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Why you should consider collabs as part of your comms mix

Updated: Mar 4

By Charlotte Netherwood, Strategist at Craft Media London


Last week, McDonalds and Nails Inc launched a nail and sticker set that launched the internet into a frenzy - even the Daily Mail wrote about it!


It might seem like an odd partnership, but if the last year or so have told us anything, it’s that (like AI and those fake CGI social posts) brand collaborations look like they are here to stay. 


Just two months into 2024 and my news and social feeds have served me everything from motorsports x make up, to gym x chicken shop (Gymbox x Morleys) and fast food x nails (see above). And with the benefits that can come from collabs, it’s easy to see why.





Originally the domain of fashion brands, collabs are an effective way of introducing your brand to a new people, shortcutting to an already engaged audience who may not already be shopping with your brand or category. Take Gucci x Adidas, whose capsule collections straddle between luxury and streetwear - bringing streetwear to a luxury audience, and vice versa. For a Crafty client, their collaboration range regularly brings in new customers who haven’t previously bought their products before.


Collabs can also help to drive credibility, borrowing associations from another brand. When McDonalds looked to launch into a vegan menu, they cleverly partnered with a brand already well loved within the vegan community, using Beyond Meat patties for the McPlant to drive legitimacy quickly. 


Finally, collabs are brilliant at driving buzz. A quick google of some of the best recent collabs shows you the power of a good collab in securing PR coverage and to travel through socials (KFC x The Hype, Greggs x Primark, Absolut x Heinz). In a world where grabbing the attention of consumers is harder than ever, collabs are proving to be an effective tool in marketers’ armour.


So, how do you decide where to focus your collaboration efforts? 




Firstly, look back at your objective; what are you looking to do, and what role do collabs have in helping to deliver that? We at Craft are big fans of finding a new route in, and collabs can certainly be a part of that, but we are also fans of being clear on objectives and therefore how you will measure (because what is the point of comms if you can’t prove it’s success). 


Are you looking to drive credibility? Are you looking to ramp up certain associations with your brand, or are you simply looking to drive buzz? Being clear on objectives will help to narrow the types of collabs to focus your efforts.


Secondly, be authentic to your brand! Collaborating with a brand who’s in favour with your specific target audience might seem like a great idea, but if their values are at odds with yours, it could end in disaster. Think about who you are as a brand, what the values are that you are looking to communicate and what other brands sit at the intersection of this and your objectives (think Ben & Jerry’s x Tony’s Chocolonely who both fight for fairer supply chains, or Greggs x Primark, who both offer products at accessible price points and share a TOV).


Finally, if you are looking to drive buzz, consider how you can activate in a way that taps into broader culture, or in an unexpected, stunty way - or both! 


For example, Lush is a brand that is no stranger to collaborations. They regularly inject their brand into cultural conversations already happening; from Barbie to Stranger Things and Asteroid City, it is a strategy that works! Not only have some of these collaborations resulted in record engagements on socials, but also resulted in sales and sell outs (they say so themselves), proving the benefit of jumping on a cultural bandwagon to get your brand noticed.





Alternatively, get your creative hats on and push the boundaries! Whether it’s nails x fast food, vodka x condiments or pringles x caviar, some of the most talked about collabs are those that don’t immediately seem obvious.


In fact, with so many brands increasingly jumping on collabs, we’d argue that collabs have now become table stakes, becoming an increasingly important part of our comms eco system. However, it’s the ones that deliver an injection into culture, in a fun and unexpected way that delivers your alternative route in. It’s certainly the ones that get us excited at Craft - who knew that vodka pasta tasted so good, or that caviar is born for the Pringle crunch!?




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