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The magic of food and beverage brand collaborations

When we start to think about brand collaborations, for many of us the following will easily come to mind…

Red Bull – F1

Primark – Greggs

Walkers – Marmite

Adidas – Gucci

Asda – Elf

As successful brand collaborations, the above examples have left a long lasting impression. These partnerships created a bit of marketing magic, coming together to bring a wealth of benefits to those involved and leaving consumers wanting more.

The question is, how do we go about successfully collaborating with brands within the event industry, specifically for food and beverage? Do we all know how to make such magic happen for our events?

Successful event brand collaborations happen when we create something with mutual benefit to everyone involved, adding a certain je ne sais quoi that is well received by our attendees. When it works, it just works, and when it comes to event planning, getting a brand collaboration spot on can literally be the icing on the cake (🥁 ) for your event.

The role of food and beverage in events cannot be underestimated. Event planners work hard researching culinary offerings for their events, which when offered with a mutually agreeable brand collaboration, can elevate the overall experience for attendees and leave a lasting impression for both the brand you are working with and the attendees.

Going back to the original question, how do we collaborate with brands in a way that hits the right note for your own company, the brand, and the actual event? Put simply, we need to do our research and know what the event collaboration has to offer in terms of benefits . When we are looking for where to start, we can break it down…

Make a list

Think outside the box and write down any potential partner you think could work. Go wild and think creatively until you are happy you have options. Research the brands on your radar and take note of what is happening in their business journey. Is there anything coming up in the near future that your event could complement? If there is potential, be sure to include it in your collaboration strategy.

Don’t go far from the obvious, create that synergy between product and event attendees –

teenagers and Prime, athletes and Lucozade, music festival goers and burgers! The products must go hand in hand with the event and its audience.

Your offer

Put together a strong partnership package including a well-worded cover email or face-to-face pitch, which outlines the specifics of your event and what makes it special. Ensure you convey to the potential brand collaborator what benefits there are to entering this arrangement – marketing, exposure, connections, volume of potential new customers, to be a big part of a unique event…make sure they get the message. For event producers, the event benefits are clear. We are adding to the diversity of the food and beverage offer, making the event more exciting and attractive to attendees. If it is possible to negotiate multiple brand collaborations then the range of food and beverage on offer will only add to the appeal and draw guests to attend.

Remember, it is not about looking for another event sponsor, this is not about finance. The aim is to create meaningful collaborations where the transaction results in benefits for both parties. If you are scrambling to find those benefits then take a moment to think about what you would want out of entering such a partnership before taking steps to make that happen. Do not reach out until you are clear on what it is you want and have to offer. Awkward conversations are not fun for anyone.

Reach out

We don’t want to ever share a stage with a brand that has opposing values to our own, so reach out to those on your hit list who are like-minded, sharing a vision and a similar target audience to your own. Using commonalities as a starting point makes a brand collaboration more likely to succeed.

Going back to homework, as well as having a clear collaboration package to offer, being diligent before making any approach is important. Carry out background research to better understand who it is you are approaching, saving time and energy back-pedalling in the future.

Negotiate and contract

Find terms that work positively for both parties. Ignore any personal relationships and do your due diligence to ensure what is written down on paper is accurate and legitimate. Transparency, thoughtfulness and mutual understanding are all key to a happy and successful brand union.

Do it your way

Finally, bear in mind that there is no textbook approach to creating a successful brand collaboration. Some partnerships stand the test of time (I’m pretty sure you can still find marmite flavoured Walkers!), and others are a flash in the pan (McDonalds & Burger King’s offer was most definitely a one-time thing – for charity). If you think you have found a way to bring two brands together, then what is stopping you from going for it?

Events provide fantastic opportunities for food and beverage brand collaborations. You are not looking to create the next multi-branded product, you are aiming to give all event stakeholders a unique experience in just a moment, which hopefully has a beneficial ripple effect afterwards.

It is easy to say, but don’t overthink the long-term nature of the collaboration. Focus on the event in front of you and the impact you can have on your event by bringing the right people and products together.

We know that catering plays a vital role in creating memorable events. From ensuring the menu selection is catering to different tastes and dietary restrictions, to providing vegan options for those with plant-based diets, or gluten-free alternatives for individuals with allergies or sensitivities. Thoughtful consideration must be given to these requirements, and of course the presentation and reputation of food and beverages are equally important.

Achieving all of this while collaborating with a brand that brings benefits to all involved…this is the stuff that makes our job roles even more exciting, right? You can make the magic happen, so be bold and go for it!

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