Thursday, March 30, 2017

Brand Implications of Business Partnerships

There are a number of reasons one might partner with other brands and there are a number of ways in which this can be done. Your brand might partner with another brand to increase its distribution or exposure. The other brand could provide access to new or different markets for your brand. Maybe your brand could use some of the partner's marketing budget or at least stretch a shared marketing budget further. Maybe the partner's brand has attributes with which you want your brand to be more associated. Perhaps the other brand has skill sets or services that your brand does not offer. The other brand could lend greater credibility to your brand. Or it could be a point of difference for your brand. 

Partnering opportunities include the following types of relationships:

  • Manufacturer/retailer 
  • Manufacturer/distributor
  • Brand/agent 
  • Brand/media 
  • Brand/sponsor 
  • Brand/spokesperson 
  • Brand licensing agreement
  • Ingredient branding
  • Co-branded products or services
  • Co-marketing

While there are many advantages to partnering with other brands, there are also potential disadvantages. Any time two or more brands are associated, there is the opportunity for negative brand equity transfer or even brand confusion. 

For instance, does associating your brand with the other brand diminish your brand's reputation in any of the following ways? Calling to question its:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Authenticity
  • Responsiveness
  • Competence
  • Expertise
  • Quality perceptions
  • Technical expertise
  • Customer service orientation
  • Exclusivity

Consider what being associated with Wal-Mart or Breitbart News or Sears or BP or Wells Fargo or Enron might do to your brand. While there are a number of advantages that could come from linking two brands, the disadvantages could outweigh the advantages, especially if the disadvantages relate to brand trustworthiness and reputation. 

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