2 Partnership Trends We Are Loving In 2021

By Emily Hines
April 29, 2021

Anyone else noticing giveaway fatigue on their Instagram? Brands are finding that giveaways are leading to less and less followers and engagement as consumers are being asked to engage more and have still yet to win anything. But, if you’re ready to commit to a little more leg work there are some partnership trends happening that can lead to big rewards! And it’s no surprise to this email-marketing-evangelist that they all seem to revolve around email marketing.

Co-Emailed Discounts

Spero x Lupii.png

I got this email from Spero Foods recently and was so excited! It’s rare I open an email these days that I am surprised by or delighted with since I get SO many (gotta keep a finger on the pulse and keep a folder with inspiration for clients).

What’s the trend? Both brands email their customers a discount code + a little info on one another to their respective lists. When done well both brands will have assets and photography in line with their own branding.

Why it works: I am a huge fan of Spero and like any good DTC brand in 2021 they have built a ton of trust with their customer base by being very clear on who they are and what they stand for. So, when they were willing to include another brand in an email I knew Lupii must be worth checking out. I had seen them around the interwebs, but never pulled the trigger on ordering. With the flood of new and hip food and beverage brands coming out it is hard for consumers to know what’s really good and who to trust. Having Spero’s stamp of approval did wonders for Lupii in my consumer eye. I can imagine die-hard Lupii fans felt the same about Spero.

When does it make sense? Email lists are a cherished asset in the DTC world so this type of partnership is not one that should be done without thought. Consider:

  • Does this brand align with my values as a founder and brand?
  • Is the product itself a match with my own?
  • Will my customers find this recommendation valuable?
  • What would the potential perception of this partnership be?

If it all feels right and worth sending to your list, go for it but make sure the visuals are in line with your own brand. Your customer would open the email and know it is from YOU, not the partner.

A Quick Tip: One thing to think about here is if segmenting your list would be beneficial. Is this partner product only sold in stores on the West Coast? Segment your list to West Coast customers. Partnering based on a flavor? Only send to your customers who have purchased that flavor from you in the past! Segmenting helps breakdown your recipients to a smaller subset that you know will appreciate the email in their inbox.

Virtual Events

Another brand crush of mine, Avec, is taking on the virtual event space as a partnership strategy. For International Women’s Day they hosted a panel on “Women In Spirits” with women from various brands in the industry. I loved that this partnership was taken one step further with a female moderator from Wine Enthusiast AND a bundle of all the products being sold on Reserve Bar. I also saw that Avec was doing mini Instagram live sessions with each founder on making a cocktail with their spirit and Avec’s mixers.

Women In Spirits.png

What’s the trend? This one definitely requires some leg work! A group of brands come together around a central topic to host a panel on Zoom or other virtual event space. There are beautiful assets for sharing during the lead up on social media and in emails.

Why it works: Using a landing page, or Eventbrite, to collect email addresses for attendees is huge here. Not only are you adding to your email list (see the note above on this), but you know that the emails you are collecting belong to consumers who are genuinely interested because they are committing to an event. (Compare this to emails collected in a giveaway that is low commitment leading to less genuine and engaged lists.) You also now have a segment of your email list that you know a lot about! Let’s take attendees for Avec’s upcoming “Mama Needs a Break” event for example: you can segment these emails as moms, who we know need convenience, are exhausted, need to feel appreciated, and SO much more.

You can even run giveaways or smaller Instagram Live sessions to promote the event ahead of time leading to engagement and followers on social media as well.

Momma Needs A Break.png

When does it make sense? This partnership style definitely makes sense when you have time or resources to put on an event, have a really fleshed out topic or idea, and are working with brands you know and trust to put equal effort into the promotion. Choose your brand partners wisely as you are committing to a lot more than a simple Instagram giveaway.

Think about where your brand is in your business development and how partnerships can help with that (this blog post is a great start!). This partnership is fantastic for being at a place in your brand where you need to find your cheerleaders and true fans and engage with them. It’s also great for brands who want to use partnership as a way to communicate the values and personality behind the brand or founder since the brands you align with and the theme you choose speaks volumes.

A Quick Tip: If you are the host, make everything as easy and doable as possible for your partners. Deliver them everything they could need to promote the event, be organized, and be clear in expectations. The easier you make it for them, the more they are going to be willing and able to promote!

Are you a brand who has done either of these partnerships or another unique and different strategy? Send us a link!We’d love to share and feature you!