There’s a recent trend in marketing that combines the traditional business practice of partnerships with modern-day influencer marketing. It’s called Collaborations or Co-labs. It is often part of the publicity plans that cross my desk, and it seems to an innovative way to drive brand reconsideration.
Nike was the pioneers in taking celebrity endorsement to another level when they signed Michael Jordan, not only to represent their brand, but to collaborate and give him his own shoe line and profit share. This happened in 1984 already! (Read more) Celebrity endorsements are also nothing new – George Clooney and Nespresso, Beyoncé and Pepsi, Charlize Theron and Dior… While most brands might not have the budget for a Hollywood superstar, however, they might be able to afford less famous representatives who do have influence in a particular area. This explains the rapid rise of influencers and the fact that influencer marketing has become a familiar part of brand plans.
Because not all “influencers” are really influential and because some might not have an authentic opinion or a natural fit to a product, there has been a lot of scepticism when it comes to influencers and their real value. (Read more) Having said that, influencer marketing isn’t something brands can ignore. While collaborations might not be as contractual or profitable as the deals with Michael Jordan or George Clooney, they do allow brands to find a proper fit, to align values and to have more control when it comes to endorsement.
Collaboration has always been important. In any grouping, from colleagues to family members to parents on a school project, success requires cooperation. Business co-operations, however, usually entail more formal agreements and a contractual partnership. In such an instance, the stakes are high and it is important to ensure the alignment of passions, values and work ethic and to ensure that expertise and skills are complementary. While these values are important in any collaboration, I do feel that there is a more relaxed and short-term approach to the current way in which we approach collaborations – especially online and on social media.
Today’s collaborations are not only between brands and influencers, but also between different brands that find an aligned focus or goal on a certain project or as part of a seasonal theme. There can be a host of collaborators taking part in one project and we often see giveaways and competitions of a variety of brands, promoted by influencers that are part of the campaign. Such co-branding can reduce workload and bring not only more accurate targeting and wider reach with more engagement and conversions, but also a more open-minded marketing approach. There’s a flexibility and opportunistic quality to these types of collaborations that bring excitement and creativity to marketing, even when budgets are limited.
But that doesn’t mean that big brands with big budgets are not using this opportunity too. While South Africans, especially, will be aware of the J’adore Dior campaign with Charlise Theron, it is Dior’s very successful Instagram collaboration called 67 Days of Dior that clearly demonstrates how successful online collaborations can be – even when on this scale, the approach was definitely very strategic and well-considered. Dior identified 67 influencers who could match and share its 67 unique foundation shades as part of a 67-day Instagram campaign. The collaboration resulted in inclusive and authentic content that reached across platforms. Really impressive. (Read more)
I don’t know much about beauty brands, but I think what they’ve done can work for wine too! Celebrities getting involved with wine brands ranges from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Cameron Diaz and Kylie Minogue (read more), but being a lifestyle product, wine lends itself beautifully to influencer co-labs outside of the expected celebrities, sommeliers, restaurants or wine writers. If the partnering and positioning are done carefully, wine brands can reach new consumers and new markets and they are able to create interesting and exciting content that goes far beyond pictures of barrels or recipes. (Read more) What’s more, the success of online collaborations can be measured and it brings an opportunity to gauge opinion.