GM Thought of the Week: Partnerships are Key to Deliver Reach and Engagement
Last week we have seen yet more interesting brand partnerships examples in the press. From New Balance and Strava opening a pub in London for would-be marathon runners, to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles looking for collaborations with records labels: partnerships are going from strength to strength. And no wonder: they are cost-effective, fully scalable and, if effectively executed, they score high on reach and engagement. True, the term is overused: “partnership” often describes anything from Groupon offers to Tattinger Champagne sponsoring the BAFTAs. However, strictly speaking, a partnership is a collaboration between two or more like-minded partners who are leveraging on each other’s strengths and capabilities to achieve communication and commercial objectives.
If we take a closer look at the partnership as a commercial model, it’s easy to understand the reasons for its popularity. First of all it’s a model that is, by definition, based on collaboration. In fact, in a fully functioning partnership, stakeholders should constantly engage in a dialectic exchange on know-hows and resources, leading to innovative solutions. It’s a model that gave us Event Cinema, F1, major sports event, festivals and some of the most emotionally engaging consumer campaigns, just to quote a few examples.
Sure, we also see some bad executions. They mainly happen when a collaboration feels contrived and two partners are randomly joining forces. When this occurs, we as consumers, feel short-changed and refuse to buy into the initiative. But let’s take a look at some of the success stories. Event cinema’s box office, thanks to collaborations leading to new digital distribution technologies and a portfolio of content spanning across over 12 genres, is up 18.3% YoY, with an increased market share of over 3%.
Experiences and events rolled out in partnerships with sponsors, city councils and talents, are at an all-time high, thanks to millennials preferring to spend money “making memories” rather than purchasing physical products. TV partnership (or sponsorships) remains key to establish editorial connection and a contextual link between a brand and a show. Finally, as partnership is a model in constant evolution, we should look forward to how market players will use this tool in the future to create deeper and meaningful connections with their audiences.