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Ek Aur Ek Gyarah – When Brand Collaborations Create Consumer Love

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Brand Collaboration is a strategic partnership between two brands to create an offering that benefits both brands and their respective consumers.

The right collab can help a brand tap into an additional consumer base that mirrors its own and offer its own patrons an additional reason to choose the brand. Also, given that each party proactively promotes the collab on their respective marketing channels, it stands to reason that collaborations also offer a relatively cost-effective way to create buzz and drive brand engagement. For all these reasons, we feel that Brands Collabs would increasingly become an integral part of the new-age brand-building playbook.

Some recent brand collabs in India that we found interesting

The Whole Truth x Ultrahuman

The Whole Truth has built its brand around the purpose of bringing openness and transparency to the packaged food industry. We have already covered the brand and its founder Shashank Mehta’s incredible startup journey before [see here]

Ultrahuman, a health-tech brand that manufactures continuous glucose tracking arm-patches and heart rate variability tracking rings, seeks to build the ‘most powerful health and fitness ecosystem’ based on real-time inputs.

Both brands cater to the digitally savvy, health-conscious urban youth, who seek to proactively take control of their health and by virtue of that, are very conscious about eating right as well.

As a part of this collab, The Whole Truth launched a new protein bar and called it The Whole Truth x Ultra Human Protein Bar. With highly potent and nutritious ingredients like Chaga Mushroom and Lion’s Mane, The Whole Truth calls it their ‘most nutritionally potent bar yet.’

This is how The Whole Truth announced this collab on its Social handles:

Our approaches might be different, but our goal is the same. Great health. We help you get there by eating clean (correcting the input) & they (Ultrahuman) do it by helping you track the output (which in turn helps you optimize your input). We’re both committed to feeding into this virtuous loop. Which is why, as brands do, we decided to do a collab!

Presenting The Ultra Human x The Whole Truth Protein Bar. The cutting edge of real food!¹

This collab ticks all the right boxes. The brands’ are complementary- not just in the categories they operate in but even in terms of their Purpose. While The Whole Truth is on a mission to change the way people go about choosing their packaged food, Ultrahuman seeks to transform the paradigms of preventive health.

These aspects make it a win-win collab that’s likely to accrue benefits to both brands.

boAt x Netflix

Netflix’s recent brand collaboration with boAt, the Indian startup that’s making all the right waves with its marketing moves, is also quite interesting.

The collaboration offers co-branded sound gadgets like headphones, wireless earbuds, and a wireless neckband. These limited-edition products (called ‘Stream Edition’) were marketed using a campaign that featured actors like Kiara Advani, Shreyas Iyer, Masaba Gupta, and of course, boAt’s co-founder Aman Gupta, who is riding his Shark Tank fame. Further, consumers who buy this limited edition product range become eligible for receiving Netflix Fan Events tickets, Netflix merchandise and discounts on other boAt products.²

We have written about Netflix’s struggle to gain subscribers in India [read here]. Creating deeper ties with the Indian market by producing more original local content, and delighting their Indian consumers through constant buzz-generating activations and collaborations can be a great way for Netflix to lure more Indian subscribers.

Needless to mention, for an Indian brand like boAt collaborating with a global brand like Netflix definitely adds to its stature. This is yet another example of interesting and innovative marketing from boAt (we have covered boAt and its maverick marketing moves in detail here)

Swiggy x Hotstar

This brand collaboration was a great example of a right collaboration that can be a win-win for both parties- driving deeper engagement for Hotstar and higher revenue for Swiggy.

Munching your favourite food or snacks while watching a nail-biting cricket match is a common occurrence across India, and during the 2019 IPL, Swiggy and Hotstar cleverly capitalized on this consumer behaviour to drive business through collaboration.

Swiggy integrated their POP feature (curated single-serve meals) into the Hotstar app during the IPL season, enabling Hotstar viewers to order the most popular meals while watching the game, without having to navigate away from the app.

This nifty bit of technological wizardry enabled Hotstar to keep their engagement numbers high since users no longer had to navigate away from the app to order food while also enabling Swiggy to tap into a captive audience base and increase their orders.

VP Marketing of Swiggy highlighted the strong synergy of this collab when he said:

“Our collaboration with Hotstar aims to satisfy the insatiable love we Indians have for Cricket and Food. We believe a nail-biter of a match accompanied by delicious food is a great combination to serve this cricketing season… through this, we hope to build a deeper bond with our cricket-crazy fans by offering them an uninterrupted viewing and extremely convenient food ordering experience” ³

Blue Tokai x Mason & Co

Blue Tokai stands for gourmet coffee experience while Mason & Co is all about gourmet chocolates. The collab between the two is interesting because besides an alluring product, it is also a convergence of values and purpose.

As a statement on Mason & Co website reads:

“As bean-to-bar chocolate makers, we feel that Blue Tokai Roasters are the Mason & Co of the coffee world. Blue Tokai works with Indian coffee farmers to produce not only the best coffee we have tried in India but possibly outside of India also.

Just like us, they work closely with their farmers to procure only the best coffee available. They work with single-estate coffee, which means it is coffee sourced from one individual farm or estate. The reasons for this would be very similar to the single-origin chocolate that we produce: to respect and develop the flavour of the coffee produced by the individual farmer.” ⁴

The outcome of this collab is a range of chocolate bars by Mason & Co, described as ‘Blue Tokai Coffee in a bite-sized bar’ comprising 5 distinct flavours- from known ones like Café Latte and Café Noir to more curated “Producer Series coffee beans” like Ratnagiri and Riverdale that are mapped to specific farms and producers. ⁵

This range of products is available at both channels- Mason & Co official website as well as Blue Tokai Cafes – ensuring that both brands benefit from this collaboration.

Our guide to a right collaboration

From above examples, we have laid out 4 filters that can help a brand to choose the right partner to collaborate with:

Complementary Category: for collaborating, it is important to look for brands in categories that have a seamless and very intuitive linkage with the category that you operate in. This sets the right foundation for adding value-add to consumers. For instance, video streaming and audio gadgets are a perfect match, making Netflix x boAt collab a great one.

Coherent Equity: a match of values, purpose, equities and even energies will ensure that collab doesn’t come across as schizophrenic. Consumers respond well to collaborations that reinforce the values they have come to associate with the brand. For instance, both The Whole Truth and Ultrahuman share a lot of common equities- making their collab a credible offering.

Coinciding Consumer Base: while collabs are of course meant to tap into an incremental consumer base, it is important to ensure that there is at least some overlap in the consumer sets. While it doesn’t necessarily mean that both brands should have identical consumers, it is important that consumers carry some shared beliefs and motivations. Without this, the collab may not gather the desired consumer traction and even risk alienating existing customers. For instance, both Blue Tokai and Mason & Co consumers value gourmet choices and have discerning palettes, hence a collab between these two brands results in a tempting proposition.

Compelling Proposition: finally, merely announcing the collab through hype and buzz wouldn’t amount to much unless it offers a truly compelling proposition to the consumers. In each example above, the outcome of the collaboration is a quite credible and compelling proposition to the consumers- a highly nutritious health bar, an immersive experience, seamless ordering while watching the game, and a gourmet coffee experience in a chocolate bar.

In a nutshell, a great brand collaboration is greater than the sum of its parts. It really makes “ek aur ek gyarah.”

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