Collaborations, can they help in an uncertain economy?
Posted by: The Tailor of Shoreditch
Date added: Mon 16 Apr 2012
Friendships between like-minded brands and even artists can allow them to enter new markets, to reach new targets, to change perceptions or to enhance and develop their image. Collaboration is becoming a mutually beneficial business trend, but only when the collaboration is smartly chosen – think of Fred Perry/The Specials, Nike/iPod or Blackberry/Starbucks.
In the luxury sector we are seeing lots of collaboration between hotels and beauty brands, ensuring exposure for each party in the other industry’s press. For hotels most importantly - in the fashion and beauty magazines read by affluent women. A branded Spa product offers guests a compelling reason to choose a particular hotel over another, adding another luxury string to its bow.
In an increasingly saturated luxury market, cross-industry collaborations are becoming more and more important in providing potential consumers with a unique value proposition and offering the brand stand out in a very competitive market place. It’s an interesting trend - right now the luxury sector is riding a wave and sales of many high luxury items are up, despite economic uncertainty and trepidation.
Collaboration is playing a big part in the battle for stand out in the luxury market, with some rather interesting brand collaborations coming to life in an effort to gain the upper-hand in the market. Collaborative marketing has seen the likes of Bell & Ross and Harley Davidson produce a classic styled racing bike, Mobiado and Aston Martin create a series of mobile phones, and Porsche Design Studio and Johnnie Walker have created the Blue Label Private Bar.
I have been activating a number of brand partnerships and collaborations over the past few months and some interesting lessons have been learned. The key ones are:
Always ensure equal value for each of the brands involved, the very essence of collaboration and partnership is to ensure that both brands and both audiences benefit.
Ensure there is a match of brand values. You need to be seen as mutually vetting each other’s core values and making absolutely sure there is never any question that the collaboration is a perfect fit.
Make sure that the consumer “gets it”. If it does not make sense to your target audience you have an instant problem and one that can last longer than the collaboration itself.
I’m going to leave the last word to one of our collaborative partners Timothy Everest, MBE. He says: "Brand collaborations are relatively risk-free if the chemistry is right and the vision is shared. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, a strong collaboration can be truly heavyweight; packing-a-much-needed-punch in a market which increasingly requires added value in order to encourage shoppers to engage. The luxury market has grasped that there is much value in drawing upon names that really carry cachet, and fusing them with their own brand ethos. To stay in shape currently brands must always update themselves, it’s a continuing evolution.
A strong collaboration is about a brand having 'chosen' to work with someone who reflects its own inner values but which helps project this in a fresh way to its followers. At Timothy Everest as a brand with longevity and a much trusted reputation, it’s imperative that we carefully scrutinise each offer to collaborate, as to align ourselves with the wrong brand could be detrimental. However, the right collaborations can be hugely rewarding both creatively and from a business perspective. I think people now understand that we have a much broader skill base than they might have previously given us credit for, which has upped-the-ante in terms of the kinds of requests we now receive from other luxury brands."
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