Brand partnerships are a recent phenomena, having only really picked up speed in the late twentieth century. Their potential lies in bringing together different brands’ diverse audience base in order to drive sales growth and mutually strengthen their image. The opportunities afforded for new product and promotional developments mean that these partnerships often start building momentum with highly publicized marketing campaigns. Built to be viral, all manner of social media marketing tools are used to launch the partnerships. This makes the stakes higher and the potential for huge results – and huge loses – even greater.
With the number of partnerships being formed these days, there is a fairly good range from which to select both the most and least successful campaigns. Here we take a look at a few of the best and worst in order to hone in on what exactly makes a winning combination.
Spotify and Uber
Towards the end of 2014, it was announced that Spotify and Uber would be launching a full customer experience-focused partnership in which the two applications were synced. This meant you could not only order a low-fare cab at a moment’s notice, but you could play DJ when you hopped in, simply by starting up your favorite playlist. Fully tuned-in to the needs of their core audiences, both Uber and Spotify were able to capitalize on what their customers wanted: personalized and immediate services that were driven by slick smartphone apps. Hailed as one of the best partnerships of its time, the app share has gone from strength-to-strength.
Ferrari and Hublot
This partnership is running into its eighth year, demonstrating the continued resounding success it has spelled for both parties. Dynamic, innovative, and performance-driven, the Swiss horology legends and Italian speed machines have managed to merge their shared values in order to bring out the best in both their luxury brands. Their Big Bang watch models are currently retailing at considerable sums, indicative of their continued prized status.
H&M and Karl Lagerfeld
Prior to Karl Lagerfeld’s partnership with the successful affordable fashion retailer H&M in 2004, the idea of brand collaborations wasn’t really a ‘thing’ in the fashion industry. Pioneering as ever, Lagerfeld not only chose to partner up but consciously chose to pair himself with a brand that was seemingly on the opposite side of the spectrum from his own luxury label. Selling out within hours, this fashion line set the standard for the myriad numbers of partnerships that have followed, with H&M going on to continue their collabs with big names such as Alexander Wang and Maison Margiela.
As with most things in life, there must be winners and there must be losers. Having assessed the merits of some of the best partnerships and their keys to global success, we can also see where other brands went wrong. Take note and learn from their mistakes!
Kendall Jenner and Pepsi
In 2017 Pepsi famously misfired with an advert they released in which Kendall Jenner seemingly helped resolve serious global issues by offering a policeman a can of soda. Social media naturally went wild with indignation and the ad was pulled immediately. Although they aren’t the first brand to try and fail to tap into social consciousness for the sake of marketing a product, Pepsi has certainly lodged themselves in many people’s minds for having done so in such poor taste.
U2 and Apple
The year was 2014 and Apple, the world’s biggest company, was unveiling the iPhone 6 as well as announcing the release of its Apple watch. It was a big deal and Tim Cook seemed certain that there could only be one way in which to make it even bigger and better: by adding an unasked-for copy of U2’s new album to the library of every iTunes user. The flagrant privacy transgression, as well as the presumption to saddle half a billion users with an album they didn’t want, earned the company a suitable level of derision, which has still not been forgotten.