By Ya LIN
In the past two years, co-branding is a high-frequency word around us. Many brands have enjoyed the benefits of co-branding. Millennial customers are always the main target of the co-branding strategies, they are willing to spend money on these joint products.
Obviously, the co-branded product is more attractive than the single brand product, it increases the exposure exponentially, which helps the brand involve more customers. In a deeper level, two or more brands have the collision of their brand cultures and create one unique joint product. This kind of inspirational collision can also diversify themselves.
In order to catch the market trend and customer’s eyes, coffee brands also want a piece of co-branding. More and more coffee brands implement the co-branding strategy to achieve a higher business value.
Starbucks’ various joint products
In recent years, Starbucks cooperated with many famous brands. It is also the one who launched the most joint products in the coffee market. “Starbucks x Alice + Olivia” and “Starbucks x Anna Sui” are the best sellers. Since 2015, almost every year, Starbucks launched joint products with these two brands. Meanwhile, these kinds of co-branded products are limited editions.1 Starbucks never misses the opportunity to do hungry marketing, the limited editions help Starbucks to get a great impact before releasing and a great expectation after releasing.
Except for these two resounding joint products, in the past two years, Starbucks x Ban.do, Starbucks x Paul & Joe and Starbuck x Swarovski were also very popular, or we can say, they were not easy to find in stores.
In addition, Starbucks cooperated with Disneyland, Swell, Thermos, Fragment design, Undercover… they are also the current hot brands, and quantities of the joint products are not so limited as the series that mentioned above.
Starbucks always launches season limited products, creates the unique co-branded products by cooperating with different brands. It is not difficult to find that Starbucks’ limited editions mainly aims at females. Besides, Starbucks cooperated with some lifestyle brands, these kinds of products will give a warm feeling to the public in order to create a warm brand image.
Nescafé and Nespresso have different positioning of co-branding strategy
In 2015, Nescafé had a bold cooperation with MINI Cooper. They launched “Mini-me” coffee machine. Nescafé Dolce Gusto is popular all over the world with its high quality, meanwhile, every car produced by MINI is far ahead of the trend.3 It was a surprising crossover between a FMCG (Fast moving consumer goods) brand and stylish premium car brand. The motivation of the cooperation is like the vision of two companies that focus on the quality of products and premium customer experience.
Different from the cooperation of “Mini-me”, “Creastista Plus” is a fusion of two professional brands with their strong points. “Creastista Plus” paid attention to the texture and detail, it can be put in a variety of styles of kitchen. The positioning of the Nespresso machines is higher than the one of Dolce Gusto, so Nespresso selects Breville as its partner.
“Mini-me” and “Creastista Plus” were all launched as a limited edition, which means, Nescafé and Nespresso wanted to create the scarcity with limited quantity and add values to the joint products. But the fact is, we still can find the two machines on the market.
Recently, a new co-branding “Nescafé x Keith Haring” was officially released on December 6, 2018. They launched a limited-edition series with 6 pieces and 4 set of gift boxes, especially in China. This series of products chose a Christmas theme and added the classic elements of Keith Haring.5
I think there must be more and more crossover cooperation of Nescafé and Nespresso in the next few years.
Newbie of the Co-branding strategy—McCafé
In May 2018, McCafé launched a co-branded cup with “Rivers” in Japan, it has two colors — black and white. McCafé said they aim at eco-fashion, they encourage people to protect the environment. In addition, customers can change to a bigger cup of coffee by using their own cups.6
Although McCafé is a newbie to implement the co-branding strategy, it gets a good feedback by its clear environmental positioning.
Co-branded products have a common characteristic, they all have a time limit, they tell customers, “Now or Never”. It is a limited offer for limited time only, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to buy the same product next time.
With a large number of co-branded products in the coffee market, customers enhance their discrimination for different products, they are not just be stimulated by limited edition.
In my opinion, the trend is that companies should show their sincerity and inject a deeper meaning into the joint product to catch the eyes of the consumers.