How to Successfully Boost Your Brand through Barter Partnerships
By Iris Voltaire
At Adore Me, I’ve worked with multiple brands through partnerships. Strategic partnerships between brands can be mutually beneficial relationships. The practice of bartering — the exchange of goods and services rather than money — is a great option for leaner startups with strapped cash flow. These relationships can help you reach new audiences and present your brand in a more efficient, credible and memorable way.
Here are four tips on how to successfully boost your brand through barter partnerships:
- Do your research.
It’s important to know your brand’s values, goals and intentions when looking to create a partnership with another brand. Sending partnership requests without any research will damage your reputation in the industry, and you’ll have a harder time being taken seriously in the future.
First, look to partner with a noncompetitor. Second, look for a brand that complements yours — one that shares your core values and aligns with your target audience.
But before brainstorming on who would be a good partner for your brand, it’s important to define why you want to form a partnership. Is it to create excitement? Is it to find new customers or to build trust? Have the partnership follow the values and key performance indicators (KPIs) of your brand.
- Establish win-win relationships.
Cobranding can be an effective way to grow business by breaking into new markets, boosting awareness and beyond. But for a partnership to truly work, it has to be a win-win situation.
Work collaboratively, and utilize each other’s complementary skill sets. It’s also important to establish a fair exchange between your brand and the partner. Sometimes the products of exchange can be hard to compare — for example, an exchange of a gift-with-purchase (GWP) product for email subscribers.
Transparency is key. Share your needs and capabilities, and be honest and aligned in terms of the target customer group.
- Outline goals and expectations.
Be clear about what you want to achieve with the partnership. Each company is different when it comes to which metrics impact the bottom line. Make sure to outline specific benchmarks to measure success against. Even though branding value can be hard to measure, look at chatter and buzz online — press mentions, search engagement and social media engagement.
Also, as with all partnerships, even barter partnerships, write it out! Sign nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) and partnership agreements. Even though you’re working with a trusted partner, it’s important to have an agreement in place to avoid any ambiguities. It can be as easy as listing each partner’s responsibilities and action items.
- Stay in touch, and keep it long-lasting.
At the end of a partnership, it’s important to evaluate and measure its success. What objectives did you set?
Partnerships must not be seen as a short-term fix; this is especially true for partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Your long-term success is dependent on finding a good win-win solution. Typically, by thinking in long-term collaborations, the partnership can deepen, lengthen and add more value to your customers.