The Legal Aspect of Collaborating with Another Brand

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Collaborating with another brand can work wonders. It can boost your brand awareness and value. It can even help your company break into markets that may have previously been unavailable. But what should you consider before agreeing to a collaboration? Are there marketing and legal points you have to make?

Think of how your brand will be presented

Imagine playing the lead role in a film, but your name is at the bottom of the movie poster. How would you feel? If you don’t want to feel disappointed with how your brand is represented in a partnership, ask the important questions before signing the contract. Which brand will go where in the partnership? Will one brand be more prominent than others? If so, does it depend on the target demographics of the campaign?

Typically, a branding partnership can be defined in three ways. The first category is ingredient co-branding, in which brands combine a component or an ingredient of their products to create a new offering. Another option is cooperative co-branding, which combines two brand names to identify a new product. The third category creates a co-location, where two retail outlets are within the same space.

Keep your brand integrity intact

While in collaboration with another brand, keep in mind that you’re still your own brand. Make sure to talk about brand integrity before shaking hands on a partnership. Otherwise, you may find yourself dealing with an issue in which your partner uses your brand or logo outside your branding guidelines.

From a legal standpoint, it’s best to work with IP attorneys and other relevant professionals before signing a collaboration agreement. With their help, you can create quality control provisions and outline the details on where, how, and when your partner can use your branding. Also, consider what you will do to end the agreement if the partnership starts to go south. That detail should be included in the contract, too.

Defend against competitive compromise

Again, as your own brand, you should recognize that cooperation has limits. Let your product designers, operating managers, and marketing team work closely with your legal team as they can tell you which information should be traded, and which is not. It’s a good idea to inform employees at all levels of the skills and technologies that are off-limits to the partner to help defend against competitive compromise. Moreover, create a plan to monitor the information that the partner requests and receives.

Specify which brand covers which costs

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Consider the costs associated with creating a new product and a new brand campaign. Which partner will cover the majority of product development and marketing expenses? Will the costs be split equally? If these expenses are split equally, who is responsible for any innovations developed by the R&D team?

Specify these costs as early as possible to avoid any complications after the contract is signed. Be sure to work with your lawyers and financial advisers to make informed decisions and get these in writing.

Even if you’re still a growing brand, ensure your legal points are in place before taking another step towards a partnership with another startup or a more established brand. Once you’ve sorted out the legal aspect, you can focus on maximizing your campaign and enjoying the benefits of the collaboration.

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