The Power of Collaborations

Why talent-led collaborations are becoming the next tech unicorns of the investment world.

Advertising is fighting a losing battle with a new generation of consumers that is increasingly more digitally savvy and responsible. It is no longer enough to flash a logo in experiences they like, let alone create an advertising campaign to push the needle forward. Instead, new consumers (and increasingly older consumers) are searching for meaningful value. They no longer want a transactional relationship based on the buying of products and services; they want a more meaningful relationship based on shared values.Brands are beginning to understand this new model. Rather than hiding behind vague mission and vision statements, some bold leaders are speaking up and speaking out. Those that are rebelliously leading this charge are capitalizing on this shift in consumer mindset. When Nike doubled-down with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who famously lost his job for kneeling during the national anthem in protest against social injustice, especially the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police, people were in uproar. The advertising campaign featuring the football star, “You must believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” saw Nike’s share price drop and many taking to social media to burn their Nike clothing. However, the boycott was short lived. Despite the divisiveness of the campaign, Nike’s share price is now at an all-time high – a trajectory following their brave stance to back Kaepernick.
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This is how brands must communicate now.However, it is not that easy to do and too often the risk deters brands from being brave enough to be so bold. Therefore, how can brands communicate brand values if 96% of consumers do not trust advertising campaigns?The solution? Collaborating with talent.Celebrities have always provided an opportunity for brands to build greater awareness of products and product offerings, but this new wave of influencer marketing has significantly shifted this ability from one of awareness to one of connection (which has a direct link to conversion). Those celebrities who have strong personal brands not only provide a route to market, but also create visual alignment to core values. This enables consumers to readily, and more strongly, align to the brand in question.Historically, the way to build consumer advocacy was through multiple touchpoints. Brands would hone in on an insight and then work exceptionally hard to provide that ‘aha’ moment to their consumers through sponsorship, advertising, data, experience marketing, and word-of-mouth. The resource required to do this well on all levels was significant, which is often why many brands failed to reach critical mass.Now brands can replace much of the work with one celebrity (or a handful of micro-influencers) to create a long-term campaign that reinforces the product to their key audience. This means there is less of a need for big above-the-line advertising spend, but a greater need for strategic insight into both the brand itself, but also those celebrities they wish to align themselves to.What has accelerated this industry (which is projected to grow by 19.2% from $15 billion alone this year) is that while consumers increasingly distrust advertisements, they are increasingly more reliant on peer recommendations. Currently, 92% of consumers use and rely on peer recommendations to purchase products. Although it is obvious that Kim Kardashian is not on peer-to-peer terms with her 215 million followers on Instagram, she shares her life daily. This is compounded by the reality show ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. So, whilst it is very much a one-sided friendship with her followers, they do feel more connected to her than many of their actual peers. This is what makes these talent-led collaborations so successful.And why exits of these companies are seeing returns greater than 500x.Therefore, if you are wondering how to amplify your brand to the next level – stop thinking what you can do on your own, and instead start considering how collaboration with talent can propel your business forward.