Recently the Wu Tang Clan revived themselves by doing a collaboration with shoe (or can we say slipper) brand Crocs. We talked about Crocs reviving their image by showing up at the Oscars and Grammys red carpet. However for the Wu-Tang clan it was a chance to revive their own brand after some tarnishment from their limited album that was owned by Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli. As an influencer it might be interesting to see how collaborations can positively boost your brand. Here are five ways that working together can help you:
1 – Get in front of new audiences
In the Wu-Tang Clan example, they are able to get their brand in front of the Crocs audience and vice versa. While there might be some overlap and there always will be, these two brands seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. Thus, the amount of new audience exposed to the other brand is maximized. If you take a brand like Nike and do a collaboration with LeBron James there is probably very little new audience exposed, but a Grateful Dead collaboration with Nike might claim a new audience for both.
2 – Generate New Ideas
Louis Vuitton is no stranger to the Asian market but the luxury brand still wanted to find a way to appeal to the taste makers in the country. What better way to do that then collaborate with the top artists in Japan? Murakami and Kusama both collaborated with the brand to push out their own versions of the iconic bags. What happened from there? Vuitton loved the results so much that the artists now are frequent collaborators and it seems that they almost have their own LV lines.
3 – Enter a new category
Similar to getting in front of new audiences, collaborations allow the foreign collaborator to have a warm welcome into the new industry. Virgil Abloh’s collaborations with the aforementioned Murakami gave Abloh a foothold into the art world. Murakami’s dealer Larry Gagosian has quickly elevated Abloh’s reputation. This made all of Abloh’s street wear even more valuable; in the realm of art. Abloh now has a show at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
4 – Credibility
Working with a known brand or artist gives instant credibility to the project. Artist Shepard Fairey collaborates frequently with his former assistant Ernesto Yerena. Fairey’s success primarily after Barack Obama’s election, catapulted Yerena and his activist messages into the limelight where he has stayed for over a decade. Similarly having a known actor in a film is essential to getting it made and seen. Our late friend and director Lanie Zipoy was able to land Jason Biggs of American Pie fame for her first feature, The Subject, which won multiple awards at various global festivals.
5 – Hype
Collaborations by nature create hype because now you have two (or more) artists, makers, and/or creators pushing and publicizing the product. Coupled with the limited edition and / or pre-sale nature of collabs and you are guaranteed a sell out with possible lines around the block; the very definition of hype. With both reputations on the line, representatives from both will ensure the success of the project. Additionally, if a market is still untested many collaborators will engage in pre-sales so they aren’t stuck with extra inventory and can manufacture the product once the cash is in hand. Great for cash flow, especially for small businesses!
Have you collaborated on a project with anyone? Let us know how that went, what you learned, and if you would do it again! Drop us an email so we can share it with our community!