Two heads are better than one_

Branding Together


‘Two heads are better than one’. This time honoured cliché can prove incredibly relevant for businesses; especially in light of Google’s findings that fashion labels which embrace pop culture through cross-collaborations rank higher in search results than their solo counterparts. These brands have discovered that collaboration is key when it comes to engaging consumers and securing their return custom.

By collaborating with a brand that complements your own, clients can be offered an amazing experience which encourages brand loyalty, reinforces your company’s authority within your field of industry and ultimately boosts profit margins. As such, it’s not surprising that 83% of top purpose brands are showing strong collaboration across the board – from competitors to peers to start-ups to employees to consumers[1]. After all, as brand marketing consultant Mike Berry highlights;

“There are huge benefits to be gained, including sharing customer bases, cross selling, adding interest using the other brand. If it’s done as a contra deal, it can even be free, a true win-win situation…Partner promotions have existed forever, but social media has really turbo charged them”[2].

Listed below are some of the best examples of recent cross-collaborations and some helpful hints on how to replicate these results for your own brand.

Collaborate with non-profit organisations

According to a 2017 Cone Communications CSR Study, 92% of consumers state they view a company more positively when it supports a social or environmental issue[3]. Consequently, businesses are advised to collaborate with a brand that supports a charitable cause which is relevant to their brand. An excellent example of such cross-collaboration is when Whiskas cat food teamed up with the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in order to support their global Tigers Alive protection programme[4].

Similar results were achieved when media site Buzzfeed collaborated with the animal adoption charity Best Friends Animal Society. Buzzfeed published an article titled “We Interviewed Emma Watson While She Played With Kittens And It Was Absolutely Adorable” which concluded with a call to action promoting that the kittens featured in the video could be adopted from Best Friends Animals Society [5]. The end result was a boost in brand reputation for Buzzfeed and increased awareness for Best Friends Animal Society. By teaming up with a local or national charity whose goals are relevant to your company, you can boost your brand’s reputation whilst simultaneously supporting a worthwhile cause.

Incorporate Customer Feedback

Many of the most successful brand collaborations are those which engage customers and incorporate their feedback. Social media is a brilliant resource for this as it enables companies to utilise hashtags and multimedia content to promote their brand collaborations.

A shining example of interactive brand collaboration has been Pottery Barn and Sherman Williams. Capitalising upon the power of user engagement, Sherman Williams created an exclusive product line of paints which were advertised via Pottery Barn’s website on a new ‘Paint Landing’ page. Customers could easily compare Sherman Williams paint paints in order to decide which colour scheme would best complement their Pottery Barn furniture choices[6].

Listening to your consumers in this manner and actively engaging them via customer feedback forms establishes trust with your brand. Utilising these types of brand collaborations to provide your customers with an individually tailored experience can prove essential in securing a loyal client base for your business.

Offer limited edition products and services

Branding improving market share

An ideal way to pique the interest of new and existing customers is to offer them a unique service. Brand collaborations serve as an excellent opportunity to provide your consumers with these types of limited edition offers.

For example, in recent years The Star Wars movie franchise and the makeup line CoverGirl combined forces to create a limited edition makeup line alongside the launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Customers could choose from nail polishes, lipsticks and mascaras with themed colour palettes from both the ‘Light Side’ and ‘Dark Side’[7].

Similarly, designer jeans company Levis collaborated with Google on a hi-tech fashion trend; a Levi’s standard denim trucker jacket that had been infused with Google‘s Project Jacquard technology[8]. The end result was a Bluetooth enabled touch-sensitive fabric that acts like the screen on your phone, making it possible to call a friend by simply touching the cuff of your jacket. By providing consumers with these limited edition products, all of these organisations were able to promote their brands to a broader network of consumers who may not have previously discovered them.

Cater to customer needs

According to a 2017 Interbrand’s Best Global Brands survey, brands which demonstrate a purpose that is set on improving our quality of life outperform the stock market by 120%[9]. For instance, IKEA’s brand collaboration with Copenhagen-based brand Hay proved incredibly successful because they provided consumers with value for money. By infusing the current IKEA catalogue with a new line of sophisticated Hay furniture pieces and home goods, these two brands were able to deliver consumers with chic and expensive looking furniture for affordable prices[10].

Similarly, Nike collaborated with Apple in order to provide new Nike+ technology that promoted consumers’  healthy living endeavours. This Nike+ fitness device used activity tracking technology synced with Apple iPhone apps that was subsequently built into athletic clothing so that users could track and record their workout data[11].

This ingenious brand collaboration has enabled both Nike and Apple to provide a better experience to their customers by making it easier to live a healthy lifestyle. Given that a 2017 The Good Life Sustainable Brands study revealed that 80% of people are loyal to businesses who help them to live a simpler, balanced life, these types of brand collaborations which cater to clients’ needs can prove essential for securing return custom from your key consumers[12].

Ultimately, brand collaboration can be a mutually beneficial process that helps both parties involved to increase their brand awareness, introduce their products and services to new client bases, and to secure loyal long term custom from these actively engaged users. Please feel free to contact Cloud Ten to learn more about the ways in which to incorporate brand collaboration within your existing digital marketing strategies.