What’s significant about co-branding?
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What’s significant about co-branding?

Co-branding is interesting
because you have potentially two brands that try to come
together to deliver something that is greater than the
sum of its parts. And a great example of
that that I like to talk about in my class– when we’re discussing issues of
creating this co-branding kind of context and doing
it the right way– is an example that
I’ll show you now between two great brands. So when I show you this, people
instantly kind of know what this is. This is sort of the iPod. It’s kind of created the
category of the mp3 players. Lots of other products
out there– Zune, Microsoft has– lots of competitors that are
really struggling to try to capture the magic that has been
the forte of Apple in creating this product. And so an interesting example of
a co-branding example that I talk about a lot is
the partnership between Nike and Apple. So this is a new product that
has come out approximately about two or three years ago. And, basically, all it
is is a pedometer. So this is a pedometer that goes
inside the Nike shoe, and so Nike produces a set of shoes
that fit this pedometer. And what happens is you put the
pedometer inside the shoe. It has a special pocket that
is there that you place the pedometer in. And, basically, what you then do
is connect your iPod, your iPod nano, that will then
talk to this pedometer. And so what happens then is,
as a runner, you’re able to actually control your music
and also get particularly important statistics
about your running. So, for example, how many
miles you’ve gone. There’s also kind of an
interesting feature where you can sort of ask for your
favorite song that you really need when you want to push
through that last quarter mile, and you’re
feeling tired. And so it’s a way to kind of
communicate to your iPod, to the shoe, et cetera. Now, what’s interesting
about this is is the co-branding idea. So you have an iconic
brand like Apple. You have an iconic
brand like Nike. And you can think about the
implications of what this would mean to try to bring these
two brands together. There’s nothing new
about a pedometer. Pedometer’s an old idea, and
hard-core runners will be familiar with this kind
of technology. There’s lots of different
brands of pedometers out there. Why is this special? Well it’s special because it
is the melding of these two brand personalities, these two
iconic brand personalities– Nike and Apple. So you have Nike which is kind
of the transcendence through sport, the athletic
and aspirations to try to perform better. You have Apple which is kind
of hip, fun, and cool. You put those two things
together, produce an interesting product that has a
functional benefit for you as a runner, but it also allows
you now to communicate something that’s interesting
about yourself. And so what’s interesting about
this is is that, from Nike’s point of view, they
intend to sell more shoes because these are specialized
shoes that hold the pedometer. And from Apple’s point of view,
well, people have iPods anyway and are using these
iPods to work out, et cetera, et cetera. So it’s a kind of interesting
marriage between these two brands in that context. So the idea that’s important
in this notion is to think about when you’re partnering up
to do a co-branding sort of endeavor or business
relationship, how do you assess the extent to which you
can create that synergy between your brand and
the other brand? How should you message about
the new product that proportionately communicates
the right thing about your brand and the co-brand? And so all these messaging
issues become important in that context, and, again, tie
into the idea that we talked about earlier with respect
to new media. So one of the really cool things
about this is that once you use this product, then you
can go online and you can download your statistics to
basically a social networking website of runners. And you can share your stats,
you can motivate each other, you can talk about the product,
talk about your favorite runs, et cetera,
et cetera. So, again, this is a great
example of building that community and letting consumers
own the brands– in this case the co-brand
example– and creating that sort of social
lubricant to facilitate this discussion about the
brand and create further synergistic equity from the
co-branding partnerships. So I think that’s kind of an
interesting example of this idea in marketing.

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