Entertaining Bedfellows (why partnering is a smart idea)

Our CEO Tamara Gillan wrote an article for the Entertainment issue of The Drum, about what it means when brands in the Entertainment sector come together to create magical customer experiences.

Morecambe and Wise. Betty Davies and Joan Crawford. Aerosmith and Run DMC. Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling. Collaborations have always created magic in the world of entertainment.

Today, in the world of Entertainment, collaboration means brands coming together to create magical customer experiences. From Uber and Spotify creating musical rides, to Red Bull and Go-Pro capturing adrenalin rush experiences to entertain their customer bases, partnerships that combine an entertainment brand, with one from a totally different sector are on the increase.

Making less entertaining brands more exciting

For brands on the less entertaining end of the scale, tapping into customers’ passions (which are often film, or gaming and/or music) is a smart way to create more engaging conversations with a customer base. No one wants to read about insurance in their inbox every week, but new films, well that’s considered far more interesting!

Loyalty programmes for sectors like Insurance, Financial Services, or Telecoms, are turning to brands who create or distribute engaging content, or provide entertaining real life experiences (for example cinema, gigs, theatre), to become more memorable and exciting.

For example, Compare The Market’s Meerkat Movies, aims to create engagement with its insurance customers, to get them to stay for longer, and buy more products. At the inception, it was purely about members getting 2-for-1 cinema tickets, but as the campaign has evolved, Compare The Market has partnered with studios like Warner Bros and Disney, to turn the fluffy little fellas into Star Wars characters or Superheroes.

Cherry client, Saga, is giving its Possibilities members a broad range of discounts and special offers as well as entertainment benefits that give their members the chance to ‘take centre stage’ and participate in exclusive events. For example, they are invited to exclusive cinema screenings, and to specially curated events such as Mica Paris at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Another Cherry London client, O2, has built its loyalty platform on providing Priority customers with privileges across music, film and gaming that they couldn’t experience elsewhere. For example, customers have had the chance to see exclusive screenings of Star Wars, or to play Call of Duty before anyone else.

American Express ‘Unstaged’, goes one step further and actually creates platforms for music artists to launch new material. Unstaged live-streams gigs to customers around the world, but also calls in famous directors and producers to bring the shows to life and give them more credibility. It’s a clever way of appealing to new audiences outside of music, and an extremely cost-effective way for entertainment artists to market themselves. And, importantly for American Express, they create engagement with their customer base, and brand differentiation.

Entertaining equals

Fashion and Music have always been natural bedfellows, and increasingly brands are working with artists to find new audiences, and create new stories. Converse recently created the ‘One Star Hotel’ pop up in Shoreditch, featuring achingly cool emerging music artists, to associate itself with a particular scene. Levi’s Music Project teams up with artists like grime-star Skepta to help develop new talent and support communities, making its ‘supporting grass roots’ platform come alive on a more UK based level. And Cherry client Simply Be, is offering its Perks loyalty programme members a VIP chance to see the hottest London musical, partnering with ATG.

Partnership Marketing can create a better customer experience

Whether you’re an Entertainment brand, or a Financial Services brand, or anything in between, Partnership Marketing is becoming more important in the marketing mix, to make budgets work smarter, creating more engaging experiences for customers.

Cherry’s clients Cartoon Network (owner of iconic brands such as The Powerpuff Girls) and Dugout (an exclusive football content platform, production company and sports agency, owned by the biggest football clubs in the World) are currently exploring new opportunities to reach new audiences, to realise their ambitious plans, recognising that partnerships offer a unique opportunity to grow reach in a cost effective manner.

In a recent study conducted amongst senior marketeers from a range of sectors by The Melbourne Business School (on behalf of Cherry London), 93% agreed that business performance can benefit from Partnership Marketing initiatives, 81% agreed that collaborating with other brands can result in more efficient use of company budgets, and 69% agreed that when two or more brands work together, it produces a better customer experience.

Collaboration, authenticity and people

So, if you’re thinking of collaborating within the Entertainment industry, what should you be thinking about?

  1. Authenticityis key. Where Diageo got it wrong with pink-washing Johnnie to Jane Walker on International Women’s Day, they’re getting it right with Smirnoff’s Equalising Music, an initiative to promote gender diversity in dance music, that partners with credible festivals, DJs and music networks such as Shesaid.so.
  2. People follow people not brands. Influencers are important than ever, and smart collaborations not just with brands, can create new ways of engaging with prospects.
  3. If you want to be fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together, as collaboration breeds creativity. When brands who share similar values work together, extraordinary things happen.

So, creating a partnership with an entertainment brand, could just create that extra magic to take your brand to that next step, and take you to the red-carpet.





by Tamara Gillan, CEO at Cherry London tamara@cherrylondon.com