Co-branding is nothing new to the offline world. The strategy has brought terrific success to many companies by creating new products that leverage the existing and complementary strengths of the partners.
So why not do it on the Web?
The reality is, they're trying. And in a handful of cases, they're actually succeeding. CNN/SI, MSNBC, ToysR'Us/Amazon, and even the newly configured Disney/eBay auction site are good working examples of successful Internet co-brands. Through their work, we have learned of five powerful benefits generated by online co-branding.
1) An improved focus on customer needs and wants - All marketing strategies should have a customer-oriented focus. But because co-branding involves the launching of a new product, it adds extra incentive for a true evaluation of a customer's current and latent needs and wants.
An example of a successful co-brand that captured customers' desires is NBCOlympics.com. By co-branding with the Olympics, NBC delivered a blow to its competitors by delivering on a strong proposition of timely news and rich media coverage. The official event name - Olympics - focused the content and provided immediate topical salience to the target customer.
The result was a site that captured 75% of the total page views for Olympics oriented content, despite competition from the likes of AOL, Sports Illustrated and ESPN. NBCOlympics.com also beat the competition by as much as 200% in site traffic on individual days during the event.