How to Create Co-Branded Products with Influencers

by Branding and Design, Ecommerce, Influencers, Uncategorized

Co-branding is the new “Sharing is Caring.” With co-branding, brands and influencers can share their audiences so that everyone benefits. Co-branding is all about creating something together that generates buzz and revenue for everyone involved.

If you’re a brand looking for a new way to work with influencers and generate sales, then co-branded products could be the next opportunity for growth for your brand. We’ll be breaking down what exactly co-branding is and how it could have a big impact on your revenue generation.

What is Co-Branding?

Co-branding is partnering with another brand or influencers to create a product that incorporates the knowledge and expertise of both parties involved. For example, if your brand partnered with an influencer to create a clothing or product line that used your fashion and merchandising expertise, then paired it with the influencer’s unique style. In other words, you’re creating a product that incorporates the viewpoints of both partners.

Co-branding begins at the product development stage with the influencer. As a brand, you’re more than likely going to be handling the manufacturing and production processes, but the influencer will have input on the design of the product.

Co-branding is successful because of the unique perspectives of both parties involved, and because of the co-marketing opportunities that naturally follow a co-branding partnership. We’ll get into co-marketing next.

What is Co-Marketing?

Co-marketing involves partnering with another brand or influencers to create a marketing campaign (or campaigns). In co-marketing, you are both advertising your partnership so that each partner’s audiences is learning about the other partner’s social profiles or brands.

For example, if your brand partners with an influencer to host a giveaway, and you both post to your own social profiles about the giveaway, then this is co-marketing. You are both encouraging your audiences to look into the other partner and to participate in this campaign.

If you take the time to co-brand a product with a partner, then you’ll also want to co-market this product as well. You’ll want to spread the word about this product so that you get plenty of sales, but you’ll also be marketing about the partnership itself, so that each partner benefits from the shout out. Co-marketing is the natural extension of co-branding, but you can also co-market outside of a co-branding partnership.

Ways to Co-Market with Influencers:

Co-hosted events – hosting an event together with an influencer is an opportunity to build your list of attendees from the influencer’s audience. The influencer and the brand should both be posting and sharing about the event to get RSVPs from their respective audiences, and the influencer can share live content from the event to get even more attention on it.

Creating content together – If your brand leans heavily into content marketing, then an influencer can help you create successful content. Whether it’s a ebook or a video, influencers can help the brand tell their story, then both the brand and the influencer would share it with their audiences.

Blog swap – If the influencer also has a blog, then you can swap valuable pieces of content. Each partner would post a blog post from the other, then they would share about each piece of content with their audience. Remember, co-marketing is about gaining attention and sharing each other’s audiences, so swapping blog content is a great way to accomplish these goals.

Instagram takeover – This option relies a bit more on the work of the influencer than on the brand, however it can be an effective way to share audiences. In this type of partnership, the influencer would “takeover” a brand’s Instagram page and share a series of posts with that audience.

The brand would get authentic and personable content, and the influencer would share about the takeover on their own social channels. In this way, the brand’s audience learns about the influencer and the influencer’s audience is engaged with the content that the influencer is sharing to the brand’s page.

Webinar – It can be difficult for some brand managers to fill the time allotted for a webinar. If you struggle to give an entire webinar without any interaction, then partnering with an influencer can help you create even better content. The influencer can act as a co-host, which means that you also have another expert in the webinar to converse with. Both the brand and the influencer would share the webinar and promote signups to their audiences.

Microsite – A microsite is a subdomain or offshoot of your brand’s website. On the microsite, the experience is catered to a specific goal and a specific audience. Partnering with an influencer to create a microsite specifically for their audience can be a great way to create content together and provide a tailored experience for the influencer’s audience. Of course, the brand would also reciprocate by providing an SEO boost for the influencer with this microsite.

The Goals of  Co-Branding Product with Influencers

In many ways co-branding isn’t just a product development plan, but a marketing strategy as well. The goals of co-branding are to create win-win situations for both partners and to create a product or service that you can promote together.

Goal #1 of Co-Branding Products with Influencers: Sharing Audiences

First and foremost, co-branding partnerships should expose your brand to a new audience. The influencer you partner with should bring their audience to your brand and should be sharing about the product that you created together. This sharing of exposure is called the “halo effect.” 

Sharing audiences should be done in a natural way with the influencer and the brand. The brand should be making regular announcements about their new product launch, and the behind-the-scenes of creating this product. The influencer should be sharing the excitement with their audience of creating a product with an established brand.

Goal #2 of Co-Branding Products with Influencers: Brand Awareness

In addition to sharing audiences between the brand and influencer partners, co-branding can also create brand awareness. The influencer’s audience will build name recognition with your brand and may purchase the influencer’s co-branded product when it’s released.

By partnering with your brand, the influencer is also giving your brand a stamp of approval that is stronger than if they just mentioned or shared about your brand on their social channels.

Goal #3 of Co-Branding Products with Influencers: Generating New Customers

Co-branding is only successful if the product sells. If it only generates buzz but no sales, then the brand won’t recoup their investment. Conversions also help to generate new customers, so that the brand can add to their retargeting audiences and email lists.

Brand partners should build the co-branded product’s marketing materials so that audience members who explore the site are captured by lead capture forms or other tools so that the brand can continue to nurture the lead for a future conversion.

Goal #4 of Co-Branding Products with Influencers: Up-selling and Cross-selling

Although behind your co-branding goals of conversions and brand awareness, an important goal for co-branding could be up-selling and cross-selling. When an influencer’s audience comes to your website to see their influencer’s co-branded product, there should be checkout and conversion paths in place that offer related products and try to up-sell items to the audience members.

This can increase the Average Order Value (AOV) of visitors who are looking for the co-branded product and can help your bottom line!

Picking the Right Influencer Partners for Co-Branding Promotions

Creating a co-branded product with an influencer is a relationship that very closely aligns your brand with the influencer’s online persona. Before committing to a partnership, you should make sure that your brand’s mission, message, and values align with the influencer’s public image.

For example, Betty Crocker and Hershey have baking mixes that they have created together. They both represent nostalgia and stand for comfort food and home cooking. In this way, their messages mesh well and create a cohesive partnership. Betty Crocker and Bud Light would not have the same result because their companies are too different and their values don’t align well.

Demographics of each audience should also overlap. Dr. Pepper and Bonne Bell Lip Smackers were able to create a successful partnership because both appeal to younger audiences. No one would buy lip smackers that were prune juice flavored because the two demographic groups don’t overlap enough.

Some other considerations for finding the right influencer partners: 

  • If the influencer already has other products and merchandise for sale, then they should not be competing with your existing line of products.
  • The influencers should be creating high-quality content, demonstrating that they can create the marketing assets needed to promote this co-branded product. 
  • The influencer should have a large enough audience to promote your co-branded product. At this point, you can ask the partner for verifiable data, like the size of their email list, their weekly organic reach, or their average monthly web visitors. They should be able to demonstrate their influence with data, not just follower counts. 

Setting Clear Expectations for your Co-Branded Products with Influencers

The biggest pitfall of co-branding is not setting clear expectations with each partner from the beginning. For this type of partnership, it is more important than ever to have a signed agreement in writing that outlines what each partner’s responsibilities, requirements, and revenue sharing looks like.

Your agreement should outline: 

  • The manufacturing responsibilities of the brand
  • How much and how often the influencer will be promoting the co-branded product on their social channels
  • What content each partner will produce to advertise the product
  • How the brand will promote the product to their audience (will they mention the influencer? Will the influencer’s picture be listed on the product page?)
  • How much inventory will be produced and any agreements around restocking inventory if and when it sells out
  • How revenue will be shared with each partner

Once you have this agreement signed, then you can begin the co-branding production process. As you go, you may also want to continue to communicate with your partner so that they have a clear picture of what is going on and where you are at in the production process. The better the communication, the more you’ll avoid misunderstandings and problems in the future.

Launching your Co-Branded Products with Your Influencer Partner

Launching your co-branded product should be dictated by your co-branding agreement from the previous step. At this point, you can enact the plan that you have for co-marketing your product together.

Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Reveal your co-branded product on a livestream through Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube
  • Co-host a giveaway with your new product as the prize (this also gives you another opportunity to capture visitor’s information for retargeting later on)
  • Host a launch party together
  • Make sure that the influencer has samples of the products so that they can share it with their influencer friends and get even more buzz going! 
  • Send an email announcing the new product to your list, including a personal message from the influencer
  • Have the influencer offer a special discount code to their audience

Creating Great Co-Branded Influencer Products

Creating co-branded product lines with influencers can be a great way to capitalize on the influencer’s large audience and create a relationship that generates sales, awareness, and creative content.

Using these best practices, you’ll be able to find the right partners, create products together, and start sharing your audiences so that you can both profit together!

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