By Anja Petrovski, Marketing Director at Volkswagen Middle East
Two brands collaborating isn’t a novel concept. Every day, we see new partnerships erupting. Some succeed while others fall short; but when they truly deliver, they build brands, broaden the reach of target audiences, facilitate engagement with new market segments, and develop customer loyalty. True alchemy comes when consumers are left with a better understanding of both brands’ values through authentic, engaging encounters.
When weighing up potential partnership opportunities, first reflect on your brand’s purpose. It’s all about a genuine connection. The key driver in a strategic brand partnership is alignment, followed by mutual impact. For a successful collaboration, both brands need to be in sync with the desired results and objectives, so it seems natural and exciting for the audiences to see them together. When the brands and their cause go hand in hand, it becomes a fluid engagement journey for external audiences through unique experiences and content.
Partnerships with a purpose
Exceptional partnerships, the kind that flourishes, all have one common thread: they have a common purpose. According to Deloitte's annual millennials and Generation Z survey, less than half of those surveyed saw business as a "force for good." Another study by Nielsen reveals that 66% of consumers were willing to pay more for goods from brands that demonstrated social commitment. Purpose is no longer an optional extra – it is a ‘must have’ for any future-focused organization. Effective brand partnerships seamlessly integrate purpose, brand strategy, and marketing efforts of both the company and the cause.
In a region rooted in community values, the rise of purpose-driven marketing is a natural focus as organizations seek to demonstrate and connect with regional audiences on a deeper level. In the past year, Volkswagen Middle East has focused on purpose-led partnerships and an example of this was with Carpool Karaoke. As the proud sponsor of Season 3, we took our partnership to the next level by auctioning off the one-of-a-kind Touareg used to film every episode and signed by each celebrity that appeared in the show. All proceeds went directly to supporting children in need of medical treatment at Al Jalila Foundation. Not only was this a good cause, but it also naturally fit with the brand’s family and our people-focused values. By partnering with Carpool Karaoke, consideration and awareness for the Touareg increased by 28% and traffic to the brand’s website by 36%.
Enhancing customer experience
The most captivating partnerships are when both parties manage to merge and provide customers with a fulfilling experience. As a brand that is ‘Made for Families,’ we recently collaborated with Lego to create a more positive customer dialogue with Aftersales, by developing fun and playful content using the Lego elements at various touchpoints. This has resulted in 52 million impressions on social media and 1.2 million video views with remarkably positive sentiment.
Our long-standing three-year relationship with Disney has enabled us to cement our ‘Made for Families’ proposition in various ways. Synergizing the iconic characters and fond films with SUV models has increased awareness and consideration with the desired target audiences while creating fun experiences and content for families. The partnership resulted in increased engagement rates across social media and drove sales leads, making a successful impact.
Celebrating courage and kindness earlier this year, we set up a Disney Enchanted Castle at our Dubai dealer, Al Nabooda Automobiles showroom, where children could be entertained while parents browsed the cars. We understood that it’s not always a simple task for parents to purchase a car while pacifying or entertaining little ones, and this magical touch proved to be a hit with many.
Co-create and dominate
Like any great union in life, the benefits of a successful partnership are endless. The real magic comes when brands with the same values come together and define themselves in a truly meaningful and powerful way. This really distinguishes the great from the mediocre, while creating a lasting effect on consumers and the market. Not only do brands benefit from new audiences with unprecedented content through collaboration, but they manage to initiate unforgettable and extraordinary experiences.