Co-branding examples to prove its importance once and for all

May 18, 2021

Co-branding examples and its importance

In business you are better off alone – that just might be one of the worst pieces of business advice of all time. Amid all the competition out there, businesses learned how to join forces and give each other a leg up through tough times with co-branding. Day by day, more partnerships like these emerged, more co-branding examples were born and this became a huge trend.

Although branding is not a piece of cake on its own, with co-branding businesses have found a way to have their cake and eat it too.

What is co-branding?

At its core, co-branding is just another marketing strategy. Even if it involves more than using the names of the companies involved, co-branding is considered to be one of the simplest win-win approaches today.

So what is co-branding exactly? A strategic business alliance made with the sole purpose of marketing a joint service or product. Co-branding provides a way for each of the companies to portray their strengths while embodying the strengths of the other partner and vice versa. This kind of partnership aims at combining prestige, market strength and positive association for the reason of enhancing the buyers want or need for the product

It also represents a check-mate move in the game of competitors. Why? Because what is co-branding if not a type of merger that transforms businesses into giants. And no one  stands a chance against a giant.

The importance of co-branding

Whether a business is looking for a way to get more customers or to increase sales or even get their product in stores – a partnership like this just might be the perfect solution. All you need to do is some networking or head to Enterprise League to find your significant other and charm them. And like in any marriage – and co-branding is a marriage – both partners share the fruits of their labors equally.

Actually, the importance of co-branding lies in what fruits co-branding brings.

Better individual growth

Co-branding helps individual partners to feed off of each other’s strengths. On top of that, with a partnership like this, innovation peaks and the chances of fresh new ideas are higher, since more people from different professional standpoints are working on it. With that being said, each of the individual companies in the partnership is gaining market share, boosting their revenue, building even better brand awareness and solidifying their relationships with their customer base.

Better receptivity

Every company has a loyal customer base. A percentage of that base might not even ever try an offering from the other partner’s company in their lifetime. Co-branding essentially helps with the loyal customer base of the one partner accepting and trying out what the other partner offers. It is a stamp of approval that the co-branding companies give to each other and their customer bases follow that. This gives a chance for the two companies to literally merge their loyal customer base.

Better credibility and presentability

This means that co-branding paints a better picture for the buyer. Scientifically speaking, a customer is more inclined to buy a product or a service from a company in which they trust more

With co-branding, smaller businesses gain authority and trust if they partner up with an already established business. In return, that business gains more respect for helping a smaller business and recognizing its potential. 

In a situation where there is a partnership between bigger companies, they further strengthen their position in their individual industries.

The benefits of co-branding

  • Risk-sharing – All the risks are shared equally among the partners.
  • Lower investment – It costs less to make a new product or a new line if two or more parties are involved.
  • Lower marketing costs – As we previously explained, co-branding is a marketing strategy that basically aims to increase the benefits of all marketing and decrease the cost.
  • More profits – A business collaboration of any kind can boost profits. Plus we have to take into account the new customers each of the companies will gain not just for the co-branded service/product, but for their own offerings too and the boost in sales because of that.
  • Combined access to resources – With more tools at their disposal, the execution of the ideas becomes easier.
  • Wide scope due to advertising – which gives each of the companies a chance to further broaden their customer base.
  • Royalty income – In situations where the co-branded product/service has a patent.

Types of co-branding

When it comes to co-branding there are two major types from which you can choose. Primarily that depends on the size of the companies that want to form a partnership and how well they are known.

Ingredient

Let’s say that you are an owner of a small business that experienced a lot of growth and now you want to take the next step towards bigger success. Ingredient co-branding does just that – helps small and not very known businesses grow more by partnering up with renowned and bigger businesses. The objective here is to increase the sales volume of the smaller business and to make the renowned business current and more innovative in the eyes of the consumer.

This type of co-branding is used when you want to drive market attention to a smaller business.

Composite

This type of co-branding helps with well-known, bigger and renowned companies that are not so easy to promote on their own. There is a lot of market power in only combining the names of such companies. This type of co-branding gives a unique product/service that is highly valued by the customer base and helps build equity for the brands involved.

Forms of co-branding

Also, there are different forms of co-branding to consider. We can look at these forms as creative solutions that regard how many partners would be involved in the process.

  • Same company co-branding – In a scenario where a company has different and multiple product lines or services, a combination of those can be made for the purpose of co-branding.
  • Joint venture co-branding – Two companies making a partnership with the purpose of co-creating a new product/service which they will co-own and promote.
  • Multiple co-branding – When two or more companies decide on a partnership, the objective is the same as in a joint venture co-branding.
  • National to local co-branding – National companies partner up with smaller local businesses usually for gaining access to the local market.

Co-branding strategies

According to the experts in the field, there are three different ways of executing a co-branding strategy.

Global brand

A global brand strategy is a co-branding strategy that enables the companies involved to sell, advertise and promote their product/service globally. Essentially, the partnership becomes a co-brand that aims for global recognition i.e. a global co-brand.

    Brand reinforcement

    This means that the co-branding strategy has to focus on aggressive usage of advertising, organizing promotional events for the product/service, exhibitions, showrooms and practically using all the promotional tricks that you have up your sleeve.

      Brand extension

      This kind of strategy entails a new brand name instead of using the combination of the companies’ names involved in the partnership. With this kind of strategy, you can explore product categories opportunities and maybe more important – measure the relevancy and success of the new co-brand so you can decide if you want to continue with it or not.

        Successful co-branding examples

        We wanted to make sure that this list of co-branding examples won’t be like any other you’ve come across.

        In this list of co-branding examples, you will find examples of partnerships formed on a different basis. There are examples of small businesses partnering with small businesses, small businesses partnering with companies because their values matched, small businesses partnership with well-known businesses and renowned businesses partnering with renowned businesses. A little bit of everything thrown in a mix of partnership business examples.

        Ivory Ella and Trevis

        A match made in the heaven of sustainability. Ivory Ella primary goal is protecting the elephants, whilst Trevis is committed to preserving the oceans by reducing single-use plastic. Both small businesses share the same core values.

        They made a reusable coffee cup with an elephant aesthetic, which is not only creative but genius. They used their product to combine their social media following with things like giveaways and contests. And that was easy to do since both companies are built around sustainability, so are their followers.

        Casper and West Elm

        Casper is an online mattress brand that sells mattresses in a box. On the other hand, West Elm is a high-end furniture retailer.

        Casper had a problem with selling mattresses online, without people having a chance to try it first so they partnered with West Elm on a co-branding campaign called Test a Casper Mattress. West Elm provided luxurious bad frames and physical space, so people could have the chance to test out both.

        This co-branding campaign helped both companies to broaden their customer base and to gain more exposure in front of a different audience than their own.

        Mpix and Shootproof

        Mpix is a photo lab that specializes in all kinds of printing. Enter Shootproof – an online service that allows professional photographers to upload, share and sell their work. So naturally, they joined forces.

        With their partnership, they’ve simplified the process where customers can choose to buy a print from the Shootproof service, where the photographer approves the order and Mpix prints it and delivers it. Mpix made the photographer’s workflow much easier and in a way that both can profit from it by (once again) combining customer bases.

        Understanding the customer’s experience is key to creating a loyal customer base. If you have a product, getting into a partnership that provides a complimentary service to that product is smart. It helps your customers even more and adds to your value.

        Charlie Hustle x Nelson Atkin’s Museum of Art – Educational program

        Charlie Hustle is a small clothing brand with a local shop in Kansas City that teamed up with various local and national Kansas City charities, one of which is Nelson Atkin’s museum of art educational program. The educational program of the Museum of Art provided Charlie Hustle with great teeshirt designs and Communi-TEES were born.

        A huge part of the proceeds goes to different local and national Kansas City charities. While the company drastically increased its brand awareness, trustworthiness and respect both on a local and a national level. This is one of the greatest examples of co-branding if you are a small business that wants to do good for the community and reach different types of people.

        McDonald’s and Burger King

        This is a story of how the greatest competitors in the fast-food industry pulled off one of the best co-branding strategies ever. In 2019, the McDonald’s and Burger King partnership raised a ton of money for children’s cancer research, while simultaneously raising their trustworthiness even more.

        The co-branded event was called A Day without a Whopper. Burger King took the whopper off of their menus across Argentina for a day, so people would instead buy Big Macs from McDonald’s. While McDonald’s at the time donated 2$ for every Big Mac to cancer charities. In this case, both companies lost on earning that day but gained respect because they helped a noble cause. And respect keeps people coming through the doors.

        So why would even competitors partner up? If done right, co-branding with a competitor can be a great success. If you are thinking about this type of co-branding, just think about all the good A Day without a Whopper did for these companies and how even competitors can have mutual benefits from working together.

        Warby Parker and Arby’s

        The Warby collection was a co-branding strategy for April Fools day back in 2018. The partners took advantage of both having ‘’arby’’ in their names. At first glance, the companies have nothing in common. Warby Parker sells affordable glasses, while Arby’s is a restaurant chain known for their slogan We have the meat.

        That being said, April Fools day was a perfect opportunity for them. Warby Parker came out with new frames with a meat design, t-shirts with a Nice to Meat You slogan and t-shirts with The Warby slogan. Meanwhile, Arby’s changed all their food boxes to have the Warby logo on them and even renamed their onion rings into Onion Ring Monocle.

        As one of the most creative examples of co-branding on this list, there is a lot more you can take from this example than the fact that creative solutions work wonders. This goes to show that companies that have different demographics and are from different industries can still catch a large audience’s attention with a fun co-branding alliance.

        H&M and various brands

        H&M is a company that offers fashion items at affordable prices. Every year H&M forms a partnership with different high fashion brands for the purpose of creating designer pieces that sell at much lower prices at their stores. This way every year H&M draws in more customers from different demographics and introduces them to their own offerings. Also, it helps to position the brand as innovative and to set them apart from its direct competitors like Zara.

        So what do the high-end fashion brands like Versace, Balmain and Kenzo get out of it? First and foremost – publicity. Even for bigger brands the rule that you can never have too much publicity applies. They also get to introduce their brand in front of a new generation of potential customers who just might aspire to own more high-end fashion pieces.

        This one just glitters and shines among the partnership business examples.

        Pottery Barn and Sherwin Williams

        Let’s say that you work from home and you decide on redecorating your home office or building a home office from scratch. That requires a whole process of choosing a color to repaint a room, choosing new furniture and a lot of other time-consuming things. 

        Color My Room, a co-branding alliance formed by Pottery Barn (a furniture store) and Sherwin Williams (a paint company) made that process a lot easier by collaborating on a paint line that matches the furniture. On Pottery Barn’s website, customers could coordinate wall paint with the furniture and order them both.

        This one of the examples of co-branding where partners from closely related industries managed to increase sales and boost their brand awareness.

        Uber and Spotify

        If you are like us and addicted to business podcasts then you are probably a member of Spotify. If you are wondering what a streaming app and a ride-hailing app have in common here is your answer: Soundtrack for Your Ride.

        Uber and Spotify needed more users so they explored a little bit further and found each other. The soundtrack for Your Ride co-branding strategy allows you to be your own DJ for your Uber ride, just as long as you are a user of Spotify. I mean who doesn’t want to listen to their favorite podcast on their way home, right?

        With this, they made the user experience far more enjoyable for both apps. And the best user experience gets the best word-of-mouth marketing, needless to say, the only free marketing there is and maybe the most impactful one.

        GoPro and Red Bull

        Most used when it comes to examples of co-branding, but for a reason.

        If you see GoPro just as a company that makes portable cameras – you are wrong. If you see Red Bull just as an energy drink producer – you are also wrong. Both companies represent an adventurous lifestyle, which if we are honest that is exactly what sells. 

        Together they formed a long-term co-branding alliance which entails working together on various events, the most famous one called Stratos. With Red Bull’s energy and GoPro’s ability to capture what a human can do with that kind of energy, both partners can continuously advertise what they truly believe in and that’s pushing the limits of what a human can do.

        GoPro provides the portable cameras that adventurous people wear on their persona during an event and Red Bull sponsors the event. Both GoPro and Red Bull tripled their popularity, sales and customer base since they first started working together.

        Conclusion

        After looking closely at all of these examples of co-branding one thing is certain – if you want it you can get it, you just have to execute it wisely. Partnering up with other businesses can be a complex process, but there is no denying the multiple benefits from it. It is up to you to decide if you want to try out an alliance, just remember that alliances find better solutions, win wars and run the world to this day.

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