Co-branding is a marketer’s dream. Rather than go it alone, two brands join forces to maximize their marketing efforts. Each brand gets its message in front of an entirely new audience and, here’s the kicker, saves money while doing it. Expenses are split between the two companies.
For small businesses on a budget, co-branding can be just the way to reinvigorate their marketing and achieve greater brand awareness.
Our client, Chris Pendergast of Farmers Insurance of Cold Spring, is the perfect example of co-branding done right. He has successfully co-branded his agency with a number of small businesses in the Cold Spring, Minnesota, community – from supermarkets to cinemas.
“It keeps the cost low, and it gives my potential customers a better experience,” he says. “I want to make sure I’m reaching the right people, spending the right money and getting the right return. A small-business owner can’t afford to make the investment and not see a return.”
Filling A Need
Pendergast’s latest co-branding program began after a conversation with ePromos Brand Consultant, Matt Thompson. Both have children who attend KIDSTOP, a school-age childcare program at 13 schools throughout Minnesota.
Light bulbs went off for both marketer and brand consultant when they learned that children are required to bring a water bottle each day.
Thompson pitched the idea to Pendergast: Promotional water bottles for all the kids in the program. He’d be providing a necessary item while getting his brand out there.
Forming A Strategic Partnership
Pendergast approached Jimmy’s Pizza for a co-branding opportunity. He’s a local insurance provider; Jimmy’s is a local pizza place. The alliance made sense. Both brands can benefit from the partnership, and both have similar target audiences. Without crossover appeal, co-branding won’t work.
Both brands had their logos featured on the water bottles. Pizza coupons inserted in the bottles kicked the promo up a notch. When you’re marketing to kids and families, think about what’s going to be used and appreciated.
A water bottle is one of those perpetually useful items, and a coupon for free pizza is right in line with what busy parents need – a night off the hook for preparing dinner.
Both brands came away looking smart. They understood the needs of their target audience, and they delivered a tangible product to keep their companies top of mind.
For Pendergast, promo water bottles were exactly what he needed to get his agency noticed by his core audience: young families.
“I don’t expect people to see a water bottle and switch to Farmers,” he says. “But people are starting to notice our presence in the community. The program will definitely pay a dividend in the future.”
This co-branding partnership rocked for a variety of reasons:
- The brands meshed well together – they’re both small businesses that serve the local market.
- They honed in on a common interest – providing something useful to families.
- The brands used their marketing budgets efficiently, splitting the cost of the promotional items.
Sometimes in marketing, two is better than one. If the collaborative effort makes sense for both brands, co-branding is a cost-effective way to promote your company and get your brand seen by the masses. Check out another example of co-branding done right.