How To Enter Brand Partnerships

Have you heard about the brand partnership between Nike and Apple that resulted in the creation of the Nike + iPod Sport Kit.

There are many more examples of how different brands come together and partner to create a product or service that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved. In the case of brand partnerships, even the consumer is a winner, so it is a win-win-win situation.

Such partnerships are especially prevalent in the hospitality industry where hotels tie up with retail brands to offer their guests a better night’s rest in a Heavenly Bed, or enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Nespresso coffee, or work out to a Reebok-designed exercise regimen.

In the retail scene in Singapore, there is the tie-up between the two local companies of jewellery brand Lee Hwa and deluxe café Bakerzin.

The concept flagship store provides customers with a unique experience of shopping for fine jewellery while enjoying delectable snacks and drinks at the same time.

Brand partnerships work well when the companies share the same target market and have the same brand value. That is why you need to consider a few factors before committing to a brand partnership.

The wrong partnership could end up hurting your brand instead of enhancing your brand value. Before you say yes to a potential brand partner, consider some of these factors:


  • Complementary not competing

Work with brands that offer the products or services that can enhance your customer’s experience with your company.


  • Will your customers approve?

One of the benefits of partnerships is to gain access into a customer base that you may not have connected with yet. At the same time, you need to think about whether your existing customers will be happy with your association with the other company.

For example, there are cases where some customers feel strongly about a company’s image or their business practices. If you choose to partner them then you may make your current customer base unhappy and end up losing some of them.


  • Same standards, same values

Do some research and see if their service standards and values match yours. Otherwise, your may end up throwing away all those years of brand-building if their brand doesn’t deliver like yours does.

There are various arrangements that you can do with different brand partners, as long as you both achieve the ultimate goal, which is to create a win-win-win for all parties.


Action Steps

How to identify your brand ally:

1. List your brand’s core values in two columns. Fill one column with the words your customers associate with your brand. Fill the other with the values you want them to associate with your brand.

2. Draw a box. Inside, write the type of service or product your brand currently offers. Around all four sides, write the types of services or products your customers would typically use in association with yours, either before, during, or after.

Ask yourself which of those services would make your customers’ lives easier, yet not compete with your core business.If you sell antique paintings online, for example, should you team up with a courier company specializing in transporting fragile artwork? With an insurance company offering premium transportation coverage? How about a company that specializes in hanging artwork? The possibilities are endless.


3. List all the companies and services you feel would complement your product or service, then describe the benefits customers would gain from them, as well as the benefits your brand would gain from the partnership. Rank these services from 1 to 10, making 10 the measure of a perfect partnership.


4. Revisit the answers under point one and determine which companies you’ve listed represent complementary or similar values. It’s essential to identify a value match. This will help ensure your brand is well maintained and not jeopardized by your partner.

The brands or companies with the highest score are the ones that offer the strongest value match for your brand. Consider them as potential partners. Ensure both parties gain from the partnership and both communicate the partnership as much as possible.


5. Constantly evaluate the partnership. To achieve meaningful evaluation, know your objectives: what do you want to gain from the partnership? These objectives determine how you evaluate your alliances.

They should always be communicated and measured by all partners, ensuring all parties are equally focused on a mutual goal: all partners grow together.