In a very competitive industry, a co-branding partnership may sound counter-intuitive. After all, why would you share information and resources with a potential enemy? It’s like yielding a territory even before the battle has begun.
But the thing is, no business is an island. There are actually a lot of things you could do with a partner, compared to doing things individually. Historically speaking, a lot of innovations are borne out of two companies pooling their resources and sharing their research for the common good. The big brand names we hear today, after all, are fruits of the labors of business partners in the past. Today, these big companies partner up and launch co-branded marketing campaigns, a risk that has proven to be a win-win strategy.
Red Bull and Go Pro’s business collaboration comes to mind. Both brands are lifestyle brands, that is, they have defined what it meant to go on an adventure. For their partnership, Go Pro and Red Bull has put the extreme to the test by literally sending daredevil Felix Baumgartner at the edge of Earth’s stratosphere and making him skydive with a GoPro attached to himself. The shared values as well as the similar target markets of both brands proved to be essential in creating this strategic co-branding partnership.
But could the same thing apply to small businesses?
Strategic co-branding partnerships for small businesses may not mean dropping skydivers from an altitude of 128,100 feet like what GoPro and Red Bull did, but at their core, they are pretty much the same. A partnership between two companies aims to build both brands and break into new, unexplored market opportunities. The whole premise is that by partnering with someone, you are creating a win-win situation where both parties can benefit.
Still on the fence? Here are some reasons why you should consider a co-branding partnership with other small businesses.
Two heads are better than one.
I know it’s a bit of a cliche to say that now but it’s an old adage for a good reason. It’s hard to brainstorm alone. Starting a partnership with another small business might bring more ideas to the planning table than what you can muster on your own. Brainstorming may be more productive. Because a partner would have the same incentive as you for making this partnership a success, they may be more critical of the ideas you present.
Your partner may have skills that you lack.
A lot of business success stories are headed by leaders with complementary skills. A tech genius partners up with a marketing wizard to conceptualize the idea and sell it. An inventor partners with a creative artist to create a user-friendly device.
By collaborating with another business, you can virtually eliminate the weakness that you have while focusing on your strengths. You can give priorities to things that matter instead of thinking of ways to compensate for your flaws.
You can reach new market segments.
If you partner with businesses with different target markets, you will be able to tap into their consumers simply by associating with them. Your joint venture will be doubly effective if the values that you share as a business resonate well with their target market. Especially for a partnership with a business in a related industry, you will be able to bring in customers on both of your ends and at the same time.
A co-branding partnership minimizes your risk.
Entrepreneurship is all about risk. You really can’t remove risk entirely when venturing into a new business or expanding a new idea. Entering into a business partnership will enable you to minimize that risk.
For example, if you enter a partnership with a manufacturer, you may be able to develop your product line efficiently while minimizing the cost. Entering a partnership with a distributor could ensure your products can go to your intended target market.
It’s a great learning experience.
Especially for startups and young businesses, you can learn the ropes on the business world by partnering up with a veteran business. You can observe how your partner manages their business and ask them to share management techniques or organizational methods.
In return, you can give a different perspective on how things can be done. You can share some of the new technologies and innovations that may not be familiar to your business partner. That’s a win-win in my book.
Have you been in a co-branding partnership? How was your experience? Tell us your story below.