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Playing Cupid: how brand partnerships are the new match-making service for online retailers


Finding your brand soulmate has never been easier with brand-to-brand partnerships, says Lee Metters, Brand Partnerships Client Partner at Awin. Leveraging a global portal of engaged, complementary brands can help retailers to boost incremental revenue and drive customer loyalty.

The post-pandemic online landscape

The coronavirus pandemic triggered a seismic shift in the way that customers shop and behave online. In fact, we’ve compressed a decade worth of digital adoption into just two years.  

Over 70% of customers are shopping online more than they did prior to the pandemic; it is becoming increasingly difficult for brands to acquire new customers in a crowded digital marketplace. Bundled with rising digital ad-costs across most marketing channels, inbound revenue and digital growth is declining.

The challenge isn’t just isolated to new customers. Online brands also have to work harder to retain customer loyalty as 13% of shoppers claimed they saw the pandemic as an opportunity to shop with a new brand and 60% of Gen-Z customers stated their brand loyalty has changed since the start of the pandemic. Retaining repeat purchase behaviour is a problem that isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  

What is a brand partnership?

A brand-to-brand partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship whereby non-competing brands partner and work together to achieve mutual success. Brands can reach like-minded customers based on complementary sectors, demographics and customer values, whilst also monetising their existing customer base and onsite inventory placements, gaining invaluable first-party data.  

There are three ways to use brand partnerships and drive success:

  • Be Promoted: partner with another brand to promote you and reach new audiences.
  • Promote: monetise your audience and enhance your customer’s experience with value-added rewards.
  • Reciprocal: develop a mutual relationship to drive customer acquisition and increase existing loyalty.

Why brand partnerships and the performance channel?

Measuring ad spend and return on investment is challenging for brand marketers, particularly with traditional partnership campaigns. You’re often reliant on the partner brand passing back performance data which you then need to match back to your own before you can determine any sort of campaign success. Not only does that take time, but it also makes it incredibly difficult to maximise performance by making small optimisations.  

Awin’s partner platform and real-time reporting and technology suite simplifies the process.  

  • Improve your existing customer experience and loyalty with value-added rewards from non-competing brands.
  • Reach new and untapped customer audiences.
  • Engage with customers at different stages of the purchase lifecycle and build brand awareness.
  • Enhance brand image through complementary brand partnerships association.
  • Optimise via real-time reporting and tracking of the entire brand partnerships campaign. 
  • Access a portal of plug-in technology partners to implement conversion optimisation.
  • Measure ad spend and ROI based on CPA model.

How to find the right brand for you

A successful brand partnership campaign is based upon clear synergy and alignment between your target audience and your potential partner brand. You should ensure that both brands share complementary campaign objectives, and that any potential partnership will enhance the shopping experience for your customers.  

Love at first sight? Launch your own brand partnerships campaign

From SMEs and agencies to global brands, brand partnerships can help to drive incremental revenue, new customers and consolidate brand loyalty.


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