Strategic alliances are the key to your Cross promotion success. A popular reason for companies to come together is to promote each other. The ideas are as simple as a local pharmacy and a dry cleaner promoting each other with special offers or coupons, regional promotions, national promotions. Cross promotions can be developed with competitors or between organizations in different industries. The key is simply this: do you have similar customers? Almost everywhere you look, you can see one organization cross-promoting with another. Recently, a cross-promotion ad in a San Francisco newspaper for Pacific Bell also involved Round Table Pizza, Hollywood Video, Nokia, and Special Olympics.
In your effort to make cross-promotional partnerships work, develop your process with the steps listed below in mind:
1. Be clear about what you want to create for yourself or your business.
2. Discover the; What’s in it for me (WIIFM) for your partner (s).
3. Develop a who does what list for physical and financial contributions.
4. Plan for the unexpected.
5. Explain to your partner (s) the value they will receive.
6. Help your partner (s) have emotional ownership in the alliance.
7. Do the previous step also by yourself.
8. Run the promotion.
9. Inform the partners about the value received from the investment.
10. Plan the next promotion.
“Do you have milk?” The California Board of Milk Processors, as reported in The Wall Street Journal in the late 1990s, stated that this national promotion has been running since 1993. They also put “Got Milk” in Girl Scout Cookies. They’ve even gotten their milk ads on cereal, cookie, and chocolate mix packages. Jeff Manning, executive director of the California Board of Milk Processors, says, “We need these people to promote for us.” “In return, we affectionately call them codependent foods.”
Manning doesn’t stop there. He convinced Dole Food Co. in Westlake Village, California, to add another label to their banana bunches for the retail market. You got it, “Got Milk” stickers. In the late 1990s, Dole began putting “Got Milk” stickers on bunches of bananas – millions. Milk is receiving more disruption in the minds of consumers. The more you can make association milk with products in other parts of grocery stores, the more sales potential they’ll enjoy. Dole even received an “ah ha” from cross-promotion, they have teamed up with Hollywood to promote first-run movies like Anastasia and Babe in the City.
Researching for a presentation for the National Home Furnishings Association, I discovered an interesting alliance in Northern California. They call themselves the Sonoma County Fine Furniture Association (SCFFA). What did you do? Eight competing fine furniture retailers came together to survive the recession of the early 1990s through cross-promotion and buying power.
They bought advertising together on the local radio and in the local newspaper. They even dictated to the newspaper on which pages their advertising would be located. They developed combo events where customers would visit several of the stores to be eligible to win prizes. They promoted each other to their customers within the store, especially if the specific retailer didn’t have exactly what the customer was looking for. They even printed a combined brochure, which included each member’s address and map location. The cover of the brochure read: People You Can Trust. Wow, what an impact!
On a United Airlines flight from Washington, DC to Atlanta, the cabin attendant handed me my usual bag of peanuts. But what was unusual was the size of the bag and its weight. Upon closer examination, I noticed that an America Online (AOL) floppy was included with the peanuts. It made sense, a trade route ferry, what a great way to put AOL software in the hands of business people. But don’t get caught sleeping. Now, things have changed for AOL and they have been forced to offer for free what they once charged.
Forest City, Iowa, manufacturer of recreational vehicles (RV), Winnebago Industries, Inc., and Nebraska-based sports owner Cabela’s have found synergies through reciprocal promotional activities. Cabala’s has provided an ideal venue for Winnebago dealers to showcase their RVs at a host of outdoor events. Most of the events were run by Cabela’s promotional arm, Sportsman’s Quest. Winnebago products were also featured in Cabela’s catalogs. Winnebago, in turn, displayed Cabela’s products at its events.
Strategic alliances for Co-branding
Bringing together more than one trusted and established brand develops unsurpassed marketing synergy. The ad headline read: Bring the Magic of Mattel Home for the Holidays. Just below the title several toys were offered to produce food. The catch was that it displayed Golden Arches type food. Mattel had a relationship with McDonald’s. And what quality parent would deny their child the opportunity to make their own McDonald’s hamburgers, fries, smoothies, and cookies at home?
Nestlé / Road Gold Flipz (chocolate covered pretzels), the synergy that can be developed through co-branding is amazing. Co-branded products have, at a minimum; twice the customer engagement and marketing impact of traditional branding. Consumers believe that with two reliable names, the product must be exceptional. However, there was a problem with the Flip. When they were first introduced, consumer acceptance was so great that distributors had trouble keeping their stores in stock. What a problem to have …
In recent years, the automotive industry has found value in partnering with prestigious, highly regarded clothing and accessory brands. Ford Motor Company partners with successful catalog retailer Eddie Bauer to offer luxury editions of its popular Explorer and Expedition sport utility vehicle models. Since these offers can influence customers’ perception of quality and value, they are also willing to pay more for perceived value.
Ford Motor Company has enjoyed its relationship with Eddie Bauer for more than 20 years. In 1999, the two brands reached a milestone in their collaboration when Ford and Eddie Bauer celebrated the production of Eddie Bauer’s millionth edition Ford vehicle at the St. Louis Assembly Plant, home of the Ford Explorer.
At the time, he stated, “It’s almost amazing how well Ford and Eddie Bauer combine,” says Ford division marketing communications manager Jan Klug. “Both companies have a reputation built on an unwavering commitment to quality, durability and customer satisfaction. For our customers, this means the irresistible combination of Ford’s ‘go anywhere’ ability and Eddie Bauer’s rugged style. For both companies, it means improving each other’s brand. “
“It’s no secret why Ford is setting industry records for SUV sales in an American market that currently has 41 SUV nameplates,” says Explorer brand manager Doug Scott. “We are creating products that truly excite the customer. And by partnering with Eddie Bauer, we are expanding opportunities for Explorer and Expedition to be a meaningful part of our customers’ active lifestyles.”
Due to Ford’s success in co-branding with Eddie Bauer, they are trying to duplicate their success with Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in their limited edition Harley-Davidson F-150 pickup truck. The custom version has been redesigned, completely black, with distinctive Harley-Davidson orange piping and chrome accessories.
“A strategic alliance between Ford Motor Company and Harley-Davidson makes mutual business and historical sense,” said Gurminder Bedi, vice president of Ford Truck Vehicle Center in a Ford press release dated January 6, 2000. “Our common heritage as American motor vehicle manufacturers and our common centenarians of 2003 were too good to pass up as a natural business opportunity. ” The association makes good business sense, ”added Bedi. The world recognizes both companies as original American innovators. known for its exciting and quality products. “
“This alliance brings together two of the world’s best known and most admired companies,” Harley-Davidson Chairman and CEO Jeff Bleustein said in the same statement. “Ford and Harley-Davidson customers want a distinctive vehicle that makes a statement about themselves as individuals.”
Even in the recreational vehicle (RV) industry, one manufacturer sees marketing value in co-branding. Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. in Riverside, California, is in partnership with Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. Fleetwood has enjoyed good sales volume in its private label RV partnership with Missouri-based Tracker Marine LP and its Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores. Fleetwood built and branded Tracker and Trailstar is sold in six Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World stores and 56 Tracker marine dealerships. RVs promoted in Outdoor World stores are sold for a one-time, non-negotiable price (exclusive to the RV industry) and can be purchased online. Models range from a Trailstar 8 folding trailer to the 29-foot Trailstar C-Class caravan.
Cross-promotion and co-branding are important strategies for business growth that you’ll want to consider very soon. Why wait until your competitors swallow the best partnership relationships?