How A Strategic Marketing Partner Adds Value

What is Partnership Marketing?

Partnership marketing, also known as co-branding, is when two entities come together to promote a brand, product or service. It could be two brands collaborating, a brand and an influencer or celebrity, or even a non-profit organisation, a sports team, or a government agency. This partnership can be a powerful way to reach new market segments and gain new customers. 

There are plenty of brand partnerships out there, from Doritos partnering with Burger King to make some spicy fries, to GoPro partnering with Red Bull to capture Red Bull’s extreme sports events. Some brands pair incredibly well together, to the point where it’s hard to imagine them apart. Some are fairly incongruous, but the unlikelihood of their collaboration is what sparks interest, such as Balenciaga and Crocs.

Partnership Marketing

Who Can Be A Strategic Marketing Partner?

A marketing partner can be just about any business, individual or organisation. Even if the two entities seem completely different, they can still have the same values and work well together to benefit both brands. Here are some examples of potential marketing partners:


Partnering with an influencer is a good way to promote your brand, especially if you both occupy the same niche. You can tap into their already engaged audiences, and leverage the authenticity and trust they have already built. Not every influencer will be a good fit for your brand – look for more than just the amount of followers they have when choosing an influencer to work with.

Non-profit Organisations

Partnering with a charity or a non-profit is a good way to demonstrate your brand’s values and corporate social responsibility, or CSR. This can result in a more positive brand image and shows that your brand genuinely cares about good causes. The football team Nottingham Forest partnered with the UN Refugee Agency, displaying its logo on their shirts and pledging to use their influence to drive awareness of the UNHCR’s work.

Local Community Groups

Partnering with local communities can bring extra credibility and local recognition to your brand. You could sponsor a local event or sports team to enhance your reputation in your local area. This could tie in quite nicely with the above benefits of partnering with non-profits if you choose a local charity.

Other Brands

A good brand collaboration can result in success for both parties. It’s not necessarily a problem if both brands exist within the same niche, or if they are completely different – the important thing is that both brands share the same values and can work together towards common goals. 

Famous People

Having a celebrity as a brand partner can be great for raising the profile of your brand and introducing your products to new markets. Some celebrity partnerships can go on for decades – look at Nike and Michael Jordan. There is always the risk that a celebrity will do something to embarrass your brand and the partnership will do more harm than good, e.g. Kanye and Adidas.

Artists and Creatives

Collaborating with artists and other creatives is ideal for positioning your brand as one that is up-to-date with popular trends. Artists can help create sought-after, limited-edition products that are visually stunning – take a look at fashion brands like Vans and Louis Vuitton who regularly collaborate with artists to help the brand stay fresh and exciting.

The Main Types Of Strategic Marketing Partnerships

Product partnerships

This is a common partnership which has brought us the Doritos Locos Taco, Marmite-flavoured Walkers crisps, and Greggs Primark hoodies. A bizarre-sounding collaboration can spell huge success and virality if it hits just right, even for a product that is never actually available for sale, like Heinz Terry’s Chocolate Orange Mayo.

Product partnerships don’t always spell success – consider the fairly unimaginative collaboration between Nike and jewellery brand Tiffany’s, which was slammed due to their shoes being ‘boring’.


Sponsoring an event can be a great way for your brand to reach a much wider audience. It’s common to see brand logos on every available surface at sports events and other public arenas. Your brand doesn’t have to be huge to become a sponsor – you can sponsor smaller events that cater to a specific niche, or local events that are close to your business.

Content marketing partnerships

Two or more businesses can collaborate on content marketing campaigns as well as on products. Working together can help boost one another’s online profile. Something as simple as a collaborative blog post, social media campaign, podcast or other media can offer benefits to all involved. It can be hard to measure the success of content marketing partnerships, so a holistic approach should be taken when calculating the ROI of such a campaign.

Affiliate marketing partnerships

Affiliate marketing is fairly simple to implement, and it’s as simple as offering a commission to people or entities who drive business to your brand via their website or social media channels. Affiliate marketing can work very well when combined with influencer marketing campaigns, as they promote the brand in exchange for commissions whenever someone uses their custom link or discount code. Amazon has been hugely successful with the Amazon Affiliate Program, which launched in 1996 and currently holds a 37.5% market share of all affiliate programs. 

The Benefits of Strategic Brand Partnerships

Both parties in a strategic brand partnership have something to gain from the collaboration – here are some of the main benefits.

Reach a new market segment

A good partnership should put your brand in front of a whole new audience who may not have seen or purchased from your brand before. Collaborating with a completely different brand could double your potential customer base. Brand partnerships that have a similar customer base are also worth doing, as it makes it even easier for customers to buy from both brands. Look at McDonald’s and its long-term supply chain collaboration with Coca-Cola. It’s not a huge reach to say that McDonald’s fans probably also like to drink Coke and are well aware of the brand, but their collaboration is a great example of the perfect strategic brand partnership. Coke has been supplying its drinks to McDonald’s since 1955 and ensures that anyone who gets a drink with their Big Mac will be getting a Coca-Cola product at the same time, benefiting both brands. 

Marketing partnerships are better value for money

Collaborating with another brand means you get access to their resources and expertise as well as your own, meaning that your marketing budget can stretch further. Say if one brand has a strong influencer marketing base, but another is killing it with their email marketing, they can join forces and get the best of both worlds.

Increased brand visibility

When you partner with an established and trusted brand, you can also gain that same trust and credibility from their audience. This is ideal for startups who want to quickly establish themselves in the market, or older brands who want to remain relevant. 

Strategic marketing partnerships can be incredible for all brands involved. If you want to get started in partner marketing, make sure that you are both aligned in terms of goals and values before starting to collaborate. Need some assistance? SK can help implement your ideal partner marketing strategy – get in touch with us today.

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