*Updated: 30/10/2015 to include new Uber & Nike+ brand partnership

Brand partnerships aren’t a new phenomenon. But there is growth in the number of these type of deals as brands look to avoid the expense of paying for  traditional commercial sponsorships and the restrictions that usually apply.

A brand partnership could be defined as ‘a symbiotic marketing partnership between at least two different brands of goods or services that results in mutual benefits’. What is traded between the brands could be access to their respective audiences, the halo affect of being associated with the other brand (e.g. change in brand perception by ‘borrowing’ brand equity/attributes from the other) or additional benefits/value being delivered to customers through the provision of additional services/products – amongst other things.

Examples include car manufacturer Jaguar and Italian bike manufacturer, Pinarello, partnering to create the Pinarello Dogma F8. This had an additional layer of partnership as the bike was used by Team Sky – which both parties were commercial sponsors of. Forbes lists 11 of what it considers the best strategic brand partnerships from last year, here.

One of the latest brand partnerships to catch my eye is between Uber and AT&T in the US. The best partnerships in my mind are those that are simple to understand and offer true value to not just each brand, but the consumer they are targeting.  In this partnership the premise is simple – 10 special Uber cars are available to book as you normally would, with the exception that these 10 cars will have tablets streaming College football games via the AT&T U-verse app, showcasing the strength of their 4G LTE network and future of connected cars.

The reciprocal benefits are obvious. Uber riders (all be it a relative small number) get to watch the game and not miss a minute whilst in transit, AT&T position their brand as innovative whilst building awareness of their technology and favour amongst a key demographic and Uber illustrate the value of booking one of their cars rather than other taxi services – whilst also no doubt benefiting from an AT&T funded campaign to support the initiative.

Brand partnerships aren’t new to Uber. They announced earlier this year a partnership earlier this year with Spotify that allows the rider to listen to the music they want to during their journey. In addition Uber have done smaller scale partnerships with people like CapitalOne when they offered free #UberIceCream to cardholders. I have no doubt there are far more to come.


And indeed another deal was done at the beginning of the week.

Tomorrow sees over 50,000 runners attempt the New York Marathon and Uber teamed up with the Nike+ Run Club, at the start of the week, to kickstart runner’s journies.

With the tap of a button in the Uber app, runners are connected with expert Nike+ Run Club Pacers who will come to their door, free Nike kit in hand as a gift, and lead them through a free, personalised running session tailored to their ability level. Just the boost runners need as the fear starts to grip them!