Co-branding Considerations

Determining your strategy.

Diana Lillicrap 3.10.2015

When it comes to determining an appropriate co-branding strategy there are several factors to consider—audience understanding, visual hierarchy, and long term goals, to name a few. Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.

Reasons to co-brand

Co-branding can be very beneficial to both brands if done for the right reasons. Typical rationale to undergo a co-branding initiative might include:

  • Strengthening a brand by association or endorsement of a more reputable brand.
  • Tapping into new audiences to gain cross sales or reach opportunities.
  • Transitioning a brand due to mergers, acquisitions, or other business changes.

Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, your approach to visual hierarchy, message development, and even timing of your efforts may be considerably different.

Confirm your goals

Before you jump head first into a co-branding venture, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Step back and ask a few questions to confirm your goals:

  • Is one brand more or less recognizable with audiences and will it benefit from a direct association with the other brand?
  • Are the audiences for the brands the same? Would audiences benefit from an awareness of both brands?
  • Are there valid reasons for audiences to understand the relationship between the brands?
  • Is the desire for brand association one that is purely internally focused (because of funding, leadership, or other motives)?
  • Are the big-picture goals the same for both brands (or at odds)?
  • What is your long-term strategy for both brands? Will they ever merge? Will they transition further apart?
  • Does either brand have existing associations with other organizations or brands? How extended or complicated is the existing brand hierarchy for both brands?
  • Do you have the budget in place to support marketing of new co-branding efforts?

Once you answer these questions, you should have a better sense of the situation and what benefits and challenges you can expect with your co-branding effort. From there, you can make decisions that will be most advantageous for both brands.

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