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26th February 2019 2 min read

Collaborating Innovatively

Categories — Thoughts

Extolling the value of collaboration is nothing new. We all appreciate the importance and benefit of cross-pollinating knowledge, experience and ideas. But for much of the time, this process often stays within familiar boundaries.

To me, collaboration becomes really artful when two brands with completely different offers come together to serve additional value to an audience segment they both share. It’s a win-win across the board.

This approach to collaboration gets to the heart of what it means to be a modern brand, where success is less about the superficial quality of your product but about what that product does for a customer’s deeper needs.

Here are three examples that demonstrate outside the box thinking:

Example 1: Adidas & BVG

Adidas partnered with Berlin’s public transport authority (BVG) last year. Adidas released 500 pairs of sneakers which doubled up as an annual pass for the city’s public transport for one year (a significant saving, given that a regular pass costs from EUR 728 and the shoes cost EUR 180). Unsurprisingly all the shoes available sold out, with some customers even camping outside in an attempt to buy them.

A smart move by Adidas – uniting form and function. Recognising the daily needs of its commuting audience, it partnered with a traditionally “uncool” brand like BVG to deliver something innovative and valuable that cuts through the noise. A choice brand like Adidas rewarding their customers with a significant money-saving by wearing their shoes goes against the grain of popular consumerism shows a self-confident understanding of consumer culture.

Example 2: Zappos & Mamava

Zappos is a footwear e-tailer. Mamava specializes in luxury lactation suites, which feature USB stations, fans and fold-down tables to hold pumps.

Zappos installed 6 of Mamava’s breastfeeding stations at Atlanta airport. Why?

  • Airports are the perfect place to reach new audiences.
  • The unexpected pairing seizes attention.
  • It aligns with Zappos brand values and what it stands for – delivering comfort

Being famous for its above-and-beyond customer service, Zappos moves beyond its own product and shows the lengths the brand will go to make sure people feel comfortable.


Example 3: Tuxe & Ianna Raim

Tuxe is a luxury brand that sells bodysuits. Ianna Raim is a well-known coach who helps guide women through professional and life challenges.

The company learned that many customers were wearing Tuxe bodysuits to give them a confidence boost during important professional moments, like an interview or a pay raise negotiation. To satisfy its customers’ need for self-esteem and self-actualization, collaborating with someone like Ianna Raim seemed like a natural fit.

Every product that you buy on the Tuxe website comes with free performance coaching sessions with Ianna. A valued bonus for the customer, great exposure for Ianna and a smart move from Tuxe to keep consumers engaged long after they make a purchase.

As a parting thought, it’s worth spending time delving into the needs of your target audience to help you think outside the box. What other services do they depend on that you could tap into to deliver additional value?

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