How To Make The Most of Co-Branding
Rick Perez, director of marketing for BumperDoc, a franchisee with 14 locations across the country, says that the traditional franchise model presents many challenges when it comes to expansion, including finding qualified candidates and the financial investment. Because of this, BumperDoc decided to explore other options.
Triston Miller, BumperDoc founder, began looking at the idea of co-branding and found that it was a great way for the franchise to expand its footprint.
“We saw co-branding as another avenue to grow our brand more rapidly,” says Rick Perez, BumperDoc’s director of marketing. “The financial investment for a co-brand opportunity is much less and we felt that by doing this, we could shorten the sales cycle and find candidates more easily.”
BumperDoc opened its first co-brand location, Ideal Auto Collision in Brooklyn N.Y., and since then, the franchise has continued to expand its co-branding network, including a well-known dealership that will be announced in the next few months. BumperDoc sees co-branding as an opportunity for businesses to differentiate themselves from the competition without losing their individual identities.
“The shops that we partner with will benefit from being a part of a franchised organization with top-notch training, support and marketing,” Perez says. “BumperDoc’s goal with co-branding is to provide existing businesses with greater revenues and operational efficiency while adding value to existing customers and empowering employees. These co-brand unions allow two individual brands to tap into each other’s operational and marketing advantages, which in turn builds a successful and profitable business model.”
If done correctly, co-branding can be beneficial for both businesses involved and is a great way build a larger customer base.
Understand the Benefits of Co-Branding
Co-branding occurs in a number of different industries, including collision repair. For a visual of what it is, think of a Subway shop inside of a gas station. Ray Wahoff, president of BumperDoc, breaks it down in the simplest terms that he can:
“Co-branding is a pairing of brands,” he says.
Wayhoff explains that a brand that may not be very well known can partner with a more well-known name and offer services through that business. For example, a shop can co-brand by adding an express bumper repair lane through BumperDoc. In the case of dealerships, BumperDoc goes on the marquee name and will offer a variety of services at the dealership, including fast repairs, touch-ups, upholstery repairs and detailing.
“By offering services to the general public, the owner of each business will gain more revenue opportunities and profit,” Wayhoff says. “It will bring in more business.”
Co-branding is also a less expensive option than the traditional franchise approach. Perez says that the initial franchise fee for a traditional BumperDoc shop is now $34,995 and an investment of anywhere between $150,000 to $290,000 can be expected for opening a new center. A co-brand, on the other hand, has an initial franchise fee of $14,995.
Wayhoff says that when the company looks for a business to partner to partner with, there are a variety of different things for which they look. Wayhoff says that BumperDoc has typically had a lot of success with businesses that are less well known, but it’s also been successful partnering with auto dealers. There’s no exact formula for finding a co-brand partner, but Wayhoff says that it’s important to figure out what’s best for your company.
When it comes to marketing this opportunity, Perez says that BumperDoc, which is spread out from California to Florida to New York, is currently focused on the Southwest. Perez also says that he’s found that companies that are just under the $1 million threshold are being looked at because they have a lot of potential for growth, but might be having a difficult time figuring out how to grow.
“If they’re at a certain level, they’re going to want to learn how to get to the next level,” Perez says. “Retail is the way to do that.”
Miller adds that shops that have heavily relied on DRPs are a good target because those shops are always in danger of losing that work. Offering retail services as a way to get more work in is a more stable foundation.
Sell the Partnership.
Wayhoff says that the marketing campaigns for BumperDoc’s co-branding efforts are currently in the development process but a large part of their marketing is done by making personal connections. The BumperDoc team will find a shop that it wants to partner with and then does research on the business and finds out what they know about co-branding and what industry events the staff attends.
Wayhoff adds that another way to sell co-branding is by emphasizing to the shop that all it will do is leverage their existing brand, it won’t erase what the shop was before.
“The co-branding relationships that we have are symbiotic, there’s no friction,” says Perez. “Think about it, if you have a tire company, a transmission company and a BumperDoc next to each other, that will strengthen business for all of the parties involved.”
Work Together To Achieve Success.
Miller, Perez and Wayhoff are all quick to say that co-branding benefits both businesses. For the shops that BumperDoc partners with, Miller explains that they have support from day one. BumperDoc goes in with SOPs and implements ideas to make their businesses more efficient. For BumperDoc, Wayhoff explains that these partnerships are a horizontal expansion of the brand by utilizing the resources of others.