Imagine this; a consumer in Britain receives a street sample package of a well known British food item as part of a promotional campaign, with a sample of a new African spice brand attached to the package. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that this will drive a large multiple of traffic and brand awareness than a street sampling campaign undertaken by the African brand on its own.
The internet and e-commerce have eliminated a number of logistics barriers, as today, selling approved African products direct to British consumers has become one click away, with the exception of certain controlled items. The strong and successful African brands have however still struggled to position themselves in the British marketplace and in the minds of customers, despite the access that technology has granted. It follows that brand marketing is much more than distribution management, and African brands must employ a certain special tactic to reach the British buyer – This tactic is Collaboration.
Collaboration is partnership marketing that sees two or more brands develop strategic and artistic campaigns together for the benefit of every brand involved. This is the opposite of me-me marketing and sees brands think of win-win situations, where the Know, like and trust factor in the hearts of target customers can be achieved more efficiently and effectively.
An example of successful global collaboration marketing is the ‘My WU’ collaboration campaign between Western Union and service businesses all over the world to provide special benefits to customers living in foreign lands, liking calling home for free or discounted tickets to watch their national clubs play in the UEFA Europa League. This campaign allowed Western Union to touch their customers in the emotional soft spot and allowed other strategically placed businesses who were willing to give something away through the campaign, to gain exposure to over 200 million western union customers worldwide.
The Key to successfully instigating collaboration between an African Brand and strategically placed British Brands is leveraging value; what value does this collaboration offer a partner? When an African brand can market itself to other British brands successfully, then it paves the way for collaboration campaigns that subsequently open the door to large customer groups.
Some ways to quantify the value of an African Brand include:
. What do our potential partners want internationally?
British brands that have goals to spread internationally also need strategic partnerships to help them reach the market more efficiently and effectively. An African brand with great press relationships in their homeland and a large community of strategically aligned customers should put this on the table. This means that campaigns that are created in collaboration will also be activated in Africa, hence tapping into the press and customer base that partners are longing after.
. What do our potential partners want in Britain?
African brand managers who spend time on research and analysis can uncover and extrapolate the long term aims of potential partners. British Brands that are looking to re-position themselves or enforce a positioning due to competition or a change in market demographics are always looking for strategic partnerships to help them do this. For example, An African brand with a fair-trade story can definitely help a British brand looking to enhance its ethical positioning.
By approaching a British brand with offers that benefit them internationally or locally, instead of a chance to partner up, the decision makers are swayed by the potential gains, which help greatly in any negotiation or marketing tactic. As customers are seeing beyond the excessive technology-driven marketing tactics, brand collaboration has created a new avenue for established African Brands to target countries far and wide and achieve recognition quicker, cheaper and much more effectively, by realising what they are worth.
Author – Dabs Udo
Brand Collaboration Marketing Agency
Helping Foreign brands penetrate the British Market