How to do a collaboration right
An effective collaboration is a strategic exercise
Welcome to the Sociology of Business. In my last analysis, Why cultural obsessives matter, I shared a strategic approach to ESPRIT’s comeback. Buy my book The Business of Aspiration and find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Threads.
No brand exists in isolation from culture, trends and its audiences.
Modern consumers shop cross-brand, cross-category, and across multiple contexts and use scenarios.
To address this consumer behavior, and to position your brand for an ongoing cultural dialogue, which is a bloodline for all brands, best is to approach your brand as a creative platform.
This means creating a curated selection of brands that:
a) amplify your brand’s assortment
b) complement your brand’s assortment
c) diversify your brand’s assortment
In this category are brands that amplify your brand’s positioning, product offering and cultural resonance. Best recent brand amplification collaborations are Swarovski x Skims, Mango x Boglioli, Steven Meisel x Zara, Matches x Missoni, Rabanne x H&M, Telfar x UGGs, Omega x Swatch.
In this category are brands that complement your brand’s seasonal and category product offerings. A capsule, a drop, merch or a special collection isn’t something that your brand regularly offers, and this type of collaboration serves to renew your brands’s audience proposition. Examples are: Rimowa x Tiffany & Co., Nike x Tiffany & Co., Birkenstock x Tekla, Miu Miu x New Balance,
In this category are brands that take your brand into new categories and retail territories. This is the domain of non-sequiturs, cultural stunts, randomness, kitsch and experimentation. Examples are: Rimowa x Tiffany & Co., Nike x Tiffany & Co., Birkenstock x Tekla, Miu Miu x New Balance, anything that MSCHF does, Typo x Barbie, Christian Cowan x Teletubbies, Nike x Ben & Jerry’s, Pokémon x Van Gogh, Fenty Beauty x MSCHF.
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