A tale as old as time: a seemingly perfect pair ends in complete chaos. Of course, marketing partnerships aren’t exactly the same as dating, but there are some parallels. Partnerships between brands require a certain level of trust and appreciation between one another. Working with a partner can be complicated, but there are steps to take that will set your partnership up for success and alleviate headaches down the line.

Partnership Don’ts

Partnerships might start off strong, but can quickly go awry if one side isn’t holding up their end of the bargain. Take the Gap x Yeezy partnership for example. The clothing conglomerate teamed up with fashion designer and music icon Kanye West for a fashion partnership, which was designed to run for a decade and generate about 10 billion dollars in revenue. However, once the partnership began and products were starting to sell out, things took a turn for the worse. Kanye West sent notice to GAP that he would be terminating their partnership due to breach of contract. Mr. West believed GAP wasn’t selling their collaborative products in its namesake stores and failed to create “Yeezy” specific store openings, which was an integral part of the contract. The problem was that both parties were not on the same page. Just like dating, partnerships are destined to fail if both parties aren’t communicating what they need in terms of timing and logistics.

Partnership Disagreements 

When working out large deals, especially between two separate entities, personalities may clash. Leaders for both parties have to come together, or things may end in failure. Like the battle of Elon Musk vs. Twitter, lack of communication and transparency can lead to more serious issues, or worst-case scenario, a standstill. To avoid such problems, both parties must be open about their concerns and any pain points that may affect the deal. 

Creating Realistic Expectations

Conflicts between partners can happen for a variety of reasons. However, if both parties determine realistic expectations before activations begin, the partnership will be more likely to succeed. Misaligned end goals can create frustration for both parties, which is why determining the reasons for partnership and desired outcomes before starting to work together is a must. No one can see the future, and issues are bound to arise due to the nature of working with another company. But with open lines of communication and clear expectations of what is required of each party in place, partnerships will be more apt to succeed. 

Risk Averse Assessment

Before working with a partner, it’s important to assess what can come out of the partnership. You must determine if there are implications or burdens that are associated with the brand you choose to work with, and decide whether or not it makes sense to align your brand with that brand’s image. After all, if you work with another brand, you are associating yourself with all that comes with it–both the good and the bad. Ensure you’re doing adequate research on your partner to make sure no skeletons will come out of the closet when you’re already involved.

Agency Support

Many brands want to start their partnership marketing journey but don’t know where to begin. Our agency, Regatta, specializes in the development and execution of partnerships to ensure companies find success. While partnerships might seem overwhelming to navigate, Regatta’s BrandAgents will create a simple and executable plan to get your company started. If your business is looking to give partnership marketing a try, contact us to learn more.