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How To Be a Great Partner



There are a ton of benefits to building co-branded partnerships, including cost-effective marketing strategies, bigger audiences, and the opportunity to quickly create relationships with new leads. Which is why building your partnerships and being a great partner is essential.

Brand partnerships, often referred to simply as co-branding efforts, leverage your audience and marketing prowess with that of a similar (but non-competing) brand. For examples of co-branding in action, look no further than partnership successes like Spotify and Starbucks, Taco Bell and Doritos, and Nike and Apple. Or, the OGs of co-branding success: McDonald’s and TY Beanie Babies, which is so old we couldn’t find a linkable source for it.

All of these partnerships are/were successful because they brought together two audiences with similar interests and offered a product or service that appealed to both. And while we can’t see behind the scenes, it’s safe to say that both brands in these partnerships worked equally hard to make success happen.

If you’ve ever been in a group project where you’re the one doing all of the work, then you know how frustrating it can be to partner up with varying levels of interest and effort. So to make your co-branding campaign a winner, you’ll want to be sure to be the best partner you can be — and these tips can help.

1. Be Honest and Transparent

Most brands are not in the habit of sharing their thoughts, plans, or processes with other businesses, but if there’s ever been a time to be an open book with your marketing strategy, it’s when you’re co-branding. Because you and your partner are working toward common goals, you’ll need to be transparent when it comes to things like objectives and metrics — and you should expect them to do the same.

2. Create Realistic Schedules and Timelines

Successful brand partnerships don’t happen overnight. There are a lot of moving parts that need to be fit into place, both in terms of individual brand strategies and the co-branding strategy. As you schedule out your tasks, be realistic in your timing, and coordinate with the other brand’s marketing team so you can come up with a schedule that works for everyone.

If a due date seems tight, or you’re pretty sure you won’t have something ready by a certain deadline, then let your partner know. Save them the worry of whether or not you’re going to deliver what you promised by simply telling them upfront when you have other items on your plate that may compete. This will allow both of you to plan ahead and move things around before you reach the point of no return.

3. Keep Your Promises

Trust is at the foundation of all fruitful relationships, so if you say you’re going to do something, make sure to actually do it. This extends to any work that you take on, including content creation and promotion. Bring to the table everything that you can, and never leave your partner wondering whether you’ll come through.

4. Stay Organized

Any time you walk into a meeting with your partner, your materials and thoughts should be in order. In addition to more efficient discussions, it shows you’re putting in the work and are as committed as your partner is to putting together a great campaign.

Create a timeline ahead of time and designate each deliverable, and keep that handy for your meetings and follow-ups. This will keep each party accountable and assist with organization as you work to deliver on-task and on-deadline.

5. Follow Up When Necessary

If you need something from your partner, just ask. A quick email can clear up a lot of uncertainty, and it’s easier to follow up with a question or comment than to go off assumptions. Occasionally this may mean following up about things you’ve asked for but haven’t received, which will help everyone stay on schedule and is a good partner practice to follow.

However, don’t immediately hit send without first looking back through your correspondence to see if you missed an update. This is where staying organized can come in handy, too. Make sure you know the status of certain items by checking your previous emails. If you can’t locate what you need, then reach out for an update.

6. Be Easily Accessible

You don’t need to give your partner your home phone number, but you should make sure to be as accessible as you can during standard business hours. Having two teams on one project doubles productivity, but it also creates a longer chain of roles and approvals. If your partner can’t get in touch with you, it might mean they can’t do their work, and deadlines will need to be shifted (which can have a negative impact on your campaign).

7. Deliver Bad News Right Away

Wrong link included in the webinar invite? Conversion rates not performing how you anticipated? If you’ve got bad news to share, it’s best to do it sooner than later. It can be embarrassing to admit that you’ve made a mistake or taken some missteps with your campaign strategy, but the quicker you can get it out in the open, the quicker you can work together to find a solution.

8. Always Provide Value

In a way, you’re selling your marketing talents when you sign up for co-branding. And as a salesperson, you have to show the other brand that you bring value to the relationship. So long as you’re doing hard work with a good attitude, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not that’s the case. Be proud of what you’re adding to the equation, and the rest will fall into place.

But don’t get complacent. Make sure you think about the areas in which you can provide more value or offer a little extra, if possible. Your partner will thank you for it and remember it for future opportunities.

Be the brand partner that you want to see in the world. All of the tips above will help you be a better partner, and by default, foster a better campaign. And as a good rule of thumb, only work with brands who do the same in return.



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