Co-Branding – A Voyage Of Opportunities

Co-Branding – a basic understanding being “Partnership of two different brands.” The motive behind this is basically gaining mutual benefit for the brands which have formed an alliance to work together. It can work both favourably and be drastic at times. What needs attention is that the brand you are looking to join hands with, shares the same synergy or not. The mutual efforts must benefit consumers and bring them closer to the brand. It is basically the leadership brand’s share that helps them attain the Sync.

There are key Parameters to be focused on before going along for such associations, for which my learning along the way includes:

  1. Defining what both brands want out of the relationship before they start working together. These expectations need to be realistic.
  2. Co-creating value in the form of product, services or ideas, like Kid Rock and Harley Davidson agreeing to offer limited edition, co-branded Rebel Soul merchandise. It also featured a line coined by Kid Rock, “I can’t hear you over the rumble of my freedom”, giving the brands a perfect Sync with Distinct Consumer experience.
  3. Finding similar areas of interest. Common passions make for a more authentic relationship. It helps the brands rule out activities that won’t help them meet their goals. For instance, Dodge Ram and country musician Zac Brown have successfully joined forces around a common interest: community goodwill. The relationship is no gimmick–Ram has a history of working with country artists to support charitable causes, and Brown founded Camp Southern Ground.
  4. Commitment from both ends is essential. Just announcements won’t help make a relationship. It has to be nurtured and strengthened just like a garden. Like Jordan and Nike created a standard for committed relationship between a company and individual superstar brand. Jordan did more than collaborate with Nike, He became their business partner. Jordan brand, a Division of Nike helps him earn 80mn$ annually post-retirement.

A famous example that most of us have come across is of ‘Coke Studio’. The show is produced by the Coca-Cola Company along with Viacom India. Since its inception in 2008, Coke Studio has been popular throughout the country, receiving critical acclaim and frequently being rebroadcast on numerous television and radio stations.

Coke Studio

It is one of the most popular music programmes in Asia and is a local brand product of Coca-Cola.“We want to combine the physical experience of drinking a Coke with the virtual experience of listening to, discovering and sharing music,” explains Joe Belliotti, Coke’s director of entertainment marketing. “Our ambition is to have a Placelist associated with everywhere Coca-Cola is enjoyed.”

Another such hit combination was of two iconic American brands: Apple and Nike. It was like marriage made in heaven when these two famous brands came together with an offering not anyone thought of. The Nike + IPod sport Kit which was a huge hit. The runners now had a unique gadget with music and added feature to track training progress to them motivated.


Both companies focused on their core strengths. Apple brought the hardware and the music. Nike provided the running shoes and website. While other solutions offered more features, what made Nike+ so special was its simplicity. It just worked, so when you started running, you could forget you were even using it. It has been more of leadership for the two. Listen to What CEO Nike has to say about how they come together with Apple.

Many travel companies in past have tried to explore co-branding as well. Airlines bought hotels and car rentals Companies, hoping to create a seamless brand experience for their customers. The idea failed as people saw a plane trip to be a, “Plane trip”, and Hotel was different than that. The scope of work for future co-branding still lies in areas like Travel and Tourism industry. Let’s see how these brands come up with merging these experiences and their brands in near future.

Author: Saurabh Rai

Saurabh Rai A passionate philanthrope, Saurabh is a  Pure Marketing Soul From IFIM B-School, his interests include sports and reading. He is  currently doing his internship at Britannia.

Follow him on Twitter: @saubzone


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