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!