Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Engaging thoughts

All posts tagged: business partnerships

Howdy partner – can brands really work well together?

Mon, 4 Jul 2011

Although brand partnerships have been around for years – some successful, some less so – I was intrigued by the news that Heineken and the relatively new national newspaper i are launching a joint hybrid app that will gives readers the chance to read the paper's content in selected pubs and bars.

The initiative forms part of Heineken's Hub initiative, which kicked off in April and involves providing superfast broadband in selected premium bars and pubs across London and Cardiff. The brands will also offer monthly competitions with prizes such as new gadgets and technology.

Brand partnerships in FMCG can work nicely if you are a brand that goes together, although often this is retailer-driven, unless you are Unilever or P&G and you can cross sell your brands by giving freebies or vouchers of one onto another. In the media sector, publishers often bundle magazines to encourage trial but ultimately the partnership has to offer a degree of synergy and consumer benefit.

What’s interesting is that this particular example seems to buck the trend of many brand partnerships, which often adopt the safest route by pairing two brands which have an obvious synergy:  luxury and luxury, indulgent and indulgent, active and active. The tie up between Apple ipod and Nike works because there is a direct and beneficial link between the brands through the offer, whilst the link between McDonalds’ McFlurry with, say, Smarties is based on them both being – allegedly - yummy products.

But perhaps more impact can be achieved if you have a surprising juxtaposition but one that works. So i and Heineken – apart from Heineken getting into media relationships that other beers can’t reach -  may both benefit from the initially surprising fit. Heineken appears a little more intellectual, but not too heavy – the Volvo/Audi of beers - whilst “i” cements its “more rock n roll than its parent” image.

But who knows where this might lead? After Marks & Spencer threatened Ann Summers with legal action for adapting its “Your M&S” logo and slogan for a promotional deal on lingerie and other goods, I suspect we’re still a way off of M&S joining forces with Ann Summers to launch an S&M range. Or are we?

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