In a hyper-connected digitalised world, the role which brands play solely for the businesses they represent is now blurred and also broadened.
Traditionally, the view of a brand has been seen as a symbol for a business, attachment for a product/service. Today, it is taking on a greater role in making meaning and drawing support for initiatives, ideas, people and even places.
Purveyors of luxury brands will agree that there is much to learn about the evolution of the role of brands. In recent years, collaborations have increased tremendously to fuel growth as these brands seek to extract greater value from existing customers whilst drawing in new customers who are attracted by the collaboration.
Does collab-branding necessarily increase the value for collaborating brands?
Not really. It might cause a temporal boost in revenues and if managed well, profits, but collab-branding only reinforces what is present in the current space.
Collaborations are meant to be seen as, for the lack of a better analogy, a one-night stand rather than a nuptial. In the case of two brands collaborating to create a fresh product containing the DNA of both brands as well as a co-branded look, consenting brand partners of the temporal union birth a product that holds value, meaning and significance.
Beyond that single collaboration, no further value, meaning or significance is generated beyond the anticipation, visibility and climax of the collaboration plot. This puts the collaboration on the same boat as a movie franchise without a continued series. It also means that following the aftermath of the collaboration climax, the possibility of continuity or sustained interest wanes quickly.
How should brands go about creating collaborative continuity?
The collaborating brands need to do the following BEFORE its first collaboration:
Assess the collaboration over several markers – from brand equity/perception to possible impact on operations, resources, and revenue/profits.
Craft a compelling collaborative narrative. This is perhaps one of the most important stages in this collaboration.
Pen a collaboration calendar. For sustained interest, it has to take on a more anticipative role. Generate the anticipation, fuel the purchasing cycle frenzy.
Synchronise with a marketing calendar that includes editorial digital strategy.
Plan for a clean break. Nothing lasts forever in collaborations.
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