Brand collaboration is a way to spark creativity and grow your business. It involves the strategic alliance of two or more brands to create a product, offering or campaign. This sort of partnership is mutually beneficial. It is a cost-effective way to create engagement, publicity and new opportunities. Moreover, brand collaboration can also demonstrate businesses’ ethics. For example, partnering with a charity to raise funds for a cause close to the heart of your mission statement can be a way to align shared values without reinventing the wheel or distracting from the core goals of a brand. It’s a win-win.

A 2017 study by American Express found that highly collaborative organisations had the highest proportion of revenue growth. This same study said half of Australian businesses had low or no collaboration initiatives in place. However, while many businesses see the value of collaboration they fail to take the plunge. The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us all that collaboration is a brilliant way to come together to solve problems and bolster business.

In this article we will share 10 brands that have boosted business growth with collaboration:

1. Gorman: artist collaborations

Art and fashion belong together. Melbourne label Gorman is well known for collaborating with visual artists. The vibrant brand has partnered with a slew of Australian creatives including Mirka Mora, Rhys Lee, Ellie Malin, Rachel Castle and many others. In recent times, Gorman engaged with Indigenous artists from Fitzroy Crossing to create the Mangkaja collection. The collaborations allow artists and designers to imagine custom prints in exceptional collections. The coveted collections are a launching pad for artists. Heide Museum of Modern Art has even celebrated them in an exhibition.

2. Uber Australia and Dettol: sanitise your ride

Hygiene is more important than ever before. In 2020 Uber Australia announced it was partnering with Dettol to offer drivers access to free health and hygiene kits. Disinfectants and sanitisers were made available for every trip. The investment from Uber Australia garnered positive publicity and allowed consumers to feel more confident and assured when engaging its services. By partnering with a trusted legacy brand like Dettol, Uber was able to offer consumers reassurance during a worrisome time.

3. Young Henrys and Afends: brewing change

Brand collaborations can be bold and unexpected. Like Newtown brewery Young Henrys pairing up with Byron Bay fashion label Afends. The pair brewed up a ‘hemp beer’ called Young Henrys Hemp IPA. Afends sees hemp as a valuable renewable resource in the fashion industry. For Young Henrys it was a fun challenge to brew beer using a sustainable product like hemp instead of Hop Hash. Both brands are passionate about sustainability and this collaboration was a clever way to bring awareness to the rise of hemp as a versatile and sustainable material.

4. American Express and Delicious: local food festival

This year American Express partnered with food publication Delicious. Together they created a month long food festival. The Month Out festival runs in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. A staggering 18,000 food and hospitality businesses are participating. Along with food trucks and events, American Express offered customers 20% back each time they spend at participating locations during the festival. The collaboration incentives people to spend to support local hospitality businesses as they rebuild. Ultimately the rewards offered create a shared value for the publication, the industry and of course American Express.

5. Messina and Starward Whiskey: a bespoke menu

Australian gelato brand Messina is not shy when it comes to collaborations. In 2019 it paired with Starward Whiskey to create a bespoke degustation menu that matched whiskey with food and, of course, ice cream. The eight-course event ran at the The Creative Department Melbourne. Messina has also collaborated with likeminded brands such as INCU, Stan, Maison Balzac, M.A.C cosmetics and many others in equally tasty campaigns.

6. Qantas and Woolworths: collaborative solutions

There is no doubt that the pandemic has been a challenging time for many. One of the hardest hit industries has been aviation. Last year it was devastating in March to see Qantas stand down some 20,000 employees. In response Woolworths offered to redeploy employees. The partnership offered a flexible solution for both parties. During the pandemic grocery stores experienced an upsurge in demand and needed more hands on deck. The pairing made sense as many Qantas staff had transferable skills and needed security.

7. Cos and Black Rainbow: brands supporting pride

Fashion retailer Cos worked alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTQIA+ organisation Black Rainbow for Pride 2021. One facet of the campaign was fundraising. Cos gifted customers a special edition Pride Tote when they made a donation to Black Rainbow of $30 or more. The campaign was also supported digitally by amplifying voices across social media.

8. Optus and The Smith Family: donate your data

Australian telco Optus has partnered with charities to allow consumers to donate some data to to young Australians who need it most. Data allows young people to access education and connect with the world around them. The program officially launched with The Smith Family in 2019. Since then Optus has more charity partners, providing data to nearly 15 thousand young people.

9. Converse: Creating city forests

More and more we are seeing activists and brands coming together to talk about the big issues. One recent example is the Converse City Forests initiative. The brand is working with local artists around the world to create murals using photocatalytic paint that cleans the air. Converse then commits to plant trees to further absorb air pollutants. In Melbourne Converse partnered with activist and proud Gumbaynggirr woman Aretha Brown. In Sydney the brand worked with artist Elliott Routledge.

10. Binge and The Iconic: ‘Inactive’ wear

One particularly on point collaboration that happened in 2020 was between streaming service Binge and The Iconic. Together the brands released a unisex loungewear collection. The leisurewear was ideal for people staying indoors and watching television. This collaboration addressed a need for comfortable clothing in an elevated and stylish way.

Brand collaboration

In conclusion, regardless of the size of a brand or what it sells, brand collaboration is possible for any business if it is willing to think outside the box. A great collaboration starts conversations and solves problems. When done well, brand collaboration can boost business growth for all.

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