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What is Co-Branding and How Could it Benefit Your Print Shop?

19 June 2017
Marketing & Selling Print

What is Co-Branding and How Could it Benefit Your Print Shop?

In the last few decades, co-branding has become increasingly popular among businesses as a way to add value to their customers at the same time as expanding their audience base. To put it simply, co-branding is a marketing relationship between two or more companies which benefits all involved. Famous successful collaborations include Dell computers with Intel processors, GoPro with Red Bull, and Dr Pepper with Bonne Belle lip balm. Read on to learn more about how you could reap the benefits of co-branding for your own print shop.

What Does a Co-Branding Initiative Involve?

Co-branding, or setting up a brand partnership, brings two companies together to create something that will be advantageous to them both. For example, if one company has made a name for itself as a quality brand, but another company has a more youthful target audience, these qualities could be shared by association through a co-branding project. The quality brand would be introduced to a new host of potential customers and the second brand would become associated with high quality products.

These collaborations could be short-term or long-term strategies. In the case of the Dr Pepper and Bonne Belle partnership, the relationship only lasted as long as needed to create a shared product. Yes, you can still buy Dr Pepper flavoured lip balms now but the two companies no longer work together on their products. On the other hand, a sponsorship based brand partnership could be a continuing alliance where the sponsored party receives financial support and the sponsoring party gains exposure plus positive PR material.

Co-Branding Opportunities for Print Shops

The examples we’ve mentioned so far all involve large, international brands but that does not mean that brand partnerships cannot be formed at a local level as well. Co-branding can take many forms, as long as it’s to the advantage of both participating companies, but there are two forms in particular that could work for your print shop…

Complementary partnerships

One strategy would be to find another local business which supports the same target audience as you. That way, both of you can feed off each other’s client lists and provide and all-round service. For example, an obvious choice would be to form a relationship with a local graphic designer or a design agency. You could each offer a discount to the other’s services so that you share an audience base. You could also approach web development agencies and marketing agencies.

Sponsorship deals

Local charities are always looking for corporate sponsors to gain regular, substantial donations. If you were to become an official sponsor for a local charity you could be guaranteed a stall at all their fundraising events as well as your name and logo appearing on any of their printed marketing. You would also gain favour in your clients’ eyes for contributing to a worthy cause.

You don’t have to sponsor a charity if there aren’t any causes local to you that you believe in. Community groups, such as theatre or sports clubs, could be in need of financial support too and they will need a lot of print to advertise their events. University societies, in particular, tend to need lots of posters and flyers to distribute around campus. So, if you’re located in a university town, it may be worth making yourself known to some of the students.

4 Tips for Setting up a Brand Partnership

If this is all starting to sound very tempting to you, we have a few guidelines to consider when organising your own joint venture to make sure you can gain as much as possible from the deal…

1. Choose a brand carefully

Whichever company you choose to collaborate with, you need to make sure that it will be worth it. Think about your clients’ needs and who they might turn to. Does the business you have in mind offer anything that your customers would be interested in? Would their customers be interested in what you have to offer? You should also consider the values of your two businesses. By setting up a brand partnership you are actively endorsing another company so you want to be sure that it is a company that deserves it.

2. Understand what each other wants

When you’ve set up a meeting to discuss co-branding, go in having a clear idea of what you’d like to get out of this relationship. Think about what you already do as part of your marketing plan and think about what the other company do as part of their marketing plan. Then, when you’re in the meeting, make sure that you fully understand what they’re hoping to get out of it too. Only once you both have the same end-goals in mind can you move on to discussing the details of how you’re going to get there.

3. Allocate roles and responsibilities

Hopefully this relationship you’re creating will be a harmonious one with each party pulling its weight. Unfortunately, as with so many relationships, it doesn’t always work out that way. The best way you can avoid this happening is to set down clear rules from the start. Write up a contract so that you have something to refer back to on whose job it is to do what. Even if there’s no money involved, there may be investments made or other kinds of costs to consider and so it’s best to mark out a fair deal for both of you.

4. Set SMART objectives

Just like any other marketing campaign, you need to assess and evaluate the results to decide if it was all worth it. It’s always harder to judge the success of failure of a campaign though, unless you have clear, measurable goals to mark yourself against. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time limited. Keeping to these parameters when setting objectives means that evaluating the campaign’s success becomes a much simpler task.

Setting up a brand relationship is just one of several marketing techniques you can use to bring your print shop to the forefront of your community. Read our blog of 20 Local Marketing Tactics to discover other strategies you can start to implement.


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