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To affinity and beyond

Mae Ong,    08 Nov 2013
To affinity and beyond

Affinity marketing has become a core business strategy for many leading brands. They leverage their combined, complementary strengths to drive new campaigns, widen customer bases, and fuel business growth. They share assets, customer channels, and communication vehicles for the mutually rewarding goal of creating lasting value for their brands and their consumers.

As a strategy, affinity marketing goes beyond creating initial impact or channel disruption. It’s not just about short-term sales promotions or passive mentions on another brand’s collateral. At its most successful, affinity marketing reflects a solid partnership firmly grounded in a logical affinity between brands and is focused on creating strong, long-term alliances for sustained mutual growth.

Successful affinity marketing does not happen overnight. It’s a logical, structured, strategic process with distinct phases.

The plan

Know your goals and choose your affinity partner wisely. Ask yourself probing questions. What are your business needs and objectives? How can partnering with another business help you meet them? What other organizations can complement your current brand to achieve synergy and balance in the relationship?

The proposition

It’s not just about choosing your partner. It’s just as much about another brand choosing you. Audit your marketing assets—core competencies, marketing programs, customer profile, communications, and distribution channels—the qualities that would make another brand want to tie up with you. Put your asset list together first, develop your value proposition, and build your plan from there.

The pursuit

Set your sights on the most likely affinity partners and reach out to them to present your plan and gauge their interest. Your value proposition will define not just why but also how another brand should partner with you—from promotional offers and deals to meeting the expressed needs of both parties.

The pact

When you find your fit, propose a partnership and negotiate the partnership terms. This is the big moment when two brands join forces for mutual commercial benefits, sharing assets and fulfilling business goals together. If you’ve done it well, you’ll have the foundation for a powerful and cohesive alliance that can create great value.

 From here to affinity: a real-world example

Here’s a great example of how brands sharing similar values can work together as effective brand partners, leading to successful campaigns, increased number of relevant touch points, and growth in consumer bases.

United Spirits Limited (USL), the largest Indian spirits company, faced the challenge of building product awareness and loyalty in India while abiding by the country’s strict ban on alcohol advertising. To promote USL’s brand and products, Interakt developed an engaging community portal—spiritzandmore.com—focused on the “party” scene and associated lifestyle information. We were also seeking an offline solution to reinforce the brand connect and affinity marketing provided the answer. In one instance, a USL liquor brand, White Mischief Vodka, affiliated with one of the Indian Premier League cricket teams to organize a cheering squad called The White Mischief Girls. The squad appeared at the matches and also had a prominent and somewhat provocative presence on the Spiritz & More portal, promoting the team, the league and by affinity the brand. Interakt helped USL create similar affinity relationships with other entities including fashion houses, entertainment venues, and sporting events.

What’s your affinity? Contact Interakt. We can help you make the right mutually rewarding connections.

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