Nowadays, a digital brand presence is essential, but is it enough to stand out from the competition? Are marketing disciplines such as performance or programmatic marketing, which take advantage of new technologies to reach customers digitally, the ultimate weapon in the fight for customer attention? Or are influencers the new brand drivers? The real question is: how do you leave a lasting impression on consumers who are confronted with some kind of advertising every second?
While advertising fatigue is spreading on the net – just think of the ongoing adblocker discussion – the not entirely new trend of offering customers real brand experiences in real life is regaining importance. The advantage is obvious: Real experiences stay in our memory longer and ensure more lasting brand loyalty. In addition, they offer brands a perfect basis for creating unique and emotional content for digital communication.
But how can you provide for analogous actions with an element of experience if the means for additional marketing activities are limited? The cost-saving answer is cooperation.
Finding a cooperation partner that fits your own brand and ideally has the "experience" factor is essential. And what could be more obvious than looking for it in an industry in which everything revolves around experiencing something? Tourism is a true Eldorado of possibilities for cooperative brands. In addition, brand cooperation is an integral part of the action plans for tourism providers – above all national organisations and destinations.
If a brand cooperates with a tourist brand, there are not only two, but at least three winners: the two brands, the customers of the brand, and ideally the customers of the tour operator.
The cooperation partners save costs by bundling their marketing efforts to reach their customers. They also benefit from the positive image transfer and are given the opportunity to test and build up a new target market. The brand reaches its potential new customers in a pleasant holiday atmosphere and can present itself in a real experience space. And the customers of the tour operator benefit from an additional experience at the holiday resort.
Brand selection is essential for the success of a cooperation. The tourism brand must match the brand. The same way in which human relationships grow on the basis of common ground, the commonalities of cooperation partners are decisive for a productive cooperation. Philosophy, standards, quality, price segment, target groups and the target market must be similar or at least complement each other in a meaningful way in order for the new partnership to achieve the desired effect externally. Logically, a supplier of outdoor sporting equipment will find little appeal in a wellness paradise. If cooperation partners have nothing in common with each other, they put their credibility with customers at risk.
It's also important that potential partners define their respective goals and expectations in advance and verify the extent to which they are compatible. It then also depends on the objective of a cooperation whether it becomes a one-off short-term activity, a long-term partnership or something in between. There are many types of cooperation with different durations, intensities and investments.
The start is very often made with co-promotions in the form of competitions. Tourism with its diverse range of service providers is predestined for this. Who wouldn't be happy about winning a vacation? Who doesn't like to win free admission to the spa or receive a free ski pass?
An impressive example of successful brand cooperation in the tourism context is the cooperation between SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental and Bever, the largest outdoor equipment supplier in the Netherlands. Bever reaches a sporty clientele with 40 stores and an online shop that has been recognized as the best in retail. This is exactly what the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental needed to increase overnight stays in the weaker months of the year.
From November 2016 to March 2017, SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental provided customers with 1,000 ski passes for three days. Bever went online across all digital channels with the message "Free 3-day ski pass with a purchase value of 200 euros". It was also featured in the customer magazine and the SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser-Brixental was featured on posters, flyers, hang tags and video screens in the shops. The impressive result of the joint activity: 600 ski passes were redeemed, which provided approx. 5,000 overnight stays in the targeted times.
However, the range of possibilities for cooperation is far from being covered by offering experience vouchers. The scenarios for customers to experience brands are many and varied: sports hotels invite their customers to take part in trials for skis, hiking shoes or bikes. Wellness hotels make it possible for their guests to discover new cosmetic products in an exclusive rejuvenation treatment. Event destinations for young people highlight a hip fashion label. Cabriolet manufacturers rely on coastline drives. Off-roaders prove themselves in alpine terrain. Co-referencing, co-events, cross-selling, co-branding – cooperation marketing offers many opportunities to stand out from the competition by offering customers special experiences.