When I was a child, I loved swing chairs. My favorite part was reaching the peak when you are up in the air and all you can see in the skies, it feels like you are flying and the world is beneath you, some sort of sky diving if you think about it. Though I didn’t call it a swing at the time, I called it ‘Jagilova epomoto’, later I would come to learn that it was ‘jingle over like a motor’.

But the challenge was I needed someone to push, I needed someone to stand behind me and push me so high up farther than I can manually push myself. That is one part of my childhood I have never outgrown.
Looking at several Nigerian brands, I think of my 5-year-old self and how much they need that push, just a little dose of kinetic energy to shove the rusty hinges forward and push it beyond its strictures.

I usually tend toward writing long prose. But what I’ll do with this article is show you different types of brand collaborations and draw examples of strategic brand partnerships that have been successful and hopefully show you how Nigerian businesses can tap into this because like Byron Shaft said, ‘marketing is creativity’.

Brand collaboration is simply a strategic alliance between two or more brands to curate a specific product or service with the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage. Brand building and creating brand value takes decades, but sometimes, with the right partnerships and collaboration you can cheat 3 classes and get a triple promotion because ‘value is perception.’

There are different types of brand partnerships. There is -branded content partnership, co-branding, affiliate marketing (works mostly for online businesses. Remember Jumia ambassadors who help you shop?), product placement (think of all those Henessy bottles you’ve seen in movies or John Wick’s popular Ford Mustang that he almost died to get back. Thought it was a coincidence? Think again), licensing and sponsorship, influencer marketing (Kanye and Adidas has to be the best example I have seen).

For the sake of this article, I would focus on co-branding and branded content partnerships. The best co-branding collaborations I have seen are the ones that either solve a problem or come together to create a completely new product. The most important thing to look out for when considering a brand collaboration is your target market. Ask questions like: Do you have a similar TA, do you have a similar brand personality (I don’t think this should always be a parameter), and if your TA is similar, what’s their brand presence and reach?

The first on my list is Apple. Apple has partnered with a number of brands. For instance, Apple partnered with Nike in 2016 to create a smartwatch for fitness buffs. And just recently Apple has partnered with Mastercard to create a revolutionary credit app called Apple Card to help people make payments, understand their spending and make smarter choices with money. Purchases are organized in categories like shopping, food, school fees, fashion, etc.. And to top it off, customers also earn interest on daily transactions.

Another great example is Uber and Spotify. You know how Uber drivers never really play your type of music? Spotify saw an opportunity and partnered with Uber to create a solution that helps people with Spotify accounts listen to their playlist on a ride.
Other examples are Go Pro and Red Bull, Airbnb and Flipboard, BMW and Louis Vuitton.

Sadly, Nigerian businesses and start-ups are missing out on all of the great stuff in co-branding. The common co-branding examples I have seen are fast food companies and petroleum stations- big treat X Oando.
I’m hoping that this article can inspire strategic partnerships that will help Nigerian brands, especially start-ups, build brand reputation and presence. For instance, imagine a @keextribe and @Redbull partnership coming together to launch a new product, two brands with similar brand personality and drive, @Okada books and @Uber, imagine being able to listen to an audiobook on a ride, or a CC hub and Apple (the tech hub has developed a lot of innovative products).

My 5-year old self is saying, ‘wouldn’t you like to swing so high till all you can see is the skies?’