Grow your audience through promotional partnerships

Posted: December 2022

Partnering with another brand can be a great way to recruit new customers. Your approach will depend on the objectives you want to achieve, but the starting point is to identify the right potential partners. You’re looking to align your brand with a non-competitor which is already loved and trusted by your target audience. But what does the partner get in return? Harriet Lewis, Head of Brand Partnerships here at NDL Group, explains how to build a win/win partnership proposition.


How do you begin to identify potential partners?

Harriet: Like any marketing initiative, it’s important to understand your customers. Clarify what makes them tick, use good market research to gain real insight into their lifestyle, preferences and behaviours. Identify which brands they associate with, use research which shows the sectors and brands your customers will be most open to.

After this you should be able to build a long-list of brands which may be worth approaching with a partnership proposition. It’s then a case of detailed desk research where you take a really close look at each brand to narrow down your short-list further still. You may find out that they are already partnered with another brand; that they don’t do partnerships or that they are already running another campaign so not ready to begin discussions on something new. This helps you develop a short-list of brands which may be worth talking to.


What do you need to do before you approach the short-list?

A good partnership entails win/win, so you’ll need to work out your value proposition by identifying the business benefits the partnership will bring. More sales are only one part of the picture – you might also be trying to impact a new demographic, or change hearts and minds about what your brand represents.

When you’ve got into the detail with clear objectives for each partner you may find that it goes no further, that the partnership won’t deliver what the businesses need at that time and you have to go back to the drawing board, but it’s worth being patient!


How do you approach potential partners?

It’s a case of being proactive and picking up the phone! You need to be patient – we often allow six – eight weeks to develop the opportunities and to get appointments with potential partners. A workshop with the main stakeholders is usually a good approach as it helps to determine whether there truly are shared goals. The workshop is also a good opportunity to openly discuss any potential restrictions, and to begin legal and compliance checks, all of which could affect the success of the partnership campaign.


How do you ensure you make the right partnership choice?

The litmus test is whether you can creatively bring the brands together to create a stronger message. If you can, then it’s appropriate to push onwards and address the nitty gritty, practical aspects of the partnership. For example, you need to understand what you can and can’t do with your partner’s customer database and be clear on what both sides are delivering, how much each is investing and whether there are any commercial implications. I cannot stress how important this stage is – if there is an imbalance between what each partner is giving and receiving you may find that resentments build up further down the line which affect the success of your campaign.

Once these aspects are settled you are in a good position to develop a strong campaign which is mutually beneficial – this is where the fun really begins!

Keep an eye on our blog for future articles from Harriet where she will discuss how to manage and measure promotional partnership campaigns.

Harriet Lewis



If you are considering using a partnership promotion to boost your brand, please get in touch with Harriet and her team on 020 7428 3090.

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