Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: A Mutual Attraction

Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: A Mutual Attraction

Article excerpt

Reader, I met him online. Penguin and Match.com's dating site for book-lovers is a marketer's dream.

He saw her first. Glancing up from his laptop, he found himself utterly spellbound at the sight of the deliciously beautiful, very proper, 40-something woman on the other side of the room.

She sensed the strong, predatory, glance. Glancing icily from over the top of her orange-covered book, she prepared to look disapprovingly at her crude observer. But when she met the gaze of the young, raven-haired man with the computer, she found herself, to her surprise, blushing.

He closed his laptop sharply and stood up. She realised, with a start, that he was approaching her. Secretly thrilled, she waited for what felt like an eternity. Finally, she meekly looked up from her book into his deep, green eyes.

'I am fresh to the old country,' he said with a deep American baritone 'And I know you don't do this kind of thing often.' He smiled. 'But I just had to head over and make you a proposal that I think you will find mighty agreeable.'

Breathlessly she exclaimed: 'I assure you, I have never been approached in this manner before.' But, oh, the longing... What could this vibrant American have in view? Her mind raced with passionate speculation.

He smiled at her again. 'My name is Match.com.' Suddenly, the handsome American's proposal began to make sense. 'Oh, I see... ' she beamed. 'My name is Penguin. Penguin Books.'

It may sound like bad fiction, but it's a real story of successful partnership, and one every good marketer should study carefully. Last month, Match.com opened a special dating site for Penguin book-lovers. The site, which is co-branded as 'PenguinDating - powered by Match.com', is positioned as 'a place to meet and indulge in the age-old art of writing love letters'. For a small monthly fee, book-lovers can use their knowledge of literature to help find that special someone.

Like most co-brands, the offer seems, at first sight, a little ridiculous. But read on and the partnership makes a lot of sense and illustrates four key strategic advantages that strong co-branded partnerships can deliver.

First, the two brand equities combine very well and provide a genuine synergy that neither could achieve on its own.

Second, despite these synergies, the two brands serve very distinct market segments with little existing crossover. By bringing the two brands together, the potential target market for the co-branded site is doubled and the partnership will introduce both to a new market for their other services. …

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