Keep your friends close and your business partners closer

Branding, corporate identity and partnership working are terms that are thrown around in boardrooms, chat rooms and meeting rooms on a regular basis. No matter how big or small your business, it will, and should come up in conversation. But what does it actually mean?

The British Design Council describes branding as, “A set of associations that a person (or group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual or organisation.” The same can be said of corporate identity.

The associations or opinions a group of people have of your company can be positive or negative of course, and in a time of instant communication and platforms like social media giving the customer the ability to voice their opinions very quickly and very publically, it is vitally important for companies to work on their brand image and monitor if what they are doing is working.

One on-trend marketing solution for this is partnership working. Going back to a barter system or ‘I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine’ way of working has appealed to many business leaders.

Partnership working has a number of benefits depending on the size and reputation of each company. As a small emerging business, scoring a partnership with a large national or international company will often catapult them into the spotlight. This is easily the most sought after affiliation and of course, the hardest to achieve. It is also the most risky. Many small businesses can be swallowed up by the market leaders who simply buy out any hot new competition. However with careful planning, and rigorous contract monitoring this can be an unbeatable way into the mainstream.

Arguably the world’s most recognisable brand Coca-Cola has bucked this trend and have a dedicated Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) team, created in 2007. They have a team of specialist who are part venture capitalists and part industry forecasters, who engage with entrepreneurial new brands and work with them to preserve their brand identity whilst allowing the new company to take advantage of the operational and distribution networks that Coca-Cola have.

The more common partnership is between companies of a similar standing who want to take advantage of each other’s brand reach. Working with a company who is already established in the field you are targeting can bring many benefits. Finding a company whose geographical reach is different to yours can be even better.

Yachting Pages Media Group has recently gone into partnership with Dolphin Wear, a leading superyacht uniform manufacturer. Both companies have an excellent reputation in this niche industry, so what benefits will the partnership bring.

Sarrah Macey, marketing and events executive at Yachting Pages commented, “We are huge advocates of partnership working and this method has been highlighted in recent years following the economic crisis. Working with Dolphin Wear means we can ensure we have top quality, branded uniforms for this year’s season of boat shows. Our staff will be easily recognisable at the shows and using this platform will have a knock on effect to how recognisable our products are.”

Anna Gorska from Dolphin Wear added, “The partnership with Yachting Pages works really well for us. Our uniforms are showcased on a global stage with minimal effort from us. The Yachting Pages team wear our products at all the major boat shows globally, plus we have an increased international presence both in their publications and online. Its win win for both of us really.”

Seeing the opportunities available in partnership working is half the battle. Tying in a branding strategy that benefits both parties is another. In a post recession world where business running costs have to be heavily monitored, partnership working could be the way forward to many companies, irrelevant of size.

For more information about Dolphin Wear visit www.dolphinwear.com


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