Have you used the Apple Watch Nike? It combines the technology of Apple with the benefits of the Nike Club app.
Or did you ever create a Spotify playlist while sipping a Starbucks latte?
These are two examples of separate brands coming together to form a partnership that attracts more customers, saves money, and creates new products.
Brand partnerships aren’t just for big businesses. Anyone earning an income—from small business owners to those working a part-time side hustle—can benefit from brand partnerships for solo entrepreneurs.
Brand partnerships are mutual agreements between two businesses to promote each other’s products.
Brand partnerships aim to increase your sales while cutting marketing costs.
A compatible brand partner shares your goals, market, and identity.
What are brand partnerships?
A brand partnership is when two businesses create a mutual agreement. The agreement usually involves one or more of the following:
Promote each other’s brand
Create products together
Align your values
Join your markets
These partnerships are a marketing move that helps a business expand to a larger audience. Here are several famous brand partnership examples.
How to find a good brand partner
Not all brands should create a brand partnership.
A fitness brand wouldn’t partner with a fast-food restaurant, and a vegan restaurant wouldn’t want to advertise animal byproducts.
For a brand partnership to succeed, both businesses need to align their markets, identity, and goals.
For example, if you sold Cutco knives through Vector Marketing, an ideal partnership might be with a local realtor.
As partners, you could refer potential home buyers and sellers to your realtor. And the realtor could purchase products from you as closing gifts for their clients.
5 Benefits of brand partnerships for solo entrepreneurs
Here are five benefits of partnering with another brand as a solo entrepreneur.
1. Widen your audience
Partnering with another brand joins both of your markets together to create one large audience group.
In the example of Cutco and the realtor, you can refer potential home buyers/sellers and the sale of a home supports your business—allowing both of you to grow your market through the partnership.
Because you’re non-competing partners, you’re sharing your audience without stealing each other’s customers.
2. Increase your sales
Along with increased exposure comes more sales.
For example, Burger King and Impossible Foods combined to create the Impossible Whopper. Burger King saw an increase of over 18% in traffic after introducing the new plant-based burger.
Another way your partnership can lead to sales is by offering a deal. Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ partnered together to create a streaming service bundle. Customers no longer felt they had to choose between streaming services. Instead, each service offered a discount but earned the discounted price back tenfold by the increased number of subscribers.
3. Cut your marketing costs
When you have a brand partner, you also share the costs of marketing. As a solo entrepreneur, you might market your product by doing in person or virual presentations. Or, perhaps you attend trade shows, product parties, or go door-to-door. Each of these marketing techniques comes with a cost.
If you partner with another brand, you’re able to share booths, costs, and time. This collaboration can help save you both money while earning a higher return from the combined audience.
4. Raise your brand’s awareness
Brand awareness is how many people know about your brand.
If you hear soda, how likely are you to picture Coca-Cola?
Large businesses position themselves in a way that their names are synonymous with their products. People don’t need to say they want a Starbucks coffee, they just say they want Starbucks.
As a solo entrepreneur, you can also raise awareness of your brand by expanding your audience so more people know who you are.
5. Create new products and services
When Taco Bell and Doritos created a partnership, they came out with the Doritos Locos Tacos. It was a taco that combined the crunch of Doritos with the fillings of a Taco Bell taco.
When you partner with other brands, you have the chance to collaborate on products to create new products that combine both of your strengths. These products wouldn’t have been possible on your own.
Also, new products aren’t exclusive to billion-dollar businesses.
A writer can collaborate with an artist to create an illustrated book. A chef can collaborate with local farmers to create fresh dishes. Each new product is another chance to make money as a solo entrepreneur.
The cons of brand partnerships
While partnerships have many pros, you shouldn’t jump into one without being aware of the cons.
Partnerships take time to create. You need to research, brainstorm, and collaborate with another small business. This collaboration won’t take place overnight. Plan in the extra time before starting your partnership.
Partnerships also take away some of your creative control. As a solo entrepreneur, you are used to being the only one making decisions. Once you have a partner, you must learn to consult someone else on major decisions.
Not all partnerships are equal. Sometimes one partner will receive better benefits than the other, like more sales and exposure.
As much research as you may do before starting a partnership, you may still find yourself at odds with your partner. Be ready for conflict resolution when you don’t agree with each other. That might mean compromising your ideals to create peace in the partnership. In more extreme cases, you may find yourself dissolving the partnership in favor of someone else.
Start expanding your business
Are you ready to find yourself a brand partnership?
Start local and look for other solo entrepreneurs with complementary products or services. Then send out propositions for a partnership.
If you’re ready to start a side hustle with an established and respected brand, let’s talk.