Businesses often engage in partnership marketing to achieve mutually beneficial business and marketing goals. These shared goals could include lead generation, sales growth, and even just elevated brand recognition and credibility.
- How Can Brand Partnership Marketing Add Value to the Customer and the Partners?
- It helps you stand out from the crowd
- Solidifies your brand’s identity
- Gives customers extra value
- Better conversion rates
- Examples of Successful Brand Partnerships
- Spotify + Uber
- Spotify + Starbucks
- Airbnb + Flipboard
- MasterCard + Apple
- American Express + Amazon
- Balmain + H&M
- Apple + Nike
- H&M + Alexander Wang
- JD Gyms (multi-partner programme)
There are many different types of partnership marketing, and it's not limited to collaborations between just two companies. Businesses often launch partner programmes to give them access to a network of relevant partners to maximise the potential of partnership marketing.
The most popular alliances involve affiliate marketing partners promoting a brand’s product or service to their audience and receiving commissions for achieving preset sales or promotion goals.
Ultimately, the purpose of partnership marketing is to help all parties advance their own marketing goals through a mutually beneficial relationship.
In this article, we’ve put together some partnership marketing examples to inspire your own partner programmes, but first..
How Can Brand Partnership Marketing Add Value to the Customer and the Partners?
It helps you stand out from the crowd
Ads, alerts, pop-ups and the like are so commonplace now that many people have conditioned themselves to ignore them. The usage of ad blockers has increased, reaching new heights even on mobile devices. This means businesses must transition to more creative means of reaching their target audience.
Forming alliances with relevant partner brands helps differentiate your offerings from the white noise customers are trying to tune out. It effortlessly communicates the value of your offerings—and more importantly—puts it in front of the right audience.
Solidifies your brand’s identity
When a small, newer company joins up with a more large, established one, both companies increase their exposure. The larger brand might get exposure to a more targeted subset of consumers by forming an alliance with a startup. Increased credibility and access to a larger audience are some of the benefits the smaller brand can look forward to.
By forming such alliances, you increase the likelihood that your target audience will positively link your brand with the featured brand.
Gives customers extra value
Sharing your audience with a partner isn't only about getting access to their audience in exchange. If you carefully select your partners, you can provide substantial value to your current customer base.
For instance, an online food service can partner with a gym to provide extra value to its customers. While this partnership might seem strange at first, a closer look might reveal something different.
The food service could offer its customers discounts on a gym membership as an incentive for purchasing meal ingredients and recipes. New gym members could also get access to recipes or meal ingredients included in their sign-up package.
They will get actual value from being introduced to a high quality partner that can offer them unique solutions. There will be more long-term brand loyalty as a result of this kind of partnership.
Better conversion rates
Users that find your site through a partnership marketing effort are more likely to convert since they are already interested in what you have to offer.
Timing your campaign well can also help you capitalise on consumers' buyer intent to make a purchase. When you think about it, it's evident that if you key into your partner's audience buyer flow, you will reach them at the perfect time.
Examples of Successful Brand Partnerships
When executed correctly, partnership marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies and can propel rapid expansion, significantly increase revenue, and deliver a whole host of benefits and advantages. It positions your business for sustained success through a network of dynamic, lasting collaborations.
The most successful advertising alliances are formed between companies whose target customers have a lot in common with one another, both in terms of demography and the values and interests that both groups prioritise.
Here are some partnership marketing examples between renowned businesses:
1) Spotify + Uber
Streaming app Spotify provided "Soundtrack for Your Ride," in a unique collaboration with Uber. These two brands couldn't be more different, but they share the same goal: expanding their user base.
While waiting for their Uber ride to arrive, passengers are encouraged to log in to Spotify and play some tunes during the trip. Listening options can be selected from user-created playlists.
Customers of both Uber and Spotify will benefit from this creative co-branding partnership. And if users know they can listen to their favourite music on their next journey, they are more likely to choose Uber and Spotify over other similar services.
2) Spotify + Starbucks
Spotify continues to leverage the undeniable power of partnership marketing.
Using music to set the mood, they partnered with Starbucks to further its reputation as a high-end coffee shop. To create a "music ecosystem," Starbucks and Spotify joined together in an unusual kind of co-branding partnership, with the former gaining access to the latter's extensive music library.
Employees at Starbucks receive a premium Spotify membership as part of the programme, allowing them to create playlists (accessible to customers via the Starbucks Mobile App) to play in the store at all hours. Spotify’s artists will benefit from more exposure to the coffeehouse's patrons through this music ecosystem.
This alliance between two powerhouses is win-win since both parties can expand their customer bases without diluting their identities.
3) Airbnb + Flipboard
Airbnb, the popular room-sharing service that connects travellers with local hosts to stay in their lodgings, formed a partnership with the news brand, Flipboard.
Like a social media feed, Flipboard compiles news and trending items that people have shared on social networks and lets you quickly "flip" through it. To that end, Airbnb and Flipboard have collaborated to launch a new feature called "Experiences," which provides Airbnb guests with relevant lifestyle content based on their interests.
The partnership has since grown to include a new initiative, Trips. This new development lets Airbnb guests choose hosts who share their interests and then schedule activities with those hosts while on the road. This collaboration exemplifies the power of businesses to engage with consumers on a personal level by providing them with relevant, personalised content that encourages them to use their products.
4) MasterCard + Apple
When two businesses work together, the result might be something more than simply a nice project: they often provide practical value. This alliance is an excellent example.
The introduction of Apple Pay changed the way many consumers make purchases. With this software, users can save their credit or debit card information on their devices and access it whenever they need it, even if they don’t have their cards. However, the success of this software depends on the adoption of this technology by credit card companies. If credit card companies can't work with the newest payment method, they'll be at a disadvantage.
To get a leg up on the competition, MasterCard was the first major credit card provider to support Apple Pay's card storage feature. Through this collaboration, MasterCard has not only shown its support for a key player in the consumer technology industry, but it has also shown that it is adapting to the changing preferences of its own consumers when it comes to making purchases.
5) American Express + Amazon
Amazon, the colossus of online retail, has millions of customers and merchants using its digital marketplace. The brand partnered with American Express to develop a one-of-its-kind co-branded credit card to help small companies sell more effectively through its platform.
The card made it easier for customers to make purchases and offered more insights into their spending patterns through improved data tracking. Both American Express and Amazon are dedicated to seeing small businesses succeed, and by working together, they were able to raise the bar on both fronts and foster brand trust simultaneously.
6) Balmain + H&M
Swedish retailer H&M has worked with several high-end designers throughout the years. One notable collaboration occurred in 2015 with the Balmain apparel line. Both online and in-store lines formed immediately after the release of this joint apparel line from H&M.
H&M often works with a variety of high-end fashion labels to provide its consumers with authentic designer goods for a fraction of the retail price. This is the definition of a mutually beneficial relationship.
H&M was able to increase its sales thanks to its partnership with Balmain, a brand that is highly sought after yet out of reach for most of the company's target demographic.
With H&M's massive audience of consumers who admire high-fashion labels, Balmain reaped the benefits of widespread brand awareness and attention.
7) Apple + Nike
Since the introduction of the iPod line in the early 2000s, athletic apparel company Nike has collaborated with tech behemoth Apple.
This co-branding effort between Nike and Apple began with the goal of bringing Apple music to Nike consumers during their workouts. Nike+iPod developed fitness monitors, footwear, and clothes that connected users to their music as they worked out.
As a result of the collaboration, Nike+ was born, a system that integrates Apple's iPhone apps with wearable activity trackers sewn into Nike's sportswear. Armbands, shoes, and other merchandise can all incorporate tracking transmitters to keep tabs on distance, time, calorie burn, and even heart rate.
It's a brilliant partnership marketing example that benefits both companies, and given the rise in popularity of fitness monitoring devices, Nike+ is far ahead of the game.
8) H&M + Alexander Wang
It’s an open secret that H&M and Alexander Wang aren't on the same level in terms of quality. As a result, although an Alexander Wang bag can set you back £300, a similar item from H&M might only set you back £50.
What could such opposing brands stand to gain from a partnership?
The pricing gap between the two brands is what ultimately fuels the partnership. H&M can collaborate with a high-end fashion label with a branded product to create limited-edition branded goods to promote its brand positioning as contemporary and stylish.
As a result, potential buyers, who will gradually want to acquire more pieces from his high-end collection, are introduced to luxury labels like Alexander Wang which increases its appeal with H&M’s virtually untapped market.
9) JD Gyms
JD Gyms is one of the UK's leading low-cost gym chains. Having worked with Propello since early 2020, the JD Gyms Plus+ programme uses hyper relevant brand partnerships to deliver ancillary value to premium members.
With exclusive rewards across health, fitness, fashion and meal prep, the value the programme delivers for members has resulted in a significant proportion of members adopting their premium tier.
In addition, the programme continues to support cross promotion and generate thousands of affiliate referrals into the wider JD group of brands
HelloFresh is the world's number one meal kit provider, delivering weekly subscription boxes with rationed ingredients for changing recipes to its customers.
HQ'd in Berlin, Germany, HelloFresh is the United States’ largest meal kit vendor, and boasts operations elsewhere across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Canada.
Prior to working with Propello, HelloFresh utilised brand to brand distribution partnerships solely in printed format. As a result, the amount of potential inventory for partnerships was limited, and had to be carefully planned in advance due to operational constraints with print and fulfilment.
By digitising the programme, Propello has generated valuable data insights, increased the concurrent partnership inventory by over 500% and helped HelloFresh tap into a wider partner ecosystem.
If you're considering launching a brand partnership programme, you will find our Partnership Marketing Playbook a handy resource.
Download your copy to get insights into developing a partner marketing programme and practical tips on launching, optimising and scaling programmes for business growth.