In a time when it’s hard to get a buyer’s attention, co-branding catches the eye. A month or so ago I came across a page in a Pendleton catalog that offered Pendleton design on Ugg slip-on sneakers. I was sold.
- I like Pendleton’s traditional Southwest designs
- I wear Ugg shoes because they fit me well and are comfortable
- Brand recognition was high for both brands
- I’m a sucker for new shoes.
- The branding was primarily Ugg, which makes sense as the product is shoes.
- The inside of the shoe was the only co-branded location.
- If you are familiar with Pendleton, you’d recognize the design as theirs immediately. The design is on-brand.
As with any manufactured product, repeat customers come to expect certain things. When these things are not met, co-branding can hurt both brands.
- The Uggs didn’t come with the full inside shearling, just a bit on the back heel.
- Because of this, the insole of the shoe left an edge with stitching exposed on one side, which I can feel when I walk. And, because I bought a half-size larger thinking that I needed the room for the thick shearling, the shoe is slightly too large.
In the end, while I like the shoe’s design, I wish it fit better and had the famous Ugg shearling liner all through the insole. Yes, I can purchase that insole separately, but at the Pendleton/Ugg price, I don’t feel like I should have to! Overall, I think less of the Ugg brand than I did. Not good for Ugg. And I think a bit less of Pendleton, too, for accepting a design that didn't include the shearling insole. It comes off as cheap.
Co-branding (sometimes also called strategic partnering) can help build your brand. It’s often used in industry and in the digital marketplace, too. If you’re considering a co-branding campaign, here are some pros and cons to think about.
- If your target market already knows, likes, and trusts both brands it’s a strong impulse to buy
- Your advertising dollar goes farther
- Your reach is larger, since it is the combined reach of both brands
- Successful partnerships can freshen up both brands
- Can be used in non-profit as well as for-profit industries
- If one partner doesn’t perform well, the second partner can lose trust with existing customers and disappoint new customers.
- If you're not a good match the co-branding comes off as unbelievable and strange.
You can two good articles about successful co-branding here:
- The Secrets of Success Co-Brands (From Inc Magazine)
- Back To Marketing Basics: Co-Branding Strategy In The Digital Age
If you want help succinctly identifying your brand (before you look to co-brand) here’s an article from my blog that will help you. I work with clients who need help with business and marketing strategies. You can find out more and get a free workbook on my home page.