Consider a hypothetical shopper named Bob: Bob is a huge fan of Doritos, and has a habit of eating fast food at least a few times a week.
While typically not a Taco Bell customer — their restaurant is a bit of a drive from Bob’s house — his brand affinity for Doritos compels him to travel those extra few miles, just to try out the restaurant’s new “Doritos Locos Tacos” offering.
While Bob is a work of fiction (sorry Bob), there are certainly many people out there just like him: In the first year of Taco Bell and Frito Lay’s collaboration, Mashed notes that over 1 billion of the now legendary product was sold — a pretty fruitful partnership by any standard.
Different Kinds of Brand and Retail Collaborations
The premise of brand and retail partnerships might seem straightforward enough. But what are some common approaches to undertaking these kinds of arrangements?
Sales and Distribution Agreements
In this model, the brand partners with a retailer to sell their product to a larger base of customers — a move that can have a tremendous impact on sales and awareness, especially for a traditionally direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand.
Of course, if the product is appealing and successful, the increased sales will be beneficial for both the brand and retailer alike.
Joint Advertising Campaigns
Sometimes brand partnerships can be as easy as engaging in a bit of advertising quid pro quo.
Whether via in-store advertisements, social media/affiliate marketing, or other channels, leveraging each party’s touch points can give both of your omnichannel strategies a serious boost.
Coordinating on a cross-over promotional event with a brand partner is a great way to get customers excited about both of your products.
This can be especially true if your business focuses most of its marketing efforts in digital spaces or is otherwise difficult to promote via in-store retail channels.
The possibilities, again, are limitless. Your brands could host:
- Live events;
- Pop-up shops;
- Product launches;
- Educational seminars; and more.
As long as you provide something of value for the attendees, they’ll come — and they’ll learn more about your and your partner’s brand in the process.
Much like the aforementioned “Doritos Locos Taco,” some of the most exciting examples of successful partnerships occur when two powerful brands come together to create one joint “super product.”
Massive success stories like Apple Pay (Apple and Mastercard), and the Impossible Whopper (Burger King and Impossible Foods) are both examples of strong collaborations done right.
This is also a chance to be creative: sometimes even the least likely combinations (like Warby Parker and Arby’s) can drive a tremendous amount of brand awareness, says Adweek.
Are there benefits to taking a collaborative approach rather than simply say, going solo?
Like many of the rules of marketing, there are a number of pros and cons depending on the size, nature, and scope of your business.
Attracting New Customers
While it may seem obvious, sharing advertising resources will increase your brand’s reach much further than if you launched a similar campaign on your own (at least for the same cost).
In addition, folks who are aware of your brand may decide to give you a second look if one of their trusted brands endorses your products.
Broader Distribution Channels and Brick-and-Mortar Real Estate
Brands that partner with the right retailer might not only see increased sales but improved customer satisfaction and retention, too. This can be a tremendous opportunity to give customers a chance to come face-to-face with your product, rather than viewing pictures or videos online.
Remember, you can go beyond simply offering your product on the retailers’ shelves: other creative alignments include offering pick-up/drop-off services, dedicated sales staff, or more, depending on your brand’s needs.
Open Doors With a Brand and Retail Collaboration
While there’s something to be said about having “too many cooks in the kitchen,” sometimes incorporating a fresh perspective into your planning can be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to experiment!
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