Relationships are hard. That’s not breaking news. And brand relationships are no different.

​I was recently reading about the battle between Bud Light and Coors Light that has escalated into a full-on war. The good news is that ‘corngate’ has put both brands in the spotlight, dominating recent press.

Missing the Big Issue

​​The bad news is that it’s detracting from the real issue – the fact that people aren’t drinking beer like they used to. The two companies were supposed to partner to help their industry address this issue. Now they’re fighting and the brand partnership is off. Make no mistake, these two companies have always represented competitive brands. But sometimes when the going gets tough, you need to come together in solidarity.

Relationships Are Fragile

It doesn’t take much to turn them upside down. It takes even less when you are rivals or competitors. Marketing partnerships are even more delicate. Mostly, because they are often short term with high stakes and high expectations. When a brand alliance is created, often each has its own objectives to meet. The danger is that brands can easily end up like those managed by MillerCoors and Anheuser Busch-InBev. One day affable, the next day vitriolic. Because everyone has their own interests at stake and there’s no middleman to mediate a truce.

A Skilled 3rd Party Can Serve That Role

Since these third party professionals represent a variety of companies, they excel at first finding the best match. And then just like a dating matchmaker, when problems arise, they can work to put the pieces back together and salvage the relationship (i.e., campaign). At Regatta we call these third party professionals BrandAgents. Look at a BrandAgent like your best friend, the one you can confide in about what you are looking for in a partner.

First Meetings Can Be Deceptive

​I’ve been in meetings, introducing two brands that fawn over each other face-to-face. Cooing to each other that a partnership makes perfect sense. But like clockwork, once the meeting ends and brands go back to their respective corners, both tell me in confidence that it isn’t going to work. And that neither really liked what the other had to say. People are afraid to be brutally honest to each other. Less afraid to be honest to the third party BrandAgent.

Having a BrandAgent in Your Corner

The good news is that a skilled BrandAgent can manage the process, with an empathetic ear, and help find common ground. And if all else fails, a BrandAgent can find you a new and more compatible partner — way before hearts are broken, reputations are ruined, or carefully crafted brands are damaged. Perhaps building strategic marketing alliances is what the beer industry should be focusing on instead of PR showdowns.

Brand relationships got you down? Perhaps it’s time to let a Regatta BrandAgent help you find your groove again. Give us a call or drop us a line – we’re happy to help or even simply be a sympathetic ear.