There's no such thing as peak collab
How collaborations went from hype to strategy
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The DJ model of growth is when a company uses collaborations to increase its relevancy and revenue. This model addresses the challenge of growth in mature markets.
The DJ model is used by mass retailers who sell products that are easily commodified, like Swatch or Uniqlo, and also by legacy luxury retailers with a global footprint, like J.Crew, Louis Vuitton or Moncler.
The strategy behind the DJ model of growth is a remix: the DJ model keeps reframing a brand for customers in a new context.
The DJ model reintroduces a brand in the market by remixing it with different parts of culture, community, technology or natural environment. A constant stream of new brand associations and attributes keeps a brand image fresh and a brand visible among consumers and cultural commentators alike.
For example, despite being founded in 1970’s, Uniqlo keeps its brand fresh through collaborations with a range of fashion and streetwear designers, artists, furniture designers, and restaurants. Keith Haring, Jil Sander, Eames, Undercover, Lemaire, a series of Japanese ramen shops and J.W. Anderson all made the cut.
J.Crew’s recent bid to brand relevancy was underpinned by collaborations with preppy brands like Tracksmith, with its signature New England aesthetic applied to running gear, and Beams Plus, a Japanese brand known for nurturing “good-old American styles.”
Just like a DJ remixes music, DJ model of growth lends a brand a trendy positioning, removes the barrier to a brand’s image and extends a brand’s appeal to multiple audiences. People who’d never consider a brand before line up to get a collaboration, which can lead them to re-evaluate their brand perception and become curious about products from a brand’s core range.
Thanks to brand remixes, the DJ model achieves multiple business goals. It uses brand extensions to diversify into different product categories and to cost-effectively attract different customer segments, increasing sales and margins. It gives halo effect to the core collection. It provides a permanent thrill to design-conscious curators through novelty and limited-edition collections. By inspiring consumers to pay more, the DJ model increases a brand’s market not only in volume, but also in value.
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