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What comes to mind when you think about Okoa Jahazi? Probably free airtime and internet, right?

Well, this is a perfect example of the benefits of co-branding. Safaricom, in collaboration with Google, decided to develop a product that could help Kenyan subscribers access internet services even with insufficient airtime.

And that’s what co-branding is all about. It’s forming strategic partnerships with another company or brand to develop a product, increase awareness, explore new markets or build a business.

It’s a win-win situation for both brands. Want to know more about co-branding? Read on to find out what it entails and how to leverage it.

What is Co-branding?

Also known as brand collaboration or brand partnership, co-branding is a marketing strategy where two or more brands come together to create a product, service, or marketing campaign.

This collaboration allows each brand to leverage the strengths and resources of the other to achieve mutual benefits.

Why Co-branding is Important

Co-branding enables companies or brands to harness their strengths for mutual benefits. Other reasons brands should consider co-branding are:

To Leverage Brand Equity

Co-branding allows brands to leverage the existing equity and reputation of their partners. By associating with another well-known brand, a brand enhances its credibility and visibility in the market.

Reach New Audiences

Partnering with another brand can help companies reach new audiences that they may have yet to be able to access on their own.

This is particularly valuable when the partner brand has a different customer base or operates in a different geographic region. In our example, we see Google reaching a new audience through collaboration with Kenya’s top telecommunication company.

Expand Product Offerings

Co-branding enables companies to expand their product or service offerings without having to develop everything from scratch.

By collaborating with a partner who specializes in a particular area, they can introduce new products or variations that appeal to their customers.

Differentiation in the Market

Co-branding can help you differentiate yourself from competitors by offering unique and innovative products or experiences that are not available elsewhere. This can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract more attention from consumers.

Share Costs and Mitigate Risks

By sharing the costs and risks of product development, marketing, and distribution, co-branding allows companies to achieve their goals more efficiently and with less financial exposure.

This can be especially beneficial for smaller companies and startups with limited resources when venturing into a new market.

Creates Buzz and Excitement

Co-branded products often generate buzz and excitement among consumers, particularly if the partners are well-known or if the collaboration is unexpected. This can lead to increased brand awareness, word-of-mouth marketing, and, ultimately, higher sales.

Building Strategic Partnerships

Co-branding helps companies build strategic partnerships with other businesses in their industry or related sectors. Look at the collaboration between KCB and Visa.

The two companies have a partnership to launch credit and debit cards, a collaboration that’s still effective decades later.

These partnerships can lead to future collaborations, cross-promotion opportunities, and other mutually beneficial initiatives.

Overall, co-branding is an important strategy for brands looking to strengthen their market position, expand their reach, and create value for both themselves and their customers.

How to Co-brand with a Company

Co-branding works through a collaborative partnership between two or more brands to create a new product, service, or marketing campaign. Here’s a breakdown of how the process typically works:

Step 1: Identify a Partner

Brands choose partners that complement their own brand image and target audience. For example, a bank may partner with a popular credit card company for a co-branded product or service.

Step 2: Negotiate the Terms

The brands negotiate terms of the collaboration, including how the costs and revenues will be shared, who will handle production and distribution, and how the brands will be represented in marketing materials.

Step 3: Develop the Product or Service

The partners work together to develop the co-branded product or service. This could involve combining elements of each brand’s expertise or design aesthetics.

Step 4: Market and Promote the Product or Service

Both brands leverage their marketing channels to promote the co-branded product or service. This could include launching advertising and social media campaigns as well as in-store promotions. Each brand brings its audience to the table, potentially expanding the reach of both.

Step 5: Launch and Distribution

The co-branded product is launched and distributed through the partners’ existing channels. They could be retail stores, e-commerce platforms, or special events.

Step 6: Evaluation and Feedback

After the launch, the partners evaluate the success of the co-branding initiative based on metrics like sales, customer experience, customer feedback, and brand perception. This feedback informs future collaborations and marketing strategies.

Co-branding Examples in Kenya

In Kenya, there are several notable examples of co-branding initiatives that have been implemented by companies to enhance their market presence and create unique offerings. Here are a few examples:

Safaricom and Equity Bank

Safaricom, Kenya’s leading telecommunications company, collaborated with Equity Bank, one of the largest banks in the country, to launch the M-Kesho service.

This service allowed Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile money platform to be integrated with Equity Bank accounts, enabling customers to access banking services through their mobile phones.

KCB and Visa

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), one of the largest banks in Kenya, collaborated with Visa to launch co-branded debit and credit cards.

These cards offered KCB customers access to Visa’s global payment network, allowing them to make purchases and withdraw cash at millions of locations worldwide.

Kenya Airways and Visa

Kenya Airways, Kenya’s national airline, has collaborated with Visa, a global payments technology company, to offer co-branded credit cards. These cards typically come with benefits such as air miles rewards or discounts on flights when using the card for purchases.

Java House and Shell

Java House, a well-known chain of coffee houses in Kenya, has collaborated with Shell, a major petroleum company, to set up coffee shops at select Shell petrol stations.

This partnership allows Shell customers to enjoy Java House’s coffee and food offerings while refuelling their vehicles.

Tuskys and Samsung

Tuskys, previously one of Kenya’s largest supermarket chains, collaborated with Samsung, a leading electronics brand, on various promotions and product launches.

For example, offer special deals on Samsung electronics exclusively to Tuskys customers or run joint marketing campaigns to promote new products.

Safaricom and Google

Safaricom collaborated with Google to introduce the “Okoa Jahazi” service. This service allows Safaricom subscribers to access Google’s search engine and other internet services even when they had insufficient airtime credit.

This co-branding initiative aimed to promote internet access and digital inclusion among Kenyan mobile users.

Kenya Airways and KQ Holidays

Kenya Airways, Kenya’s national airline, partnered with various hotels, resorts, and tour operators to launch KQ Holidays.

This co-branded travel service offered customers comprehensive holiday packages, including flights, accommodation, transportation, and activities, allowing them to enjoy seamless travel experiences.


These examples demonstrate how co-branding can be utilized in Kenya to create synergies between different brands and offer value to customers. Co-branding initiatives like these can help companies differentiate themselves in the market, attract new customers, and drive sales. If you need help launching a co-branding campaign, don’t hesitate to call our experts at SimPaul Designs.



Paul Simiyu

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.