In an article from several years back, Accenture, the big consultancy, named six varieties of co-branding:
Promotional/Sponsorship. This is the category cause marketing falls under. Also Papa John’s sponsorship of the National Football League.
Ingredient. Betty Crocker brownie mix made with Hershey chocolate, or any of the Jack Daniels' dishes at TGI Fridays.
Innovation Based. The Apple-Nike tie-up.
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:
- Product-Service. Sea World and Southwest Airlines.
- Supplier-Retailer. Starbucks wifi service from AT&T.
- Alliance. Think FTD, or those alliances between multiple airline carriers.
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 always make the news because everyone understands that they're so hard to put together in a way that satisfies all parties.
So this cause marketing promotion caught my eye. It was in that huge bundle of ads you get in the Thanksgiving newspaper. Every donation of an electronic toy that Hasbro makes to Toys for Tots will be powered by Duracell batteries.
Hasbro did a three-way co-brand in the Christmas season of 2009 as well. When you bought a Hasbro toy or game from the featured page in the Target flyer, Hasbro made a donation of 5 percent of the purchase price to the Salvation Army.
What are the rewards for these kinds of tie-ups? Well, in a word or two, this co-branding effort has access to 1/3 more promotional resources than a two-way tie-up would have. Hasbro and Toys for Toys land in a Duracell flyer with coupons. Duracell and Hasbro get featured in Toys for Tots promotional efforts. And Hasbro gets a little open-door access to promotional powerhouse P&G, which owns Duracell.
It’s a win-win-win.