Brand partnerships are fast becoming a key growth strategy for many DTC brands online. The partnership will usually take the form of collaborative marketing campaigns or co-branded items between non-competing, complementary brands to generate buzz around them both, and they are hugely effective.
Many of the biggest brands of today are getting involved with this new strategy, with some partnerships seeming to be obvious choices. Red Bull and Gopro have a famous collaboration for example, with the complementary brands focusing on extreme sports – Gopro providing the kit, Red Bull bringing the energy.
However, you don’t have to be a household name to take advantage of co-marketing, nor are there set rules about which brands can partner up together.
In fact, many successful partnerships are between brands that you’d never expect to put together, and businesses of all sizes are learning to make use of these tactics to great effect.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at how brand partnerships can help boost visibility and drive sales for your Shopify store.
How to choose your brand partner
From what I’ve just said, it might seem like there are only benefits for brand partnerships. You might even be wondering why every business doesn’t get involved if they’re so effective at growing your brand.
Well, as much as they can boost your reputation, grow your visibility and drive your sales, joining up with brands that won’t compliment your own, or that have bad reputations, can do more damage than good.
With that in mind, there are a few key things to look out for in a potential partner before you agree to join forces, to ensure maximum success for both parties.
The most important part of the relationship should be your matching values, which will act as the basis for everything else.
A sustainable clothing brand can’t expect great success if they choose to join forces with a fast-fashion company. Not only do they not complement each other, but their reputation will suffer as well.
Focus on partnering up with brands that match your core ideology and you’ll be much better able to tap into their audience.
Brand partners don’t need to have exactly the same targets. For example, the partnership between EasyJet and Booking.com sees the former looking to sell flights and the latter hotels.
However, their goals, in this case looking to increase awareness and drive sales in the holiday travel industry, complement each other without posing direct competition.
As long as you match your end goals with your partner’s, you’ll increase your chances of success.
Shared consumer relevance
To draw on the example of EasyJet and Booking.com one more time, their partnership works because the customer base of one is easily tapped into by the other.
By being able to connect with each other’s audiences they’re able to cement the most important aspect of any brand partnership: reciprocity.
Find a partner with a similar audience type as you and you’ll find it much easier to leverage their customers to grow your business.
Complementary skill sets
Following on from this idea of reciprocity, finding a partner that can cover a weakness or cater for a different niche to one you already have in your own products is key for mutual success.
Combine forces to achieve more than you could on your own, or build each other up by plugging holes in your strategies.
Last but not least, you need to be able to trust your partner. The only way the partnership will work is if you act transparently and give back as much as you get, so you both succeed.
The benefits of partnerships
Once you’ve found the right partner, you can begin to reap the rewards of collaborative marketing. Here’s a list of some of the benefits you can expect.
Expose your products to new audiences
By partnering up and pooling resources, you’ll be able to run marketing campaigns with a much larger reach than you ever could on your own.
Best of all, by advertising your partnership on each other’s websites or social media, you’ll inform each of your respective audiences about your partner, and these groups of already dedicated fans will go to check out your stores.
In this way, you’ll gain access to a new list of pre-acquired leads since they’re already fans of your partner and don’t have to be enticed in, all for no extra marketing cost. You’ll reach new demographics that you never could’ve sold to on your own.
Excite your fans
Forming a new brand partnership is the perfect way to get a real buzz around your business online. Advertising showing off the partnership and increased mentions and coverage online will lead to increased traffic to your store, a social media drive amongst your fans, and more visibility for your products, which will only drive the social buzz even more.
Influence your brand perception
Choosing a partner can be a great way to cement the values your brand already has, or orient your business to embrace new ones.
For example, two brands that focus on sustainability at their core can join forces and double down on their commitment to protecting the environment.
They could do this not just by running marketing campaigns to promote sustainability, but also by pooling their resources and publicly donating more money to the cause, or funding new sustainability initiatives from their profits.
Alternatively, if you want to move your brand in a new direction, partnering with a brand that is already well established can be a great jump start.
Share resources for mutual gain
You can benefit from brand partnerships not just by drawing on your partner’s values and reputation, but by sharing strategies, resources and marketing tools to cover each other’s weaknesses and complement each other’s strengths.
Pooling resources will allow you to fund larger projects, reach more audiences and drive your revenues more than you ever could on your own.
As you can see, brand partnerships are the future of marketing strategies. With such a good opportunity to launch bigger marketing campaigns, reach new audiences and cultivate your brand image, you’d be silly to pass it up.
Sometimes, however, they can be tricky to negotiate and get up and running. Thankfully, we have the solution.
At CrossMyStore, we’re the experts on running these partnerships, and we’ll help you reach new customers, drive your average order value and increase your profits with ease. If you want to take full advantage of partnerships with us, sign up today!