‘Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,’ according to American author and political activist, Helen Keller.
Working in partnership is just about as broad a professional term you will come across. Regardless of what profession you work in, the notion of ‘two or more groups coming together to achieve a common purpose’ will be something you practise day to day. That can include working in partnership with the person that sits next you in the office, or launching a new brand partnership between some of the world’s best-known brands.
By working together, brands can achieve more for less. How can your business or brand achieve more for less? We have a Connect Partner Bank with over 3,000 brand partners in it. We wanted to understand what benefits partners see from working in partnership so we interviewed 20 of the top partners in the bank, to reveal the key benefits they see from branded partnerships.
Their insight and experience might be enough to get you to add brand partnerships to your marketing mix and reap the benefits of the discipline for your brand?
The top six benefits of working in partnership:
1) Reach the audience you want, easier, better and faster
Promoting your brand to a partner’s audience enables you to harness an element of natural credibility with a new audience, as the audience you are speaking to already buys into your partner’s brand and values. A well-executed partnership can act as a fast track to your ideal target audience and allows two brands to help one another achieve key objectives.
Choose your partner carefully – both for the audience they have access to that you want, but also for their ability to credibly and authentically communicate with that audience about you. An recent example of this is a partnership we launched between British Gas Rewards and Haven. According to YouGov data, 58% of British Gas customers travel for leisure and 35% of those do so within the UK – a perfect audience fit.
2) Give your brand another story
Another benefit that partners highlighted was that this channel allows you to get a little more creative with how you position your brand and offering. As you are generally operating within a closed group, you are able to get more creative and test different ways of telling your brand’s story to a highly engaged audience. Partners can also help you add new dimensions to your own story, give you new talking points and angles.
A great example is a partnership between Cadbury, Age UK and Manchester United, tackling the issue of elderly loneliness with their ‘Donate Your Words’ campaign. Cadbury, having already teamed up with Age UK to raise awareness about the issue, bolstered its efforts by partnering with Manchester United to reach a huge untapped audience with its important story, aiming to drive a conversation around isolation faced by older people in the UK.
3) Test and learn what works
In 2020, every brand will have a test and learn strategy – optimising and refining every component of your marketing has never been more important. Partnerships enable you to quickly test and learn new products, services and offers easily and safely.
One partner within the publishing sector told us that their findings from brand partnerships actually affected the way they looked at their wider marketing strategy. When certain partner campaigns outperformed their expectations, this gave them fresh insight into the types of audience that were engaging with their brand outside of their core demographic. It helped them create a strategy to speak with these important new and highly responsive segments.
4) Get smarter
Several partners mentioned that partnerships are a key channel for acquiring customer insight – understanding who their audience really is, what they want and how to unlock maximum value. They told us that brand partnerships enabled them to build an even stronger picture of their customer's profile, in turn helping their advertising and sales departments’ strategies.
For example, we recently ran a partnership with a major hotel brand. Post campaign, the brand were able to provide a detailed insight into the geographical spread of bookings, helping their partner get an even better understanding of their demographic’s geo-spread.
It was also highlighted that this was all achievable within a modest budget, which takes me onto the next stand-out benefit in the eyes of partners – great ROI.
5) Greater ROI than other channels
We all want to get the most from our budgets and better ROI was another benefit that stood out for our partners. Commercial models within brand partnerships vary depending on each partner’s objectives, but the main models are as follows:
Free/contra – a partnership whereby one brand will promote the partner’s product or service for the value it adds to their own proposition, helping them achieve something they wouldn’t be able to alone. In return, the promoting partner is getting valuable exposure they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Funded – when one or both parties fund an offer. This is a great opportunity for partners to gain exposure to a new, highly engaged audience and also drive incremental revenue.
CPA – the traditional affiliate commercial model whereby you pay your brand partner a bounty for each redemption of your offer on their platform. This is a great model to maximise your marketing budget as you’re only paying for new customers that you acquire.
Insured – when a brand wants to offer a big prize pool or highly exciting promotion to everyone, they can insure the total prize pool with a fixed fee provider. This way a brand can offer a massive prize pool that everyone can win, but has no risk of having to pay out to everyone if they do. This is a great model for brands who want to create high energy, high excitement promotions with fixed budgets.
All the above models deliver great ROI – one will cost the partner nothing, one drives revenue, the next allows the partner to acquire new customers on a cost-per-acquisition metric and the final model is an insured outcome. Which takes me onto the final stand-out benefit of working in partnership – measurability.
6) Highly Measurability
Unlike many marketing and advertising channels where you will see a spike in engagement off the back of a campaign, but can’t necessarily capture how that spike translates into actual sales or sign-ups and ultimately ROI, brand partnerships deliver highly measurable results.
This was another stand-out benefit that mattered to our partners, when you run campaigns that harness highly measurable metrics, it allows you to optimise your budget and forecasting whilst getting a clear indication of what is and isn’t effective.
It would be no surprise that partners are passionate about the power and effectiveness of brand partnerships. The top six benefits they see are reaching the right audience easier, better and faster, giving your brand another story, testing and learning, getting smarter, better ROI than other channels and better measurability too.
If you would like to further understand how our data fuelled approach and expert team can help you get these six benefits for your brand, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Oscar Finch, senior partnerships manager at Mando-Connect.