June 18, 2014

Brand Collaborations: The Innovative Movement in Branding

Brand Collaborations: The Innovative Movement in Branding

Guest Blogger: Lindsey Freedman

Google Glass & Diane von Furstenberg, Starbucks & Duracell, Hershey & Betty Crocker, are all examples of popular brand collaborations. As discussed in our previous post on Fitbit and Tory Burch, brand collaborations are occurring more because of the potential effects on brand equity and expanding target audiences.


According to Michelle Greenwald of Inc., this trend began in the 1990s when Lexus offered interior options by famous fashion retailer, Coach. Fast forward to 2014 and this trend now expands through numerous industries including retail, cosmetics, healthcare, food and more.

Brand collaborations, or partnership marketing, provides exposure across multiple brand channels and expands target audiences. The study also shows that co-branding enhances brand positioning, challenges perceptions and advances brand equity.

For example, a recent study by Mediator, a London- based agency, revealed that 80 percent of respondents consider collaborations a high return on investments. Furthermore, 83 percent of respondents agree that collaborations are overall effective.

To successfully collaborate with another brand there are a number of factors to consider and business objectives to define but below are some tips for valuable co-branding endeavors:

1. Align your corporation with a comparable organization.
The most successful brand collaborations involve corporations that share similar visions. Mutual interests create an authentic relationship that is easily received by target audiences. For example, Apple and Nike’s Nike +iPod Sports Kit fulfilled a deficit in the fitness market. Both corporations are leaders in their respective industries, thus their collaboration expanded audiences. As of 2013 there were 18 million Nike+ users and the collaboration has been on-going since 2006.

“Look for brand fit not only from the perspective of attributes and benefits but also with respect to core values and corporate philosophies,” said Steve McKeee, President of Mckee Wallwork and a Bloomberg Business columnist

2. Outline goals that compliment both brands.
A clear set of goals will guide and organize the business endeavor. Also, mapping out shared interest will focus the collaboration. It is important to develop goals and guidelines that align with your own business practices and ethics. This will help create a swift transition and protect your own brand. A great tool is a co-branding manual; many corporations, such as AT&T, have co-branding guidelines to help direct managers.

3. Use brand collaborations cautiously and sparingly.
Research is the key to creating valuable brand collaborations. Brand collaborations have the potential to be unbelievably successful and develop further brand equity. However, if executed incorrectly they can have a dramatic effect on your audience’s perceptions. Research is important when aligning with another organization to avoid negative partnerships.

Co-branding endeavors add a level of engagement that traditional communications strategies are not able to provide. They create a powerful effect across multiple marketplaces. Do you think this trend strengthens brand equity, or will this movement soon fade out?



“Whitepaper by Mediator”– The Drum

“Twenty Co-branding Examples” – Bloomberg Business Week.

“The Pro’s and Con’s of Branding”– Bloomberg Business Week.

“The Secrets of Successful Co-Brands”– Inc.

“4 Lessons on Co-Branding To Co-Crush The Competition”– The Fast Company

“18 Million People are Using Nike+ to Track Their Fitness”– The Fast Company

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