Perfect partnership: The clever way to market your brand without spending a cent

- January 12, 2022 4 MIN READ
Brand marketing - blue writing on clear screen with man standing behind

Brand collaboration is an easy and effective way to market yourself without spending any money. Here’s how to find the perfect brand partner for your business, writes Therese Tarlinton, author of SWAP! Marketing without Money.

Businesses are always looking for ways to create a deeper connection with their customers and grow their brand. And the truth is many are sitting on assets that other companies would love to have access to.

Using the power of strategic marketing partnerships or brand collaborations as a lever to scale and the opportunity to put your customer first is the post-COVID trend for 2022.

The creative way for brands to do marketing without money

Many brands think that unless they have a large social following, they aren’t partnership potential but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The value of product creation, distribution, professional skills, the customers you serve, your foot traffic or website community is of great value to many other businesses.

The American Express Business Collaboration Index explored the question: Does the investment made in collaboration generate a worthy return?

Unequivocally the answer was YES. The research revealed mid-sized and small businesses achieved a return on their investment faster than they expected. The ROI within six months took the form of increased sales, reduction in costs, or both.

Why brand collaboration is important

Customers are having conversations right now and brands can be part of the information they are actively seeking. But how? By finding other brands that have your mutual customer and collaborating with that other company to exceed the customers’ expectations.

Strategic partnerships are simply relationships you build with other companies who have the same values and the same or similar customer profile. By partnering up, you could create something together that has more value to the customer than you could offer by yourself.

This is a tactic that the big brands have been using for generations.

Think of how long the McDonalds happy meal has had a toy from the latest Disney movie. Tiffany & Co. recently announced their latest collaboration with streetwear apparel brand, Supreme, as a way of finding a new, younger audience for their jewellery.

Locally, Bonds and Japanese-born Australian artist, Kentaro Yoshida, have collaborated to create high quality undies with an array of Kentaro’s colourful designs on them. While Zoe Foster Blake collaborated to create ‘My New Go-To Gin’ with Four Pillars gin distillery. This limited-edition gin bottle came with her Go-To skincare ‘Transformazing sheet mask’ to replenish your skin the morning after, and sold out without within hours of her announcing it on Instagram.

Office team joining hands in teamwork

5 tips to find the right brand to collaborate with

Finding a brand to create a marketing partnership with doesn’t have to be grand, or global.

It could be as simple as co-branded content you both publish on your websites. Or an artist doing a capsule collection with a sculptor where both communities are invited to purchase. It might be an online event where your customers get an experience or knowledge from a guest that they wouldn’t have got from your brand alone.

The main point is for both parties to find a partner they can be themselves with, where you can both contribute and feel like you are both getting something out of the collaboration and can grow.

But the magic formula is to do something the customer will love in an authentic and informative way. You need to make it a three-way win.

Here are five top tips to find brands that are a great fit for your business:

Tip #1: What are your customers asking for that you can’t provide yourself?

Your customers are a great source of inspiration here. It could be a service like Blooming Keepsakes, who preserve the bride’s bouquet after the wedding, that a florist is always asked for. Think outside the box!

Tip #2: What does your customer do right before they buy from you?

A great example is homeowners engaging an interior designer before they buy furniture for their new home. The collaboration between designer Jono Fleming and furniture brand Globe West is a great example of this.

Tip #3: Who do you or your customers admire?

Sparke Helmore Lawyers created an opulent event for 32 VIP clients at the luxury Paspaley Pearls Sydney store location, with Collet champagne and oysters from Harvest Catering. This created a valuable cross-promotional opportunity for all involved.

Tip #4: What other brands share your position in the market?

Like the Four Pillars Gin example above, they have also worked together with Messina on a Christmas pudding gelato, but swapped the brandy for a spiced gin. Clever, right?

Tip #5: Who is already speaking to the customer you covet?

MamaMia podcast Lady Startup Stories interviews past Lady Startup students who share their business journey. This provides a wealth of new potential customers to the business, while their Lady Startup activation plan sees new enrolments from sharing the students’ path to success.

Remember, collaboration can be as creative as you want it to be.

And lastly, think local! While we are all being encouraged to #shoplocal, it’s also the right time to collaborate locally too, and help all our businesses grow together.

Therese’s book, Swap Marketing without Money is released on 31 January 2022. Available on Booktopia, Amazon and KMD Books. 

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