Brand partnerships that provide scope for cross-promotion are often an effective way of marketing on a small budget. If companies can find partners with sufficient synergies, they provide themselves with opportunities to promote one another at minimal expense. At other times, company founders may choose to set up their own additional business in order to have a free platform on which to market the original brand.
This was the route taken by Kathy and Gary Jordan, founders of Jordan Wines. The husband and wife team own a 146-hectare winery in Stellenbosch, South Africa, from where they produce Jordan-branded wines. These are supplied to restaurants and select retailers around the world, while the winery itself has become a tourist destination in recent years thanks to the addition of guest cottages and two on-site restaurants.
In 2009, the Jordans decided to expand their business interests beyond the winery by becoming partners in High Timber, a London restaurant owned by their long-time friend and experienced restauranter Neleen Strauss. Becoming co-owner of the London outlet, called High Timber, has enabled extensive cross-promotion with the wine business without having to spend large sums on marketing.
“The UK has always been the largest and most important export market for the Jordan Wine Estate,” explains Kathy Jordan. “With our wines being enjoyed best with food and hence being listed in many high-end restaurants throughout the world, it was a natural decision to get involved in a restaurant [in London].”
Visitors to High Timber are provided with information about the winery, both from staff and via the menus. Each time a customer is served the bill, they also receive a leaflet about the winery and the surrounding region in South Africa. “The cross-pollination works very well,” says Jordan. “Visitors to High Timber fall in love with South African wines, decide to visit South Africa and ask for recommendations and guidance from Neleen.”
At the winery, meanwhile, staff are encouraged to speak to British visitors and cottage guests about High Timber. The websites of each business also include links to the other, which helps to drive awareness of the association and online traffic. Jordan confirms that such measures are an inexpensive way of marketing each brand.
“In the early days, we used to advertise more, but now that Jordan Wine Estate has been producing wine for more than 24 years we are quite well known as a South African wine estate, especially in the UK,” she notes. “From time to time we promote either the Jordan Wine Estate or the High Timber restaurant, but often through the means of a wine or dinner donation at a charity event, rather than above-the-line advertising. Basically, they each feed off each other – it’s mutualism at its best.”
Added revenue opportunities
Strauss, who runs High Timber, claims the London restaurant receives a regular flow of diners who have heard about the venue during a visit to the winery. “I would say every day, at least, [diners from] one or two tables have been to Stellenbosch – that’s a minimum estimate,” she says. “The restaurant provides a great showcase for the wines, which are made with food in mind.”
The partnership also supports other business activities besides marketing. High Timber was the first restaurant venture the Jordans became involved in. So when they decided to open two restaurants within their winery, they were able to draw on the experience of the London venue. This included the head chef from High Timber going to the Jordan Wine Estate for three months to support the opening of one of the restaurants.
In return, winemakers and experts from Stellenbosch – including the Jordans themselves – visit High Timber for special dinners, wine tasting evenings and talks. This helps to drive more visitors to the restaurant, generating further revenue opportunities.
Neither High Timber nor the winery offer cut-price deals in an attempt to incentivise people to visit the other business. Instead, the brands focus on bringing a personal touch to their customer service that encourages repeat visits and builds affinity for both the restaurant and Jordan wines.
“We don’t do discounts as such but we give [visitors from the winery] a complimentary glass of wine or take them into our wine cellar [at High Timber] and give them a cellar tour,” says Jordan. “It’s a bit of special treatment, which makes everyone feel good.”
Cross-promotion in action
More examples of brand partnerships that facilitate shoestring marketing
Barber & Parlour
The three-storey Barber & Parlour building in Shoreditch, London combines beauty services from Cowshed, a 50-seat auditorium run by Electric Cinema and food and drink services offered by Barber & Parlour. This mixed use of the space enables all of the businesses to promote one another and drive customers to their respective services, turning the building into a destination outlet.
American watch and leather goods maker Shinola runs both its head office and manufacturing facility from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, USA. This provides the company with a low-cost base and supports the college’s efforts to attract students with the promise of apprenticeships. Shinola also fosters a collaborative approach to manufacturing through a partnership with Ronda, an established Swiss watchmaker that helps to train Shinola’s Detroit-based staff.
The Common E2
The Common E2 brings together both a cafe and an architectural studio within one space in Bethnal Green, London. Architects work among members of the general public who visit the café, with both sides of the business supporting one another and drawing new visitors to the site. The idea behind the business is to “demystify the inner workings of architectural practice and encourage engagement between locals and a variety of small businesses” based in the local area.