The beauty of strategic partnership development lies in the ability to fully customize and integrate partnerships in a variety of ways based on brand, channel, and objective. In order to create an immersive experience that generates value for all stakeholders, a multi-layer partnership that is customized throughout its many levels is key. One case study example of a great multi-level strategic partnership program is found within mobile gaming app Design Home.

Design Home is an iOS/Android game that targets females who are predominantly non-gamers. Developed by mobile entertainment company CrowdStar, Design Home allows users with an affinity for interior design (or gaming with creativity at its foundation) to – as the name suggests – design rooms within a home. Rooms are created as part of a challenge with other players, who vote to score designs on a five-point scale. 

Integrated partnerships come into play right within the game itself, on two levels. Design Home’s major media partner is HGTV, a natural fit for an app with a focus on home décor, and a clear win for the game in terms of visibility as it is featured on the homepage of In the game itself, HGTV sponsors weekly décor challenges with rooms based on their popular shows such as House Hunters. 

The second level of partnership within the game occurs around the furniture used to design each room. Players use their virtual money earned by completing challenges to purchase furniture for new designs. That furniture – in realistic 3D rendering form – is real product from a variety of partner brands like Kathy Kuo Home and Serena & Lily. Users interact with the partner brands’ products by visualizing them in a rendered way. By partnering with Design Home, these brands are accessing a network of potential buyers in an interactive, highly engaged setting. The game also features links to purchase the items, and this direct link to purchase delivers incredible value created for the brands.

Without these key partnerships, Design Home may still exist as a game – but certainly not to the extent that it does now. By leveraging major partners like HGTV and a number of high-end home furnishing brands, a level of value is added to the user experience that would not have otherwise been there had generic items and challenges been the focus of the game. Interestingly, Design Home was launched just six months ago – meaning the potential for new and expanded partnerships is strong.