Whether you’re a large corporation or a small business, brand partnerships are an incredibly powerful way to boost your company’s visibility, earning more leads and sales. But how do you get started? With so many potential brand collaborations out there, where do you look — and how do you know you’re a good fit?
Difference Between Branding Partnerships and Co-Branding
Before we go in-depth on finding strategic partnerships for your brand, let’s take a look at the difference between partnership and co-branding. The two are related concepts, but they differ in their focus and approach.
Co-branding refers to a marketing strategy where two or more brands collaborate to create a new product or service that features the branding elements of both companies, intending to create something unique and appealing to customers.
On the other hand, a branding partnership is a relationship between two or more brands where they work together to support each other’s marketing and branding efforts. A branding partnership can take many forms, such as sponsorships, influencer marketing, cross-promotions or joint advertising campaigns. Unlike co-branding, though, a branding partnership focuses on leveraging the exposure and audience of one brand to benefit the other.
Brand Partners & Co-Branding That Just Make Sense
There have been many successful brand partnerships over the years that you’ve seen, whether you realize it or not. For example, Red Bull and GoPro; their brand strategy utilized events and marketing campaigns using Red Bull’s reputation for extreme sports/adventure and GoPro’s cameras to showcase the exciting experiences of their athletes. Both brands have similar target demographics, so it made sense to work together.
Nike and Apple utilized co-branding marketing efforts by creating the Nike+iPod Sport Kit: an activity tracker that worked with your iPod.
Whichever route you ultimately choose, collaborating with and leveraging another company can allow both brands to reach new audiences and create unique, appealing products and experiences.
Baird Brothers + Renovation Hunters = Dream Team!
In 2022, Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods teamed up with Renovation Hunters, the Outdoor Channel’s first-ever home renovation TV show. For the first season of the new series, Renovation Hunters visited three locations across the country to rebuild family vacation homes and hunting cabins.
What made the brand partnership so great? Both organizations share values that bring them together. As a third-generation family business passionate about the outdoors and sustainability, the idea of helping to renovate family cabins (that get passed down through generations) immediately connected to Baird Brothers. Add to that the fact that Baird Brothers’ hardwood products have an inherent connection to the outdoors and the concept of bringing natural elements to interior design, and you have a win-win.
On the other side of the coin, adding a renovation show on Outdoor Channel helps the network tap into new markets that already exist among their loyal customers. On a recent episode of the American Hardwood Advisor, Renovation Hunters’ managing partner and co-creator Chris Filardi talks about how the show came to be, finding brand partnerships for the series, and his history of building brands.
Key Factors for Successful Brand Partnerships
So, you’re looking for a brand partnership. Here are the basics.
When searching for the right brand to align with, values should be at the top of your list. A partnership will never work if you don’t have the same core values.
Before starting any strategic partnership, both parties should understand what they want to achieve through the partnership and how to measure it. Do you want to enter a new market? Do you want to create relationships with other businesses? Are you prioritizing outreach and public relations?
How you navigate the partnership relies on what you expect to get out of it in return.
Communication & Collaboration
It’s simple: a partnership without healthy communication and collaboration is doomed to fail (this includes regular meetings, open and frequent discussion and a general willingness to work together). Communicate everything – from strategic marketing to expectations – so that both brands can properly help one another.
Both brands should see a clear benefit from the partnership, whether it’s increased exposure, access to new customers or cost savings. (This goes back to setting clear goals and expectations.)
One of the most important benefits of a brand partnership is introducing your brand to new audiences. New audiences should still resemble your target audience, but thanks to your matching brand values, this shouldn’t be a problem! Working with a brand whose audience is a completely different (or opposite) demographic than yours is an uphill battle.
Similar to a brand partnership, an influencer can promote your brand on their own platforms (typically social media). If you go this route, it’s important to find influencers with a similar target audience to get the most out of the partnership.
There are a lot of ways to successfully work with individual influencers. In its most simplistic form, you can pay them to do an ad/post/reel etc. in which they talk about your company and whatever specific promotion you want to make. There’s also the option of a referral-based relationship, where the influencer is given a referral code and makes a commission on the total revenue they generate for the brand.
Whatever route you take, it’s important to keep in mind that influencers work best when the content fits naturally on the platform. When they feel passionate about your product or service, their audience is more likely to buy into it.
Renovation Hunters, Baird Brothers & Successful Partnerships
Outdoor Channel’s Renovation Hunters utilized strategic marketing with brand partnerships and influencer tactics for outreach and public relations. When starting their first season, they sought out both companies and individuals for built-in outreach, and their formula for success is one that has been duplicated time and again by brands looking to expand their overall footprint.
For more behind-the-scenes discussion, check out our American Hardwood Advisor podcast for episodes with the Renovation Hunters team, filmed both on-site at the renovation projects and in Baird Brothers’ Studio 3B. AHA episodes are also available as podcasts on Apple and Spotify.