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The Luxury Value of Collaboration

Wayne McMaster

24 March 2013

The best luxury brand co-creation enable two companies to produce something one could never have made without the other and thereby adding considerable value to both and the consumer. Ultimately, it seems, the most successful brand alliances are the ones that skillfully craft something bigger, better, and more meaningful than each brand could create alone.

Guy Salter Deptuy Chairman, The Walpole Group says of brand collaborations that they are: “A marriage of equals. The best luxury collaborations are an alliance of equals or near equals. Equality does not strictly mean an exact match in size or fame. Rather, what is key is a balance of power. A very large brand can balance one that brings creativity, coolness or aspiration; in other words, a brand strong in one category and seemingly very different can balance the strengths of the other. Finally, at least one of the brands should be a luxury brand, but both need not be.”

Branding expert Martin Lindstrom, author of the book BRAND sense, says over 90 percent of brand alliances fail, half of them for three reasons: there isn’t equal value for the brands in the relationship, the brands’ values don’t match each other, and the strategy isn’t easily understood by consumers.

Rules for a true luxury brand collaboration

  1. There must be a strategic purpose behind the co-branding activity. In other words, brands shouldn’t team up without a concrete and significant reason.
  2. The collaboration should offer both simplicity and intergrity in the mind of the consumers. There should be a true brand story of how the two parties 'came together' the 'birth' this new creation.
  3. The collaboration should be controlled through a limited edition or a one-off collection.
  4. The co-branding should be a winwin situation for the brands involved.
  5. There should be an overlap of shared brand values

Guy Salter warns us to: "Be clear on your objectives. Among the reasons the collaboration church is a broad one is the wide range of different objectives, from increasing revenue, raising profile, reaching a wider audience, test-marketing a new product category, providing an injection of creativity — or a combination of many of the above."

Coupland and SwitzerCultCreative

Earlier this year Canadian novelist and artist Coupland and SwitzerCultCreative launched a desk, chair, lamp and bookcase at the Toronto’s Interior Design Show.

“The ‘Douglas Coupland for SwitzerCultCreative’ collection is a reflection of everything I use daily,” says Coupland. “These are pieces that will unleash creativity, dopamine, high style and timelessness into their user’s world.”

Douglas Coupland is the international best-selling author of thirteen novels including Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, JPod and All Families Are Psychotic. Coupland’s furniture collection takes inspiration from the “writer’s nook” and West Coast sustainability. SwitzerCultCreative consists of brother and sister, Renee and Allan Switzer, who have more than 50 years combined experience crafting select and modern furniture designs. The creative duo are globally recognized for their high-end furnishing and have twice won the “Best of Year” award from Interior Design Magazine.


Bento Box Escritoire & Chair: The “Douglas Coupland for SwitzerCultCreative” Collection – Bento Box Escritoire and Writer’s Seat

Mercedes-Benz and Formitalia Luxury Group

Formitalia Luxury Group, one of the leading Italian manufacturers of designer furniture and Mercedes-Benz has created a furniture collection under the Mercedes-Benz Style label.
“Formitalia and Mercedes-Benz stand for top quality and exquisite workmanship which embodies luxury and passion. We are therefore extremely pleased to create the first Mercedes-Benz Style furniture collection together with Formitalia”, says Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz. “The various pieces of furniture reflect the progressive, dynamic design idiom of our current show cars and concept vehicles, offering an exclusive, emotional experience outside our vehicles as well”. The interplay between dynamic proportions, naturally stretched forms and curved lines conveys an extraordinary harmony and modern ease. The furniture gives the impression of floating in space.


The Mercedes-Benz Chaise Longue
The three dimensional formed wooden frame makes for an elegant and sleek silhouette, whilst at the same time, ensures the utmost level of lounge relaxation. The Aluminium pedestal and the cover, available in either material or leather, provide an optical contrast to the wood.

Aston Martin too…

Aston Martin, the British car manufacturer, who are part owned by Mercedes-Benz, also had a similar collaboration with Formitalia Luxury Group. The collection is sleek and contemporary. Wood, steel and carbon fiber has been used, combined with fine leathers and wools.

This should not be confused with brand extensions by some of the leading luxury fashion houses, that have turned their attention to home collections, such as Versace Home, Ralph Lauren Home and Donna Karan Home Collections to name but a few. Howevere a number of leading luxury fashion houses have made very credible true collaborations such as FendiCasa wokring on the interiors of fellow LMVH owned Princess Yachts.



Smallbone and Hoppen

Smallbone of Devizes, the luxury kitchen company have been combining their bespoke craftsmanship with leading interior designers: firstly with one of the world's most influential interior designers Nina Campbell; more recently with the charismatic William Yeoward and currently they have recently launched the Smallbone Kelly Hoppen collection with Kelly Hoppen MBE.

 

Rules for a true luxury brand collaboration

  1. There must be a strategic purpose behind the co-branding activity. In other words, brands shouldn’t team up without a concrete and significant reason.
  2. The collaboration should offer both simplicity and intergrity in the mind of the consumers. There should be a true brand story of how the two parties 'came together' the 'birth' this new creation.
  3. The collaboration should be controlled through a limited edition or a one-off collection.
  4. The co-branding should be a winwin situation for the brands involved.
  5. There should be an overlap of shared brand values
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