Intro to Influencers and Co-Branded Products and Companies
Brand names have always had value for as long as brands have existed. Brand names give us established expectations for the products and services we purchase. If you close your eyes, you can probably picture what a McDonald’s Burger or Kentucky Fried Chicken tastes like. This is because you heavily associate the quality of what you buy with a brand. Businesses are well aware of this fact, and one of the ways they utilize our notions of brands is by forming co-branding partnerships.
Typically, co-branding partnerships are a marketing strategy that consists of two separate brands joining together on a venture or a campaign to drive sales or buzz around a product or service. There are countless examples of co-branding efforts by businesses. HubSpot compiled a list of numerous successful joint ventures, including Apple and MasterCard combining resources for Apple Pay, Alexander Wang and H&M connecting for high-end fashion, and Nike and Apple joining together for Nike+. This works for brands because they can often utilize the preconceived notions consumers have about different brands to tap into new industries or markets.
Co-branding isn’t limited to partnerships between businesses. In the modern social media ecosystem, people are brands. Influencers are their own successful businesses with the same preconceived notions associated with them that consumers have for brands. Influencers joining together with established businesses to launch new products or services or change the brand’s direction is a rising trend that will only continue as social media influencers become more and more relevant in business.
The Current Influencer Co-Branding Climate
A lot of different trends are pushing influencer co-branding partnerships into the mainstream. In the world of social media marketing, where the more buzz, the better, association with a massive social media creator has a lot of value. The primary difference between influencer co-branding and influencer marketing is that the influencer has a significantly higher level of authority with co-branding. With influencer marketing, you are marketing through an influencer. With influencer co-branding, you are forming a genuine partnership with an influencer.
It is a bigger investment for brands but can be an advantageous one if done correctly. One of the modern examples of this that shows the power influencer co-branding can have is the birth of Kanye West’s Yeezy partnership with Adidas. West had been turned down by other brands due to his lack of experience in the shoe market and the lack of any other partnership like it before. Adidas rolled the dice with West, and now Yeezy is worth a projected $4-5 billion.
These partnerships are now becoming more and more common. Caleb Williams, the sophomore quarterback for the University of Southern California, recently announced a partnership with the grooming brand Faculty. This partnership is only possible through the recent changes to the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeness rule, which opens the door to college athletes becoming influencers and profiting off their image.
William’s role in Faculty includes ad campaigns, collaborations, and revenue partnerships that go beyond the typical influencer marketing parameters. Faculty is a brand that focuses on nail art, and Williams is known to paint his nails before games. Faculty’s founder stated that the primary reason for the partnership is that the brand is interested in tapping into the market of young athletes and opening the doors to reaching the new demographics that Williams, a rising sports star, can offer.
This is pretty much what co-branding does. It allows two brands to benefit from each other as they reach new audiences and tap into broader demographics. It allows them to branch out without dramatically pivoting their business, and influencers can provide some of the same benefits that businesses do.
Influencer Marketing Takeaways
One of the biggest things that influencer co-branding shows is the changing perception around influencers. There was a time when influencer marketing and influencers weren’t taken seriously, where it was looked at as a passing craze. Most people have turned the corner and now see the massive assets influencers can be for businesses when utilized correctly. There are a lot of influencers who are full-time social media creators and marketers, and brand partnerships are a core part of their day-to-day. This makes them experts at branding and genuine entrepreneurs.
While not every influencer will be right for a co-branding partnership, finding one who can have a lot of value. Bringing the right influencer into the fold is what influencer marketing is all about, and if you are going to take it further with co-branding, that is a big commitment. But many brands have seen the value passing on a higher level of creative control and equity to an influencer can provide. This could help businesses tap more heavily into their audience and receive 100% of the influencer’s effort. Influencer co-branding is a rising trend that lets businesses more heavily leverage the brand of an influencer they partner with.
If you are looking to launch your influencer marketing strategy into the stratosphere, finding a top influencer marketing agency is one of the key ways to do this. Influence Hunter is an influencer marketing firm with years of high-level experience helping brands create and deploy customizable campaigns that deliver on strategic goals. Contact us today to find out what we can do for your business.