Design Collaborations Invigorate Brands


Photograph – Jonus Kuhn

The pace of change in the world means that it is very easy to become yesterday’s brand. There is a relentless need to keep your brand relevant and interesting. Over recent years there has been more and more collaborations between brand owners and high profile designers. We have witnessed limited editions offerings across a variety of market categories, including fashion, sports wear, jewelry, furniture, shoes and more.

Brand owners should think carefully about their strategic objectives before entering into limited edition partnerships, but in most cases, choose the designer partner well and the brand will get a boost. Some overseas brands like H&M seem to be making it an  art form. Collaborations with designers like Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, have provided the consumers with access to designer brands that they may not normally find affordable to them.

Importantly in any such collaboration is that the designs marketed are once of creations, and exclusivity is reinforced by building some scarcity into the amount offering. Such initiatives not only have the potential to generate sales, they also serve to create buzz for the brand. It offers a fresh focus for advertising, PR and social media.

In a recent visit to a Camper shoe store in NYC, I found that they had moved to the ultimate in reveal. When you first walk into the store it feels as if it is devoid of shoes. However when move further into the store you discover the angled panels present a clever reveal of their shoes including their very own collaboration called ‘Camper Together’. What  is appealing about their collaboration is that it provides scope for the brand to move beyond the distinctive style of Camper’s shoes.

From a creativity perspective I encourage all brand managers to spend some time exploring what the possibilities are if they applied the design collaboration principle to their brand of product or service. Have a go at identifying five great designer collaboration opportunities, if only to enhance your creativity thinking skills.

And if need some designers with true pedigree we have a stable of them.

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist

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