoting this will be easily done on social, through promotional posts and boosting to your target audience (and tagging them in each post!), and by email to make your existing customers aware of the campaign.
However, if you are forming a long term partnership, that isn’t focused around individual campaigns, it’s important to promote the start of the relationship, perhaps through a blog post, and then continue to make your customers aware of everything you work on together.
Where relevant, having an agreement to incorporate a section into your email campaigns about each other can be beneficial in promoting each other and reminding each of your customer bases about the partnership.
Regardless of whether you form a long lasting, formal partnership with another brand, or you make an agreement to launch a competition together, ensuring that you choose the right company is essential. If you choose a company with similar customers, with similar values and goals, the opportunities opened up to you could kick-start the next chapter of growth for your business.