Uber and Spotify: a brand marriage made in heaven?

An interesting brand collaboration, between Uber and Spotify, was brought to my attention this week by Bill Noble from WD40 (thanks Bill). When you request a car with Uber, the minicab booking app, you can choose the music for you ride. When your car arrives, the tunes you've picked will play on the car's speakers.

Pretty cool eh?

This got me thinking about the whole concept of brand collaboration, or co-branding. What do you need to help create a brand marriage made in heaven, not hell?

1. Genuine added value

By far the most important feature for successful brand collaboration is added value for the customer. In the case of Uber and Spotify, the music streaming service is bringing useful technology to make your Uber journey more enjoyable. I can also see a second potential benefit, which is hopefully keeping the radio of the cab driver switched off! No more blaring music you don't like, or football chat shows. Time will tell if the drivers don't mind having the choice of music decided by passengers, not them.

2. True collaboration

Co-branding works best, I suggest, when there is more than just "logo-slapping", where brand a is simply stuck on the product or service of brand b. For example, at the moment Louis Vuiton is "Celebrating the Monogram", its iconic LV motif, through collaboaration with 6 famous creators: Cindy Sherman, Christian Loubotin, Marc Newson, Karl Lagerfeld, Frank Gehry and Rei Kawakubo. In this case there is a genuine sense that the designers have left their imprint on the products they have designed for the brand, rather than just lending their name.

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 12.25.39

3. Consistency of values

The first two points above are by far the most important, as they are based on adding some substance to your brand proposition. At a secondary level, a brand collaboration is also helped by some sort of consistency in brand values. But this is the "icing on the cake". With Uber and Spotify, both brands feel modern, digital and leading edge. Spotify feels like a better tie-up for Uber than, say, Vodafone. And Uber feels like a better partner for Spotify than, say, Hailo. 

In conclusion, brand collaboration can add value to your brand proposition, if it based on true collaboration that adds value to what you offer customers.