Lin Pophal

According to App Developer Magazine, “the continued pace of digital transformation across enterprises is creating enormous innovation opportunities while at the same time significantly increasing demand on IT to deliver new mobile application experiences.” This is, in part, they say driven by COVID-19, but report that development teams were already experiencing backlogs even before the virus emerged. 

One way to both address the backlogs and gain efficiencies, and to potentially leverage the power of relevant influencers, is to collaborate on app development with aligned, yet non-competitive brands. Even highly leveraged players, though, don’t always get it right.

Collaborations don’t always pan out

Shayne Sherman, a tech expert, and CEO of Techloris points to a collaboration between MyFitnessPal and Under Armour. “The collaboration has given the users access to Under Armour’s fitness services alongside a subscription of MyFitnessPal to keep track of their progress,” he says. The collaboration was based on a desire to build a social community of users that would be exposed to Under Armour’s brand, according to Under Armour actually purchased, and later sold, MyFitnessPal for $345 million (after acquiring it for $475 million), according to TechCrunch.

Does this loss and change of direction suggest that such collaborations may not be worth the time and effort? Not necessarily. But the brand impact can be hard to quantify. App developers may find more value in these types of collaboration by focusing on potential bottom-line impacts — either making or saving money.

Taking a practical, bottom-line driven approach

For instance, HyperTrack, a live location cloud for deliveries, visits, and rides used by retail, service, and e-commerce companies recently integrated with Beans to offer drives a more complete, door-to-door solution. The app helps drivers track trips and capture mileage for billing and tax deduction purposes. The result: more deliveries in a faster time and more money in drivers’ pockets.

These opportunities aren’t lost on some of the biggest brands on the market. This January, Walgreens, Mastercard, and Synchrony announced an ambitious cobranding deal that will “provide a mix of data, payment vehicles, and loyalty program enhancements,” according to  

Best practices for successful collaborations

What’s required to make such partnerships work?

  • A shared vision and aligned cultures
  • A shared target audience
  • Clear, and clearly documented, goals and objectives
  • Reliable tracking mechanisms
  • A clear understanding of who will do what, and when

As with any form of partnership or collaboration, companies or brands coming together to leverage the power of, and continued demand for, apps that can meet business and consumer needs requires careful consideration of the need, the role of each of the players, the desired outcomes and how progress will be measured and tracked. Here’s a look at 21 successful cobranding examples from Hubspot.