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Co-Marketing vs Co-Branding: What is the difference?

In a competitive environment such as business, it is not necessarily rivalry that empowers a company and makes it stronger: union and collaboration are essential. Already the past decades made clear the great benefits that are obtained from the teamwork of two companies that, even independent, are linked in the production of the same product: Disney Toys in the Happy Box of McDonald’s, Ron Bacardi + Coca-Cola Cola = Cuba Libre, Intel Inside + computer companies.

Co-Marketing and Co-Branding are two options to increase the possibilities of business reach in this article we will look at their differences.

What is Co-Marketing?

The Co-Marketing or Marketing Partnership is a practice of cooperation between two companies towards a shared broad benefit. Co-Marketing links both parties in the promotion, production, and profit of their joint work. This is not just the launch of a product or service, since variations in knowledge development, tools and projects are also considered here.

The base budget that originates a Co-Marketing alliance is that the cooperation of the companies involved will give a win-to-win result that would otherwise be impossible. Both brands are enhanced. It is an integral process in which there must be agreement on the needs of each one, the objective to be reached must be well defined, as well as the type of project to be carried out, the division of responsibilities and the distribution of subsequent benefits

What is Co-Branding?

It is a type of alliance between two or more brands in which the marketing task is shared so that the parties involved obtain respective benefits that would otherwise not be achieved. As in the Co-Marketing, the companies in relation elaborate a complete strategy of planning, production, and promotion of new products or services.

Neither party loses its brand identity, but they present themselves as a specific association to an end.

The usual cases are:

  • Two brands that originate a new product or service: it is a new offer that did not previously exist in the market. For example: sports technology Nike + Apple
  • Two brands that combine existing products or services: it is a new offer that brings together characteristics of existing products of each brand. For example: McFlurry ice cream from McDonald’s + Oreo-M & M-Cadbury, etc.
  • Two brands that combine knowledge or benefits: it is an extension of the possibilities of usufruct of a product or service. For example: alliance of database, or procedures. Exchange points or miles between airlines and credit cards.

Difference between Co-Marketing and Co-Branding

The main difference between Co-Marketing and Co-Branding is that the first is a broader strategy focused on companies, while Co-Branding focuses on specific products or services offered to the public.

The practices of Co-Marketing do not necessarily have a promotion of maximum exploitation visibility, but the benefits are the result of the good implementation of knowledge, products, services or resources.

For example: A company that gives its expertise in software in exchange for support in production processes. On the contrary, Co-Branding practices must have a prior planning and an associated campaign to generate visibility, promotion of the new product or service and create links with users.

Reasons to perform shared marketing strategies

For one type of cooperation or another, the main benefits are:

  • Push for the weakest brand: the relationship of a lesser-known brand to one of a greater presence in the market will project its image and prestige among peers and among users.
  • Learning in the process: within companies and between them, new relationships and processes are created that add experience to its members and to the company as an entity.
  • Enhance market reach: development of offer impossible to produce without the help of the other company.
  • Profitability: distribution of production costs and incorporation of knowledge and tools that one company does not have but the other does.
  • Add users and gain visibility: both brands will see their circle of influence, action and visibility broaden by adding the audience of the second brand to their own.
  • Renewal of audience interest: innovation with new products or services keeps the faithful captive and generates new customers.

Consideration horizon for shared marketing strategies

At the moment in which a company considers the option of having a cooperative relationship in marketing or brand strategy, the pro and cons that this implies must be weighed. This task will be in charge of the management team of the company or an external advisor – a coach – whose impartial view can give an expert critical opinion on the subject.

Relevant aspects to consider are:

  • Real need of the company to carry out a joint task: can the company carry out the work with its own resources? Is an alliance appropriate? Is another type of relationship convenient?
  • Capacity for action and response: is the company in a position to divide up tasks, fulfill objectives and load new responsibilities?
  • Complementing the brands : is the other company a complement to its own?
  • Positioning of the other company: in what way does joint work help to achieve a better positioning of the company?
  • Audience to be reached: are the target audiences of each company the same? What is achieved with an extension of users?
  • Total strategy planning: are companies according to their definition of a lead , in the definition of buyer person , in the resources, procedures, and objectives proposed?
  • Final benefits: is it well defined how the benefits will be shared? Is it consistent with the tasks and responsibilities of each party?


The business field is governed by sales promotion laws , with power alliances, realistic planning, and digital marketing strategies. Totally orchestrating these aspects is the key to the success of the company. Co-Branding and Co-Marketing are options for both consolidated companies and small-scale enterprises.

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