Finding the perfect fit: The key to a successful collaboration

01/Dec/2016 · 2 MINS READ

Content has been hailed king, and with good reason. From creating a coveted two-way dialogue with consumers to SEO benefits, great content creation is key for brands who want to talk with rather than at their audiences. So what are some key ways to keep the conversation flowing and avoid coming across as too ‘salesy?’

Rethink your influencers

Remember when then Motorola ambassador David Beckham was snapped using an iPhone? This approach to influencer marketing—in which brands simply send product to a celebrity and hope they snap a photo of themselves using the product—doesn’t sit well with a savvy and connected consumer audience

Brand needs to be smarter about who they partner with. Think about influencers that really fit with your brand—what kind of audience do they have? Does their voice match your brand? Does their audience cross-over with yours? How do they present themselves across social media? Which other brands have they or are they partnering with, and if so does this lessen their credibility? And most importantly, do they truly believe in your brand?

Influencer marketing is about relationship building rather than how much a brand can pay a celebrity to endorse their product via an Instagram post. Marketers need to work alongside influencers to create a content campaign that provides value to both the audience and the influencer in a way that comes across as natural as possible.

Think outside the box

There are partnerships that are obvious—like chef Manu Feildel for Campbell’s Real Stock—then there are partnerships that cut through the noise, like a collaboration between a chef and a paint company.

Runner up in Season 1 of Masterchef Australia, Poh Ling Yeow collaborated with Dulux to create the Poh in Full Colour Series. The ‘day in the life’ style video follows Poh from her vibrant garden, through her home and finally, to her café Jamface. Highlighting common values shared by both Poh and Dulux, such as “quality,” “vibrancy” and of course, “colour,” the visuals work cohesively with the dialogue to draw parallels between Poh and Dulux, making the connection so seamless you end up feeling as though Poh has been with Dulux from its conception.

Furthering this idea, Dulux’s partnerships with Australian fashion designers—like Ginger and Smart and Romance Was Born—highlight how these unlikely collaborations allow Dulux to tap into new audiences.

Building on the authority of these labels, Dulux aligns itself with the values of these designers (vibrancy, style, edge, modernity), hijacking their audience and making their brand synonymous with curators of style, rather than simply paint manufacturing. This strategy is essential for brands whose product benefits are purely functional.

Collaborative marketing

Whereas influencer marketing highlights the ambassador as the star of the campaign, collaborative marketing gives both parties a platform to share and create content.

So what can we learn from the unlikely collaboration between Red Bull, The Playboy Mansion and a street trials cyclist Danny MacAskills?

This improbable trio created a video of MacAskills riding through the Playboy Mansion which was then hosted on Red Bull’s Youtube channel, amassing 2.6 million views in under one year.

The link? Audience cross-over. The young male audience that follow MacASkill and the Playboy enterprise are also shared by Red Bull. However, it is the unexpected nature of the collaboration itself that really gets people to sit up and pay attention.

What also made this venture so successful is the lack of self-promotion on behalf of Red Bull. The video was simply hosted on Red Bull’s Youtube channel, supported by an interview with Danny on the Red Bull site. Apart from being a platform, Red Bull offered zero branding, therefore the collaboration felt like a natural fit.

Collaborative marketing and influencer partnerships therefore need to be treated like friendships—if you have to force it, it’s not going to work; for you or your audience.