What exactly is co-branding? It is essentially the alliance of two, or even a group of companies, that combine their efforts to sell their products and services by bearing each other’s company brands. Different companies can co-brand various components that they sell. A vendor can provide an exclusive product for a retailer, or a celebrity might lend his or her name to a product. Companies can get creative with co-branding ideas.

One of our favorite co-branding examples:

Component Co-Branding

There are a number of areas in which component co-branding makes sense. One of the best examples of component co-branding is with popular children’s toys. The images of dolls, cars, action figures and other popular toys work well on a host of different items, including clothes, bedding, backpacks, toothbrushes and other things commonly used by children. This helps the seller of the toys extend their products into new areas, and it helps the seller of the clothing and other items sell more of their merchandise by imprinting it with the image of popular toys or animated characters. It is a win-win for both brands.

Vendor Co-Branding

Some vendors may want to market at least some of their products in areas in which they normally do not sell their wares. An excellent example is the “giant ball” at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center. Better known as Spaceship Earth, the popular ride is sponsored by computer software giant Siemens. During the ride there are examples of ways in which computer software will continue to make life easier for people. The marketing aspect of the ride is very subtle. Similarly, General Motors sponsors Test Track, another popular Epcot ride. At the end of the ride, tourists get an opportunity to look at and even sit inside some of General Motors newest model vehicles.

Celebrity/Designer Co-Branding

As long as the vendor can afford the price, co-branding with a celebrity can skyrocket sales of particular items. Selling the celebrity item or items can also serve to bring people into a particular retail establishment, who would otherwise not have ventured into that particular store. Sometimes high end designers may choose to create a lower cost item to sell in mainstream stores, thereby opening up their line to a whole other level of consumers. This is another win-win for the retailer and the celebrity or famous designer.

The Benefits of co-Branding

Co-branding serves to benefit at least 2 parties by trading on the good will of both brands. This marketing strategy is a great way to quickly introduce a brand to another vendor’s loyal customers, who may have never had an opportunity to see the particular brand. It can be a fast and cost effective way of gaining new customers. The consumers who are already sold on the quality and integrity of one product or service automatically trust the newly introduced brand.

Before jumping into a co-branding partnership, consider your goals. Decide which of your products it makes the most sense to co-brand, and which distribution channels might work best on your brand. Also, make sure that co-branding will not harm sales on your core-line of products and services. Having a well thought out, strategic plan is extremely important when entering into a co-branding collaboration.