Using Partnership Marketing to Grow Your Food Brand: Part 2

partnership marketing

Partnership marketing is one of the most powerful ways to grow your food business. It involves two or more companies working together to cross-promote each other’s products to like-minded audiences, and it’s one of the most effective forms of marketing. So we teamed up with our friends from Parsnip, a partnership marketing platform, for a two-part series with everything you need to know. This week we’re covering collaborative gift baskets and co-branded products, just 2 of the 5 ways to use partnership marketing to grow your food brand. Check out Part 1 for more tips!

Collaborative Gift Boxes

Want to have some fun with partnership marketing and also drive immediate sales? Put together a gift box! Pick a theme, and start by brainstorming which products are complementary to yours.

You make pasta sauces? Great! Pair them with a mix of handmade pastas from a local company you admire. Add in a hard cheese, a set of artisan bowls from a local potter, a wooden spoon and a gift certificate to a pasta making lesson at a nearby cooking school to increase the appeal of your offering and expand your audience further. (Bonus points if you can get the other brands in your set to cross-promote the gift box!)

As an example of a brand that recently did this well, let’s look to Pulp Pantry, an LA-based female-founded startup that makes healthy snacks from upcycled juice pulp. They put together a set of gift baskets for the 2018 holiday season. Their holiday boxes featured Pulp Pantry’s innovative granola alongside other emerging and better-for-you brands like No Tox Life, Cocokind, Just Date Syrup, Burlap & Barrel, Your Super, Simply Straws, and Vega Coffee.

Pulp Pantry increased the appeal of their own granola offering by bundling it with cool, like-minded brands, and created a distribution and sales opportunity for each of the other brands in the process. Everyone got to sell more product over the holidays, and Pulp Pantry got the opportunity to introduce new and exciting brands to their customers through the process. Win-win-win!

Interested in featuring your products in a collaborative gift box? This guide will get you started.

Co-Branded Products

A little harder to pull off, co-branded products like Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food® can be another great way to expand your audience while also helping to direct real sales to each party.

For instance, Copper Cow Coffee’s collaboration with Tea Drops to make a co-branded Thai Iced Tea, or Norm’s Farms collaboration with Haw River Brewing to make a co-branded Elderberry Saison, served to add value to an existing product (coffee and tea, or beer and elderberry) while also helping each brand to access the other’s audience and drive sales.

When you consider what a co-branded product might look like with your product, the best place to start is to think about the ingredients you use. What if instead of purchasing those ingredients, you could utilize another brand’s products in your own, and share that collaboration on your packaging? Bonus points if you can work a play on words into your co-branded product’s name like Ben & Jerry’s and Phish managed to do with Phish Food®.

How to Get Started

Start with the product you’d like to market and consider its audience and all of its attributes (for instance, gluten-free, plant-based, etc.). Then start brainstorming complementary products and consider the occasion that consumers use your product.

For instance, maybe your grilling spices are perfect for backyard parties and family dinners. Now create a list of like-minded companies that make these complementary products, and reach out to see if any of them would like to partner with you.

Alternatively, if you’re strapped for time and want a chance to be discovered by partners looking for brands like you, or want a little help finding and matching with complementary products and like-minded companies, consider signing up for Parsnip. Their partnership marketing tool is free to join and use.

About Parsnip

Parsnip is a partnership marketing platform pioneered by two SF-based entrepreneurs, Erin Lenhardt and Sally Rogers. Members work together on co-marketing activities in order to access each other’s audiences and drive revenues. Parsnip is currently in free Beta and is free to join and use. Sign up today!

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