In-depth: Friends forever—How brands can leverage each other's strengths

Brands not only partnered with each other but wished competitors on social media to celebrate Friendship Day. Experts say though such strategy gives brands marketing exposure at half the cost, they don't foresee similar tie-ups on an extended basis

Akanksha Nagar
New Update
In-depth: Friends forever—How brands can leverage each other's strengths

It's always fun to marry two classic brands into one delightful experience for fans on special occasions. This Friendship Day saw a similar experience when brands from various different categories partnered with each other to showcase the spirit of the occasion.

Rising Star Awards 2021 Gala — August 10 at 4 PM

Parle G collaborated with Society Tea and Ceat celebrated its longstanding partnership with Royal Enfield. Mathrubhumi Media Group in Kerala wished its arch rival the Manorama Group, which really came across as a fine gesture.

Samit Sinha

Samit Sinha, Founder, Managing Partner, Alchemist Brand Consulting, thinks that given the pandemic and its adverse economic impact, this approach would have most certainly looked even more tempting than usual.

“I think it’s a great idea for brands of complementary products to collaborate, and a particular day that has been designated as International Friendship Day – however contrived it may be – makes it the most ideal occasion to highlight the relationship. Complementary products are those that do not compete with each other and indeed have a symbiotic relationship, such as shoes and socks, movies and popcorn, mobile phones and SIM cards, etc. Because these products are closely paired in people’s minds, their brands do not fight for the consumer’s loyalty. Of course, it is very important that the brands are of similar stature and do not represent conflicting values,” he said.

And if such collaborations are done well, the benefits can be immense.

In marketing terms, Sinha said, it’s like killing two birds with one stone, where both brands get marketing exposure at half the cost. And sometimes 1+1 can add up to more than two, as a well-paired match can have strong mutually beneficial rub-offs that can help magnify the perceptions of both brands significantly.

For instance, the Apple Watch Nike Edition adds an exciting dimension to both Apple and Nike.

Sandeep Goyal

Sandeep Goyal, MD, Rediffusion, however, believes these are just small promos on Friendship Day and so costs are inconsequential, especially on digital. Although he said, it is synergistic and mutually beneficial as this is a goodwill occasion.

“So even if you (consumers) don’t have loyalties to the other brand, it becomes a friend of a friend! Honestly, consumers are smart and take such good natured collaborations well. I think it gives visibility to both, makes for warmth and happiness and creates good vibes for the brands involved,” he said.

And when brands do this selectively, there is a novelty value too.

Ramesh Narayan

Ramesh Narayan, Founder of Canco Advertising, doesn’t believe the industry will see joint campaigns on an extended basis.

“Tea and biscuits. Bikes and tyres. The fit is perfect. It’s almost as if you wonder why it never happened before. Apart from the obvious cost-sharing benefit and the novelty value of seeing two brands together, I see this as a one-off tactical exercise. Not a strategic long-term plan,” he said.

Hallmark (or ingredient) brands such as Intel, Dolby, Teflon and Lycra have been regularly collaborating with OEMs for decades, but these are brands that a consumer does not buy independently, as they come bundled with another product that has a different brand name.

Sinha not only foresees more such instances but even collaborations between brands of products that consumers buy separately, because, if done well, they can lead to not just efficiency but greater marketing effectiveness.

Parle-G and Chai is one of the most evergreen and inseparable combinations ingrained in the minds of people for generations.

Mayank Shah

Mayank Shah, Sr. Category Head, Parle Products, said over the years Parle-G with a modest cup of tea has been the start of lifelong friendships and the brand is ecstatic to have Society Tea as the perfect companion to celebrate the occasion.

“With this campaign, we wanted to create a fun activity around this epic duet to commemorate the rare and inseparable bond people share with their close friends by encouraging them to go down their memory lanes and come up with their secret to dos-tea!” he said.

Amit Tolani

Friendship is a lifelong journey where there is trust, confidence and happiness between two friends. Amit Tolani, Chief Marketing Officer, Ceat Tyres, said the same is the case with Ceat and Royal Enfield. This unique bond manifests itself over different adventurous road trips and creates wonderful memories for the rider.

“Ceat stands for safety and is exhibited by the tyres that provide superior grip, no matter the terrain it rides on. Amalgamation of its brand promise with that of Royal Enfield gives the riders freedom to ride safely wherever they go,” he said.

This integration between the two brands, he said, has evolved over the years with more premium bikes currently being launched exclusively with Ceat, viz. Meteor and Interceptor. Apart from this, it has associated with Royal Enfield’s flagship annual event, ‘Rider Mania’, in the past as well.

“This way, there is the ongoing bond between Royal Enfield and Ceat users, which helps to create brand recall for both and builds brand salience,” he said.

Shubhranshu Singh

Shubhranshu Singh, Global Head, Marketing, Royal Enfield, said the brand believes in building a collaborative network. It engages with other communities with motivations and affinities similar to Royal Enfield. The friendly banter with Ceat was a result of such a spirit.

But how it can be a win-win for both players in the game

For brand collaboration to be an instant hit among their target audience, both should share the common goals. Just like how Nike and Apple enjoy their loyal customer base, respectively, but made their collaboration a hit by sharing the common goals, the similar set of target audience, and the objective to offer something innovative and novel to the customers.

Goyal said the commonality of values and overlap of customer profiles is important and both brands should complement each other and speak to similar audiences.

Not only should the products be complementary, Sinha said the brands must enjoy equal stature in people’s minds. Their core values must not be misaligned. This could be an extra beneficial dimension to both brands, which may not have been possible individually.

In-depth Friends forever