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How to Design a Co-Branded Data Sheet

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 by Todd

datasheet_blogCo-branded data sheets are exceptionally popular marketing assets, and it’s easy to see why. These one-pagers not only make it super easy for partners to sell your products, they also make for a great leave-behind with prospective customers. But it can be tricky to co-brand a piece that conveys your core messages—summarizing your product’s features and benefits and the challenges it helps your customers to overcome. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when developing this high-value asset.

Protect Your Brand

One of the most common mistakes made when creating co-branded material is to try to combine the two brands. Simply put, don’t do it. The resulting “Frankenstein” of fonts, colors, and competing styles only dilutes both brands, ultimately confusing the customer.

The Number One rule of thumb when co-branding is to choose the dominant brand and use that brand’s guidelines to drive the design. Add the secondary brand’s logo in a prominent position—usually alongside or directly opposite the primary brand’s logo—but do not try to incorporate other elements of the secondary brand. This can be a delicate negotiation, as both brands may want primary billing. But it’s critical to establish a clear hierarchy.

Typically, you will be the primary brand, since you’ll likely have an existing data sheet to which you can simply add the partner’s logo. This makes it easy to work with multiple partners without having to fundamentally rework assets each time. But your partner may have existing collateral as well, and in that case, you can take secondary placement and add your logo to their assets.

Protect Your Content

A frequent request we receive from clients is that we create an “editable” co-branded data sheet that allows partners to easily add their logos along with some copy (information about the partner, a promotion they are running, etc.), and can be saved as a PDF. We strongly advise against this approach. While it may seem like a good way to save time and provide flexibility to the partner, the compromises are just too risky.

The most common way to provide such an editable piece is to create it in Microsoft Word (while it is possible to directly edit a PDF, the options are very limited and require skills and/or software that the typical partner will not possess). But once you provide a partner with an editable version of your data sheet, you lose control over the quality of the final piece. The partner might edit your core messaging, introduce typos or other errors, modify the layout in unattractive ways, introduce new colors or fonts, or otherwise compromise your branding. Instead, ask your partner to provide you with a logo and any content they want to include, and add it yourself.

While it requires more resources to manage this process, it’s imperative that you retain full control so that you can be confident that your marketing materials always appear exactly as you intend.

Protect Your Partnership

Your partners are incredibly valuable. They allow you to reach more customers, growing your business faster than you could ever do alone. Most partners have limited marketing resources, so show them how much you value the relationship by providing them with co-branded assets that look great and are ready to use.

 

Thanks for joining us for our Partner Marketing Blog Series! And don’t forget to nose around our blog for great information that can help you with marketing and much more.

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