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5 steps to help identify brand partnerships that will be good for business

June 30, 2022

Brand partnerships are when two or more businesses join forces to create a product or campaign. It’s an effective technique to build a community around your brand - helping to increase visibility and create new connections. Engaging with external organisations can also bring in more different perspectives and creativity, keeping brands fresh and relevant.

There’s a little bit more to a successful brand partnership than it ‘feeling like a good fit’, however. Here are five different ways to get started and push marketing boundaries:

1) Challenge expectations

Love Island partnering with eBay to dress contestants is a genius move. It challenges what’s expected and has the potential to drive a genuine behavior change. It’s mutually beneficial because eBay can change the perceptions of second-hand buying, and Love Island can reinvent itself as more socially responsible. This was a bold move by both parties - but one that has kick-started new conversations around pre-loved clothes and second-hand buying habits. While it was an unexpected collaboration, it was largely welcomed, and that is no doubt because it will have been informed by insights that Gen Z and millennials are highly climate aware.

2) Give customers what they want

Brand collaborations don’t have to be all about reaching new audiences, they could simply be a way to surprise and delight existing loyal customers. For example, when Primark partnered with Gregg’s earlier this year to launch a new clothing range, it cited a strategy to offer collections customers can’t find anywhere else, with brands they already know they love. The collaboration grabbed headlines and created a stir on social media. It was a bit of fun and we could all do with more of this in our lives.

3) Embrace competitive collaboration

Adidas and Allbirds have joined forces to show what’s possible when competitors work together as partners. They came together to consider how the things we create and buy are impacting on the planet – and claim that this helped them to speed up their progress across the board. The ambition, now, is for other organisations to follow their lead. Climate change is an area we can expect to see more competitive collaboration over the next few years; the enormity of the crisis means it is not something any one individual or organization can tackle alone, which may open up more unexpected collaborations.

4) Look for like-minded businesses

Businesses with similar goals and values - beyond raising visibility - are more likely to develop into successful long-term partnerships. For example, for the past six years we’ve partnered with The Eden Project to help millions of people across the UK get together in their streets, gardens and neighborhoods to eat, chat and make friends over The Big Lunch. By raising awareness on our app, we are helping to bring more people together and achieving our ambition to cultivate a kinder world.

5) Lean on the experts

More brands are realizing the importance of being purpose-driven, with an Ipsos study revealing consumer brand preferences are increasingly driven by an alignment of their values and the brands’ purpose. It follows, then, that we are seeing more brands engaging with and being vocal about the issues they care about, whether that’s diversity, food poverty or climate change. It’s ok to want to make a difference and not be an expert in the field - but brands should lean on the expertise and experience of others. This is critical to engaging with issues sensitively and authentically.

Partnerships could propel your organisation to new levels - whether you’re an International retailer or a local coffee shop owner. Size really doesn’t matter when it comes to collaboration. A well thought out brand partnership could help you to expand your networks and create meaningful, new connections. This is not just a human need but a business need. Communities come in all shapes and sizes - and new partnerships could help to make yours more vibrant, more engaging, and more successful.

By Paps Shaikh, EMEA commercial director, Nextdoor


partnership economy
Brand awareness