Archive for the ‘Partnership’ Category

How Brands Can Partner to Add More Value

Monday, October 26th, 2009

entrepreneur article 2

Today I want to share the second of two articles that I was asked to write for Entrepreneur magazine. In the first article from a few weeks ago, I explained the Marketing with Meaning concept to the small-business audience.

In this piece, I write about how two brands or businesses can partner up to do more meaningful marketing for their combined audiences. Joint marketing between brands can also reduce costs for both sides, allow for brands to gain the direct attention of new customers, and increase the chance to stand out in a very crowded marketplace.

Although I am writing for the small-business audience in this article, it’s a concept that any business can benefit from today. This is a topic that I also blow out more in my book, and you can check out the article here.

Teaming Up for Mutual Experiences

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

As I was putting together material for our upcoming book, I came across several examples of two brands working together to create a mutual experience that benefits both equities, and especially their joint customers. One example I ran across while staying at my regular W Hotel in NYC (541 Lexington) is the above offer for a free ride in an Acura MDX. I didn’t have time to take a ride, but I saw another great example of Marketing with Meaning.

This is a clear example of a win-win-win for all three parties. W Hotels gets to offer another service under its umbrella brand of “Whatever/Whenever,” which itself is a great way to differentiate their hotels from the many choices business travelers have around the world. And this comes at zero cost to the hotel chain. Acura gets a chance to connect with W Hotel customers, likely the kind of young, higher-income crowd that is in the sweet spot for its vehicles. These people can be difficult to reach with traditional, interruptive ads. And a free ride is a great chance to let prospects sample the vehicle in a low-pressure way.

Of course, let’s not forget the benefit to the customer. He or she gets a free ride in a cozy car by a considerate driver who knows his way around town. The customer also feels appreciated, and may feel a little like a big shot or movie star. This is a meaningful experience for the customer that connects her closer to both the W Hotel and Acura brands.

I have run across a few other examples of diverse brands hooking up to build mutually valuable experiences. A while back I wrote about Honda and Mattel hooking up for a special-edition Hot Wheels collectible car. There’s the Nike/Apple join-up with the Nike+ system. I read recently about the story behind how Fox and 7-Eleven partnered to create a dozen branded Kwik-E-Marts to support last year’s The Simpsons Movie. And I also recently came across the story of how Victoria’s Secret put on a fashion show last year in the aisle of Virgin Airways. (Check out the photos below for a glimpse of these diverse experiences.)

These experiential tie-ins seem to work best when the brands share both a common target customer and brand equity elements. The Simpsons and 7-Eleven both target 18-34 Men, for example. But they also take corporate organizations that are willing to give up some control and ownership to the other side. It’s a great exercise to conduct for your own brand: Think about other relevant brands in your customer’s life and consider the synergies that lie around a partnership, and then pick up the BlackBerry and reach out. Chances are there will be another marketer out there similarly looking for ideas to something new and meaningful.