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How partnerships with other, like-minded brands can amplify your communications

Posted on Mon 20th Jul, 2020 in: Public Relations by Admin

The power of brand partnerships shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to developing a communications strategy. Often it can be easy to build a list of tactics that solely focus on the brand that you are representing, and of course that is important, but we also shouldn’t shy away from partnerships with other like-minded brands if it improves audience engagement.

When we approach any new brief or client, we always start with the audience. We do this so we can understand what makes them tick and also who / what their biggest influences are. Doing a deep dive like this informs our ideas and often we come to the realisation that there is an opportunity to work with other organisations in order to help both better reach their target audiences.

How to pick the right partnership

If you’re looking to understand how you could use this type of activity to amplify your communications then make sure you consider the following:

  1. Always start with the audience. Understanding how they operate and what influences them will help you recognise what kind of partnership is going to be the most suitable.
  2. While it’s helpful to set up a partnership that is ‘PRable’ it’s not essential, especially if it’s going to help you engage with your audience. Partnerships are often about increasing your reach, customer acquisition or brand reinforcement.
  3. Sometimes partnerships aren’t a ‘one off’ and can last beyond a campaign period, so be mindful of this in terms of managing the relationship on an ongoing basis.

Example partnerships

  1. MindMate (NHS Leeds)

Our target audience for the MindMate campaign was 14-24 year olds within Leeds and our aim was to drive awareness of the mental health resources available, while also tackling the stigma associated with talking about mental health, especially among young males.

We developed a series of partnerships to help bring the campaign to life.

  • Leeds United & Leeds Rhinos

The partnership with Leeds United saw us take a full-page advert in two match day programmes, as well as placing 50 posters in the washrooms at the stadium during those same match days, when attendance across those days totalled at 60,455.

We also worked with Leeds Rhinos star, Kallum Watkins, to help promote the resources. We developed a media relations campaign around the partnership using photos of Kallum with the MindMate ambassadors at Headingley stadium, which generated a total reach of 39,226.

Both clubs have made significant efforts to support mental health initiatives and for them it was an opportunity to reinforce those credentials and talk about a serious subject matter to their younger fan base.

  • First Bus

The partnership allowed us to run an advert on the side of 20 single decker vehicles that travel into Leeds city centre on average every 30 minutes, for a duration of eight weeks.

74.49% of adults (16+) in Leeds will have seen the campaign, meaning impressions were over 2,012,000 and an average of six impressions per person was achieved. This means that 335,333 adults were reached.

We also partnered up with First Group which included issuing a press release to local press and posters were displayed on 34 buses. While Mindmate was able to benefit by accessing the predominant transport used by our audience, First Bus were able to lend their support as part of their ongoing CSR commitments.

  1. CEG’s Covid Diaries

We work with CEG, the property investor and developer responsible for the Kirkstall Forge and Temple schemes, and most recently we were tasked with launching its Covid Diaries project to collect stories from the people of Leeds sharing their lockdown experiences.

As the custodian of two important buildings, CEG believe the project can play an important role in understanding not only how society is living through the pandemic today, but being able to reflect on the impact it has had on people and wider society over the years to come and plan for the future.

The team had already secured backing from Leeds City Council and as part of the launch PR, we reached out to the Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post to see if we could do more to collaborate on the ongoing project.

The partnership meant that we could gain additional visibility for the project, with the Yorkshire Evening Post using some of the stories that had been submitted in the paper as ongoing features. It also meant that we could continue to encourage people to share their experiences. The partnership is still ongoing, creating regular media coverage for CEG and engaging local content for the YEP

  1. Connecting Leeds

When Leeds City Council launched its Connecting Leeds strategy, with a key focus on improving bus infrastructure in Leeds we were appointed by WSP to deliver an integrated marketing and communications campaign centred on public engagement.

With hard to reach groups being a key audience set, we needed to carefully consider how we would ensure we generated positive engagement. We partnered with Leeds Involving People (LIP) to create bespoke materials and disseminate them, as well as setting up dedicated events to reach these groups who are significant users of public transport.

This partnership contributed to the great success of the campaign, with more than 4,500 contributions being made to the online consultation portal. Thirteen public consultation events were held with over 450 people attending.

  1. QHotels

We developed a number of partnerships for QHotels to help maximise the assets of the 26 hotels in the group and promote them as family friendly venues.

Ostensibly known for business travel and conferences and events, many of the group’s hotels had significant grounds and leisure facilities which could be used as part of a leisure break.

Among the partnerships we negotiated were The Wildlife Trusts and Bear Grylls Ultimate Den Kits by Battlebox.  Working with The Wildlife Trusts we developed guided nature walks in the grounds of the hotels as a family activity and encouraged them to make a donation in return.

The ultimate den kit was a fun way for families to use the hotels facilities differently, encouraging outdoor activities. For the brand they gained access to a national hotel name and the associated marketing that went to QHotels’ leisure customer database.

Partnerships offer many benefits and can deliver far more successful results than you might be able to achieve on your own, but before you approach organisations remember that they have to work for both parties and you need to be clear about what it is you can offer them.


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