As a business owner, you’re always trying to revamp your digital marketing strategy to achieve your business goals. This might be focusing on content, launching an influencer marketing strategy, or spearheading a powerful social media campaign. And all of the aforementioned tactics are viable ways to build brand awareness and increase your revenue.

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However, there’s one thing that could benefit your marketing strategy that you may have overlooked: partnering with other businesses.

Last month, the Cardinal Digital Marketing team profiled Kat Cole, the COO and President of FOCUS, through their Ignite Podcast. In the interview, Kat Cole explains how FOCUS has used brand partnerships to further their agenda, and used Cinnabon as an example.

“Cinnabon has been a franchise business since its inception,” says Cole. “About 10 years into its growth, they started launching some small, what we call multichannel or licensed partnerships.

This is where you’re going outside of your core business into other occasions and other retail channels.” This is why you’ll see Cinnabon in places outside of its own stores, in places like Taco Bell.

By collaborating with different brands, you increase the chances of reaching your target audience. Double the brand power equals double the potential. And when you double the brand power, everyone reaps the benefits. Here’s how you can collaborate with businesses to build brand awareness:

Understanding The Benefits

Though brand partnerships have been around for quite a while, the adoption of social media tools means there’s a much bigger platform and opportunity here. There are many benefits to a co-branding situation. These benefits include:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Share campaign costs
  • Benefit from several types of markets
  • Additional publicity
  • Positive brand perception
  • Establishes credibility quicker

Choosing The Right Collaborator

Through successful brand collaboration, two brands can benefit from the successful relationship of one another’s prospective audiences. This is especially true for new businesses, as one of the biggest hurdles that new business owners have to deal with is lack of consumer awareness.

Think about what stage your business is at, and what it’s missing. Talk to your team and collaborate on goals that you’d like to reach. Then, make a list of prospective brands that could aid that goal.

Perhaps there’s a gap in your market that you’re having trouble filling, and you know that another brand has a target market that could successfully fill that gap. Brands don’t have to have anything in common when you look at face value, but they do have to be complementary.

For example, let’s say you own a local boutique that sells women’s casual wear. This includes high-end tee shirts, decorative summer dresses, and things of that nature. Perhaps you’d partner with a local candle company to add quality candles to your shelving, or a shoe store to bring in some shoes. The store you partner with would also add some of your inventory to their display.

Here’s a less traditional example: let’s say you own a line of maternity clothes and want to shift your identity to be more of a lifestyle brand. Instead of just focusing on maternity clothes, you’re also adding design and healthy eating products and services to your lineup. Because of this, it makes sense to partner with a lifestyle brand who might want to start targeting mothers.

Typically, you should not choose a brand that has a customer base that is in direct competition with your own. This is a mistake many new business owners make. They put their time and energy into partnering with a similar business in hopes they will be able to share some of that market. But the other brand may not see the benefits, and perhaps the only real win for them will be splitting the cost of a major campaign and reaping the bulk of the rewards.

Look At Other Brands

There’s no better demonstration of the power of brand partnerships than companies who have been there and done that. As previously mentioned, you want to focus on brands that complement one another.

For example, Grant’s Whiskey, which is currently the world’s oldest family-own whiskey company, partnered with Find My Past, a genealogy website, to encourage consumers to purchase a bottle for discounted access to the Find My Past website.

On the surface, these companies have little to do with each other, but their collaboration signifies a much deeper story. Dubbed the “Family History Project,” its campaign slogan was, “Family history in every bottle.”

It expanded on Grant Whiskey’s five-generation story and empowered other people find out more about their family tree through Find My Past. The campaign was a commercial success, and delivered an 11.8% value sales growth. The campaign won two Gold Awards at the Institute of Promotional Marketing Awards: “Best alcoholic drinks promotion”, and “Best commercial partnership”.

Then you’ve got Uber and Spotify, two unlikely and completely different companies that complement one another very well. With this partnership, Spotify users could connect their music to the car they were riding in.

During the ride, passengers had the complete freedom to toggle between songs on their playlist. Through the collaboration, many Uber users were introduced to Spotify, and Uber benefited through the ability to provide more personalized journeys to their customers.

Lastly, another solid example is the partnership between Casper, a mattress company, and West Elm, a home goods company. When Casper first hit the market, it became an Internet sensation, and people loved the brand not just for their viral marketing, but for the quality of product as well.

Casper allowed customers to test mattresses with West Elm furniture. After all, Casper only sells mattresses, and West Elm does not sell mattresses, making this co-branding partnership a match made in mattress heaven. Check out this list of other successful collaborations.

About the Author: Amy Porras is a lead Digital Marketing Strategist; she has led online marketing programs in Web Design, Web Development, Search Engine Optimization, Pay per Click Advertising and Online Marketing Campaigns, Social Media Marketing Strategy and Online PR for B2B professional services companies.