Brand Partnerships 101:
Tips, tricks and strategies for affiliate marketers




Many brands want to get started on brand partnerships, but are often not sure where to start. In this session, we go back to basics covering exactly what you need to set yourself up for success and how it aligns with your wider partnership strategy. In this session, hear first-hand from those who are leading innovative brand partnerships in Australia.


Brand Partnerships 101: Tips, tricks and strategies for affiliate marketers


Will Wilson

Hi there. Thank you for joining us and welcome to the next session for Global Partnership Day. In this session we're going to deep dive into one of the most interesting areas of the partnership ecosystem, brand partnerships.

This is a question we get asked often to Partnerize about what is a brand partnership, and how to set them up and track them through the Partnerize platform. So in this session, entitled Brand Partnerships 101, Tips, Tricks and Strategies for Affiliate Marketers, we are going to share with you what are brand partnerships, how to get started, different types of brand partnerships, how Partnerize can support you, and the secrets to success.

For those of you who don't know, my name is Will Wilson and I'm the Regional Vice President of Sales for the APAC region here at Partnerize. And joined with me today is Saskia Keller, who is one of our Customer Success Managers also based here in Sydney.

Hi Saskia.

Saskia Keller

Hi Will, thanks for this introduction. Very happy to do this presentation today. Actually, before I joined Partnerize last year, I worked for several global companies managing affiliate teams as well as setting up brand partnerships.

So I've been working with many exciting brands to setting up brand partnerships and keen on sharing some knowledge and information and ideas today during this presentation.

So let's kick-off. What are brand partnerships? I think this is the most important question for today and probably many of you who are joining this presentation today are very familiar with affiliate channel.

And on the left-hand side, you see actually an example where an affiliate publisher is promoting you as a brand. But with brand partnerships, actually you are promoting another brand and that brand is promoting you.

And on the right-hand side, you see actually some exciting examples that have been tracked by a Partnerize platform. One is actually a corporation between Bayern Munich and Adidas.

They had actually a flyer on the seat of every seat in the stadium with a flyer of Adidas giving some discount actually to all Bayern Munich supporters, so great example here.

Others are actually with HomeAway and Japan Airlines, the Rabbitohs and Wotif, so all nice examples of brand partnerships.

And maybe you noticed that everybody is talking about brand partnerships. What is actually the reason for this? Well, in 2021 we saw a lot of communication about brand partnerships.

And the reason for this is that it's all about trust economy for consumers. And the keyword is here, trust. Imagine that a brand that you love and trust is promoting another brand.

This will help you to trust that other brand too, and that's actually the reason why brand partnerships are so relevant at the moment.

Also, 2020 actually opened the doors for brand partnerships, and research from Deloitte show that 80% of brands introduced new partnerships during the pandemic.

The reason for this is actually that brand partnerships are low risk, cost-efficient and a strategic opportunity. And of course within a pandemic where everything is very uncertain, this makes it a very interesting channel to set up at the moment.

So now we understand what actually a brand partnership is and why it's popular, but what is the value for your brand? Well, we listed down a few, but actually there are many more, but here are a few important ones.

So actually working with another brand gives you a whole new audience. Secondly, as partnerships are always new and creative concepts, consumers will be likely to notice your campaign because it's new and innovative. And actually, I have a nice example here.

I once set up a partnership between a holiday park and a fashion brand. And it maybe sounds a bit like as a weird combination in the first place, but it was the following.

When people would check in, they would receive a voucher from this fashion brand. And as they maybe had a little bit more time during their holidays, they started to shop online and this brand partnership was a huge success for both brands.

And actually, as a third point, you can put an offer in front of a customer at a very unique moment, maybe you saw that as well in the example I just mentioned, and this really strengthened the engagement with your customers.

If you have been adding value, it's of course very important to measure these as well and to see what the result is. But actually, there are many partnerships set up yearly, which is of course amazing, but we don't see that many actually being tracked.

Good in a sense, you can do that via Partnerize, so if it's on ROI, if you want to drive growth or sales or new customers, it will be visible in the dashboards and this gives you of course great information to report back to the business and show the value of your partnerships.

Will Wilson

Great, thanks Saskia. So now that we understand what brand partnerships are, you're probably asking, how do I get started? So here are a couple of tools and checklists to walk through as you start to approach the building of these partnerships within your business.

And the first point of contact is really to understand and define your value proposition. The traditional affiliate relationships are relatively easy to set up and affiliate has an audience and a particular value proposition that they deliver for their end user and you are onboarding them to your program in exchange for a CPA or some form of commission.

In this scenario, you are, as a brand, potentially acting as an affiliate, and you are potentially asking another brand to act as an affiliate. So this is not necessarily something that they may have done before and so it's important to really understand a framework to approach this kind of partnership.

So first of all is understanding what can you offer as a brand partner? What is it that the audience that you offer for a potential partnership to be established? The second is of course understanding what promotional types you are willing to engage in.

Saskia mentioned a few examples earlier about the different types of partnerships, and we'll explain in a little bit more detail in the next section. So really understanding what kind of offer you are willing to give the end user is a really important starting point.

And of course, what does your current customer base look like? Again, acting like an affiliate, what is it you can offer for another partner and how will that help them engage and motivate to enter in that partnership with you?

The next is of course establishing your goals. This is important for every project or partnership you work on, but again, brand partnerships don't always have the same outcome and not every brand partnership is made equal.

What we mean by that is, in a brand partnership often you can have different KPIs. So are you looking to increase your customer acquisition? Is it simply a customer acquisition project?

Are you looking to grow your customer database? Or are you looking for revenue? And if they are revenue or custom acquisition or database, what is your timeframe for these goals?

There are some amazing short-term partnerships that are established that are short, sharp and relevant to the end user, but there are also some amazing long term partnerships that end users eventually become educated on and tell their friends and it's a known partnership that is evolving and always on.

Thirdly, how will you measure success? Obviously, in this session, we're going to show you how to measure the performance and the ROI of these brand partnerships in the Partnerize platform, but understanding do you have a hard metric or is it a guide in terms of the partnership that you are working with?

And of course, identify what you are looking for in a brand partner. So what is it that you are seeking in a partner to be brought on board? What kind of audience do they have or customer database and how is that synergistic to the potential product that you are offering that user at the time of the partnership?

The third one is a little bit interesting and it's something to really consider before you embark on these brand partnerships because they can be a little more time-consuming than a more traditional affiliate, and that is to confirm your resources internally.

So first of all, who will manage your brand partnership? Is it you? Is it your team? Or is it someone else within the business? Is your platform set up to track them?

Obviously, the Partnerize platform can seamlessly track these brand partnerships for you. Have you A, set it up correctly in Partnerize or B, does your current provider allow you to do this?

And finally, also, do you have internal help for copyright and design and creating any marketing assets that you would be using in the park brand partnership? If you are entering a brand partnership with a brand, often you do develop specific custom assets for that co-branded partnership.

And so how will you get that support internally as you onboard one or many of these partnerships at scale? And of course, setting expectations and timelines.

So how long will your partnership run for? Again, looking at your KPIs, are they short-term or long-term? How long will the partnership be in market for?

How often will you check in as a partnership and are the targets that you are setting hard or are they broad? And of course internally, once you've identified your goals and your criteria for a brand partnership and potentially some of those brand partners themselves, what is the process to get that signed off and approved internally?

Is it marketing, is it PR, is it legal? What is the process that you would go through to understand? Because you are potentially going through a co-branding process and that's a really important process to ensure that you have approval internally.

Saskia Keller

Thanks Will for guiding us through how to set up a brand partnership. And actually, in the section I will give you some fictional examples of campaigns that you can set up.

But actually before we dive into examples, let's have a look of what kind of types of promotions actually we have. And here again there are many more ways that you can set up a brand partnership, but here are some examples of the types.

So the first one is actually the one-way promotion and this is an example where our brands promotes you to their customers via newsletter or social media.

Then the second one, and this is the ideal scenario, is both brands are promoting the campaign via their media and you can make actually the campaign as big or small as you want.

And the third one is an example where the partner who is promoting the other brand reinvests the commission earned into a gift card or another gift for the consumer, and I have actually an example of this later on in the slides.

It's very important when you kick off a brand partnership to define what kind of media you have available to promote a brand partnership, and this can build in many ways.

For example, you have a website and a newsletter that you can use for the brand partnership but maybe the brand you're working with has an amazing event where you can promote you.

So here again, you can use all different types of media. And here we go for the fictional examples. The first one is actually a free gift and I think giving samples away when you buy something is not something new, but when you actually really are able to give a gift from the brand partner you are working with, it's a really nice match for the customer as well.

For example, imagine you're buying a TV and with this you actually receive a few months of free movies from another brand, very right fit of a brand partnership.

Or the same actually when you buy a blender and you get a complimentary meal kit. This is an example and actually, in my previous roles I have been using this example, or this setup, many times and I think it's a nice step into brand partnerships.

It's a flyer swap and it's mainly for brands who are sending parcels. You are adding a flyer from the brand that you are working within your parcel, and the other way around and I saw amazing results actually to gain new customers and drive growth.

In this example, it's an online promotion where if you are ordering food on your mobile phone, it's a really nice opportunity for another brand to promote its wines.

And the other way round here is that when you order some drinks, the best opportunity to share a promotion for buying some food as well. And the last one, this is that example, where the commission earned, is reinvested in a gift card.

So for example, you want to buy or sign up for a credit card and if you do so, you receive a $ 250 voucher for a fashion brand.

The fashion brand is promoting this cooperation as well in their newsletter showing that if you apply for a credit card, you'll receive this voucher. So here again, it's a win-win situation for both brands who are working together in its brand partnerships.

Will Wilson

Fantastic. Thanks Saskia, you've made me hungry with your food and drinks offer there. I'm salivating already. So I think the next section is understanding how you actually track these brand partnerships and of course how can Partnerize support you to do that?

If you go to all of this effort to set up the framework to bring on these brand partnerships, it's really critical to measure the impact and the ROI that these partnerships have.

So what we wanted to show you in this little section is how you do that through the Partnerize platform. First of all, what you'll need to do is once you've identified your brand partner, you can request for them to be set up as a partner in the Partnerize platform.

This is a really easy onboarding process for them to do. You can see the three screens and the basic information that the platform requires for them to be set up as a partner in the Partnerize platform.

The next section is to create, or sorry, find that brand partner in the intelligent partner discovery tool. So now that they are discoverable within the Partnerize platform, you can essentially request for them to be a part of your affiliate program.

Once they're on your affiliate program in the platform, you would create a specific campaign for that brand partner and you would invite that partner to that campaign.

This then automatically triggers a tracking link, or if you wanted to you can set up the voucher code tracking, which is quite common in the brand partnerships. The partner, the brand partner that you have identified in this scenario just before it was pet stock, they would then have access to the individual tracking link as part of that campaign for your affiliate program.

And so this is a really easy way for them to put this creative on any asset for them to track that appropriately in real-time. And as you can see on the next slide, some examples of where that partner can place that link.

It's really wherever the brand partnership is actually present and the end user is being exposed to the offer. So you can see here on the left-hand side the Wotif and Sydney Rabbitohs example.

If they are on there, they can link out and the tracking link would be used on the URL to be able to track in real-time any of those conversions. Similarly, you can see a great example of foodpanda and American Express.

The tracking link would be embedded and you can see in real-time how this is being captured. And so this is really exactly how the affiliate partners or the traditional affiliate partners are using the tracking links and the Partnerize platform to be able to be attributed to the sales that they help generate.

And of course, the final aspect is understanding the impact that that particular partner has had on the business or the partnership. This is a really easy process in the performance tab within the Partnerize platform.

You can search specifically for that partner, again the example being PETstock, and you can then display any data that you want in terms of that particular partnership.

So an example here would be over the last 30 days, what that PETstock partner has driven from that tracking link. You can see the clicks, conversions, conversion items, the total or the value of revenue, and then the commission that you owe them as a brand partner, assuming that you've set up some sort of CPA as part of that partnership.

You can see here in these couple of steps, it's a really easy process to onboard any brand partner that you want to work with that is acting as an affiliate on your program, for them to set up, have access to the tracking links and track the outcome of that particular partnership.

So finally what we wanted to do is spend a couple of minutes sharing with you the secrets to success because we've gone through, we've explained to you hopefully in really clear language what a brand partnership is, how to get started, and the framework for setting up these brand partnerships in your business.

The different types of brand partnerships that are available and all of the different media options and examples that Saskia shared, and then how to set up the brand partnerships and track them through the Partnerize platform.

But the successful brand partnerships have a few secret successes. So the first one to share is address a customer need or behavior change. As you saw on some of the examples that Saskia shared with you, the most powerful partnership you can establish is when you capture the customer at a magic moment.

Buying a TV and getting free movies for three months is a perfect and very simple example of the right offer at the right moment for the right customer. And this is really why so many of the pandemic partnerships were successful.

They understood what that customer need was at the magic moment. So addressing a real challenge your customers are facing makes the partnership and the offer more relevant.

And of course, thinking about the behavior of the new audience you are targeting through your brand partnership and how you can tailor the messaging to suit their needs in that particular moment.

Saskia Keller

Partner with intention. So it's very important to already, at the very beginning stage of your brand partnership, to set out specific goals and objectives to measure success.

It will also help to understand the goals of your partner better and the other way around. And with this you can really think together of a brand partnership that works very well for both brands.

And the second point is actually to connect the audience of the brand partner where you work with and ensure that they're actually a really good fit. This will really help to increase performance.

Will Wilson

The next one is to think like an affiliate marketer. And what we mean by this is to really ensure that you are measuring all of these partnerships accurately. These are typically performance-based partnerships which is really appealing, but it can take quite a lot of time, as we've pointed out, to set up the framework to onboard these partnerships.

So making sure that you can measure and demonstrate to the business the ROI that each and every one of these partnerships is delivering is really important. So brand partnerships are successful when they're properly measured, so put your affiliate hat on, confirm how you are tracking and measuring the partnership.

The CPA based partnerships are obviously a great approach and typically the most appealing because, as I've just mentioned, they are the most performance orientated partnerships.

Saskia Keller

And last but not least is to start simple. You can actually start with something that's more about generating a database or set up a joint competition and then progress up to a full promotion.

Because what's often happen is, at the start, that the brand partnership is already so big that it's very hard and complex to set up, but if you start with a simple idea and you work your way up from there, both brands have really trust in that this is the perfect brand partnership to set up.

Will Wilson

Perfect. Well thank you very much Saskia. I think this has been a great session for hopefully all of you to better understand the areas that we've discussed, which is what are brand partnerships, how to get started, the different types of brand partnerships available to you, how Partnerize can support you and how you can track these brand partnerships in the Partnerize platform, and of course the secrets to success.

Like I mentioned at the start of the session, this is probably the most exciting area of the partnerships ecosystem so I would encourage you to have some fun, go out there and establish some great brand partnerships, and please stay tuned for more great sessions coming up on Global Partnership Day.