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Back to basics: Partnership Campaigns (Do's and Don't's)

Matthew Ingram

Senior Client Executive

Brand partnerships or Co-branded campaigns, are when two or more brands work together for mutual benefit. The trend has gained significant traction in recent years and is epitomised by the success of collaborations from global powerhouses such as Apple and Nike. However, while some partnerships in the world of FMCG Shopper Media appear an ‘obvious’ choice; like that of McVitie’s and PG Tips which united to offer British consumers a chance to win a year’s supply of tea and biscuits, others would not appear to be immediately poised for success. Yet, there are no set rules on brand partnerships campaigns but when executed successfully, they can be an effective means to increase awareness, break into new markets and see a stronger return on investment. Below we detail our ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ for effective brand partnerships campaigns.

Do: Choose your brand partner wisely

While a partnership campaign is unlikely to be central to your overall brand strategy, it is essential that any partner shares brand values, complimenting who you are, yet are distinct enough to take your brand to new places. Still, while the potential of those sound ideal for any brand, compromising on your brand integrity for this sole purpose is ill advised.

Do: Align on goals and evaluate success

As with any Shopper Marketing activity, it’s important to evaluate performance to provide actionable insight for future activity. However, when one partner is looking to achieve ROI while the other awareness, the levels of success considered could vary greatly. Any successful functional relationship should begin with a clear outline of what both parties intend to achieve and how success is to be measured. Campaign planning should be objective led and success dictated by a mixture of hard and soft measures of performance aligned on within the early stages of the relationship.

Do: Create something valuable

Sparking interest for the consumer is essential in communication for brand partnership campaigns. Whether you are trying to leverage humour, excitement or inspiration, focus on what the value to the end consumer is. The most successful campaigns are those that add a ‘halo’ effect to your brand, ultimately driving sales. For example, out of aisle exposure is a great way to execute this leveraging useful and interesting cooking and flavour combinations; such as a reminder to buy natural yoghurt when you pick up your curry sauce or crisps when grabbing a beer. This works not only to stretch the reach of your brand in areas previously inaccessible in the retail space but also adds value to the consumer.

Don’t: Over-complicate

Excessive brand assets, copy and product shots on shared media can easily overstimulate consumers especially in a media rich retail space. Avoid confusion of your target audience by ensuring that creatively media facilitates a one brand at a time approach, guiding consumer attention from one brand to the next fluidly with minimum time required to dismantle the message. Keep in mind that information about products can be relayed in other formats and greater memorability can be achieved when leveraging simplicity.

Don’t: Give up at the first hurdle

It’s not logical to assume that a brand partnership is going to be instantly transformative, successful brand partnerships take time. Building a quality co-branded campaign that leverages the nuances of the brands involved will be far more powerful rather than simply rushing to share the space of an Aisle fin. Nevertheless, if your objectives weren’t met, try to understand why and asses what can be optimised next time based on the key learnings.

Brand Partnership Shopper Marketing is both rewarding and a challenge but by being mindful of these do’s and don’ts, brands can build a strong foundation long before the final aspect of success is sort after; an engaged consumer.

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