Learn How Icon Supports Co-Branding Efforts

Posted by Allison Wilker on June 17, 2021

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On the surface, co-branding seems like it would be easy—put two companies together in an ad and make it look seamless. But there’s so much more that goes into effective co-branding work. Over the past 24 years, Icon has learned that a commitment to doing what’s right for the consumer in regards to messaging and timing, while still upholding the brand and retailer’s voice and equities, is the surest way to see co-branding success. What else have we learned? Read on.

One retailer is not like the other: working with retailers of all sizes

A co-branded campaign for a retailer is not a one-size-fits-all approach. What works for a 100-store retailer with a national digital presence is not what’s going to work for a retailer with one storefront and a limited marketing budget. So how do you find the right agency partner that understands the nuances of how to effectively market your brand alongside retailers of all sizes and needs? Look for one with marketing savvy and expertise in a wide range of budgets, target audiences, and media.

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Icon approaches every campaign as an integrated effort across a variety of media and platforms, with options for household-name retailers and those less known to gain credibility and trust in pairing with the brand. 

And while some agencies may think co-branded materials only work for seasonal promotions, Icon is committed to developing a strong evergreen brand presence with retailers as well. This can be just as valuable for those in-between stretches where strong brand awareness can drive traffic to retailer doors.

it's all about the customer: understanding the shopper journey

A good co-branding agency isn’t just looking for ways to get clients to spend money. You should feel confident that what you and your retailers get from your agency impacts your business goals and objectives—whether an improved customer experience or an increase in sales and revenue. This all starts with understanding the shopper journey.

At Icon, we work to optimize content for what consumers are actively seeking to create a mutually beneficial end product for both the brand and the retailer. Our 360° approach looks at how and when to best reach the target audience strategically at every step in the path to purchase. This gives our clients the edge with action-inducing materials that drive awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Additionally, we have a long track record of pairing in-depth, quality shopper marketing strategy with innovative design to help brands stand out in a retail environment. One of the biggest co-branding variables is how the brand is represented in different retail locations with different shoppers and different needs. Icon bridges that gap to create a consistent brand experience regardless of where the consumer finds your product. 

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finding common ground: balancing brand and retailer goals and messaging

Balance plays an important role in delivering successful co-brand creative. The brand and retailer may seem to have competing priorities in their messaging and goals for a campaign. An agency that works to define an overarching strategy and messaging hierarchy that satisfies all involved and truly integrates two separate entities will bring you the most success.

Icon takes the time to listen to the goals of both sides of the co-branding relationship as well as understand the brand and retailer’s points of difference and compatible unique selling propositions. Then we strategize our messaging and creative to meld the two into one cohesive advertising campaign that elevates both.

Plus, Icon’s strength is building relationships with the brand team to stay in front of promotional and turnkey needs while becoming a partner that retailers can trust. We’re happy to put forth the effort to get the sometimes-tricky balance of brand vs. retailer to a spot where all parties and messages are successfully represented, because we know that alignment creates the most impactful co-branded marketing.

Making the choice to work with an agency on your co-branded retail marketing is a big decision with many variables in play. Look for a proven track record of success and growth for both brands and retailers of all sizes. Don’t settle for less than a comprehensive understanding of the shopper journey combined with top-tier content creation. And make sure your agency has the ability to balance the power of a brand and the consumer-driving needs of a retailer to build a strong and beneficial co-branded experience for both.

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Topics: co-branding, retail co-branding, co-brand marketing, co-branding strategy

Allison Wilker

Written by Allison Wilker

Allison Wilker is Icon’s Chief Client Officer and has 23 years of leading clients to marketing, retail, and PR success. Clients include Tempur Sealy, Mt. St. Joseph University, Skyline, Fifth Third Bank, and Valvoline. Allison’s focus is in consumer durable goods, food, education, and finance.

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