Brand-to-brand partnerships: how brands can build relationships to add revenue channels

An estimated 81 percent of consumers do online research before making a significant purchasing decision. Cold social and display ads no longer appeal to audiences as they turn to trusted third-party resources to gather information before purchasing.    

It’s safe to say advertising as we know it is dead. Google eliminated third-party cookies. Apple released Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) — and other tech giants launched similar user protection to buffer against privacy. Concerns.

When combined with the competitive Adtech market, these improvements become problematic for advertisers as they lose sight of the customers’ journeys. As the advertising industry becomes more muddled, brands are turning to partnerships to establish a more extensive reach with audiences that align with their products or services.

Consumer protection changes the way brands engage with shoppers

Governments worldwide passed legislation to protect internet user privacy while requiring more transparency in advertising. The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Australia’s recent Privacy Act Review Discussion Paper, and many United States federal and state-wide laws in the United States set clear rules and regulations for consumer data collection.

An average consumer sees 4,000 to 10,000 ads daily — but they’ve learned to tune out promotional content and banner ads like white noise. Users say they’re willing to pay for ad-blocking services to avoid distractions.

Ads don’t simply annoy people; they also increase distrust in information delivered by brands they have no relationship with. Research suggests that trust is imperative in modern consumers’ purchase decisions. Brand-to-brand partnerships solve ad aversion by building trusted relationships with audiences through a collaborative effort.

How do brand-to-brand partnerships work?

Brand-to-brand partnerships allow brands to collaborate on strategic marketing campaigns. They tap into established audience trust and loyalty to grow reach, raise awareness around a campaign, and align with high-intent shoppers— which ultimately increases revenue.

Companies can allocate funds from traditional advertising into brand partnerships that build genuine, long-term relationships with their target audience. By forging reciprocal relationships with brands in similar or complementary industries, brands can:

  • Diversify the current marketing mix
  • Cofunction with the other channels
  • Establish or improve stature in the market

Brand partnerships in action

Consumers see brand-to-brand partnerships in action through everyday online engagement without knowing it. For example, Ticketmaster partnered with Spotify to offer listeners concert tickets to see their favourite performers. The “Get tickets” button became integral to the listening experience—this feature added value both to Spotify and Ticketmaster without feeling like an advertisement.

Kayo Sports, a dedicated sports channel in Australia, collaborated with corporate and commercial partners, sports associations, sporting clubs, grassroots clubs, athletes, and other partners. The brand crafted several creative partnership strategies and, as a result, gained almost 400K new subscribers within nine months.

Brand-to-brand partnerships don't have a strict formula, providing freedom to design partnerships that meet both parties' needs while achieving revenue goals. This format makes partnerships accessible to brands of any size and experience, no matter the budget. The only requirement is a solid strategy and the right technology.

Getting started with brand-to-brand partnerships

Partnering with brands that align with your audience helps spread your reach and establishes you as an influential brand in your industry. Here’s how to begin those conversations:

1. Identify your partnership goals and objectives

Before diving into your first partnership, consider what you want to achieve and align the strategy with your company’s overarching goals. How will your partnership results contribute to them? For example, if you use a partnership to reach a new audience, you can help your company expand its customer base.

2. Make your business case with your team

Once you understand the purpose of your partnership program, draft a strategy to present to your team. Crafting a strategic plan will help you secure a budget and resources to make your brand-to-brand partnership program come to life.

3. Consider a partnership platform

Finding the right tool can make or break your success in managing partnerships. Establishing relationships with partners takes time to communicate, process payments, and analyse performance. Explore partnership platforms focusing on automation, accommodation of multiple partnership types, and program scalability.

4. Discover and recruit your first partners

Explore Your customer journey to decide which partners can help you cover touch points during the buyer’s cycle. Then, use your platform’s discovery tool to search for specific brands and reach out to them. Try to look for different partners - diversification is crucial.

5. Measure success to drive growth

After launching your first campaigns, use the data to analyse your partners’ performance and calculate the results of your collaborations. Then, optimise your strategy to drive even more growth to your partnership program and brand.