Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Authenticity and transparency is the secret to successful brand-to-brand relationships

By Florian Gramshammer, Impact’s EMEA Managing Director

While the quest for transparency in advertising is no longer making the copious headlines it once was, the issue is by no means less important. Indeed, in these days of constant public scrutiny, brands must ensure they are beyond reproach at all costs. 

But what happens when brands team up with other businesses as part of a mutually-beneficial advertising partnership? Then the marketer is not only responsible for ensuring their own brand is squeaky clean, but that the business with whom they have teamed up is also pulling its weight.

The value exchange between the brands in question is not just about monetisation but, more often than not, is about synergy and trust between the companies, and that is what delivers value to the consumer. 

Impact understands exactly what is at stake when it comes to authenticity and transparency in brand partnerships, and knows this is something that is also of paramount importance to its clients. 

Recently, as part of Impact’s PX2021 series, I caught up with three fellow partnerships experts to debate the various intricacies of the partnerships process, from onboarding and management to the different tools and platforms that are used to enhance the partnerships process. 

But the overarching sentiment of the session was that a foundation built on transparency and trust will pay dividends down the line. 

Chantal Williams, Partnerships and Affiliate Lead at fintech business Unbiased, said:  “If you set out clear expectations and have a vision of what you want to achieve with the partner, it can enable flexibility and trust to try new things. If you’re not getting the sales results, or it hasn’t happened straight away, you can test new things, see what’s working in that space and work closely to optimise.”

Nic Yates, Head of Affiliate and Partner Marketing at Silverbean, advises showcasing expectations early on. He said: “One thing that we try to do with our clients is create a media pack to outline the client themselves as a brand – who their audience is, but then also how they can promote other brands and how they perform.

“If you have knowledge of all this – from their email database, what promotional tools they have, examples of prior promotions and the overarching way it’s working – you are able to be very transparent from the off, so it just means that if things don’t go as planned, everyone’s got a heads up.”

We then got onto discussing some of the most common pitfalls you can come across when setting up B2B partnerships, 

Laura Young, Marketing Partnership Manager at health test provider LetsGetChecked said: “For us it definitely goes back to trust and transparency but really just being as transparent as you can on that initial call outlining those goals. And that’s definitely where we want to begin being clear and upfront about what is and what isn’t possible. Know that it’s okay to say no, because you’d rather do that and manage expectations than promise our partners the world.” 

Laura added the importance of ensuring your goals are aligned. She said: “That way we both have very similar missions. We do obviously want to protect each other’s reputation as well, and also be flexible, so whether that’s being flexible with a co-branded landing page or with discounts or with commission, by covering that early we can ensure a very successful partnership.”

The group also discussed their secret weapons – the various tools they use to make their partnerships work more efficiently for them and their clients. 

Silverbean’s Nic utilises tools – such as Demographics Pro – to enhance his outbound strategy, getting sight of data that will tell his team which brands are the right ones to partner with. He said: “This tool enables us to analyse a client’s or brand’s social media and look at if, for example, a user is following you as a brand, then who else is that user following and engaging with across social media platforms. It gives us a really powerful data set to say that 60% of your followers are also following this other brand, which provides a great list to look to target and maybe still work with either in a primary or secondary affinity capacity.”

And it is this type of invaluable insights, that give a flavour of a brand’s voice, behaviour and output, that will enable new and existing partnerships to thrive authentically and with the transparency that is key to any successful affiliate or influencer arrangement. 

Whether it is finding partners, managing them or enhancing their performance, the key to every stage of the process is an open, honest dialogue from the outset. It is from this beginning that true success will prosper.