What is a collaboration?
According to aim, “a Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit.”
Most brands, big or small partner/collaborate with each other to dominate the idea of collaborations in the industry. But it can take many forms. Brands can not only collaborate with each other. Also with celebrities and tech companies.
These partnerships can be low-key or high profile. They have the possibility to overshadow the fact that these collaborations can help bring attention to smaller brands if they partner with bigger brands. Thus for smaller brands it makes sense to collaborate with brands big/small.
The work for a collaboration involves multiple parties and all parties can cross promote each other’s products/brand. Not only do they get to grow each other’s consumers/audience but also they align their brand with another brands product/creative. This cross promotions builds brand awareness.
How to get a collaborations going
- Finding a collaborator– A company that has a design language that complements that of your brand. If it’s not fashion the look out for a similar brand tone.
- Defining an audience– comparing audiences and seeing if you have a similar audience
- Reality check- observe how large of an audience does each of the collaborators have and how skilled they are t marketing or product design
- Creative– Have a different approach, have a story behind the collab and think about why people should care
- Pitching the collaborator– Think about how you can build a relationship with the brand, create a compelling proposal, and show off your brands flavor and values.
Benefits of collaborations
Expanding brand exposure– Did you know Honda, JackThreads (men’s fashion brand) and Thrillist (online lifestyle website publication) worked together on a shoe? It makes for the latter. As they have something to do with fashion and lifestyle, but for a vehicles company like Honda to make a shoe seems odd. The shoe they made was a “driving shoe”. So now you see the collaboration makes a little more sense. So a car brand and fashion brand saw an opportunity when they realized fashion and function can intersect. The collaboration is not only about selling this new product. It opens up both the brands audiences to each other’s audience. This allows for a “cross-pollination” of customer bases.
Expanding product diversity– Let me start by giving you a good example for a product offering that was expanded upon. Air Tailor (an online clothing alteration brand) and Million dollar collar (a startup that created a collar that does not crumble) teamed up to make a patented placket stay that stops collars from crushing/crumbling. This collaboration lets Million dollar collar let Air Tailor use and install their product into their product for a more economic price. This has obvious benefits both companies, one get access to this new product and the other has get access to people that can install their product.
Access to new creative & technology– Another beneficial reason to collaborate is the access you get to newer technology that has the potential to change your business. It’s hard for a company to use the cutting edge of technology alone as there maybe cost or other limitations. Sometimes if it’s a big brand it may not have the time to innovate as they need to keep their existing products/services moving. Smaller companies or start-ups have the freedom to innovate and are something build on these innovations. But these being smaller may not have the funding need to run these innovations into the market. This is why these companies can help each other out.
Kate Spade collaborating with EverPurse is one such example. They developed a method to implement a phone charger into a women’s purse so they can charge their devices without lugging around a wire and a portable battery.
Developing a new business model– JackThreads’ whole business model is based off of collaboration. Even as the company grew and evolved. The business moved from presenting deals to customers to developing a loyal audience that trust their curation of partnerships.
When working with another company. It’s always important to keep in mind the consumer base of both brands. Though this can be tricky, a successful brand collaboration can provide a huge boost to a company, and help keep a brand relevant.
Here are a few successful brand collaborations:
The Global Fund x GAP: PRODUCT(RED)
The good people at the GAP, for their first campaign with PRODUCT(RED) took photo shoot with celebrities like Chris Rock and Anne Hathaway. Both as individuals or as family or friends wearing an item from the collaboration in a personal and expressive way.
GoPro x RedBull: Stratos
These companies have previously collaborated in multiple events and projects. The biggest by far probably when Felix Baumgarter took a leap of faith and jumped out of a space pod 25 miles above the surface with a GoPro strapped on him. This collaboration broke 3 world records but reflected the tone that defines both GoPro and RedBull.
Coca-Cola x PLAY Comme Des Garcons
This collaboration was basically a complete makeover for the iconic Coke can. This put together the classic popular soft drink with a fashion brands design which appealed to both brands audiences.
P.S. This blog is based on my own personal experiences, it has no relation with any person or company directly and indirectly. While sharing give credits.