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How to Build a Rewarding Brand Partnership

Finding the perfect brand partner can ensure a lasting relationship filled with increased revenue, expanded target markets and a higher brand value.

The most successful brand partnerships are those who bring two unlikely brands together in an ingenious way to help leverage the power of both brands. To understand how your brand can benefit from a co-branding effort, here are three examples of rewarding brand partnerships and what makes them great.

Considering a Brand Partnership

Like any major brand endeavor, brand partnerships require a great deal of time and energy. However, brand partnerships can have a lasting impact on your brand image, making the investment well worth it.

According to Michelle Greenwald, a champion marketer who has developed strategies for brands like Pepsi and The Walt Disney Company, “Carefully selected associations can enhance the images of each [brand]. The resources both brands bring to bear are greater than either could afford alone, resulting in a synergistic impact that generates higher levels of brand awareness for both.”

In short, partnering with another brand can help your brand accomplish things it wouldn’t have been capable of on its own. Brand partnerships help brands accomplish a range of key marketing and branding goals, such as increasing awareness in an untapped target market, or transforming a brand image altogether.

Lilly Pulitzer and Target: Lilly for Target

Lilly Pulitzer teamed up with Target to create a line of affordable clothing and accessories decorated with Lilly’s vibrant, beach-inspired patterns. While this was great news for budget-savvy fashionistas (think of buying a dress for $40 instead of $200) many stores sold out of every single item in minutes.

According to Denise Lee Yohn, a retail consultant and the author of What Great Brands Do, having a limited offering helps both brands retain a strong sense of exclusivity.

“Even among the mass consumers that have an opportunity to buy it, it’s pretty much guaranteed they are going to get shut out…It almost makes the brand even more in-demand” Yohn explained.

While it’s clear that Target benefited from having their name associated with a high-end label (and having the product fly off the shelves) the iconic womenswear brand also benefited from this co-branding effort. The Lily Pulitzer brand – which is typically associated with an elite, upperclass lifestyle – has a chance to expose their brand to an entirely new audience. It also gave the apparel brand a chance to experiment with new products, like outdoor decor and beach accessories.

General Mills & Fulton Beer: HefeWheaties

Finally – the moment all cereal-loving hopheads have been waiting for: beer for breakfast! OK – not really, but General Mills did team up with Minnesota-based brewery, Fulton Beer, to launch a cereal-inspired beer called HefeWheaties.

The president of Fulton Beer, Ryan Petz, explained that this genius partnership was based on a number of commonalities between the two brands.

“We were intrigued from the get-go on this idea for many reasons, including that we’re both Minneapolis companies, and that the beer and the cereal both started from the same place in terms of raw ingredients and the same city” Petz explained.

With beer being a symbol for celebrations across the world, it makes sense for the “breakfast of champions” to be associated with it. This is a great example of how a big brand like General Mills can partner with a more niche or local brand like a microbrewery to adopt a more relatable image and attract attention from a localized audience.

To start, this beer will only be available in Minnesota. However, the positive PR buzz around the brand partnership has already been national. Depending on whether or not fans go wild for HefeWheaties, this beer could stay on the shelf a lot longer than Lily’s beach chairs.

Snapchat & Square Cash: Snapcash

With Snapcash, Snapchat users can send money to their friends by simply typing in an amount of money in a chat. This draws from the simplicity of Square Cash and combines it with the social media aspect of Snapchat.

Read: Million-Dollar Branding Mistakes From Pepsi

Both Snapchat and Square Cash became multi-billion dollar brands by capitalizing on the idea of sending something to another person via a mobile app. This means that both companies – each offering a relatively simple, standalone service – can benefit by broadening their product offerings. The transfer of cash obviously carries more weight than a beach selfie, but both apps are highly committed to user privacy.

The ability to send money through Square Cash gives Snapchat a more sophisticated image and makes their app more valuable. It also supports Snapchat’s recent initiative to expand their product beyond just a simple chat service. For Square, co-branding with Snapchat helps them target a new audience and reinforce their brand image as a fresh, trendy new technology.

Ready For Your Best Brand Yet? No matter what kind of brand your industry is in, your brand partnership must be unexpected, creative, and well-planned. And once you’ve figured out how both brands can benefit from a strategic partnership, the opportunities for where your brand can go are endless.

Michelle Polizzi is the Content Coordinator at Brandfolder, a user-friendly tool for brand asset management. When she’s not busy creating content, you can find her bicycling around Denver or catching a live concert. She’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn.