Rebranding in 2018: 5 To Watch

Lots of big brands decided to undertake rebranding in 2018.  Cultural shifts have made updates to messaging critical. Keeping up with trends, bringing renewed energy, and displaying a forward focus are all reasons brands are rebranding in 2018.

There are lots of great examples, but some of the most notable examples of rebranding in 2018 are older, bigger brands ready to let the world know they’re making changes and keeping up. Here are some to watch.

 

WW (Weight Watchers)

With diet culture under more scrutiny than ever, how does a brand like Weight Watchers stay relevant? By revising its name to match a new, modern message. To pivot from a focus on numerical weight, they’re removing it from their name. The shift to “WW” leave room to reinterpret the old diet standby as one focused on wellness and overall well-being.

 

Dunkin

New England natives have referred to Dunkin’ Donuts as just “Dunkin'” forever. The brand decided to shorten their name officially and add more modern products, like cold-brew taps and digital ordering. This is supposed to be the future of the chain, and all locations will drop the “donuts” by January.

 

ACLU

In 2018’s political climate, the American Civil Liberties Union is more prominent than ever. In order to reflect their robust past and vital importance to America’s future, their rebranding includes modeling what they say by creating a “new standard of accessibility” and inclusion in their choices in UI, text, color, and language.

 

Tupperware

That classic stalwart. Vintage is hot, but Tupperware’s image had cooled. They needed to catch up to the modern marketplace. To regain consumer confidence, they created a new image, new messaging, utilized new fonts, and created a new logo. You can see the complete rebrand here.

 

 

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

DFW’s new brand idea, “a clear path forward” is the crux of their new brand identity. “We’re in the best position of any airport in the U.S. to compete on the global stage. We just need to go do it.” stated DFW’s CEO, Sean Donohue. The new image and idea were received warmly by customers and stakeholders, elevating DFW to a world-class airport experience.

 

 

Those are some of our “rebrands to watch” for 2018—what are yours? Let us know in the comments.

#VoiceFirst: Thinking About Voice Search Optimization

Speech is one of the first skills we learn and one of the last one we lose. A baby’s first word is considered a milestone. “Famous last words” isn’t a saying for nothing–those final words are part of how you’ll be remembered. Spoken language evokes emotions and moves people to action in a way that’s different from visuals or from the written word. The Voice User Interface (VUI) is here: it’s accessible, it’s easy, and it’s part of the future. And with it comes the need for voice search optimization.

Increasingly, instead of texting or typing, people rely either text-to-type or voice recording for messaging instead. By 2020, 50% of searches will be done by voice command. With Alexa, Google Home, Apple Homepod, and similar devices arriving to market, voice search optimization stats are only expected to increase.

You know you need to optimize for mobile, but in the coming years, voice will become just as important. This is especially important for eCommerce sites. Here are three things to consider now for success later on.

We ask questions differently when we say them.

Seems obvious, but we definitely do interact with a spoken search much differently than we do a typed search. Even if we know it’s a computer, we don’t just bark at our devices. We converse. Where we might have once typed in keywords like “best ice cream anchorage”, in a voice search, we interact in a conversational way. The same search would follow suit: “Hey Google, what’s the best ice cream in Anchorage, Alaska?”

Consider semantics.

To that end, the way we attract attention to our page needs to change. Rather than targeting keywords, we’ll begin to shift over to what’s called semantic SEO. The basic difference between keyword and semantic SEO is that it’s built more around meaning than around targeted keywords. In other words, rather than anticipating what specific words people might search, we have to consider how they might ask for information. You target topics, not keywords.

There are no front-page results.

Voice search results are, of course, not displayed on a single front page where the searcher can skim and pick the content they desire. You receive results one at a time, starting at the top. This means that in order to bring your content and your site to the attention of people searching, your content needs to respond to their specific question in a clear, succinct way. There’s no one specific answer to this, but testing will be critical in terms of seeing how your site and content are performing.

Have you been using voice search technology yourself, either as a marketer or consumer? We’d love to hear your thoughts and observations!

Is the latest Uber rebranding enough?

If you follow branding trends, you undoubtedly heard about the most recent Uber rebranding. They’ve replaced 2016’s odd, blue circuit board pattern with a simple, clean font, and in doing so, invited the opinion of every branding professional, designer, and enthusiast.
According to Fast Company, one of Wolff Olins’ primary goals was legibility. The old logo had caused problems both being viewed at higher rates of speed and distance and across languages. They wanted something clear and visible. They developed a typeface for the brand with this in mind. It’s worth reading into the thought that went into its creation with respect for these points.
But it’s difficult to see this rebrand as separate from the controversy the company is already well-known for. From “Boober” to spying on Beyoncè, to Trump ties, to sexual harassment, to a Google lawsuit, to Travis Kalanick, Uber has a significant reputation problem.
The question is, is yet another Uber rebranding—this rebranding—enough to help Uber move past it’s short, dramatic life? Maybe.

It’s a strategy.

It may appear like simply a bid to shed an old persona when the old one no longer serves, but there is a method to it.

“We tried to kick out all the micro-moments where trust was eroded,” says Forest Young, Creative Director at Wolff Olins, the agency who did the rebrand. This meant every moment where a rider couldn’t reconcile the old, atomic logo with the vehicle in front of them had to go. They had to re-create trust with customers in a tangible way, not from a high tower.

It’s not immune to criticism.

Our own creative team had mixed reactions. Some felt the changes were too safe and even safe to the point of disingenuous.  “The logo seems to get safer as their reputation gets worse”, one person said. “Design saves, but not if your vision and purpose are polluted by your actions” was another.  Some felt exasperation over the frequency leading to customer confusion, and some were disappointed they abandoned the old design. At the end of the day, it’s indisputably well-done. But whether or not it changes minds or eases suspicion is hard to predict.
Uber has an uphill challenge to undo the damage to their reputation. This rebrand may represent a step in that direction. It’s certainly clearer, less confusing, and more visible. But at the same time, rebranding too frequently may raise questions of credibility and instability.

A Quick and Dirty Guide to Branded Hashtags

Wondering if, how, or when, you should use branded hashtags? We’ll walk you through it.

When Twitter started in 2006, hashtags didn’t yet exist. In 2007, Chris Messina proposed using the pound sign in August 2007, but Twitter execs found it “too nerdy”. By 2009, they became a Twitter feature used to organize around words, events, and ideas. And today they’ve spread to most major social networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, many of them branded hashtags.

If you’re thinking about how to promote, they can be a great way to get attention on you, your brand, or an event. But if you’re puzzled by them, we’ve got a quick guide to whether or not you need one, how to make one, and how (or how not) to use them.

What are they, and do I need one?

Branded hashtags are just hashtags specific to your brand (or a product launch or branded event). The short answer is no, you don’t necessarily need to have one just to have one, but they do help direct traffic and create excitement around what you’re promoting.

When hashtags were originally created, the intent was to create a “channel” specific to those looking for info. Back then, this was for a particular event (Chris Messina used it to create a channel for #barcamp). Today, it’s really not that much different—just much, much larger and used across platforms. If you have a huge event, such as #ComicCon, it’s also used by media outlets to find information and may be listed as trending, along with other related hashtags. 

How do I make one?

This is the fun (or tricky) part, depending. You’ll want to refer back to your brand platform and messaging to make sure you’re speaking in the brand’s voice, of course. But there are other considerations when you’re picking one out.

  • Make it brief. You want something quick, memorable, and readable. Long hashtags are a burden to type out and hard to read, which discourages people from using them.
  • Make it relevant. You don’t want to accidentally direct people to something unrelated, or use something overly generic. For example, Greyhound picked “#FOMOOGLF” (or “fear of missing out on Greyhound low fares”) which… what? Greyhound is the only account to have used this tag.
  • Avoid double meaning. Unless you’re trying to end up on a “hashtag fails” list, really dig deep for ways your hashtag could possibly be construed as any kind of sex act, as with “#loveDP” or Susan Boyle’s unfortunate “#susanalbumparty”. Make sure it reads the same capitalized and in all lower case.
  • Know your current events. Be aware of other trending topics and major news events, and avoid the fate of Entenmann’s “#notguilty” tweet arriving at the same time as Casey Anthony’s not-guilty verdict.

Where and when do I use them?

The best way to use branded hashtags is deliberately. Most readers hate to be clobbered with a long list of hashtags at the end of every post, and your branded tag will get lost in the mix.

But you want it attention, so put it where you have captive or curious attention. Rolling out a new product? Instagram Stories is a perfect place for your audience to see it all by itself in caps. Trying to connect people to your event? Use it in captions on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to create an album for your audience to view. And be sure to monitor their performance and tweak your strategy as needed.

What’s your experience with branded hashtags? Let us know in the comments!

Are you brand building —or baiting?

Is your brand lying to your customers?

To over-sell or under sell? That is the questionright? We want to get our brand to the widest audience humanly possible, but we don’t want contort our brand so much that it’s unrecognizable. Or worsethat it looks like something it’s not. Properly branding your company helps you avoid what we’re calling “brand baiting”, or, bluntly, branding lies.

Here’s the thing: have you ever bought something that you THOUGHT was cashmere, only to get home and discover that it was polyester? Have you ever bought something from a company that LOOKED like your favorite brand, only to discover later on that it was a cheap knock-off?

Us too!

…it sucks.

Think for a second about how you feel when you realize you were duped. Mad, sad, evaluating whether or not it’s worth trying to get your money back. The company got the sale, right? Right.  Are you going to spend another penny with that company?

A b s o l u t e l y not. And you’re probably not going to stay quiet about itwhat might have once been a low-key gripe to your friends and family can now be broadcast instantly and LOUDLY across social media.

You could go viral for all the wrong reasons.

This practice is the exact opposite of brand building. We call it brand baiting, and it’s a terrible idea for anyone that wants more than a one-night-stand with their customers.

 

So, how do you know if you are doing it? Here are the top 5 ways to figure it out…

    1. Your sales jump then slump. Did you start out strong and full of promise, only to see your revenue dwindle? That could mean you’re promising something people really want, and not delivering. Which leads to the second point.
    2. Your social media is full of complaints. Social media is a goldmine of informationpeople do not hold back. They’ll let you know through poor ratings, and will often detail their experiences with the product itself, their experience with customer service, billing problems, you name it. If you’re seeing a lot of “NOT what I expected!” or “LIES!”, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.
    3. Your top Google results are poor reviews.Similar to social media, if your product is on Amazon with poor reviews or any other third-party site, pay attention. People might be buying into one thing but dealing with branding lies.
    4. You’re kind of a one-trick pony. Imitation and deception aren’t long-term strategies – you will be discovered. Even if not, the zeitgeist will change, and you’ll have to change too.
    5. Customer service is overburdened with confusion and complaints. Your customer service will be hit HARD with complaints if your brand is pulling a bait and switch. Customers are incredibly savvy, and, similar to social media, they’ll make their voice known. Listen!

 

If you suspect you might be dealing with branding lies, accidentally, on purpose, or in-between, it’s time to take control of your message. Discover what you can do to make sure you’re putting the right message into the world.

The Real History of Five of Your Favorite Brands

Your Brand History Doesn’t Have To Tell The Truth All The Time.

Have you ever known someone for a long time, only to discover… she’s an IRL vampire? Or she’s trying to steal your identity, or she’s a former assassin, recently woke up from a four-year coma and is hell-bent on avenging the former lover who tried to kill her on her wedding day?

Or, you know, someone went to the same high school as a friend of yours and you had no idea. Maybe they were at the same Carly Rae Jepsen concert as you last year, and you bond over it.

Once you find out, don’t they become a little more interesting?

Grab the popcorn, because this week we’re talking about some of the brands you think you know – but you have no idea.  

 

Banana Republic

Today, most people think of Banana Republic as a purveyor of conservative office wear, mall staple, and the spendy older sister to the Gap.

But what’s up with the name “Banana Republic”? The term itself comes from O. Henry’s collection of short stories, Cabbages and Kings. The term suggests a rural, tropical country that depends financially on agriculture. In Henry’s story, foreign fruit importers have more influence than the country’s own government.

Banana Republic, the company, started in 1979 as an outlet for co-founder Patricia Ziegler’s modified army surplus clothing. By 1983, the company was a thriving catalog business with two Bay Area stores. At this point, the Gap purchased the brand, bringing the store into malls across America. These stores looked nothing like the Banana Republic of today – thanks to the Indiana Jones franchise, America was, ahem, bananas for the safari aesthetic, and the stores were festooned with items like Jeeps, giraffes, and tusks.

It’s a far cry from today’s conservative minimalism imposed by the Gap.

 

Duncan Hines

That red-boxed mix you reach for when you need cupcakes—stat? It seems like it’s always been there for you. But would you guess Duncan Hines himself was a traveling salesman who could barely cook? It’s true!

As a traveling salesman in the 1920s-40s, Hines didn’t exactly have access to Yelp. He documented locations and reviews of hidden ice cream stands, barbecue joints, and diners along his travels until friends and family started begging him to share his list. He did, in 1936, in the form of the self-published Adventures in Good Eating. He continued updating the volume until his death in 1954.

Hines himself never made cake mix. “Recommended by Duncan Hines” was the Zagat rating of the time, with signs appearing in windows of restaurants who earned the honor. In 1952, he signed off on the approval appearing on things like ice cream and cake mixes, and in 1959, Procter & Gamble bought the franchise.

So yes: Duncan Hines was a real person, but no, he wasn’t a baker at all.

 

Madewell

Today, Madewell is the vintage-inflected little sister to J. Crew. “Founded in 1937” is part of their branding, but the Madewell that was founded in 1937 was actually a men’s workwear brand selling no-frills workwear to the fishermen and manufacturers of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Back in 2014, Buzzfeed published a story from the great-grandson of the founder of Madewell. “We don’t do too much of that designing bullshit,” the author’s great-uncle stated, and his great-grandfather’s motivation was profit. Quality was what drove profit.

Mickey Drexel, CEO of J. Crew in 2014 (and instrumental in Banana Republic’s above transformation), acquired the logo and trademark and used it to create a vintage narrative for a very new brand, and it was a success – superseding it’s big sister, J. Crew, in profits.

 

Shinola

Also in the old-story-new-brand vein, Shinola’s “Built in Detroit” watches are worlds away from the brand’s shoe-polish origins. Bicycles, headphones, leather goods, journals – all items sold under the name famous in part for the WWII era insult “you don’t know shit from Shinola”.

Similar to Madewell, Shinola looks nothing like it did originally—a shoe polish company founded in Rochester, NY. The brand today revitalizes a long-dead company’s history in order to tell a more compelling story to its consumers, who crave depth and old-world working-class authenticity.

And it works. Shinola has a fan in Bill Clinton, who purchased 14 watches from them in 2014.

 

Volkswagen

While we commonly associate Volkswagen with the friendly-looking Beetle of the peace-loving 60s, the brand’s origin is significantly darker. Founded in Germany in 1937 with a name that translates to “the people’s car”, Adolf Hitler commissioned Ferdinand Porsche (yes, that Porsche) to create a cheap vehicle designed to carry two adults and three children at 60 MPH, costing the same as a motorbike. The vehicle was sold via a monthly subscription, but production was halted with the outbreak of WWII. The brand shifted to producing war vehicles using concentration camp labor through 1945. (I told you it was dark).

The Beetle sold well through the 60s, but sales began to slump in the 70s. The company introduced new models and continued to grow. By 2014, Volkswagen was one of the biggest firms in the world. Today, the brand is recovering from the revelation that they rigged emissions tests for diesel vehicles.

 

Branding isn’t about telling the absolute, transparent truth about yourself at all times—it’s more like reality TV. If your storytelling is compelling, it’s selling. If your brand’s story feels more like it’s too busy telling its own story to actually convert, it might be time to audit.

How To Make Your Brand’s Booth Stand Out

You’ve got the space—but are you making the most of it? We’ve got some veteran tips to help your brand outshine the sea of competition at a conference or trade show.

With Traffic & Conversion coming up this week, we have been thinking about strategies we use to get the most out of our booth space. We’ve all been to trade shows, and we all know what’s usual and normal: safe—almost timid—booths with banners and pens.

Which is fine, but that space isn’t cheap! So why be another basic booth when you can be at your brand’s best?

Let’s talk about what we’ve had success with in the past—making your brand’s booth stand out might be simpler than you expect with some thoughtful tweaks.

 

Be Big, Be Bold

Think of a billboard: It doesn’t have to be complex, but it needs to send a simple, clear, memorable message. Above all, you need a gigantic, legible logo. You want your brand to not only be visible to folks across the room, but memorable as well. A small logo, by contrast, is effective once people have wandered your way, but there’s no beacon leading people your way.

Our logo at BRANDING FOR THE PEOPLE, for instance, uses bright colors, a bold font, and effective use of contrast. Your goal should be to entice people over to your booth, but if they don’t make it, you still want your signage to make a memorable impression (especially when people see it again later on swag). If you are using a slogan, keep it simple and direct—something the eye can make sense of within three seconds.

 

Be Inviting

he principle behind this point is simple: don’t block people off – invite them in.

How do you invite people into your trade show booth? The answer is in your planning and design, in terms of both your physical space and your information design.

Visual information in your booth, from your back wall to any literature you provide, should be both honest and simple. Honesty ensures those attendees who come to talk to you are seeking your products and services. Simplicity keeps you from clobbering attendees with too much information—once they’ve decided to visit your booth, your staff can engage with them and give them the information they truly want and need.

 

Be Fun!

Ok, best for last: everybody loves swag. Ahem. Everybody loves COOL swag. Whatever you’re giving away also serves as passive advertising throughout the event —what’s on-brand for you? What’s useful, purposeful, or just fun for the sake of fun? What do people actually want (even if they don’t yet know they want it)?

Some things we’ve done in the past have been MUGS FOR THE PEOPLE, BAGS FOR THE PEOPLE, and CHOCOLATE FOR THE PEOPLE.

This year, be sure to catch Re’s talk to get your LUNCHBOX FOR THE PEOPLE—we’re hosting a lunch, and this is your ticket in!

 

Final Thoughts

If you paused earlier thinking about how your brand might look from across the room, or what kinds of items would be “on-brand” for you, we can help! You can catch Re at Traffic & Conversion, or schedule a complimentary consultation with us.

How to create a blog strategy for the WHOLE YEAR!

DON’T WRITE ANOTHER WORD UNTIL YOU READ THIS ARTICLE!

Building a company blog is a great tool for getting the word out about your company, you can use this content for a lot of things, including…

  1. Web pages that get discovered in Google searches, to drive new traffic to your website.
  2. Content in your regularly scheduled email newsletters that drives clients back to your site and positions you as a thought leader.
  3. Content to post to Facebook, or Instagram, or Snapchat
  4. The basis for new and interesting Lead Magnets or White Papers, that you can use inside of Facebook Ads, or in a downloadable resources section on your website, to build your email list.

However, you should never, ever ever start a blog that you can’t continue! Too often we see blogs that just… stop. It is the same old story for everyone… You get off to a great start, and then all of the sudden your last post is from 2016, and every new visitor to your website thinks you are dead or out of business.

Why do people stop?

Maybe it’s because they didn’t use the blog posts to generate traffic like they should have with ideas 1 through 4 above.

Maybe it’s because they forgot to put a Call To Action (CTA) at the end of every blog post, to turn those words into LEADS!

Maybe it’s because they did all of the above, and simply got too busy!

Maybe it’s because they  didn’t have a good blog writer that they could call when they got busy?

Who knows!

What we do know is that these are simple problems!

The first step is to follow our 3 part plan…

FOR

THE

WHOLE

YEAR

 

PART 1:

Decide on a theme for every month. If you run a pet supply business it might look something like this:

It allows you NOT to have to think up ALL of your blog articles at once, you can just file each blog topic idea under the appropriate month as they come to you, and gives your creative mind the freedom to come up with interesting blog topic ideas as they come to you, knowing all the while that you have “just the right month” to cover it in.There are a few reasons to plan out a theme every month, including…

  1. It allows your readers to tune in to monthly themes based on their interests, which increasing engagement, and makes you look supremely organized and worthy of their time and attention.
  2. If you have a blog writer that isn’t yourself, it gives them a plan and a format to follow, so that you don’t have to have weekly or monthly meetings, scrambling to come up with blog topics.

 

PART 2:

Once you’ve got your monthly topics all sorted out, now you can start brainstorming specific blog topic ideas. For example, let’s say that the pet supply company publishes a blog once per week, on Thursdays, in the month of March. Their calendar would look like this…

If you don’t come up with all of the ideas all at once, that’s ok, you have time, just make sure to record the ideas as they come.

 

PART 3:

Each blog has a lot more parts than just the words that you write. Make sure that you or your writer clearly stipulates exactly what every blog article should include, including…

  1. The Blog Title: This is self explanatory, keep it short and compelling
  2. The Newsletter Title: Make sure it makes people want to click, and covers a bit about what your newsletter content is about, and features the blog that you are sending in the email
  3. An image: Do NOT simply pick an image that is a visual representation of the blog topic, get creative. For example, if you are writing a blog about “how to pick an unusual pet,” use an image of a man hugging a question mark instead of a man hugging a Rat, it is that simple. Interesting images are more compelling for your readers than images that describe the title.
  4. Meta Description: This is the part inside the code of the blog that might not get read as part of the blog, but that gets picked up by Google when it searches your site for things to include in its searches. Must be 120-156 characters. Include an “SEO Keyword” in the description (more about that in the next item…) This information can be input into your WordPress backend pretty easily.
  5. SEO Keyword: Before you write ONE WORD of your blog, you have to decide what people MIGHT type into Google in order to find it. The trick here is not to go for the most obvious answer. For example, if you are writing a blog about “how to pick an unusual pet,” you wouldn’t use the Keyword “pet” because on Google, there are about 1,850,000,000 results (or OTHER articles to compete with) that have the Keyword “pet.” Instead, you might go with the Keyword “how to pick an unusual pet,” (yes, a Keyword can actually be a phrase!). When you use this Keyword, you aren’t competing against ANY other articles with this specific title, so you will get all the hits when people type it in, versus NONE of the hits when people type in the word “pet.” Last but not least, make SURE that you use the Keyword or Keyword Phrase at least 3 or 4 times in your article, maybe more! This information can be input into your WordPress backend pretty easily.
  6. URL: The URL is the unique web address for the article. The URL that you use should be your SEO Keyword to improve the chances that Google will rank your article well. So, if you use the same article title that we have been talking about all along, your URL would be www.yourwebsite.com/how-to-pick-an-unusual-pet. This information can be input into your WordPress backend pretty easily.

 

That’s it! Follow this 3 part plan and you will be a blogger before the ink dries on a post-card. Just remember, if you don’t like to write, or read, you might be better off with a video blog, rather than a written one!

I want to partner with you!

Hold on, before you say yes! Is that brand partnership right for you?

How many times has another person hit you up for some sort of partnership? Is it a good fit for you? Brand partnerships seem like great ideas, but how do you know whether or not they will help you? Here are some suggestions for navigating those propositions.

What is a brand partnership?

In our view, a brand partnership is a relationship between your brand and another. Typically, a brand partnership seeks an outcome, whether it’s exposure, influence, or revenue. These relationships can be formal with some sort of contractual obligations or more informal with a good old-fashioned handshake.

Some examples:

  • Affiliate. These tend to be informal arrangements among 2 or more brands, such as an online “summit” where brands come together to share contacts and content as a way to build their audience reach.
  • Sponsorship. Think of big ticket events, whether golf tournaments, art fairs, business conventions, or music festivals. Often, 1-2 brands will serve as a formal “sponsor” in exchange for prime ad placement or visibility. Coliseums and stadiums are often sponsored by a brand in exchange for naming rights.
  • Referral. These can be formal or highly informal, and are often used by brands that agree to mutually promote each other, whether through cross-selling or offering discounts on the partner’s goods and services. A more formalized version of these might be preferred partners where one brand actively promotes another through exclusive deals and offers.

How do you know which brand partnership is best for you?

Questions to consider:

Why am I partnering? What is my goal?

What is the motivation to partner? Does you need access to a bigger audience? Are you seeking entry into a new market? First identify your goal. Are you seeking a bigger contact list? Do you want to find cross-selling opportunities? Do you want more exposure for your brand? Your ultimate reason for entering into a partnership will determine what form it should take. If you simply want a bigger contact list, then an informal summit may work better than cross-promotions on other websites.

Do the other brands align with mine?

Consider the other brand that seeks a partnership. Does it share the same message? Does it have a similar or complementary perception to yours? Remember the problems that several brands experienced when their ads unknowingly appeared on Breitbart’s website? The same issue applies with brand partnerships: any relationship between your brand and others will have some influence over the perceptions and feelings around your brand. Does this help or hurt? Does it further the story you want to tell? Are you fully aware of consumer perceptions of your potential partners?

Does the brand partnership serve mutual goals?

Not all partnerships are created equal. Are your goals mutual? Do your goals support each other, or work in opposition to each other? Does one side benefit more than another? Are you really getting more exposure, or is the other brand using you to promote itself without a benefit on your end? Don’t agree just to any “networking” or “referral” site without doing a little homework.

Am I the target audience for the other brand?

Are you a consumer for the other brand? Would you be? If not, then question whether or not the arrangement is a fit. Otherwise, you’ll support a brand that you wouldn’t use. That inauthenticity will eventually appear and make your own brand sound hollow.

Is my target audience also their target audience?

YOU might be a consumer for the other brands, but what about your target audience? Are they a fit for the other brands? Would a Naked Juice consumer be a target audience for Red Bull? Unlikely, which is why you’ve probably not seen those brands in a partnership. Don’t forget to consider the other nefarious side of the coin: are you introducing your target audience to a competitor? Would Coca-Cola partner with Pepsi? Is the other brand attempting to poach your fan base?

Does the relationship elevate or detract from my brand?

This goes to the relationship itself. Even if your brands are in alignment, does the arrangement support or hinder your brand? Does it make you appear desperate? Does it make you seem community oriented? Is there a logical connection between your brands and the partnership itself?

Takeaways

Be sure to ask the critical questions before agreeing to that brand partnership. It may sound like a good fit, but ask yourself the challenging questions. Is it the right time? The right fit? How will my brand benefit? How will the other brands benefit?