If you’ve been to Taco Bell lately, you’ve heard of the Doritos Locos Taco. It’s a taco with a shell made in the same style and flavor as Doritos tortilla chips. Whether or not you find that a tasty proposition, Taco Bell’s customers sure do. It sold an estimated 1 billion Locos Tacos the first year it hit the market.

This is what’s called co-branding — strategically aligning with another established brand to boost your own brand recognition. Co-branded content or marketing allows you to share exposure, credibility and brand affinity, benefitting both businesses in the process.

What Co-Branding Looks Like

At its simplest, co-branding is a collaboration. Sharing audiences, content and messages that resonate with them. The types are as varied as marketing channels available. You could host co-sponsored events and activations. Tech-savvy companies might develop a co-branded app. Or simply produce original content that’s relevant to both of your audiences.

Take the successful partnership between GoPro and Red Bull as one example. Both brands appeal to people who crave adventure and participate in action sports. GoPro provided cameras to athletes at Red Bull’s Signature Series sporting events, and both companies benefited from the content those athletes created, as well as increased exposure.

What your co-branding looks like will depend on shared goals, and finding opportunities to reach both audiences in ways that feel organic.

What Should You Consider?

Before choosing a partner to co-brand with, you’ll want to consider a few important factors.

Affinity: Will this brand’s values, customer experience and message resonate with my audience?

Credibility: Does it seem credible in consumers’ eyes? Will it enhance our credibility?

Recognition: How well is this brand known? Are they recognized as a leader in their market?

Exposure: Will it help introduce us to a wider audience?

Begin by surveying  the brands your customers interact with on social media, or by conducting market research. Sample your social media followers to see what kinds of brands they follow and interact with, and what their interests are, or what’s called ‘social listening.’ Simple online survey tools coupled with a promotional incentive can also make it easy to glean insights into their preferences and behaviors.

In a previous post, we also talked about the Halo Effect, the lift a brand gets by aligning with a premium publisher. The credibility and trust premium publishers have earned with readers gets passed on to brands who align with that content. A study by comScore showed that display ads on these publishers’ sites resulted in a 67% overall brand lift, and an even higher lift on mid-funnel metrics like favorability, consideration and intent to recommend.

If you’re regularly engaged with your audience, you probably already have certain brands in mind. You might even have relationships with a few. Start conversations with them, and be on the lookout for chances to leverage other brands’ success to boost your own.

Want to leverage The Oregonian | OregonLive audience to boost your brand? Contact us to learn about our Co-Branded Facebook Posts, and reach our 450k+ Facebook followers with editorial content that’s aligned with your brand.