“If you’re not collaborating in 2022 (and it’s not on the gram), did it even happen?” chuckles Sophie Lewis, chief strategy officer at M&C Saatchi London. “Suddenly it’s as if the world has woken up to the power of partnership. What’s clear in 2022 is that no brand is an island.” 

She has a point. I recently had a call with a former President of a big record label who told me about the ‘buzz’ music artists create surrounding their team. In today’s world of relatability, iconography is a thing of the past. While Amy Winehouse is, of course, iconic, your friend’s Latvian mum’s photos from 2002 with thin eyebrows and heavy lip liner are equally as ‘iconic’. Relatability and authenticity are iconic. So for brands and artists alike, creating a sense of a very friendly, well connected network – by means of partnerships – a necessary buzz and relatability by means of relevancy is created. 

A good brand partnership also results in greater recognition for both parties. A singer wearing Savage Fenty naturally is exposed to the multiple buyers of Savage Fenty but the singer’s small nuclear following will be influenced to buy the exact set the singer is wearing resulting in more clicks from clients that otherwise may have shopped at Marks and Spencer or Boux. See what I mean? 

A great example of a brand partnership may be that of Burger King and Robinhood cryptocurrency who partnered late last year and led to further collaboration with K-pop bands and Stranger Things.  

Smeg – the kitchenware company – even managed to elevate its status via collaborations with luxury fashion brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, creating even more unique appliances. The range, entitled Sicily is my Love, was produced by Smeg with the design of Matteo Bazzicalupo and Raffaella magiarotti from Italian agency deepdesign. Smeg’s head of brand, John Davies speaks on was Dolce was an obvious choice for Smeg “as small appliances bring splashes of colour to te counter” and the brands chosen “slot into the company’s Italian heritage, love of art and designer, are playfu or fun and above all have great timing”. 

Polaroid similarly – in their rise of nostalgic relevance – collaborated with the Keith Haring Foundation as the pop artist was a big believer in accessible art. Polaroid’s chief design officer Ignacio Germade says “from a creative point of view, collaborations give you a great opportunity to explore different creative territories. Essentially you have permission to push your own boundaries and go places where the brand would not go on its own”. 

Post pandemic, consumers desire authenticity so collorabirtauin for collaboration’s sake is never the way to go. Airbnb creative director Ed Vince says that when it comes to collaboration “there has to be an alignment of values. So often you see brands just accept whatever money is offered regardless of who’s offering and with no curation behind it.”

Essentially, there must be good synergy between brands – even if they sit in different categories, the understanding of what makes a great product must sit together. 

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