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    January 25, 2022
    6 minute read

    How Brand and Retail Collaboration Drives Business Results

    by: Chris Caesar

    We learn these essential principles in kindergarten: the value of caring, sharing, and teamwork. These foundational lessons also come in handy for companies looking to stand out on the digital shelf.

    Brand and retail partnerships are making something of a comeback in 2022, with many discovering that they can’t only build awareness. They need to also foster innovation if they want to lead to greater sales. 

    We’ll review some of the benefits of brand and retail collaboration, as well as a few best practices for teams who may be considering such an approach. 

    How Does Brand and Retail Collaboration Work?

    Typically, a brand and retail collaboration works best when two businesses have overlapping, but not competing, customer segmentations. 

    In other words, they have similar kinds of customers but aren’t necessarily offering them the same kinds of products.

    Those two companies can then work together to create a joint marketing campaign with (ideally) mutual benefit.  

    The Possibilities of a Brand and Retail Collaboration

    The possibilities for an effective match-up are only limited by your imagination: While some combinations might be problematic (e.g., alcohol and cars), a creative, out-of-the-box alliance can elevate your brand’s visibility to a whole new group of interested shoppers. 

    Consider a hypothetical shopper named Bob: Bob is a huge fan of Doritos, and has a habit of eating fast food at least a few times a week.

    While typically not a Taco Bell customer — their restaurant is a bit of a drive from Bob’s house — his brand affinity for Doritos compels him to travel those extra few miles, just to try out the restaurant’s new “Doritos Locos Tacos” offering. 

    While Bob is a work of fiction (sorry Bob), there are certainly many people out there just like him: In the first year of Taco Bell and Frito Lay’s collaboration, Mashed notes that over 1 billion of the now legendary product was sold — a pretty fruitful partnership by any standard. 

    Different Kinds of Brand and Retail Collaborations

    The premise of brand and retail partnerships might seem straightforward enough. But what are some common approaches to undertaking these kinds of arrangements?

    Sales and Distribution Agreements

    In this model, the brand partners with a retailer to sell their product to a larger base of customers — a move that can have a tremendous impact on sales and awareness, especially for a traditionally direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand. 

    Of course, if the product is appealing and successful, the increased sales will be beneficial for both the brand and retailer alike.

    Joint Advertising Campaigns

    Sometimes brand partnerships can be as easy as engaging in a bit of advertising quid pro quo.

    Whether via in-store advertisements, social media/affiliate marketing, or other channels, leveraging each party’s touch points can give both of your omnichannel strategies a serious boost. 

    Promotional Events 

    Coordinating on a cross-over promotional event with a brand partner is a great way to get customers excited about both of your products.

    This can be especially true if your business focuses most of its marketing efforts in digital spaces or is otherwise difficult to promote via in-store retail channels.

    The possibilities, again, are limitless. Your brands could host:

    • Parties;
    • Live events;
    • Pop-up shops;
    • Product launches;
    • Educational seminars; and more.

    As long as you provide something of value for the attendees, they’ll come — and they’ll learn more about your and your partner’s brand in the process. 

    Collaborative Products

    Much like the aforementioned “Doritos Locos Taco,” some of the most exciting examples of successful partnerships occur when two powerful brands come together to create one joint “super product.”

    Massive success stories like Apple Pay (Apple and Mastercard), and the Impossible Whopper (Burger King and Impossible Foods) are both examples of strong collaborations done right. 

    This is also a chance to be creative: sometimes even the least likely combinations (like Warby Parker and Arby’s) can drive a tremendous amount of brand awareness, says Adweek

    Partnership Benefits

    Are there benefits to taking a collaborative approach rather than simply say, going solo?

    Like many of the rules of marketing, there are a number of pros and cons depending on the size, nature, and scope of your business. 

    Attracting New Customers

    While it may seem obvious, sharing advertising resources will increase your brand’s reach much further than if you launched a similar campaign on your own (at least for the same cost).

    In addition, folks who are aware of your brand may decide to give you a second look if one of their trusted brands endorses your products. 

    Broader Distribution Channels and Brick-and-Mortar Real Estate

    Brands that partner with the right retailer might not only see increased sales but improved customer satisfaction and retention, too. This can be a tremendous opportunity to give customers a chance to come face-to-face with your product, rather than viewing pictures or videos online. 

    Remember, you can go beyond simply offering your product on the retailers' shelves: other creative alignments include offering pick-up/drop-off services, dedicated sales staff, or more, depending on your brand’s needs.

    Open Doors With a Brand and Retail Collaboration

    While there’s something to be said about having “too many cooks in the kitchen,” sometimes incorporating a fresh perspective into your planning can be exactly what the doctor ordered.

    Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to experiment!

    Interested in improving your brand’s placement on the digital shelf? Take our 15-question assessment and receive a customized toolkit of actionable growth areas for your business. 

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