Magazine article Marketing

Building Partnerships: Join Forces for Life

Magazine article Marketing

Building Partnerships: Join Forces for Life

Article excerpt

Successful corporate partnership collaborations are built on unity of vision and strength of purpose, and should create unique power-brands that are more than the sum of their parts.

ROBIN GADSBY, FOUNDER, FOREVER PARTNERSHIPS

Gadsby's partnership experience started, in effect, in the telecoms world as an agency head at VCCP on O2. The mobile operator had partnerships with a multitude of brands, such as BlackBerry, Samsung and Nokia, through effective channel marketing across indirect partners, such as Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U, and the mass-convenience sector.

Across O2 he was responsible for some of its strongest brand-partnership strategies and launches, such as with Apple and Carphone Warehouse for the iPhone, which involved everything from brand-partnership strategy to joint branding, experiential and brand activation.

Gadsby also worked on various sponsorship platforms, such as O2 Undiscovered, England Rugby, Arsenal and the O2 Wireless Festival. He and business partner Amanda Jennings, the former London 2012 head of brand and marketing, were part of the team that delivered the fully integrated launch of The O2, considered one of the most successful brand launches of the last decade.

Gadsby is also the founder of strategy and advertising agency Forever Beta, which was voted Best Breakthrough Agency of the Year 2012/13 by the MAA.

There is power in numbers. Partnerships between two brands work through the loan of brand equity to each other. The clever bit is when value is added to consumers. Nike+ boosted the Nike experience with integrated Apple technology. The music brand Beats by Dr Dre partnered musicians and other celebrities to develop co-branded products, generating huge commercial value and reaching new audiences via these collaborators.

Consumers are now savvier and more cynical about message-based marketing. Brand loyalty is comparable to 'brand borrowing', to satisfy a certain time and function. Where brand parity exists in a market the opportunity of 1+1 can be approached in tag-team style. You can create a point of difference in your sectors and add value with a double-powered proposition.

Brands joining forces

So who do you team up with? Does McDonald's say 'Hey, Whole Foods, I've noticed you around, shall we get it on?' Probably not. Being aligned in brand vision and purpose is key. The launch of the #BrewBurger from craft brewery BrewDog and Honest Burger aligned two entrepreneurial, fast-growing British companies with an opportunity to give visibility to each brand. They achieved this through endorsement, trial and product innovation (the marriage of beer and burger excellence).

Launching a brand partner is like introducing your buddy, Brand X, to friends in the pub. You are using the power of endorsement, association and the confirmation-bias 'halo effect' to bring Brand X to a new audience. Then when you (as Brand Y) are introduced to your brand partner's sector, this group doubles in size. Your marketing efforts and audience have just doubled, and added value is being delivered to your consumers. Partnerships can even go beyond doubling when delving into events and opportunities to expand and diversify your brand; sometimes partnerships are platonic and sometimes they can be embedded into your brand's DNA.

Perfect alignment

The process of evaluating partnerships starts with questions. …

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