– Debbie Laskey, MBA
In today’s crowded marketplace, how do brands stand out? How do they get as much positive brand awareness and exposure as possible without spending more than their marketing budgets allow? In addition to providing excellent customer service and creating amazing customer experiences, one way is to add co-branding to the marketing mix.
According to Wikipedia, “Co-branding, also called brand partnership, is when two companies form an alliance to work together, creating marketing synergy. It is an arrangement that associates a single product or service with more than one brand name, or otherwise associates a product with someone other than the principal producer. The typical co-branding agreement involves two or more companies acting in cooperation to associate any of various logos, color schemes, or brand identifiers to a specific product that is contractually designated for this purpose. The object for this is to combine the strength of two brands, in order to increase the premium consumers are willing to pay, make the product or service more resistant to copying by private label manufacturers, or to combine the different perceived properties associated with these brands with a single product.”
Here are five examples of effective co-branding:
 Intel Inside: During the 1990’s, Intel provided processors for computer manufacturers’ machines in return for endorsements by the manufacturers with a sticker that read “Intel Inside”
 Nike and Apple: The Nike+ chip is embedded in its running shoes, and Apple promotes the app in its app store
 Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld: As the official airline of SeaWord, Southwest features Shamu on three of its planes
 Yum Brands: Two of this company’s restaurants are often built side-by-side: Taco Bell and KFC or Pizza Hut and Wingstreet
 Chiquita Bananas and Despicable Me 2: As part of the movie, small characters called Minions developed a love for bananas, thus, the resulting partnership – check out this great website.
While both brands in a co-branding arrangement or partnership can benefit from joint publicity campaigns and positive word-of-mouth marketing, there can also be downsides. If one brand experiences a crisis, the negative events or negative publicity can damage the second brand – even if it was not involved directly. This is why it is critical to carefully evaluate the goals and objectives for a co-branding partnership in advance.
So, would co-branding be an effective method to increase customer loyalty for your brand? Chime in and share your co-branding experiences.
For more examples, check out my Co-Branding Board on Pinterest.