Everyone wants to monetise their IP, and brands have huge value. Building brand partnerships leverages brand exposure to mutual benefit. Sometimes it’s about money, but often it’s about the power of partnership to extend the reach of the brand. How do you make your brand appealing for partners? How can you make sure you find the right partner to ensure maximum engagement and reach? And how can you make the most of platforms and data that is now available to make sure you utilise the power a partnership can bring while resonating with your target audience and remaining front of mind?
Over the last decade there has been a huge increase in the data available, which has enabled brands and right holders to form connections that drive emotionally and commercially relevant partnerships to ensure for longer happier relationships. Relationships that work and are remembered, rather than the many partnerships that unfortunately get swept under the carpet.
Partnerships in business are no different to those in real life – the best ones come when they work hard to achieve the same goal. Connexi recently ran some informal research, through its exclusive partnership with SMG Insight, with a range of consumers across different ages and genders, who had a range of interests to find out which partnerships stood out to them. The partnerships they remembered, included Robinsons & Wimbledon and Emirates & Arsenal, stood out because not only were they a correct fit based on audience demographics, but they also mirrored each other’s values, and more importantly the content was sexy and engaging.
Robinson’s partnership with Wimbledon saw 45% stating they would go on to recommend the product, and Emirates – Arsenal partnership was 26%. Interestingly, Heineken did much better from their partnership with UEFA Champions League, with 94% stating they were aware and 20% stating they would recommend.
Particularly interesting from the research was the ranking in terms of who would recommend a product based on their partnership with the sports organisation. Robinson’s partnership with Wimbledon saw 45% stating they would go on to recommend the product, and Emirates – Arsenal partnership was 26%. Interestingly, Heineken did much better from their partnership with UEFA Champions League, with 94% stating they were aware and 20% stating they would recommend.
Across all the top five partnerships, which also included Aviva and premiership Rugby as well as Carlsberg and Liverpool, awareness was over 90%. But what actually makes a good partnership, and how can brands and clients go about finding the right partner with so much choice out there now?
By clearly defining your objectives before you start the search you ensure your partnership answers your business problem and determine which of your current goals or strategies the sponsorship can help achieve, versus creating new ones. Using a platform that allows you to detail your specific requirements and objectives will ensure you’re only presented with the options best suited – rather than having to wade through options that don’t meet your needs.
However, you should also ensure you have gathered enough data to paint a clear picture of who your target audience is before you start. The power of data has never been more relevant than it is today, and it is crucial to ensure you find the right asset to match your target audience. By finding similar assets that match your own brand values you will ensure the partnership will resonate while building awareness within a new, but targeted, audience.
But finding the right partnership is about more than just the numbers. It is important to maximise engagement with pre and post messaging, not just having a highly engaged audience “on the day’. Getting the message right, and ensuring it is publicised widely and frequently will increase awareness and engagement across the whole campaign or relationship.
Another important point to touch on is digital transformation, which has enhanced the value of sponsorship over recent years. By looking and tracking engagement rates, it allows brands to choose assets that not only have similar audiences but also an audience that provide high levels of engagement. This allows you to be as targeted as possible and ensure your partnership is as successful as it could be. Make sure to compare online engagement levels of the right holder’s audiences, not just the relevancy of their audience.
For me the leading brands that are really successful at securing all of these are Red Bull, HSBC and Nike. The recent Nike partnership with Colin Kaepernick perfectly captured all four points, although it was met with controversary from the off. Brands going political can always be dangerous, but this time around, the results have worked in Nike’s favour. By picking a side, not only does it capture the attention of distracted consumers, but also it shows Nikes influence by taking a stand on things that matter.
Obviously there have been cases where the partnership hasn’t got it quite right, although we’re not ones to name names. However, there have been occasions where brands have had great ambitions to work with clubs, and individuals have let them down causing the sponsorship to be pulled – the Nike, Lance Armstrong drug scandal is an example of this. When Newcastle United attempted to enter into a partnership with Wonga they conducted their own research, asking more than 1,000 supporters what they thought of the partnership. 23% stated they were “fairly unhappy” and 21% that they were “very unhappy”. With 39% saying neither happy nor unhappy, and only 4% saying they were “happy” – the deal ended up getting pulled.
As a brand, it’s important to remember the consumer, and ask them their opinion where possible. This, as well as following the tips listed above, will ensure you are perfectly prepared for the best type of partnership you can find, and will see the best results.