Co-branding refers to a marketing arrangement in which multiple brand names are associated or used for a single product and/or service. The main purpose of co-branding is to strengthen the product’s reputation or image in order to make it more sellable. Co-branding also increases awareness of the lesser known brands: Having a big brand appear next to theirs on the same product/service is like an approval from the big name.
For big brands, co-branding is also desirable, especially when the product is a special edition product that has some charity or good-deed associated with it, because it will boost their positive image.
Co-branding can come in several forms. It can be done by advertising the name of the company of ingredient manufacturer for a product. Examples of this would be advertising fair-trade organizations for cocoa beans in chocolate or sugar substitutes like Splenda in sugar-free food.
Co-branding can also come in the form of bundled services or joint ventures. These could include AT&T selling iPhones bundled with their services, or Dish Network having internet services with Wildblue.
Credit cards and airlines are well-known for this kind of co-branding because of frequent flyer/miles reward systems. Another kind of co-branding is when the same company making different products bundle two products with different brands together to make the most of the brands’ reputation. A good example of this would be giving freebies of a newly released product when buying a well known product.