Updated July 13, 2020:

With a brand partnership agreement, your company partners with others and uses joint marketing strategies to create multiple associated brands or a separate joined brand. This marketing technique enables partners to increase their marketplace visibility, fend off other brands, share marketing costs with their partners, and possibly enter into previously untapped markets.

What Is a Brand Partnership?

Brand partnership, or co-branding, is a popular marketing technique used to transfer the success of one brand to the partnered brands. With co-branding, one partner offers their branded product in conjunction with another company's branded product, such as a fast food restaurant offering a branded toy with a meal. Co-branding can also occur when the partners physically combined their separate branded products to create a new and unique product shared by the partners, such as mixing a branded toothpaste with a branded mouthwash. The separate brands don't need to be equal in the marketplace, but the relationship should be obvious to consumers.

What Is Co-Marketing?

In a branded partnership, the partnered companies often collaborate on the marketing efforts to co-market their joined products. The partners work together to create the promotion, requiring less work by each partner and share the gains of the co-marketed offer.

In many cases, the partnered companies have similar audiences, and by working together, they can promote their co-branding products to both audiences. In some situations, a joint marketing campaign can help the partners enter a previously unavailable market and build a new audience.

In addition to traditional marketing strategies, some partners use other means to market their co-branded products to new audiences, such as:

  • Hosting a webinar or social media online event together and sharing the costs of the promotion.
  • Writing guest speaker blog posts on each other's sites.
  • Co-sponsoring an online contest.

Planning a Brand Partnership

When planning a brand partnership, it is important to determine whether the purpose and goals of the co-branding will provide a mutual benefit to all partners. For example, when two partners plan to host a webinar and one partner would like to gain possible sales leads by getting the email addresses of the attendees but the other partner would like webinar attendance to result in attendees actually purchasing a product, the goals of the project might not be a good fit for both partners.

Before entering into a brand partnership, you might want to verify some other considerations, such as verifying whether:

  • Your partners have a similar audience to your company and that they want to grow their audience.
  • The number of new leads you gain from the partnership is worth the effort you will put into the joint venture.
  • Your partner's brand has a good reputation that won't damage your company's credibility.
  • Your partners agree with the topic and theme of the joint venture.

What Should You Include in a Brand Partnership Agreement?

A brand partnership agreement defines the rights, restrictions, and obligations of all parties involved in the joint venture. This agreement should be prepared carefully and worded specifically to protect each partner and define the parameters of the co-branding strategy. Some parameters include:

  • The goals of the branded partnership.
  • The term length of the partnership.
  • A timeline for the partnership, including any co-marketing promotions.
  • Termination clauses that allow the partners to end the agreement. For example, a partner may opt to end a partnership if the goals of that partner's business changes, if there is a breach of contract, or if the joint venture does not meet a specified performance threshold.
  • Licensing provisions that define how each partner's respective brands, logos, copyrights, and trademarks can be used in the branded partnership.
  • Exclusivity clauses that prohibit partners from entering into co-branding agreements with competitors.
  • Market data sharing agreements that require that the partners share any marketing data generated through the branded partnership.
  • The liability of each partner in case of a lawsuit.
  • The amount of money or capital each partner contributes to the branded partnership, including the responsibility for fees and expenses and distribution of any payments or royalties.
  • Each partner's responsibilities in completing tasks associated with the branded partnership.
  • Nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements to protect any sensitive data belonging to the partners' companies or the branded partnership.

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