One of the hottest songs this summer is “Airplanes” by B.O.B featuring Haley Williams (from rock band Paramore) and Eminem. Punch around the radio dial in almost any city in North America, and the odds are pretty good that you’ll hear it.
B.o.B. is Bobby Ray Simmons, a hip hop artist who has become of the 2010′s big success stories. But like most hip hop artists, his big hits involve more than just his own music. His previous hit, the #1 “Nothin’ On You” featured help from popular producer/writer Bruno Mars.
B.o.B. isn’t alone in seeking partnerships. Here is what this week’s chart looks like on the Billboard Hot 100:
#1. California Gurls – Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg
#2. OMG – Usher featuring Will.i.am
#3. Airplanes – B.o.B. featuring Haley Williams and Eminem
#4. Billionaire – Travis McCoy featuring Bruno Mars
#7. Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz featuring Ludacris
Exactly half of the week’s top 10 songs are collaborations!
Does your brand seek out these kinds of worthwhile partnerships?
Smart brands partner with those who can add to their brand experience. Haley Williams brings something to “Airplanes” that B.o.B. couldn’t. Likewise, Snoop Dogg adds something entirely unique to “California Gurls” and Luda does the same for “Break Your Heart”.
Sometimes these partnerships are natural relationships and other times they are paid relationships such as Coke and the World Cup, where one partner (Coke) has paid the other (World Cup) for the alliance.
Yet 90% of brand alliances don’t work. Why? Martin Lindstrom suggests three reasons in his book “BRAND sense“.
1. There isn’t equal value for the brands in the relationship… one gets more out of it than the other.
2. The brand values don’t match each other… one brand is edgy, the other conservative, or one targets children and the other adults.
3. The relationship strategy doesn’t connect with consumers… it just doesn’t make sense to the person on the street.
When they do work, brand partnerships work very well. McDonalds and Dreamworks have established numerous successful partnerships to promote Dreamworks’ animated movies, including the recent Shrek sequel “Shrek Forever After”. LegoLand California and Volvo have worked together to create a driving school for kids at the LegoLand park and to profile the LegoLand theme park to adults planning family vacations via the Volvo dealership network.
If you examine a partnership opportunity and find that there is equal benefit, mutual brand values, and an easy match for the customer to grasp, you might just have a #1 hit on your hands.