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The importance of micro partnerships

We’ve been helping brands invest in partnerships for years, but the big shift we’ve seen from compiling the latest OneChocolate report is in how we, as an industry, are evaluating success. Successful micro partnerships = big engagement. These smaller scale tie-ups (investment of £0k - £50k per year, per partnership) are cost-effective, and when done well they provide great ROI by adding heaps of brand value, as opposed to just simple, short-term sales spikes.

The importance of micro partnerships lies in us investing more in content and experience over material which sells the product. It might be in-store events where your product or service can really enhance the experience, or digital channels where you can offer informative content the audience really needs. In this age of consumer experiences, the most successful companies are the ones people want to buy from again and again. This is far more valuable than a short-term surge in popularity, only to watch competitors overtake the lead with a longer-term play.

The more successful micro partnerships do well because they have real relevance; they’re subtle and so seamless that the customer wonders why it wasn’t there before. Today’s audiences are increasingly cynical of being sold to, so this is key. If the mark is hit here, brands can authentically engage with consumers and add to their experience more often, both on and offline.

The move away from traditional metrics towards more meaningful brand value measures is a trend that has really taken shape from speaking to our marketers across sectors. While the newer, better metrics aren’t without their challenges, micro partnerships are great for moving the needle for both awareness and engagement over the long-term. Brands are seeing that in spades now.

The next challenge is how to tool up to be able to evaluate and prove that impact. The great thing is that we can see more sophisticated measures coming through, with advances in digital marketing meaning we can see behaviour change in all shapes and sizes. But marketers are still afraid to set ROI targets, so this is the next hurdle. Doing the right research and having the right conversations with your partner at the beginning are key here, as we talk about in more depth in the report.

While this shows a trend still in its infancy, we’ve also revealed a more sophisticated attitude to micro partnerships than we might have seen before with bigger, more traditional sponsorships/partnerships. There’s a real focus on the need to find the perfect partner and deliver something meaningful, looking at how people have connected with a brand as opposed to having seen it. With the vast majority of marketers set to up their investment in micro partnerships and try new types, evaluating ROI will only get easier.

To read more on what’s hot and what’s not, identifying the right micro partner and proving ROI, download the full report here.