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3 Brand Rejuvenating Collaborations and What We Can Learn From Them

Carefully-selected, well-executed brand collaborations can do more than win you press coverage. They can expand your reach, expose you to new audiences, even reshape your brand’s image.

To put it another way, brand collaborations can totally change the game.

How do brand collaborations work?

A brand collaboration is a strategic partnership between a brand and another party. This partnership might be with another brand (aka, a co-branded campaign) or with an artist, celebrity or influencer.

A classic example from the fashion world is high-low cobranding — i.e., fast fashion stores collaborating with high-end labels to create goods that carry a luxury name at an affordable price.

However, these aren’t the only type of brand collaborations that can be wildly successful for fashion brands. Below we’ll take a look at three unique brand collaboration examples and break down why they worked so well.

Brand Rejuvenating Collaborations

Cool by association: Louis Vuitton x Supreme

At first glance, ultra-luxurious fashion house Louis Vuitton and cult streetwear brand Supreme are worlds apart. But look a little closer. Both have dedicated followings. Both bank on scarcity and exclusivity. Both have built empires on visible logos and bold branding.

When the two joined forces in 2017 it became one of the most hyped luxury brand collaborations of recent years. Each stood to gain something valuable: for Supreme, it was the association of luxury and the deep-pocketed spenders that come with it; for LV, a slice of Supreme’s unparalleled street cred.

The collaboration, therefore, satisfied two requirements of any successful cobranded partnership: it was well-aligned, and it was mutually beneficial.

 

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Louis Vuitton/Supreme #LVxSUPREME

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Limited runs and a flood of media coverage ensured that people were queueing up around the block to nab pieces from the collaboration’s pop-up stores. Things sold out in minutes. And when LVMH’s profits soared they said it was in large part due to the success of the venture.

So what can we learn from this?

In a cobranding situation, the two brands should ideally be aligned enough that the partnership makes sense — but not so closely aligned that they’re in direct competition. Look for alignments and mutually beneficial relationships that might not immediately be obvious: surprising collaborations stick in the minds of consumers.

Another thing Louis Vuitton got right was keeping a finger on the pulse and riding the streetwear wave at the right moment. Fashion is a fast-paced world, so it’s important to jump on opportunities quickly and get things out to the public when the timing is right.

 

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Louis Vuitton/Supreme #LVxSUPREME

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Fast fashion meets fast food: Forever 21 x Taco Bell

Another way to come up with successful brand collaborations is to think outside of your category. Fashion and food is one great example, as was the case when Forever 21 collaborated with restaurant chain Taco Bell.

Once again, the two brands have common ground that puts them in alignment. Both market to Millennial and Gen Z audiences. Both play to the side of young, fun, and affordable. For their collaboration, they released playful, vibrantly-printed clothes and accessories that bridged the divide between each brand’s fan base.

A clever element to the campaign was a launch event and fashion show where the collection was modeled by influencers and Taco Bell “super fans” rather than professional models. This proved a surefire way to guarantee social media buzz. According to a report, the Instagram live stream of the show garnered 40,000 live views, and the launch overall generated 1.6 billion media impressions.

 

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The new #F21xTacoBell collection is fire! 🔥❤🌮 Are you ready for the drop?! T-minus 2 days! @tacobell

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In partnering with Taco Bell, Forever 21 clearly hit on a winning strategy. Not only were they able to leverage the Taco Bell fan base, but they were also able to provide their existing customers with something novel and new yet instantly iconic and familiar.

It worked so well they’re recycling the formula. Their latest cobranding effort? A collection in collaboration with everyone’s favorite cheesy snack food — Cheetos.

Influencer superpower: Tommy x Zendaya

There are a lot of ways brands can work with influencers. They can gift them a product, pay them to create content, or engage them as brand ambassadors (to name just a few). But one of the top-tier strategies when it comes to influencer marketing is to involve the influencer in the design process.

Tommy Hilfiger is a master at this. Case in point: four successful seasons in collaboration with social media darling Gigi Hadid, where Hadid served not only to market the collection but also as muse, guest designer, and lead model during fashion week shows. The collaboration with Hadid coincided with the introduction of a ‘see now, buy now’ model that let fans indulge in instant gratification and shop the catwalk, leading it to sell out in record time.

Collaborations like this have been a rejuvenating force for the once-flagging Tommy brand, helping it to revive itself and reach a younger audience. The latest collaborator, actress, and singer Zendaya is another wise choice. The 22-year-old boasts over 56 million Instagram followers and has a style that gels well with Tommy’s audience.

The advantage of cobranding collections with influencers is that it makes them more invested in the project. The aim of such collections is to align with the influencer’s personal style, creating looks that they would actually wear and, by extension, that their fans would wear too. For this reason, the influencer is likely to be more authentic and more enthusiastic in their promotion of the product.

 

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The feeling of stepping out in your own collection✨ @tommyhilfiger @luxurylaw #TommyxZendaya

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Though this type of collaboration works fantastically with big brands and superstar influencers, it can work for smaller brands (and smaller budgets) too. Working with micro or macro level influencers to co-brand a limited run of products can be a powerful way for brands to widen their appeal and expand their customer base.

To sum up…

The right brand collaborations can do wonders for your brand. For maximum buzz, think outside the box and explore opportunities that bring together different styles, different price points, even different product categories. Consider which other brands or influencers will allow you to reach a new yet complimentary audience; and keep a finger on the pulse to ensure you forge the right connections at the right time.

As the examples above demonstrate — get it right, and your next brand collaboration could be a game-changer.

Find the right influencers to match with your brand!

brand collaborations

Launchmetrics Content Team

The Launchmetrics content team is always on the lookout for new trends in the fashion and technology sector. We are geeks with style and lovers of good stories!

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