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The power of strategic brand partnerships with Ted Raad of Trend Management

💡The most important thing to remember with brand partnerships is to put your audience first. 

When done strategically, brand partnerships are a great way to increase visibility and revenue for your business. Strategic branded partnerships can help your business grow, innovate, and create standout customer experiences. In fact:

  • 71% of consumers say they enjoy co-branding partnerships.
  • 54% of companies acknowledge that partnerships drive more than 20% of their total company revenue.
  • 34% of marketers consider co-marketing or brand partnerships as the most effective means to expand their email subscriber lists.

In today’s episode, you’ll hear from Ted Raad, the founder of Trend, one of the fastest growing influencer management and marketing companies in the US. 

Listen in as you’ll learn why independent business owners need to lean into more paid brand partnerships, strategies for finding the right brands to work with, and how to advocate for yourself to make sure your deals are mutually beneficial.

The Independent Business podcast is powered by HoneyBook, the all-in-one clientflow management platform for independent business owners to streamline their processes and create remarkable client experiences. Book clients, manage projects, get paid faster, and have business flow your way with HoneyBook. Use the code PODCAST to get 20% off your first year as a new member.

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Building Trend: an influencer management company

Before founding Trend, one of the fastest growing influencer management and marketing companies in the US, Ted worked in the IT department at Hewlett Packard for ten years. During that time, his wife Dede started a fashion and lifestyle blog. However, in the beginning, Ted only saw her blog as a hobby and not something that could create an income. 

As his wife’s blog and Instagram following started to take off, brands reached out to her through her DMs about partnerships. Eventually, she signed with a management company to manage the brand deals for her. However, that management company sent her partnerships that didn’t align with her niche or speak to her audience, so she started to decline them even though they were lucrative deals.

Ted and Dede started talking to other influencer friends and found that they all faced a similar problem: they signed with management companies who didn’t actually care about aligning brand deals with their content; they just wanted to make money.

So, Ted started managing his wife’s brand deals, along with some of her friends’ for free to fill in the gap, and he prioritized partnerships that were organic and maintained the trust of his client’s audiences. From there, he started taking on more clients, and Trend was born. 

Today, Trend Management manages over 85 creators with over 100 million in reach across all platforms. Additionally, Ted founded Trend Social, a second management company that helps brands connect with the right creators. 

Common misconceptions that independent business owners have about brand partnerships

Some business owners shy away from brand partnerships because they feel like it will distract from their own content. They don’t want to spend their time promoting a different brand over their own. 

However, the truth is that brand partnerships help get you in front of a new audience, which brings more people to your brand. By partnering with a brand, you automatically gain the trust of the audience that trusts them. It’s a great opportunity to tap into a market that you have a hard time getting into on your own. An easy way to think about it is as “two-for-one marketing.”

Additionally, research shows that the majority of audiences enjoy brand partnerships. Sharing about products you love is a great way to bring them into the behind-the-scenes of your life rather than talking about your own products all the time. It adds variety to your content that your audience will appreciate.

How you can find the right brand partnerships

It’s important to partner with brands that you actually enjoy and make sense for your niche. Think about the products that you would share about for free, and start reaching out to those brands or tagging them in your posts. 

If the brands you love feel out of reach, start with smaller partnerships and work your way up. A huge aspect of the brand partnership industry is networking. Maintaining great communication, turning in your collaborations on time, and being fun to work with go a long way in creating repeat brand partnerships. 

Pitching strategies to land brand partnerships

Pitching is all about communicating your value to the brand. Think about the products that you would share for free and start sharing affiliate links for them and tagging the brands in your posts. Then, DM the brand and tell them that you love their product to get a conversation started.

Tell them that you would honestly share about the product for free, but that you’d love to work with the brand in some capacity. They’ll be able to see that your followers have engaged with your content and purchased through your affiliate link, which will motivate them to work with you more.

Several creators don’t want to do any work for free. However, getting started working with brands through affiliate links is a great way to get your foot in the door and establish relationships with reputable brands. 

How to follow up with brands to secure partnerships

Get on the phone with the brand and ask them about their strategy. What are they trying to accomplish (i.e. more sales or brand awareness)? Then let them know how you can help them accomplish their goals by partnering together. Create an opportunity that allows both you and the brand to win. Be consistent in your follow up without being too aggressive.

It’s important not to be afraid of rejection, and to continually put yourself out there until you find the right partnership. 

How to advocate for yourself with brands

Once you land a brand partnership, it’s important to be super clear about your goals and the brand’s goals. For example, if the brand expects a really big increase in revenue due to your partnership, you can ask them to help you out by offering a limited time sale to encourage your followers to shop quickly. 

You can align your goals with the brand’s goals while also advocating for yourself and making sure the partnership works for you and your followers. Communicating your expectations with the brand, what type of content you post, what it looks like will go a long way in making sure you and the brand are both happy. The most important thing to remember with brand partnerships is to put your audience first. 

The biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Ted thinks that the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail is that the ones that succeed believe in what they’re doing. They’re doing it to fix a problem and they believe in their why.

Important sections of the conversation

  • [1:56] Ted’s story
  • [10:40] Common misconceptions about brand partnerships
  • [13:04] How to find the right brand partnerships
  • [18:41] Pitching strategies to land brand partnerships
  • [22:39] How to follow up with brands to secure partnerships
  • [25:50] How to advocate for yourself with brands
  • [31:43] The biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Resources mentioned

Connect with the guest

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