Stand out from the crowd
by Peter Switzer
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins identified how great US corporate CEOs were like mountaineers tackling Everest – they had to progress but they needed to be good at managing the risks of what can go wrong. This same disciplined approach has to be bolted onto the marketing goals of a brand alliance.
Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow, tells marketers that most marketing gets lost in the maze of messages out there. He compares it to fields of brown and white cows: boring to look at, but imagine if a farmer painted a cow purple! Everyone driving by would be knocked out by this unusual purple cow.
Linking brands, especially to big stars, can ‘purple’ your business but you have to make sure you’ve calculated the risk.
In an increasingly online world where building communities is at the core of many marketing plans, brand alliances will flourish. But this trend could not only create some great results in generating business, it could also bring risks.
Ann Marie Rubertone, the founder of Check It Out and author of The One Page Marketing Plan underlines what other marketing opportunities can come out of companies identifying that they have common goals and target audiences.
She suggests trying “buddy marketing” options. “For example, if you send out brochures, you could include a leaflet or business card of another business, which had agreed to do the same for you,” she advises. “This gives you the chance to reach a whole new pool of potential customers.”
Lindstrom agrees, suggesting brand alliances are set to become a dominant marketing approach. “Walk yourself through your customers’ experiences,” he recommends. “Identify product categories they select; identify brands that represent those categories; then compare your brand’s values and proposition with those of likely partner brands. The number of unallied, interesting brands is diminishing as the brand alliance game continues. Quick! Partner up before the number of potential partners shrinks, and, with it, your revenue.”
If these thoughts don’t get your marketing manager’s creative juices pumping, maybe you need a new marketing manager!
- Be clear about what your brand stands for and what your potential partners’ brand values are.
- Choose partners with similar ‘brand missions’ that complement yours.
- Work out how an alliance will enhance your brand – and weigh this up against any potential risks.
- Put yourself in the position of your customer – work out what products and brands they select, and compare these to your own.
- Try ‘buddy marketing’ with complementary brands to reach a bigger pool of potential customers.
- Remember to look at all the brands that may have formed an alliance with a brand you’re seeking to partner. Any damage to their brand could spill over to yours.
- Identify the best companies within fields, disciplines or product categories complementary to yours and team up with them.
Published on: Monday, January 24, 2011