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Is This Partnership the Right Move for Your Brand?

Blank cosmetic brand

Chances are you have amassed a strong base of brand-loyal supporters and companies have already started reaching out for potential partnerships. Many of these could be lucrative revenue streams for your bottom line. But in the world of brand partnerships, how do you know if a partnership is beneficial to your brand beyond the paycheck? The brand identity you have built needs protection with every business decision. So how can you make sure a brand collaboration you embark on will elevate your brand and not alienate your consumers? Here are three steps to determine just that.

1. Pinpoint each entity’s brand identity – both yours and the potential partner.

Imagine one of your brand pillars is professionalism. Your brand prides itself on being crisp and polished, and your imagery and voice are always business formal. A lucrative proposal crosses your desk to partner with Hot Topic, a brand associated with teen rebelliousness. And man, it sure looks enticing because that extra revenue stream would help you hire a new sales agent to bring in even more clients.

Yet, if you follow through with such a partnership, you may cause irreparable harm to your business by tainting the most valuable asset you possess: the brand identity. In the book, From Individual to Empire, Laura takes a deep dive into the psychological-based marketing tactic called transference. Research has proven that one brand, when side by side with another, will transfer its brand identity to the other and vice versa.

In this particular example, we've chosen to use a brand that is the antithesis of professionalism to drive home the point. If the brands clash, the consumers will be left woefully confused, and potentially turned off. If your audience begins to question your purpose or brand identity, they will turn elsewhere and not think twice.

To prevent this, the very first thing you should do is make a list of the brand pillars of the other company and confirm their pillars will coincide with yours naturally and authentically. If any of them stand in opposition, this short-term partnership may seem nice in theory, but will not benefit either brand long-term.

2. Find the shared message.

Now that you’ve identified both entity’s brand pillars, this should be an easy task. Is there a narrative attached to any pillar that is shared between both brands? If so, this is where you should lean in.