How Binge is finding street cred and audience reach through partnerships
- 22 February, 2021 11:59
The more diverse and open-minded your partnership portfolio approach is, the more opportunity you give yourself to learn, says Binge chief marketing officer, Louise Crompton.
The experienced marketing leader recently spoke with CMO about the streaming company’s partnerships strategy and how it’s helping to build street credibility, reach and engagement both at the top as well as lower end of the buyer funnel. And if there’s one thing she’s picked up so far, it’s the need to look wide for potential partnerships.
“We are all very set in what we do and have our strategies. But one of the great opportunities about external partnerships with other organisations is learning about the great ways they position their brand,” Crompton says. “Take those tips and tricks as you partner with them and the way they see the world.
“Partnerships is an area I think brands don’t do enough in. When I look at partnerships I’ve seen in the market, there are plenty of traditional ones, but I don’t think there’s enough strategic partnership out there - it’s something we will see more of.”
Binge launched in the Australian market in May 2020 as an ad-free streaming service sitting under the Streamotion B2C streaming and technology business alongside Kayo Sports.
One of Binge’s most successful partnerships to date has been with online retailer, The Iconic, launching a collection on ‘inactivewear’ in the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown in Australia. The collection debuted about six weeks after Binge was launched and came as a result of the two businesses working with agency, Thinkerbell.
Crompton says The Iconic partnership was a natural fit, providing a great introduction and launchpad for Binge in the marketplace and helping position the new brand with “immediate street cred”.
“Partnerships are great for new brands. It helps you to leverage the credibility and awareness of the partner brand as you’re starting to scale up and position yourself,” she says. “The company a brand keeps says something of the brand and how it sees itself in the market. What we found with The Iconic was a brand with a similar personality and a digitally native organisation going after a younger audience – there were a lot of synergies.”
Crompton also believes external partnerships are important for brands no matter their maturity in market. “In some ways it’s beneficial to partner when you’re a brand starting from scratch. We were launching in a very competitive market and we needed the building blocks to come out straight away with guns blazing, so to speak,” she says.
But there has to be benefit both ways for a partnership to work. “The Iconic offered demographic reach, youth and alignment – that partnership was about building awareness of Binge and leveraging The Iconic’s brand and audience in a way that adds value to their audience as well,” Crompton says.
“The Iconic’s key market are digital natives and early adopters of streaming, so we could add value to their base at the same time. And it was a fun thing to do – The Iconic designed the garments themselves, we added some bits of our bold, magnetic brand on the side. It was playing a role more at the top of the funnel. And it was hugely successful as a campaign for us – we lent into social media and influencers to fuel it, plus there was a lot of coverage from traditional media as well.”
Crompton says The Iconic partnership has also led other brands to approach Binge to collaborate. A recent example sitting more at of the funnel is Soda Shades, which Binge has partnered with on a range of blue light glasses. Again, the focus was on hitting the early adopter, youth audience and market.
“It was a cool range designed by Soda Shades to improve the viewing experience. Anything we can do for people to have a good binge is relevant to us,” Crompton says.
“We do see partnerships playing a role right across the funnel too, and we have pursued partnerships with other brands on activities. One shortly to be launched leverages a key category entry point of streaming as a category but is more offer driven. But even with Soda Shades, we offered a month’s free Binge. So we try to make partnership work both in terms of positioning and awareness as well as getting people to sample and try the product.”
Finding partnerships that fit
Vital to ensuring partnerships pursued not only make sense but also prove impactful is the work Binge has done to clearly articulate its brand position, values and approach to market, Crompton says.
“I’m a big believer that if you get your brand architecture right, it can be very organising and help you make really clean and clear decisions. We did a lot of work in launching Binge to clearly articulate our point of view and purpose,” she explains. “When it came to looking at The Iconic opportunity, for example, it was simple and easy to tick that partnership box; it made absolute sense.”
Looking to other partnership opportunities, Crompton says her team often comes back to that brand architecture as a set of guardrails.
“Does it to help us tell our story, to convey our brand point of view, and is there an alignment from a personality and brand positioning perspective? If you get your architecture right at the beginning, it becomes quite simple to work out which partners are right for you,” she says.
Also helping Binge actively embrace partnership is parent company, Streamotion’s commitment to partnerships as a core part of its ethos. As Crompton points out, the company has longstanding partnerships with technology providers such as Telstra, while sister business, Kayo, has also actively been striking partnerships in market.
What usually prevents partnerships from coming to fruition is therefore more a result of operational, logistics and timing challenges, Crompton says. “Quite often, it’s about whether the timing works for both parties – it’s a matter of what else is going on in a marketplace and when you can fit a collaboration in,” she adds.
A third string to the partnerships bow for Crompton is tapping into cultural themes and trends. “What we tried to do with The Iconic partnership is tap into a bit of the cultural zeitgeist,” she says.
“Being culturally relevant and to themes of the time is critical. In our case with The Iconic, the fact was consumers had been sitting at home on our couches for some time through the lockdown. So we launched this with a very tongue in cheek approach – the COVID connection there was understanding the temperature people were feeling and they were looking for a bit of escapism and fun.”
First and foremost, thinking about when and where to partner – whether it’s top or down the funnel – should be a fundamental part of the marketer’s arsenal, Crompton says.
“Traditionally, a lot of partnerships have been down the bottom of the funnel and looked to leverage audiences in an instant way that grabs business quickly and with very short-term focus. Pushing them up the funnel is an interesting idea. That’s what we have been testing and exploring with our partnerships,” she continues.
“The other thing for us is considering how people come into the category and then look to partner with the right brands that help trigger the entry into the category. How can we position the brand when they’re thinking about things that might bring them into our category?
“It’s about choosing partnerships strategically and in a clever way. So understand what makes sense for the consumption of streaming, then how you pop the brand up top so a consumer says, tonight, I’m going to do this.”
Check out more of CMO's series of brand partnerships here:
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