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February 27, 2015

In your continual quest to broaden your reach, increase brand awareness and grow market share, one powerful tool at your disposal is to establish a strategic brand partnership. Strategic brand partnerships align two companies looking to build off of each other’s brand equity, customer base, marketing channels or distribution strengths. They are mutually beneficial relationships that when planned and executed properly can provide strong growth opportunities for your company or brand.

The Halo Effect

Establishing the correct brand partnership can provide positive brand association, thus raising your brand’s profile in the eyes of the consumer. By aligning your company with a strong, like-minded and well-known brand, you can benefit from the “halo” effect: the idea that all of the positive perceptions that the consumer has of your brand partner will be bestowed upon you due to the association. This can be true but keep in mind that the partnership has to be one that aligns and feels genuine in the mind of the consumer. Having the right partner and establishing a strategy for executing an effective partnership will go a long way in ensuring you feel the glow of the halo.

Brand Awareness

Brand partnerships can also give you an opportunity to increase brand awareness. Even if you have a strong customer base, they can only buy so many of your products. That is why it is vital that you continuously look for new customers and claim more of the market. But people can’t buy your products if they don’t know they exist. That is where brand visibility comes into play. And there is no better way to gain visibility than to partner with a brand that reaches a different segment of your target market, or reaches a whole new market altogether. The right strategic brand partner should provide access to, and engagement with, an audience that you otherwise would not be able to reach.

Building Loyalty

The right partnership also helps you adhere to the golden rule: make new friends but keep the old. It is more expensive to gain a new customer than to keep an existing one, so utilize your strategic brand partnership to deepen the relationships you already have. Provide them with a unique offering or added value that is only possible through your new partnership. Your company will reap the benefits of customer loyalty.

New Marketing Channels

When evaluating a strategic brand partner, consider whether they have access to marketing channels that would otherwise be too expensive for you to use independently. You will want to capitalize on this to ensure the greatest ROI for this endeavor. If they have television or radio advertising, is there a co-promotion you could run?  Outdoor signage, can you co-brand a campaign? Look for ways to execute your partnership where you can take advantage of both companies’ marketing channel strengths.

Overall Strategy

And lastly, a strategic brand partnership can fit into your overall marketing strategy in a variety of ways. It can be used to support your entire brand by weaving it into every nook and cranny of your strategies and tactics. Or you can choose to utilize it to support a specific sales promotion or product launch. Strategic brand partnerships are scalable to meet the needs of both companies. Just keep in mind that the more time and resources you invest in the right partnership, the more of these benefits you will receive.

Whether your strategic brand partnership is one of equal trade or a sponsorship opportunity, the goal is to choose a partner that reaches deeper into your current market or broadens your reach into new markets. Either way these relationships can be powerful communicators of your brand and your message. Utilizing them within the framework of a larger strategic plan can be highly advantageous – even essential – in the effort to continuously grow your consumer base.

-Sarah Julian

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