Definition: Co-branding is any situation where two or more brands share space on a product, advertisement, or any other promotional or business offerings. Co-branding creates marketing synergy by forming a larger overall customer base which combines the brands' existing customers, highlighting the best aspects of each brand. Online businesses engaging in co-branding have the added visibility of their website and other online properties to further promote a campaign.

How online businesses can benefit from co-branding

Co-branding campaigns can be approached from several angles — potentially more than one. When properly leveraged between compatible brands, it can be a mutually beneficial . Co-branding can be especially effective for ecommerce ventures seeking greater visibility.

Common types of co-branding

Co-branding has almost unlimited applications, depending on the needs of the brands involved. Broadly speaking, it can be broken down into a few categories:

Component Co-Branding: Such as food brands creating a new product that combines their specialty ingredients, or multiple technology companies using each others' components to create a single device.

Joint Venture Co-Branding: Multiple companies collaborate on a larger shared goal, like creating a new technology standard which they co-own.

Media Co-Branding: Movies, video games, and other consumer media are often co-produced between different studios, labels, developers, and/or publishers with shared credit.

National-to-Local Co-Branding: A smaller local company partners with a national-level one for exposure or services, such as local banks offering branded credit cards.

Sponsorship Co-Branding: Two or more brands sponsor an event, such as sports, for shared exposure and goodwill.

Specialist Co-Branding: A company with a single highly-specialized core competency seeks to partner with multiple businesses to highlight its product or service.

When co-branding is a viable option for online businesses

  • Brand A conceives of a product but discovers they lack a core competency needed to successfully develop it, which Brand B has. This can get the product out faster and also capitalize on Brand B's reputation.
  • Brand A has an idea for a venture which is beyond their current financial capacity, but is achievable with more companies investing.
  • Brand A is a lesser-known specialistlooking for exposure, and partners with the better-known Brand B to improve their product.
  • Brand A is looking to diversify its market and partners with a Brand B whose customer base includes those Brand A seeks to reach, especially if their products are complementary rather than competitive.
  • An umbrella corporation co-brands products entirely under its ownership, but which are marketed separately in the consumer sphere. Online businesses with sub-brands
  • An outside party seeks sponsorship for an activity, and Brands A, B, and C contribute small amounts rather than one being the sole sponsor. Ecommerce companies from different industries often team up for sponsorships.
  • In down times, or down markets, brands may collaborate simply as a cost-cutting or efficiency-boosting measure. When an entire vertical market is underperforming, it can make sense to work together and try to lift industry awareness among consumers.

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