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Brand to Brand Partnerships: Strategies & Everything You Need to Know

Feb 22, 2023

Director of Content

2022 US digital ad spend was projected to increase 14% from 2021 surging to $240B. To maximize the return on such a substantial investment, marketers must tap into solutions that simplify the design, deployment and measurement of sophisticated campaigns across consumers’ buyer journey— initiatives that grow quickly in both cost and complexity for those not leveraging the partnership channel.

Over the last decade, marketers have witnessed the affiliate channel evolve more broadly into the partnership channel. Now a tablestake in the digital mix, the partnership channel relies on software innovation that supports unique partnerships across varying mediums such as digital, print, podcasts, radio, social channels and more to optimize both traditional and transformational partnerships:

Traditional partnerships include coupon, cash back, referral or content sites promoting offers, brand messaging or sponsored posts to their audiences in exchange for commission or flat-fee payments.

Transformational partnerships are connections and collaborations between brands, typically in different verticals, that enable marketers to reach loyal, engaged audiences with a cross-promotional message.

brand to brand partnerships

In combination, traditional and transformational partnerships provide marketers with necessary diversification to effectively expand their reach. And, when diverse partnerships are paired with sophisticated technology, marketers achieve omnipresence across consumers’ path to purchase while driving profitable growth.

Benefits of transformational partnerships.

While many marketers are aware of the value traditional partnerships bring to their business, transformational partnerships, or brand-to-brand partnerships, power growth opportunities with distinctive benefits:

New customer acquisition.

Executing brand-to-brand collaborations in the partnership channel enables marketers to reach like-minded consumers on an agreed upon payment model. And, optimizing these partnerships via the partnership channel provides transparency into results typically sacrificed when managing this type of collaboration without innovative technology.

Breaking the consumer trust barrier.

By connecting with a like-customer base of loyal consumers, marketers are able to break the trust barrier and alleviate the layer of skepticism associated with first-time purchasing from a new brand with a built-in recommendation—an important piece of the purchasing decision cited by 56% of surveyed consumers.

Adapting to a cookieless future.

Leveraging the first-party data of complimentary brands is an effective counter to the loss of targeting resulting from ITP and the deprecation of the third-party cookie. Read our guide to more about what the cookieless future looks like in 2024.

Long term results.

Perhaps due to the affiliate channel’s historical reputation for quick-hit results, many brands became accustomed to using the channel to hit short-term transactional targets with heavy dependence on a small number of large discount and cash back-oriented partners. With brand-to-brand partnerships, marketers are able to create an experience for customers that taps into loyalty and ultimately builds stronger lifetime value of acquired customers.

Optimizing brand-to-brand partnerships.

The partnership channel gives marketers freedom to create and deploy unique collaborations with the most relevant affiliates across their diverse partner base—including other brands. For those considering testing brand-to-brand partnerships but not sure where to start, promotional methods that garner the attention and advocacy of consumers can include:


Coordinate a dedicated email deployment to your brand partners’ subscriber list or a targeted subset of their audience. You can also secure features in one of their existing newsletter sends or secure exposure in a consumers’ order confirmation or shipment notification message.

Package Inserts

Reach customers after they’ve completed their transaction with your brand partner by including an insert in their package with promotional messaging—an initiative that can be easily tracked using the Partnerize’s Exclusive Code functionality.

Content Swap

Curate social copy or guest blog posts that you and your brand partner can swap for cross-amplification. Consider including time-sensitive promotional opportunities, giveaways, free gifts, or other messaging that incents consumers to complete their transaction immediately.

Landing Page

Design a co-branded landing page that messages exclusive offers for consumers that promotes both brands—think: apparel and travel plans, financial transactions and event tickets or team apparel and sports equipment. Amplify the landing page for social posts, emails, or for on-site A/B testing.

Brand partnership strategy in action.

With brand-to-brand partnerships, marketers can cultivate unique collaborations based on the brand partners they choose to work with, case in point:

Adidas and FC Bayern Munich’s Brand to Brand Partnership

Adidas leveraged Partnerize software to optimize an existing sponsorship with FC Bayern Munich to to acquire new customers. During Bayern Munich games, adidas placed unique coupons on each seat with a one-time use code for all adidas online merchandise. Code redemptions were tracked by Partnerize’s Exclusive Code technology, tying the transaction back to the sponsored relationship.

Japan Airlines and HomeAway’s Brand to Brand Partnership

With an objective to increase loyalty and lifetime value of existing customers, Japan Airlines (JAL) created a co-branded microsite with HomeAway used to promote accommodations to existing travel customers. JAL customers received an exclusive discount and were able to gain loyalty points for booking their stay via HomeAway.

Best practices for launching brand-to-brand partnerships.

By curating a detailed outline of the partnership prior to launch, brands can foresee potential hurdles and prepare for smooth campaign execution.

Here are the key considerations and execution recommendations to implement successful brand-to-brand partnerships

Set Goals 

Consider overall objectives and key performance indicators that will aid in understanding if the partnership was a success. Further, agree on specific reporting metrics and a system of record that will act as your source of truth for campaign outcomes.

Identify the right brand partners

Seek brands that cater to your same target audience but offer different products or services as you want to always avoid working with direct-competitor brands.

Outline partnership terms

Align with the brand partner on length of campaign, products included, promotional messaging and placements, technology utilized, compliance parameters and more.

Confirm compensation

Agree on payment terms or value exchange that will provide mutually beneficial results to all parties.


Much like traditional partnerships, open lines of communication are the cornerstone of a valuable partnership. Coordinate comprehensive and organized communication channels with your brand partner from planning through success measurement to promote full alignment.

What makes the most effective brand to brand strategic partnerships?

The most effective brand-to-brand strategic partnerships are the ones that thrive when they have mutual advantages for both brands while aligning with the core objectives and goals of each business involved. 

Here are the top three characteristics of the best strategic brand to brand partners: 

  1. Both brands target the same audience or demographics
  2. Both brands provide products or services that complement each other
  3. Both brands are driven by enhancing their overall customer experience

About Partnerize

Partnerize is the leader in partnership automation. The Partnerize platform is the only of its kind to deliver a fully integrated, comprehensive suite of discovery, recruitment, optimization, payment, brand safety and fraud prevention capabilities for marketers seeking a high transparency, scalable subsidy to alleviate pressure on their unit economics as a result of over dependence on primary sales and marketing channels. Supported by unrivaled service including the category’s only in-housing support program, with Partnerize, you’re in control of the entire partnership marketing lifecycle—all on a single platform. Headquartered in NYC, Partnerize retains offices in Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre.

Learn more about how Partnerize enables marketers to maximize the benefits of both traditional and transformational partnerships by contacting us



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