With so much competition for people’s attention nowadays, collaborating (especially with your competitors) might not be the first strategy that comes to mind, but many brands have seen success doing just that. Over the last few years, as collaborative marketing has become more common, businesses have looked to gain partnerships with others in both different and similar industries to their own. By working with competing or noncompeting businesses, they can increase loyalty and awareness, break into new markets, and even find fresh perspectives.  

Collaborative Marketing for Competing Brands 

Brands are motivated by competition in the marketplace. In collaborative marketing, each company can remove some of the anxiety that comes from competition and work together on a joint venture that benefits them both. Successful campaigns will show that neither is dominating the market, but rather both are enhancing each other’s reach. 

For example, small businesses and franchises can collaborate by bringing in a guest speaker or bringing their audiences together at large events or workshops. 

Collaboration can also aid businesses in reaching a new audience that may have an allegiance to a competitor. In addition, brands can establish a new identity angle by associating with one another.  

Microsoft and Intel co-branded and created the now-defunct Wintel duopoly to build the software and hardware technology platforms we know today. Popular retail brands, Adidas and Allbirds, also recently collaborated by having the sustainable shoe company create a campaign line for the German athletic conglomerate.  

Competitors can collaborate to deliver critical public service messages as well. For example, comparable businesses may come together to sign an environmental pact, or similar manufacturers may address industry issues and information together such as seatbelt safety. 

In these cases, the networking and education each brand receives from the other is beneficial in the long run for their future communication and collaboration. 

Partnering with Noncompeting Brands 

Collaborative marketing can also be beneficial for non-competing brands. Co-branding is a strategic partnership that can enhance a company’s audience engagement, reputation, and overall message, but it can also hurt it if you don’t approach it strategically.  

When considering a new partner, look for: 

  • Similar values 

    Seek out non-competing brands that aim to provide something similar to their audience.  

    (i.e., Luxurious quality or inexpensive prices.)  

    Additionally, similar beliefs or ethics are important to a successful partnership. 

  • Similar targets, objectives, and goals 

    Think about a brand’s desired outcomes and if they align with yours, not the product or service they provide.  

    Uber and Spotify collaborated by allowing Uber riders to play their own music in cars. Each aimed to market in a way to build awareness and boost sales by experiencing each service together. 

  • Complementary skill sets that can offer mutual benefits 

    A weakness in one brand can be built up by a partnership with another. Even better, a brand’s strengths combined can be more beneficial than alone. 

    When “Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was released in 2015, Lucasfilms collaborated with CoverGirl to appeal to the unlikely markets of Star Wars fans and makeup lovers. 

    Our Rhode Island-based Hasbro has also just recently collaborated with Champion creating a line of board game-themed apparel to appeal to the child in all of us. 

  • Consumer relevance 

    To successfully bring in a wider audience, one must make sure each brand has a  similar clientele.  

    A successful acquisition of consumers can not only create a broader audience for both businesses and social buzz but allows a chance to diversify the companies as a whole.   

To be able to alter or enhance a consumer’s perception of a brand and share resources can ultimately add value to one another, no matter the industry.