Remember when two of the world’s most famous crime fighters met on screen? Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was more than just a major superhero showdown. Bringing them together was actually a form of joint venture marketing — connecting two brands in a way that adds value to both.
Joint venture marketing — or co-branding — involves joining forces with another business to create a successful marketing partnership. It exposes brands to customers they might not otherwise reach. The secret? Finding a product or service that complements yours to achieve greater mutual benefit by introducing your brand to the loyalists of another. When done right, co-branding can result in three major benefits for both sides:
Credibility. Each brand can complement the other’s strong points to give both more clout.
Extended reach. Both customer bases will have the opportunity to gain an interest in the other’s brand.
Greater ROI. Bigger exposure can generate bigger profits.
Just ask Lexus. Since the mid-’90s, the high-end automaker has collaborated with handbag powerhouse Coach to outfit certain models with Coach’s signature premium leather. Smart move — Lexus aligned itself with a complementary high-end lifestyle company while Coach parlayed its brand into the world of luxury vehicles.
And Lexus didn’t stop with Coach. The automaker also has an exclusive deal with AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. All game-goers who arrive at the stadium in a Lexus receive free prime-location parking. Chances are, as fans make their way into the game, they’re wading through a sea of shiny Lexus vehicles.
Mastering the art of co-branding
While smaller companies may have difficulty linking up with big names like Coach or Lexus, there are other ways you can leverage the advantages of joint marketing.
Think about the types of businesses that target a similar customer base. For a mortgage company, it’s a no-brainer to partner with realtors in your area. But what about collaborating with an event company known for its bridal fairs to produce a new home buyer seminar? Here are some questions to consider when evaluating potential joint venture partners:
Do their products or services fill a gap in yours?
Are they similar to the size and reach of your business?
Do they share your vision of the market?
Are their values similar?
Do they have well-established customer relationships?
Like Batman and Superman, choose your partner wisely, and see how a smart co-branding strategy can garner blockbuster reviews from fans new and old.