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Finding the perfect partner

Brand tie-ups can boost commercial and awareness value, but they must align with your strategy and image

One of the biggest challenges for etailers is reaching an offline audience, but the right brand partnerships can help do just that.

Brand partnerships can work in a number of ways and if chosen correctly they can be highly effective. Partners should be those who align with the brand strategy and fit the brand image.

Antony Hawman, brand partnership manager at etailer My-Wardrobe, explains: “The partner brands [of My-Wardrobe] must be aspirational yet attainable. It’s really important to get the partner’s web stats and customer profile to ensure that it fits perfectly for both partners and drives the desired results.”

Partnerships can be formed with media companies as well as brands. Independent retailers Sarah Coggles in York and Flannels in Manchester’s use of consumer magazine Grazia for promotional activity via their websites triggered a huge reaction, and despite some negative views among rivals, boosted awareness of their businesses.

Asos’s recent link-up with the Cadbury’s Bunny also shows how two brands can join together for cross-promotion and extend both parties’ audiences. The partner should introduce you to a new potential customer - one that fits in with your brand and is therefore likely to become a future active customer.

Hawman also suggests considering smaller opportunities. “It’s not always the large, established brands that deliver the best results,” he says. “I’ve worked on incredibly effective campaigns with small, niche brands that have relatively small databases and brand perception, but have a brand profile that fits 100%.”

The key to measuring the effectiveness of brand partners is to include an individual promotional code from each one so you can track which customers have come from where. Offering an incentive will encourage new customers to the site and build brand loyalty with existing ones.

By analysing the results of visitors from campaigns, it is easy to see which are the most effective and where the audience is coming from, as well as identifying the users who have become your future customers.

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