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The Art of Co-Branding

During a recent delve into fall’s latest fashion trends, I came across an article on the oh-so-popular UGG boots. I know there are a lot of you out there that hate on these furry staple accessories, but I for one am a huge fan. As we welcome fall with the recent slight dip in temperatures, my friends and I have begun celebrating the return of “UGG Season.” But anyway, I’m not going to ramble on about this fabulous footwear without a purpose. The newest trend UGG Australia will introduce for Fall 2010 is a boot adorned in silver and gold studs, which is a limited edition co-branded boot with famed fashion icon, Jimmy Choo. (For all of those as excited as I am, they will hit stores in October 2010).

The partnership for UGG and Jimmy Choo has the potential to do great things for both brands. Jimmy Choo, which is known for its outrageous prices and gorgeous designs, doesn’t fit the traditional stereotype which is associated with clunky winter footwear. Conversely, while UGG boots certainly aren’t cheap, they are fairly affordable and don’t carry the uber-expensive, out of reach connotation associated with high-end designers like Jimmy Choo (whose shoes range from $345 to $1995). So yes, this is a classic example of opposites attracting! The marriage between these two unlikely brands can boost the fashion content for UGG and increase practicality for the Jimmy Choo brand.

So how can you make co-branding work for your company? The answer is relatively simple. If you choose the right products and companies to join together, it can give both brands the competitive advantage to really soar over the competition who “go it alone.”

Start with leveraging your core competencies. Or, in layman’s terms, increase the ROI on your main business function – or your business’s claim to fame. So if you sell widgets, then sell co-branded widgets that will increase brand awareness and capitalize on the brand equity of the company you’re partnering with. For example, (and I’m sorry for going back to footwear) take Nike and Michael Jordan’s co-branded shoe the Air Jordan.  Nike, who already had an enormous following prior to the launch of this co-branded product, decided to capitalize on their core competency of producing superior quality footwear. They took their line of shoes to the next level by signing basketball extraordinaire (and my celebrity idol), Michael Jordan, to their label. This outran competition by offering two great things wedded into one HOT item.

Secondly, it’s important to respond to the market’s expressed interests. If the majority of society is showing a particular brand or product a lot of love, then it’s most likely a good idea to think about including it in your branding endeavors. And to make things even more interesting, co-branding doesn’t have to be done with businesses in the same industry! United Airlines is known for its worldwide travel service and consequent hospitality offering while in flight; this transportation giant partnered with unlikely candidate Starbucks Coffee. What does flight travel have to do with coffee? Nothing really, but the two work together. United Airlines was able to recognize the growing popularity of Starbucks and the anxious consumers that filled each store with their favorite espresso drink and millions of dollars. So in order to capitalize on their commitment to excellent service, United Airlines brilliantly partnered with the very popular Starbucks Coffee. This has gone a long way in increasing customer satisfaction – and making it just a touch easier to charge expensive airfare tickets on their credit cards.

So, look no further than QLP’s promotional products if you’re searching for an easy way to start co-branding NOW. You could take the vast appeal of Nike’s excellence and place your company’s logo on these marvelous Nike NDX Heat Golf Balls to communicate the distinction of your brand with the popularity of a big brand like Nike! What do you think of co-branding? Have you successfully used it for your brand? And will you be lining up to buy your pair of co-branded Jimmy Choo and UGG boots this October? Comment below!

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skelly

Comments

  1. QLP Kid

    I think that UGG boots are by themselves ugly but Salt stained UGG boots are the worst!

  2. QLP Jill

    I’m totally clueless about fashion and shoes, but the concept of co-branding is fascinating to me. By pairing up for this endeavor, Jimmy Choo and UGG will both gain new customers (and increase the loyalty of existing customers). I think that many companies are reluctant to co-brand because they see it as a “watered down” effort, but it’s actually the exact opposite. Both UGG and Jimmy Choo win in this deal (just like United and Starbucks) because they’re using their respective popularity to promote each other’s products and give customers more buying opportunities. What BIG BRAND could ask for more than that?

  3. Bret Bonnet

    I better not show my wife this post otherwise I’m sure there will be some INSANE credit card charges from Nordstroms for these Jimmy Choo and UGG boots when these come out next month!

    I’ve got to admit, UGG boots are ugly as hell, but they are comfortable as all heck and they do a great job keeping your feet warm. I’m man enough to admit I own a pair or two, but only because it can get GOD awful cold late into the Bears season. When it’s man vs. the elements I’m happy to say UGG boots are on my side!

    As far a co-branding goes, this is an excellent idea. It seems like NIKE is a master at this, as in addition to your NIKE + Michael Jordan example above, there is the NIKE + iPOD co-branding effort that they launched right after the first iPod (iPod 1.0) dropped. To my knowledge NIKE is the only shoe that has the ability to integrate (via the addition of an accessory) directly with your favorite iPod; keeping track of your distance ran, calories burned, and other fitness junky info.

    I think it’s VERY important to make sure the brand is not only a good fit when seeking out a partner to co-brand with, but that their corporate values are also similar to that of yours. For example, partnering with BP Amoco right now probably would NOT be a good idea…

  4. KB

    Co-branding can get your name in front of an entirely different market that you may not have otherwise approached. Another very important thing to mention about co-branding is the savings it can offer to both parties involved. Not only with a co-brand, is the investment able to be shared by both parties involved but more than likely, the quantity needed will be increased for marketing both brands. This allows for the purchasers to access a better price break. The more you buy the more you save!

  5. Scooby DOO!

    I’d like to take a moment to mention that Bret owns a pair of man uggs that are adorned with rhinestones from his bedazzler; so in your face jimmy! Ok, so truth be told, he did not accessorize with the stones until this article was written BUT Either way, he makes a statement like “I should be a packer fan” when he walks into soldier field!

    Ahh, yes, co-branding.

    Like most things in business, given thought, some planning, and careful execution, co-branding can lead to an incredibly successful marketing campaign.

    Check your wallet, do you have a credit card lie a US Airlines Mileage Plus VISA or perhaps a PACKERS NFL MasterCard? Co-branding. Have you ever purchased Betty Crocker brownies with Hersey’s chocolate? Co-branding. How about girl scouts mint chocolate blizzards? Eddie Bauer and Harley ford trucks. How about the inspiRED campaign?

    So use the conventional wisdom we get from marketing giants like those mentioned above and co-brand your next order of promotional products today. Think it through first, and if you need help, see bubba. With co-branding, you can tap into new markets, and extend your brand beyond the envelope. It’s all about ROI, but it starts with a good investment. …and bedazzlers (if you ask Bret).

  6. Kat

    I’ve never owned a pair of UGGs, nor have I ever heard of Jimmy Choo, but I CAN say I’m slightly excited to see this marriage of brands…maybe I’ll splurge on myself this year. ** Hhmmm I’m guessing they won’t be offered in ShoeDazzle?! :) ** After all, a girl deserves to splurge on herself once in a while! I’ll agree that co-branding is defintely the way to go. As Jill says, it keeps the previous customers interested as well as brings in new ones. And, as for Bret’s bedazzled UGGs, I’d LOVE to see these things…don’t worry Bret, I won’t make fun of you (to your face haha). :)

  7. Bret Bonnet

    Eddie Bauer or Harley + Ford trucks = FUBAR!

    Mike, don’t be jealous, you wish your KEDS were as cool as my bedazzled UGGs. Velcro doesn’t cut it buddy, time to turn in your man card or learn to tie your own shoes.

    I’ve got $ that Landen will know how to tie his shoes before you do! :)

  8. Mattie Lukianov

    I’m bookmarking your site so I never miss anything! Thanks for sharing.

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