08/30/2012 12:05 EDT | Updated 10/29/2012 05:12 EDT

McDonald's and Weight Watchers? Why Your Brand Should Seek Unlikely Parternships


Are you looking to re-position your brand and products/services to a distinct audience? Are you traditionally selling to consumers and now want to sell to businesses? Maybe you've been great at selling to the large enterprise sector but now want to target small business owners. Or, perhaps you want to stay within the consumer market but drop down from an older demographic to a much younger one? Or, you might want to keep your focus on the same demographic but go after those who are exhibiting different behaviours in their daily lives.

Brands that are looking to aggressively grow their business often face these types of challenges. They don't want to isolate their current customers because that's their "sweet spot," but they want to grow and need to look to new customer segments to make that happen.

Developing a marketing partnership with another brand that already has the customers and audiences that you are after can accelerate the process and cost you a fraction of what it would typically cost to acquire and engage those customers on your own.

Many brands have a "sweet spot" when it comes to who uses their services and the challenge often lies with changing public perception and communicating to the market that you are more than what they thought you are.

Here are some great examples that I have seen in recent times:

1) McDonald's partnered with Weight Watchers in Australia / New Zealand around their Chicken McNuggets and Filet-O-Fish meals and the endorsement would lead to the public as seeing those menu items as healthier options, attracting dieters to their restaurants.

2) Google partnered with Chase bank in the USA to offer their small business customers a free webinar on how to advertise their business online along with a free advertising credit to be applied toward a opening a new Google AdWords Account. This sort of initiative demonstrates that Chase is more than a bank for their customers and that Google is more than a consumer brand with compelling solutions for small businesses.

3) In Canada, Stonemill Bakehouse recently worked with Disney's movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green to create an inspired sandwich in an effort to engage consumers who are conscious of looking for additional sources of protein and fiber in their diet. They called it the "Timothy Green Inspired Sandwich."

Who are you going to partner with?