Facebook: If a brand partnership is purely transactional it will fail

The social media giant’s marketing director for business in Europe shares her thoughts on what makes a successful brand partnership.

If a brand partnership is based purely on maximising transactional gains it will almost certainly fail, according to Facebook’s marketing director for business in Europe Philippa Snare.

Speaking today (24 February) on a panel at an event hosted by digital ad agency Wunderman, Snare reflected on business partnerships that went wrong during her tenure as Microsoft’s UK CMO.

And she advised: “A successful partnership must be based on all the parties sharing similar values.

“When brand partnerships failed [at Microsoft] it was because each party was only focused on purely transactional gains and not on the values they shared. I’ve not seen this issue at Facebook yet as here it’s nearly always based around learning what is the social purpose we share with potential partners.”

She revealed Facebook is currently making a major push into healthcare partnerships. In particular, it wants to provide a platform for sufferers of rare diseases and help them to lobby pharmaceutical companies to receive proper care.

Snare was joined on the panel by Caroline Hudack, regional brand marketing director for EMEA at Airbnb, who claimed brands usually approach Airbnb to partner superficially.

“We have a tonne of people who want to partner with us but we sense most of them just want some of the fairy dust that’s associated with a new digital business,” Hudack explained.

“We’ve partnered with lots of airlines in the past but going forward we want to work with fewer partners and aim to do something more long-term. That’s the goal with our new partnership with Nike.”

According to Snare, Facebook’s primary focus is to help users make sense of “this complicated world, where there’s too much data and too many brands. We must help them navigate it.” She also spoke of why so many brands fail to understand mobile: “The world mobile is super-focused and personal, people are having an intimate experience with these devices.

“The issue is brands forget this and just try to convert their above the line advertising for mobile and expect it to succeed. Mobile is another universe and you must design services that are unique to it.”

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  1. Medical Rabbit 24 Feb 2017

    Re: “She revealed Facebook is currently making a major push into healthcare partnerships. In particular, it wants to provide a platform for sufferers of rare diseases and help them to lobby pharmaceutical companies to receive proper care”.

    I suffer from Asthma, a common disease. In the UK about 5.4 million people have asthma, about 1200 of us die directly from it each year (I’ve had one brush with death), and more die indirectly because asthma makes physical exercise difficult and it’s harder for victims to remain fit.

    There is nowhere near enough research on Asthma. So, Facebook, I’m very sorry for people with rare diseases, but there’s only so much money to go round. Please explain why you think it makes sense to lobby for it to be spent on curing rare diseases instead of curing common diseases like Asthma.

    I get that it’s probably just marketing to you. But your “major push” to switch resources to rare diseases will lead to more illness and death overall.

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