Representatives from two B2B companies high-five after executing a successful brand collaboration.
June 22, 2023

The Power of Brand Collaborations in B2B Marketing

by Michael Brenner

Brand collaboration has become a popular marketing strategy for B2B businesses looking to stand out in the market and reach new audiences. 

By partnering with a complementary brand, businesses can tap into a wider customer base and offer unique solutions that they couldn’t deliver on their own. Further, brand collaborations help boost brand reputation and create excitement around joint offerings or initiatives.

That said, successful collaborations require careful planning and a clear understanding of each partner’s goals and audience. By knowing the right steps toward collaboration success, B2B companies can leverage the benefits of brand collaboration to drive revenue growth and stay ahead of the competition in crowded markets.

In the sections that follow we’ll define brand collaboration in more detail, cover 5 of its most important benefits, and highlight 3 examples of well-executed collaborations in the B2B world.

Quick Takeaways

  • Brand collaborations involve mutually beneficial marketing and/or advertising partnerships between two or more brands.
  • Collaborations can involve different types of initiatives, such as marketing campaigns, events, or joint product/service offerings.
  • Brand collaboration benefits include extended audience reach, boosted reputation, momentum and excitement, exclusivity, and upselling/cross-selling opportunities.
  • To get started, make a list of potential partners, brainstorm collaboration ideas for each, and reach out directly to pitch your ideas.

What are Brand Collaborations?

Brand collaborations (also called co-branding) happens when two brands enter a strategic marketing or advertising partnership with the goal of bringing mutually beneficial results to both brands.

Brands typically choose to collaborate when they share similar audiences and/or when their products and services can be offered in a complementary way.

With the help of the internet and social media, brand collaborations have become easier than ever to execute and more prevalent across industries in both the B2B and B2C spaces. B2B companies in particular have been able to get more creative about reaching niche audiences and finding ways to offer joint product/service packages that benefit business buyers.

Let’s look at 5 specific benefits to brand collaboration in B2B marketing.

5 Brand Collaboration Benefits

Extended Audience Reach

When you enter into a brand collaboration, your brand is exposed to an entirely new audience: the one belonging to their partner. You automatically expand your brand reach to customers you wouldn’t have engaged otherwise, and you gain their trust much more easily because you’re associated with a company they already know.

For B2B audiences, for whom the stakes of their purchases are higher (and more expensive) than most in the B2C world, this instant trust can be crucial for converting new customers.

Boosted Reputation

Brand collaborations can boost your brand reputation in a few ways. First, it allows companies to offer complementary solutions that they wouldn’t have the resources or expertise to offer on their own. Both brands can solve additional problems for their target audiences and do so in ways that are more convenient for buyers. As a result, their reputation is enhanced.

Further, entering a brand collaboration with another reputable organization demonstrates that your peers trust you enough to co-market. It’s an automatic reputation booster in your industry and to your potential customers.

Market Momentum/Excitement

Brand collaborations allow you and your partner to bring something new to the market — a packaged offering that likely wasn’t delivered before in this specific way. Nearly three-quarters of consumers report that they enjoy brand partnerships and the unique offerings that come with them.

In addition to the offerings itself, brand collaborations are typically launched with substantial campaigns to build excitement around the new partnership and offerings for customers.

All in all, you can expect a new brand collaboration to put some extra momentum behind your marketing and sales results in the form of increased traffic, leads, and closed deals.

Exclusive Offerings

As we’ve covered already, brand collaborations can bring unique offerings to market — offerings exclusive to each individual partnership. Your products and services have direct and comparable competitor solutions, but none that can match up to those packaged within your collaboration with a partner company. 

Exclusivity in general drives demand, so in this way you can expect collaborations to positively impact sales and revenue.

Upselling/Cross-Selling Opportunities

Upselling and cross-selling are a significant revenue stream for most B2B organizations. A new product/service package offered through your brand collaboration will be attractive to many of your current customers who could benefit from the added solutions.

Putting focused upselling and/or cross-selling campaigns behind your new brand collaboration can be a significant revenue driver.

B2B Brand Collaboration Examples to Inspire

SAP Partner Finder

Screenshot of the SAP Partner Finder website, a brand collaboration to help SAP customers find cloud migration/management service providers.

Image Source

SAP is one of the world’s leading enterprise ERP systems, and today both their new and current customers are migrating en masse to the cloud. But they need support to do it successfully, and SAP’s Partner Finder aims to solve that problem for them.

Through the Partner Finder, SAP customers can find service providers to help them execute a successful cloud migration. SAP benefits because more of their customers adopt new SAP cloud offerings, and their partners benefit because they can advertise their partner status and thus gain the trust of SAP customers who need their services.

In addition to the Partner Finder, SAP partners include co-branded marketing (like the official “SAP-certified” logo) on their materials to highlight their collaboration.

DotDigital’s Partner Webinar Series

Screenshot of landing page for co-branded webinar between Dotdigital, LoyaltyLion, and ODICCI.

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Co-branded and/or co-hosted webinars are a common type of brand collaboration in the B2B world and for good reason — in an environment where buyers are looking for thought leadership and expertise, creating partnerships to offer it goes a long way.

Dotdigital does this well on an ongoing basis with their partner series, Dotconnect. The example above features two other brands, LoyaltyLion and ODICCI, to talk about customer engagement.

Co-branded webinars enable wider promotion and the ability to cast a wider net for event registrations — a massive benefit given registrant-to-attendee conversion sits at about only 40% on average across B2B industries.

PowerBI Partner Network

Screenshot of Amesto Solutions’ marketing of their brand collaboration with PowerBI to offer analytics solutions to their clients.

Image Source

PowerBI is a top business intelligence software tool. Its partner network includes businesses in a wide range of industries and located around the globe — all of which use PowerBI in unique ways to enhance their customer experience. The PowerBI partner network homepage puts them all in one place so potential clients can see the countless current use cases of PowerBI.

The page clearly establishes PowerBI as a market leader and allows potential clients to learn how similar organizations are already finding success with the tool. PowerBI partners can highlight on their own channels how their partnership with PowerBI delivers added value to their users, as seen in the above example from Amesto Solutions.

Getting Started with B2B Brand Collaborations

In the highly competitive and increasingly crowded world of B2B marketing, brand collaborations offer a way to stand out in your market and differentiate from your competitors.

Whether you’re collaborating on a brand event, marketing initiative, or joint offering, brand collaborations will help you reach new audiences, build greater trust, boost your reputation, and ultimately earn more leads and sales for your business.

If you’re thinking about making collaborations part of your brand strategy but feel unsure about where to begin, start with a list of companies you like and respect, and look specifically for ones who have something complementary to offer your audience.

Consider how you can best deliver value to your buyers through collaborations (i.e. through shared thought leadership, co-offerings, or something else), and reach out to potential partners with your ideas. Look for “co-marketing” or “co-branding” pages on their websites to find the right people to reach out to.

Smart and creative ideas coupled with professional and compelling outreach will, over time, earn you collaboration opportunities that offer big growth potential for your business.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.