Co-branding in China, a Strategy that Pays Off

Co-branding is a strategic marketing partnership between two or more brands, where they collaborate to create a unique co-branded product or service that combines the strengths and values of each brand.

In China, co-branding has become increasingly popular as it allows companies to tap into new markets, enhance brand image, and reach a wider customer base. It is a powerful tool among foreign and Chinese brands for building brand equity and driving business growth. 

Therefore, we introduce you to four different strategies:

  • Market penetration strategy: A conservative strategy that seeks to preserve the existing market share and brand names of two brands.
  • Global brand strategy: Seeks to serve all customers with a single, existing global co-brand.
  • Brand reinforcement strategy: Exemplified by the use of a new brand name.
  • Brand extension strategy: The creation of a new co-branded name to be used only in a new market.

Why are Co-branding Collaborations Effective?

Cobranding is effective in China because it increases exposure and brand visibility, leverages the popularity and reputation of established brands, targets specific consumer segments, and creates unique and innovative product collaborations.

Increased exposure and brand visibility

Cobranding undoubtedly amps up the exposure and visibility of brands in China. This collaborative marketing tool is a proven route for penetrating deeper into the hyper-competitive Chinese market, catering to specific consumer segments with distinguishing appeal. There are many successful co-branding campaigns, like the one between Estee Lauder and Lady Aiko:

Co-branding in China: Estee Lauder and Lady Aiko

It’s like catching two fish with one worm! By aligning your brand with a well-revered partner, you not only tap into their expansive audience base but also leverage their established reputation in this domain.

And that’s not all. Co-branding collaboration allows the strategic use of pop culture trends as a trampoline for maximum reach and resonance among young Chinese consumers, amplifying the notion of brand coolness associated with products in the Chinese market.

Leveraging the popularity and reputation of established brands

Establishing a strong presence in China’s competitive market can be daunting, especially for newer or lesser-known brands. However, co-branding offers a game-changing strategy in this scenario. By partnering with established brands, emerging companies can benefit from instant visibility, recognition, and trust that these well-known brands have already built among the same target audience.

For example, Perfect Diary, a trailblazer in China’s beauty industry, has successfully utilized this tactic. Through strategic collaborations with popular IPs and Chinese culture trends, they have risen above the competition and become a top C-beauty brand.

Co-branding in China: Perfect Diary

CEO Huang Jinfeng’s belief that co-branding strategies help new brands gain attention has proven true, fostering mutual growth and creating unique opportunities for exciting co-branded products targeted specifically at Chinese audiences.

It’s all about picking the right co-branding partner and forging an alliance that synergizes both companies’ strengths while respecting their individual identities.

Targeting specific consumer segments

Cobranding in China’s industry provides a great opportunity to effectively target specific consumer segments. By partnering with one brand that shares similar values or complements your own (like bringing traditional Chinese culture elements to your Western ones), you can leverage your existing audience base and expand your customer reach thanks to your brand partner.

Co-branding in China: Adidas & Heytea

This strategy focuses on niche marketing, catering to the distinct needs, preferences, and cultural tastes of different market segments.

For example, a luxury skincare brand could collaborate with a high-end fashion label to attract affluent consumers interested in a holistic high-fashion lifestyle. This targeted approach is a good co-branding strategy that not only increases brand exposure but also enhances the perception of your brand among desired consumer groups.

Leveraging collaborative marketing techniques such as this allows brands to resonate more deeply with Chinese consumers while simultaneously experiencing significant business growth and market expansion.

Creating unique and innovative product collaborations

Co-branding is highly effective for brands in China because it enables them to create unique and innovative product collaborations. By partnering with another brand, companies can leverage their expertise and resources to develop new and exciting products that stand out in the competitive market.

Co-branding in China: Estee Lauder

These collaborations, for example, such as skincare lines created with luxury fashion brands or makeup collections inspired by popular IPs, capture the attention of Chinese consumers who are always seeking fresh and distinctive offerings.

Creating innovative product partnerships also allows brands to tap into current trends and preferences, ensuring that they stay relevant and ahead of the competition in this ever-evolving industry.

Strategies for Successful Cobranding in China

Align brand values and positioning

In order to successfully cobrand in China, it is important to ensure that your brand values and positioning are aligned with your partner.

By collaborating with a brand that shares similar values, you can create a stronger and more cohesive message that resonates with consumers. This collaboration also allows you to tap into each other’s target audience and leverage your existing consumer base, increasing brand awareness and value for both parties involved.

By aligning your brand positioning through strategic partnerships, you can engage consumers on a deeper level and have a greater impact in the market. The key is to find a partner whose values align with yours and together create a compelling narrative that speaks directly to your shared target audience.

Utilize social media and influencers for promotion

In the fast-paced market of China, social media and influencers play a crucial role in promoting brands. Co-branding strategies that utilize these platforms are essential for success.

Co-branding in China: Starbucks

By partnering with popular Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) on social media, you can reach a wider audience and increase brand visibility. These influencers have established trust and credibility with their followers, making them influential advocates for your brand.

Co-branding in China: KOL marketing

Moreover, leveraging the reach of social media platforms allows you to target specific consumer segments that align with your brand values. With the right partnership and effective promotion through influencers, you can maximize brand awareness and drive conversions on e-commerce platforms.

Co-Branding: The GoPro and Red Bull Case Study

The human imagination has no limits and for some of us, the sky is the limit. For GoPro and Red Bull the limitations imposed by the simple Illuminati were not enough to stop them and send a man beyond the stratosphere over New Mexico, in the US.

Felix Baumgartner in October of 2012 flew approximately 39 kilometers (24 mi) from a Capsule in the middle of outer space. He reached 1,356 km/h (843.6 mph) jumping from an altitude of 28,969 m. Baumgartner broke two other world records.

Co-branding in China: Redbull and GoPro

How Co-branding made this energy, Drink brand together with the sports brand successfully held one of the most impressive stunts and succeed?

Both of these brands were brave enough to aim high and bring this event with a tight budget. They were dedicated to their idea: always demonstrating a commitment to their goals. Showing determination and dedication to the idea.

Creating a captivating story, at the same time dramatic and dangerous.

They brought an idea that not only aimed to bring brand awareness but they were also focused on providing data for further scientific goals such as providing data to advance space travel in the future.

At that time, they tried successfully to use live streaming on YouTube. They did a groundbreaking for what would be a successful game-changer strategy.

What was the result of the Co-Branding Campaign?

Sponsoring Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking jump provided Red Bull with massive global exposure as well as public approval.  Red Bull achieved thousands of followers and fans on various social media networks. There were over three million tweets and it was the most talked-about topic for days. This buzz created amazing engagement opportunities for the brand.

The campaign not only spread throughout social media but also received remarkable mainstream media coverage internationally, making the front pages of numerous leading publications.  It generated loads of publicity, not only because it was an extreme challenge, but also because they were willing to invest in improving society. 

Like Jonas Feliciana, a beverage industry analyst at Euro Monitor International, said, “This is taking it to a whole new level.  It has turned a PR event into a news event.”

Same results without jumping out the outer space.

There is an effective way to make your Co-Branding campaign be as successful as Red Bull and GoPro.

With a growing team of 75 marketers with a passion for China and digital marketing. We are constantly looking for new ideas to acquire the best output of our strategies and campaigns. With more than 7 years of experience in the market satisfying customer who regularly comes back for following up with outstanding results.

We are your local partner in China! Contact us!

Cobranding has proven to be a powerful marketing strategy for brands in China, with numerous success stories showcasing its effectiveness. By partnering with established brands or popular IPs, companies can leverage their exposure and tap into specific consumer segments.

The key to successful cobranding lies in carefully selecting the right partner, aligning brand values, creating visually impactful collaborations, and utilizing social media and influencers for promotion.

However, navigating cultural differences and measuring campaign success remain challenges that must be overcome. Overall, cobranding presents immense opportunities for brands looking to expand their reach and connect with Chinese consumers on a deeper level.

We are a China-based marketing agency offering cost-effective solutions to foreign brands interested in tapping into the Chinese eCommerce market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the experience and know-how needed to succeed in this lucrative, yet complicated market.

Gentlemen Marketing Agency offers many digital marketing and e-commerce solutions, such as web design, e-commerce and social media marketing strategies, localization, market research, KOL marketing, and more.

Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a free consultation with one of our experts, that will learn about your brand and present you the best solutions for your China market strategy.

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