Digital acquisition has never been easy, but after the pandemic caused eCom to boom and legacy retail to invest heavily in contactless channels, it’s now more competitive than ever online.
For smaller DTC brands, many of whom have also won big in the last year, this crowded marketplace presents a new challenge. To acquire new customers in this context, direct brands are looking to each other for help.
Whilst DTC brands have often partnered with each other in the past, leading players are increasingly going further than simply posting shared giveaways and following each other on Instagram.
Instead they are focusing on building high effort, high value-brand partnerships.
“Something that brands will start to do more of this year is ‘legit’ brand partnerships.”
Nik Sharma - CEO, Sharma Brands
These are long-term, strategic relationships where merchants develop tangible, co-created products that are relevant to both customer bases, then leverage their joint audiences to sell. Here are the best recent examples:
Canopy x Open Spaces 👃
The play is not only timely, but also makes commercial sense for two brands operating in similar niches. Both benefit from splitting development costs, wider brand recognition, and of course, access to each other’s audiences to drive acquisition.
Judy x Poo-pourri 💩
The pair’s joint bathroom emergency kit instead plays on their aligned values - both create products that provide customers peace of mind. This keeps the co-branded offering relevant for their respective audiences, and widens acquisition funnels for the two brands.
Dripkit x Verve ☕️
This ready to brew, ground coffee pourer is a classic example of the little brand-big brand partnership model.
Challenger brand Dripkit won new business and gained huge social proof by piggybacking on market incumbent Verve Coffee Roasters. In turn the larger player leveraged the disruptive innovation and niche audience of the smaller start-up.
Crosstown x Form 🌱
It was a smart move from Crosstown, who were able to associate their otherwise sugar-filled range with a leading merchant within the wellness and fitness space.
In turn, the partnership offered Form access to another acquisition channel, and spoke to the versatility of their product for use in recipes - something the brand features heavily in it’s marketing.
Rapha x Outdoor Voices 🚴
This co-branded clothing range came from two potentially competitive merchants in the sportswear space - Rapha and Outdoor Voices. Both benefited from splitting hefty development times and production costs, and of course, the partnership enabled direct access to each other’s customer base.