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Co-Branding and Cause Marketing

Five or six years ago the term 'co-branding' was one of those hot marketing buzzwords. Nowadays co-branding is so commonplace as to be mundane. The point of co-branding is for brands to combine such that they create notable synergy.

There are several kinds of co-branding, including cause marketing itself.

This article, from Tiger Woods' previous sponsor, Accenture, names six:
Value-Chain, which is meant to bring new experiences to the consumer, not just another flavor. There are three varieties of value-chain co-branding:
In short, co-branding is common and familiar.

Less common is co-branding between more than two brands. That's because the more brands you add, the more inertia there is to overcome. Co-branding with more than two brands is like a trade between three or more professional sports teams whereby six or eight or ten players change teams. Those deals tend to make the news because everyone understands that they're so hard to put together in a way that satisfies all the parties.

So this promotion from caught my eye. It was in a recent sales flyer from the discount retailer Target. When you buy a Hasbro toy or game from the featured page, Hasbro will make a make a donation of 5 percent of the purchase price to the Salvation Army.

Target's usual national charity of choice is the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. But it has long been a supporter of the Salvation Army. However in 2004 Target quit allowing Sally Ann kettle ringers in front of its stores because it had a strict no-soliciting policy but had made an exception for the Salvation Army.

Since the kettle campaign makes up as much as 70 percent of the Salavation Army's fundraising, losing a major retailer was a blow. Target responded with a multi-element fundraising campaign that includes online support of the Salvation Army's Angel Tree effort.

As a result, I suspect that it was Target which made this deal happen rather than Hasbro or the Salvation Army.

Regardless, I'm glad to see the Salvation Army get the support. It's a charity I have long admired for its effectiveness, efficiency, breadth of services and depth of genuine human
compassion.

If you're looking for a broad-based domestic charity to support this holiday season, I don't believe you could do better than the Salvation Army.

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