We want win-wins.

Adapted from a blog post written & supplied by the legends at Ritual Consulting

Look around and you see them everywhere. Brand collaborations have been on the rise in the past decade, but in fact they’ve been around for much longer. Think about Nike Air Jordans or the fact that James Bond has driven an Aston Martin in every 007 film for the last 50 years. These big-name collaborations are now so intuitive that they seem natural. When we take a step back, though, we can see why they work so well.

The most obvious success factor is brand alignment. It’s when brands are seen as natural friends on a world platform, standing together to demonstrate their mutual support and approval. They like each other, they believe in each other — they might even inspire each other.

These attributes of brand collaborations translate to smaller entities too. And besides the warm and fuzzies (which is very important, especially for SMEs), there are plenty of good reasons to consider brand collaborations for your own business. If done well, they’re a smart tactic to boost audience, reach and revenue. And when successful, they can represent a win-win scenario for brands and customers.

Let’s take a look at how they work, with a case study of ice-cream legends Drumstick and Messina.

PS; we've linked our amazing podcast with Declan Lee from Messina below for you to have a cheeky listen below.


Why engage in a brand collaboration?

Save marketing dollars

A lot of SMEs don't have big budgets (don't we know it!), so often have to be smarter with their spend and leverage other assets to get a break. One way to do this is through collaborations and partnerships (perhaps via Collabosaurus?) By working on a project together and promoting it as an official collaboration, both brands receive increased exposure and market share. So you double the sets of eyes on your brand, potentially growing your community and following — without having to necessarily drop any extra dollars.

There’s also a level of trust that transfers directly from your partner’s audience to your brand. When a brand endorses you, the audience are much more likely to come along for the ride than if they came across you as one brand in a sea of many. The fact that there’s association gives your brand a boost — new customers have something to remember (and respect) you for.

With the power invested in brand collaborations, you instantly increase your credibility and voice. Plus, you’re offering all these benefits back to your brand partner, and sharing a brand that you believe in with your existing audience.

Now, presumably, everyone both knows of and loves both Drumstick and Messina, so the increase in brand exposure is negligible. However, consider the publicity this collaboration received, with everyone from Broadsheet to Better Homes & Gardens declaring the collaboration blog-worthy. So instead of spending their bucks on advertising, the brands invest creatively into a product, and receive free publicity. Smart and delicious!

Learning in action

Brand collaboration is a great vehicle for knowledge sharing. Anyone running a business knows that by nature it puts you in a state of constant learning. Every brand has its unique way of doing things, and by linking up you have access to a different way of thinking, different systems and processes. You get a look under the hood of another brand, and who knows what great ideas or insights you might come across that will help you streamline, be challenged or grow in some way.

In the case of Drumstick and Messina, this amounted to intensive product development.

Different machinery, volumes and textures meant recipes and processes had to be adjusted to make products that fit the brief. The process also motivated Messina to refine their own production lines, switching their supplier of mangoes to the ones Peters was using.

When creating a new product or service with a brand, we necessarily have to push the limits of what we do and how we do it. The creative process takes on a whole new dynamic dimension when done in partnership, where sparks can fly and light a fire under an idea that neither party would have come up with alone. This alone is a powerful reason to engage in collaboration.

Finally, we always discover more about ourselves in a relationship, and this is no different on the brand level. By interacting, negotiating and collaborating, it’s inevitable that we learn something about ourselves and our businesses. Maybe it’s about being open to others’ ideas or practising good boundaries. Maybe accountability or communication skills will be tested. There’s something to take away from every interaction if you tune yourself to the learnings.

Customer benefits

From the audience point of view, brand collaborations can provide great access to something special, like limited edition or bespoke products or experiences. Unlikely partnerships can surprise or delight customers, refreshing their relationship with brands — and they can also deepen the customer experience.

As consumers become more and more aware of brands and the market, collaborations allow the audience to experience your brand on another level. They’re able to make new associations about you because of who you align and work with. It’s like when you introduce your new partner to your group of friends, and they begin to understand you better by understanding and interacting with your social circles.

Jess, founder of Collabosaurus with Declan Lee from Messina at the Collabosaurus x Microsoft Store podcast launch event in Sydney for This Is How We Do It

How to identify collaboration opportunities for your own brand?

At Collabosaurus, we're all about partnerships being mutually beneficial and we'll work hard to get you a win-win collab. For a meaningful and long-lasting relationship, the partnership has to bring genuine value to both parties. Really think about how the arrangement is going to benefit your brand and audience, as well as the brand you’re approaching and their audience.

Our 3 tips when considering brand collaborations are:

  1. Make sure there is brand alignment. Is this a brand you want to be associated with? Does it elevate your brand and/or help build your brand’s reputation?

  2. Does the brand share a similar audience? To really make the most of the partnership, you want to look for brand opportunities that have a similar target audience, which can easily see value and relevance with your brand and product offering. Make sure you do your homework when crafting your list to ensure there is the right audience fit.

  3. Have a pretty solid idea of what the partnership will entail so when you reach out you can clearly communicate the benefit to the other party. If they’re interested, they may ask you to send through a more detailed proposal, so make sure you have this ready — or close to it — so you don’t lose momentum and can keep the conversation moving in the right direction.

A final note on Authenticity

Along with the practical reasons for embarking on a brand collaboration, as always, keep the higher-level purpose of your brand at the heart of any exploration and decision.

When the brand values are truly aligned in a collaboration, then the overall benefit is spreading these values, reinforcing the role that they play in creating a better society. It’s when the impact of a brand collaboration can be greater than the sum of its parts, and greater than any dollar amount of increased profit. Because when there is purpose and outcome beyond profit, brands become memorable, meaningful and impactful in a whole different way (e.g. Topshop Case Study HERE)

It can be quiet out there at the moment, but things are slowly picking back up and there's no time like the present to create a FREE listing on Collabosaurus and get the ball rolling to create some win-win collabs. Many trendy, innovative and exciting brands await you!