How MADE do brand partnerships

Brand partnerships are key at MADE.COM.

Swapping services (instead of cash) is a cost-effective way to reach new customers. So much so, it’s become a key part of MADE’s marketing strategy, collaborating with brands like Pip & Nut, Bumble and Phaidon. 

These partnerships have led to great PR coverage, audience growth, and extra value to existing customers.

Last month Claudia Martin, Global Brand Activation Manager at MADE, shared her tips for really effective brand partnerships. Here are our top takeaways:


1. Choose partners wisely

Like any dating guru worth their salt would say, to find the perfect match you need to really understand yourself first. The same is true for brands.

Know your audience. Are there gaps where you struggle to convert? Where are you already famous? What gaps and opportunities are there?

Partner with brands who thrive with the audiences you’re missing to have the biggest impact. If it’s hard to convert millennial women, partner with a brand they already love.

Consider where you’re already famous. How can you connect with people outside of this area? When MADE wanted to grow their audience outside of London, they partnered with a brand that owns treehouses in Gloucestershire, furnishing the luxury accommodation.


Use your data to find your gaps and opportunities where other brands could help you out. 


2. Play to your strengths

Do what your brand does best. Let your partners do the same.

Help each other save on costs while still hitting objectives. For MADE, this means focusing on furnishing spaces whilst partnering with brands who can deliver on food and drink, hospitality experiences, or workshops. 


Working with partners can provide access to spaces you could only dream of.

When MADE wanted to get into the festival space, they partnered with Pip & Nut to set up an outdoor toast bar. MADE provided the furniture and Pip & Nut supplied the food. Customers had a great experience and both brands got lots of exposure.

What could be better than eating a slice of toast while relaxing on a comfy sofa? Integrate your offerings to create an experience that stands out.


3. Know your KPIs

What does success look like?

Nail down KPIs early on. Do you want to reach new customers? Or get your product into as many hands as possible? Set measurable goals at the beginning of your partnership and remember them.

Your goals won’t be the same as your partners’. And that’s OK – you’re different businesses, after all. Understand your partners’ goals and let them know yours. Then, help each other get there.

MADE wants to grow their audience, so they tend to measure cost per thousand (CPM) people reached. They consider a campaign a success if they hit a CPM of £1-£2, with the aim of reaching as many as possible. For press, they expect 1 piece of press for every £200 spend.


4. Have an outreach plan

Shout about what makes your brand amazing. Show potential partners the opportunities a collaboration would bring.

Claudia uses LinkedIn to search for brands to team-up with, so start there. Make sure you’re easy to find on the platform, too.

Then, pitch your heart out. Make it obvious how the partnership could benefit the brand and why it would be a good fit.

When MADE gets in touch with a new brand, they send a deck outlining who they are, what they can offer and the cool things they’ve been up to.

Brand synergy isn’t enough to build a partnership, so make sure you’re prepared to explain why it would be a win-win for both brands.


5. Make the most of a great partnership

When you’ve got a good thing going, make the most of it.

Make your partnership work across multiple channels.

When running events, think about big angles that might bring PR coverage. Invite influencers to build buzz. Create content to share afterwards. Show customers you care by sharing discount codes.

MADE has a tier system to get the most out of partnerships. For a Gold level partnership, they pull out all the marketing-stops, engaging all channels. Silver collabs mean organic social, emails and some PR. And for Bronze partnerships, MADE goes all in with content, swapping services and creating UGC.

Tiers help to determine how much time you’ll be putting in and make sure it’s split between you and your partner.


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