Opinion: Ben Gallop asks: “How can big brands benefit from partnerships?”
By Ben Gallop, managing director of creative agency Brand & Deliver
Take one multinational, multibillion dollar tech giant and mix it with a tiny, nine-month old tech startup in London. Sounds unlikely, but in fact each has something the other wants.
Take Fixr, a queue-jumping nightlife app that allows users to pay for entry to clubs in advance via their phones and then walk right in, avoiding the scrum at the door. Tickets aren’t necessary – the nightclub simply scans in the details using an entry manager tablet app.
Though Fixr has blistering growth figures – reporting 30% growth every month since October 2013 – it is still a fledgling business that is neither on the Future Fifty radar nor does it an obvious choice for partnership.
Now look at LG, a consumer electronics giant making dents in its South Korean neighbour’s grasp on the smartphone market. It spends millions on above-the-line advertising and has a presence in every developed nation in the world.
Fixr represents top London venues including Ministry of Sound, Proud, Pacha and Steam and Rye – owned by Kelly Brook. It has access to key London influencers and benefits from being achingly cool. LG has volume, reach and power.
With both brands on our client roster, B&D’s partnership team saw the opportunity to put them together for mutual gain that goes beyond the traditional partnership treatment.
What it did for LG, aside from access to one of its key and hard to reach markets, was prove that one of the world’s largest companies has its finger on the pulse, willing to work with young and creative technology brands.
For Fixr, access to LG’s vast social reach and ad spend was a powerful platform to present from. But more than that, an electronics powerhouse partnering with a fledgling start-up to launch its flagship smartphone is a move that has put Fixr firmly on the map in an industry choc-a-block with new apps competing for success.
Big brands have big budgets but it’s so often hoovered up with traditional media buys. Partnerships takes an extra effort, but when they’re done well they pay far higher dividends.
Importantly, the delivery was also key. This wasn’t a badging exercise. The partnership involved a competition was embedded in the Fixr UX, which directly benefited its customer base if they chose to interact with it.
Big brands have big budgets but it’s so often hoovered up with traditional media buys. Partnerships takes an extra effort, but when they’re done well they pay far higher dividends. Yes, you have to consider otherwise obsolete factors like share of voice and reputation protection, but big brands shouldn’t be concerned with scale. It’s the fit and the objectives that matter, not whether you’re entering the ring at the same weight.
Small firms have focused followings, and brands with a broad portfolio of products, or a need to serve multiple messages to multiple audience groups will find that partnering with small targeted firms can accelerate their brand positioning. Targeting the right audience at their point of passion rather than struggling to adapt rigid brand guidelines to suit the market. Diversify your offer by leveraging a loved partner.
The LG/Fixr partnership marks a new marketing approach that benefits all, and proves that David and Goliath achieve more when they partner up rather than battle it out, so long as the partnership has meaning and feels natural.