Smart promotional partnerships brokered by a PR firm are one of the most strategic ways to build brand awareness and enhance reputation. Sometimes CMOs may shy away from such partnerships fearing expense or constraints on what the brand can actually “activate.” Yet, if well done, these collaborations can pay off, linking a brand with complementary organizations that can advance the goals of both. For example, we have successfully “married” bedding to wedding registries and children’s cereal to state parks. Read on and start planning a partnership now.
Start at the end. With goals in mind. Avoid being seduced by a partnership opportunity just because the proposing brand is a “cool” company. Ask what you want to ultimately get out of such a relationship; is it introductions to new prospects? Increased media exposure? Or, perhaps there is financial gain to be realized through expense-sharing for mutual brand promotion.
Before you partner, get to know your partner. It goes without saying that due diligence on any collaborator should go beyond brand reputation. It’s also important to examine previous partnerships, if any, that the company has undertaken. For example, in the case of a relationship with a non-profit or quasi-governmental organization, be forewarned that collaboration will entail layers of bureaucracy and lengthy approval processes which will affect timing.
Make sure the partnership is weighted fairly. No one wants to be the one putting in the lion’s share of money or resources for less return than the partner. Feel free to negotiate on each point to make sure your brand maximizes the opportunity.
Maintain flexibility. Often the parameters of a partnership may change through the negotiation process or even after the relationship is established. Keep your “eye on the prize” but be willing to compromise to keep all parties engaged.
Publicize all aspects of the partnership. Promotional relationships afford many opportunities to create buzz for both companies or organizations. Announce your partnership in appropriate trades and seek coverage for each milestone you jointly accomplish. Be sure to include each company’s PR representation to maximize all media opportunities.
Everything but the kitchen sink. Look for all the ways you can “blow out” a partnership. Be fearless in asking to do more and coming up with creative extensions to make the joint effort as big and successful as you can. Make the ideas irresistible and reap the rewards!