5 Innovative Brands Part III: Collaborations We’re Dying To See

2018-01-24T08:39:02+00:00 August 25th, 2016|

This blog series in my attempt to bring to life concepts of innovation, strategy, branding, and digital marketing through real life companies who are doing it real time. Today in Part 3, we’re going to talk about the market value of collaborations, and show it by way of pairing our 5 innovative brands with established companies.

Madsen Cycles + Starbucks

Make the world’s most perfect coffee cup holder for your bike. 

Madsen Cycles brings new life and excitement to familes and neigbhorhoods. What can we say about Starbucks? Everyone loves-to-hate and hates-to-love Starbucks. So why not bring the two companies together and do something great.

The Collaboration:  Make the world’s most perfect coffee cup holder for your bike. Yes, we have cup holders on bikes, but they’re all average.  Why not make something shockingly good, like the YETI of cup holders? Starbucks, you bring in your dollars and some engineers. Madsen, you bring your coolness and creativity.

Starbuck’s larger stores park a Madsen Cycle in the retail area of the store. Use the Madsen bucket to display the new cup holder… let people scoop one out and discover the details in their own hands. Of course, have cupholder on the Madsen handlebars and pop a rad Starbucks tumbler.   People will buy the holder and be proud to show it off.

Why not have some Madsen Cycles for demo on National Bike to Work Day?  Let everyone experience the quality of the bike, and make them think of Saturdays riding around town with their families.

The Buzz: Of course, give away lots of bikes and lots of cup holders. Make a thing of it on social media. The story will spread like wildfire.

Poler Stuff + TOMS Shoes

Save the world and look cool. Win win win. 

Poler Stuff has a good brand, but it has an opportunity to be a great brand if they can pair their #campvibes style of adventure with humanitarian efforts.

The Collaboration:  Bring some of Poler Stuff’s creativity to a line of TOMS Shoes.  Poler will commit some of their own products (backpacks, camp gear) to children and families in need too.  Also, why not work with some awesome organization and build some water wells too?

The Buzz: Everyone wants to tell a story of a “brand with a soul.”  This is what has made TOMS a part of America today–they give away a pair of shoes to someone in need when you buy a pair.   If Poler Stuff embraces the ethos of TOMS, we’ll love Poler even more.

Deus Ex Machina + Volkswagen

Because the Beetle needs some skillz. 

VW lied about their vehicle emissions, and they’re brand value has plummeted. How can you trust a company who worked so hard through so many years to decieve environmental regulators?  Plus VW has another problem–they’ve made a pretty cool Beetle, and nobody seems to care.

The Collaboration: VW invites the designers at Deus Ex Machina to create a Deus edition of the VW Beetle.  It should be “perfectly vintage” just like everything Deus does.  Hint: vintage roof racks, custom interior, and some jaw-dropping color combos. Make it happen!

The Buzz: Everyone gets a little nostalgic for the earliest VW Beetle and VW Buses. Seeing the New Beetle with a vintage appeal is something that everyone wants to see.  Not just people who care about cars, motorcycles, and surfboards. Everyone will want to pick up this story or give it a retweet.

Biolite, Tesla

BioLite + Tesla

Save the world together. 

Both BioLite and Tesla are focused on energy.  Biolite produces energy for people off the grid.  Tesla is reinventing the automobile around electrical energy, and they’re bringing that same innovation to home-based batteries charged via solar.

The Collaboration: Surely you can bring these two teams together and do something great.  Maybe Tesla’s engineers can fine-tune the family stoves?  Then Tesla can sponsor a 1000+ stoves given to families in the Third World who need a cleaner burning home stove and would benefit from free electricity too.

The Buzz:  This is obvious, right? Every news outlet wants this story.

YETI Coolers + Jeep

Do you know what’s better than a Jeep Wrangler? A Jeep Wrangler Pickup, YETI Edition

Yeti and Jeep have the same DNA. They are tough, capable, and have become elite brands.  Why not bring them together?

The Collaboration:  There’s got to be a fun, creative way to integrate teh YETI coolor into the new (rumored) Jeep Wrangler Pickup.

The Buzz: Jeep needs to debut the new pickup by parking it on top of 4 YETI coolers. Do this at the dealership, and do it at special events in every city. Everyone with a phone in their pocket will snap a photo and share it with the world.

Lessons Learned: Collaborations are Priceless

What is the market value of all this buzz and excitement?

How much would it cost you through traditional advertising? How many TV, radio, print, and digital ads do you have to buy to get this much exposure? Is it even possible?

I would argue that it’s impossible to advertise your way to this level of excitement.  With a strong collaboration and a cool new product, you don’t have to pay people to care. They actually tell your story for free. They become a superfan, and they want others to be fans too.

About the Author:

Matt Smith, MBA
Matt Smith is the creative force behind smithHOUSE, a Phoenix-based creative agency that focuses on the intersection of business, design, and technology. About Matt Smith.