Co-Branding and Promo: Friend or Foe?

Most marketers or CEOs in FMCG companies believe that in order to increase Sales or repeat orders, they have to promote a FREE Marketing gimmick. For example, Cooking Oil Brands give away Cooking Pans, or Rice Brands give away Rice Cookers or serving dishes. If we consider that such propositions would attain results then the question is: how often do you find FMCG Brands doing the same thing within a category?

Most FMCG companies within the Kingdom and the Middle East region are Research-driven and are led by Research in every action, what happens is what research says and what the Advertising agencies propose is generally what will happen. In most cases for a Brand to sell, Promotion is the keyword that heads of Marketing or even the organizations believe will conquer all. An informed consumers’ perspective would interpret these ‘Promotional tactics’ as Multinational Marketing’s desperate attempts to move their products off the shelves. Such a strategy of Value Proposition was very successful in the past three decades; however, Marketers and CEOs must look at how competitive each category is prior to introducing a new Brands in order for them to Differentiate from the existing Brands within the category

Most recently, I’ve seen few Brands pull the old trick of Co-Branding Promotions where something has to go for free, one of the Cooking Oil Brands gave away cooking pans, then came the second Cooking Oil Brand and they gave something away as well and then came a Dish-washing Brand giving away plates. If I have to support the above statement then I would say it makes a lot of sense when a Cooking Oil Brand gives away a cooking pan. It has great usability for the lower to middle income segments of the market but when an Affluent Brand uses the same proposition, the game changes. The offer is a lot more than getting something for free, it’s basically about the Experience and Culture


Emirates airlines and Godiva: Luxury Experience

In the case of Co-Branding, when one Brand associates itself with another Brand, both must consider the segment that both of these Brands are targeting is in line with the Environment and the Cultural Experience they are offering. For example, Emirates airlines offers Godiva chocolates to its passengers. What these two Brands are sharing? Luxury Experience

Just few days’ back I witnessed an upscale imported non-alcoholic Malt Beverage Brand with a Co-Branding promotion. I was surprised to find out that the Brand was offering peanuts with the beverage for free. I know that most people love peanuts with beer, Research in many countries shows that, too but again there are many other elements to consider when offering such a proposition. For example, if a local low priced non-alcoholic malt beverage offers peanuts for free, it makes sense from the point of existing Brand Perception, that there is a synergy between the two Brands with respect to their Environment and Experience

My classic example is, if a non alcoholic malt beverage brand with an Affluent Name, Colors and Icon is perceived to be affluent by consumers and the targets of such a Brand are associated with the Harley Davidson (bikers) audience, and are your typical Rock and/or Blues listeners who see life from a totally different perspective than the Moussy Brand audience or a possible Co-Branding opportunity that remains unexploited is to offer beverage accessories that are Branded with heavy bikers’ culture in the region. Would a free bag of peanuts make a difference to them? I HIGHLY doubt it!

One might argue and say, “Well what does Barbican mean?” a fortress at end of a bridge, but what does it mean in Saudi Arabia and GCC? The name Barbican has become the generic name for non-alcoholic malt beverage (NABs) just like Al Baik has become for Fried Chicken or Pepsi for Cola. Moussy (the Swiss non-alcoholic malt beverages owned by Carlsberg) was the first in the category of NABs in Saudi Arabia and yet, Barbican holds the 1st place today. A Brand should seriously decide who and what should it Co-Brand with and what will their partnership be based on, for example they should share the same Environment, same Value Proposition, same Brand Promise, and should target the same segment. Barbican with it’s “We hang out together” positioning could Co-Brand itself with a Chips Brand; while Rockers would be more suitable to Co-Brand itself with Tortilla chips with a Mexican salsa dip as promo. Consider when naming a Brand and choosing all the Brand Essence from the development stage, this indicates that you have selected your audience and this is the audience that you will target for years to come, until remodeling for the upcoming new generation

If I had the choice to take Barbican and Rockers to the Grammy Awards, I would associate Barbican with Hanna Montana and Rockers with Jon Bon Jovi and I would offer Moussy on Southwest airlines for those who fly for peanuts

Lesson: Please, keep your Brand focused if you wish to achieve Sales

I wonder if there will ever be a Brand that covers the Social Media culture with its growing numbers by the second, whilst Co-Branding. If you would like to consider that please visit my portal mentioned below to book a session

Said Baaghil is the ‘Unconventional’ Branding and Marketing Adviser to reputable companies in the Middle East, author of many reputable books including the ‘The Power of Belonging’ and a Speaker. Baaghil appeared in books published by America’s experts on Branding and Marketing such as Dan Hill and Libby Gill. Most recently Baaghil was interviewed by world renown Branding Consultancy firm Siegel+Gale on Branding in the Middle East

He can be reached on

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