The Brand Collaboration Dilemma: Keeping Current Is Key

13.12.2021 | Read

Collaborations have become an integral part of a brand’s growth strategy. But like any relationship, brand collaborations and partnerships have their ups and downs and ultimately not all are made to go the distance. 

Why is it that some partnerships can stand the test of time, while others fail spectacularly?

We at The Caviar Spoon believe it comes down to ensuring that your brand collaboration reflects current trends, issues, and audience preferences. 

One key factor in determining the fate of brand collaborations is Generation Z; the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) generation. The influence and importance of our youngest generation of consumers cannot be underestimated. Draper’s consumer research report 2020 states that this generation now makes up a staggering 40% of global consumers and their buying power equates to $150bn in the US alone, with that figure expected to keep rising, year on year. 

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z is less influenced by traditional marketing methods and the idea of brand loyalty. Instead, they look for hands-on collaboration, involvement, and weaving stories that ensure their voices are being heard and they are accurately represented. Short-lived, story-focused content is an increasingly effective way to reach Gen Z. It is seen as more authentic, at the moment, and hinges on the idea of FOMO, prompting younger generations to take immediate action. 

The impact of this generation on brand collaborations has been enormous. It’s no longer enough to blow the dust off a previous collaboration and relaunch it to the world. Times change and issues arise that mean that sometimes the decision has to be made for brand partners to go their separate ways. 

 

LEGO X Shell

Lego and Shell Brand Collaboration

The collaboration

What happened?

The results

Our take

While LEGO and Shell both mutually benefitted from the revenue generated over the course of the collaboration, both failed to recognise the growing unrest around climate action before the eyes of the world fell on them. However, once this collaboration was firmly in the rearview mirror, LEGO has gone on to have incredible success by creating short-lived collaborations with popular brands such as Disney, IKEA, and most recently, Adidas. 

 

Apple X U2

The collaboration

What happened?

The results

Our take

This collaboration was proof that not all collaborations are built to last, and brands need to continuously monitor their audiences’ preferences before renewing an old partnership. Apple failed to recognise the dwindling popularity of the band with their own target audience and underestimated the concern around data protection and privacy. 

 

Pepsi X Kendall Jenner

Pepsi and Kendall Jenner Brand Collaboration

The collaboration

What happened?

The result

Our take

This is the poster child for collaborations gone wrong. Neither Pepsi nor Kendall Jenner recognised the importance of the growing civil and social rights movement taking place and were seen to trivialise current issues. Both sides garnered global bad press as a result.

 

On the other hand, we see brands who are masters of getting brand collaborations right by understanding choosing carefully who they, even those outside of their own industry, for mutual benefit.

For example, Louis Vuitton is a master in collaborations. The brand has created a storytelling legacy, partnering with brands, designers, and celebrities who can help them gain global exposure in new markets and keep their products relevant. Some of our favourite collaborations from Louis Vuitton include their partnerships with Takashi Murakami, Supreme, Scott Campbell, and most recently, the NBA. 

Louis Vuitton even started moving into the gaming world long before other fashion brands started to see the benefit of these collaborations. In 2016, they collaborated with video game company, Square Enix when their game, Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, was released.

It is through constant innovation and collaborations that this 166-year-old brand continues to attract a young audience. The company managed to top the fashion market and capture the hearts of millennials and Generation Z. Today, the company is one of the highest in fashion revenue in the world. 

Louis Vuitton’s collaborative success stems from an understanding of what is current and not being afraid to move outside of their comfort zone, creating partnerships with brands that will successfully reach new audiences. 

At the Caviar Spoon, we feel that in order to see success with campaigns, brands need to continuously review their brand collaborations and partners, listen to the market, understand what value they can provide through their collaborations, and recognise when it is time to say goodbye. 

If you’re ready to see success with relevant collaborations, apply for complimentary platinum access to our brand collaboration platform today. Contact mary@thecaviarspoon.com to begin your application process.