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The Impact of Brand Collaborations and Limited-Edition Products

60% of consumers are driven to purchase through a fear of missing out, and brands are capitalizing on this by incorporating brand collaborations and limited-edition products into their go-to-market strategy. Explore just how such initiatives can impact brand awareness and performance here.

Feb 01, 2024

6 mins read

Catz Thompson

Isabel Murphy

Brands today are increasingly incorporating collaborations and limited-edition products into their strategies and trading calendars, launching ranges with other brands and creators to maximize audience reach and differentiate themselves within the market. Each brand collaboration and limited-edition product is unique, but there are several key benefits and considerations brands should be aware of to best capitalize on the potential impact of both approaches.

The benefits of brand collaborations

Brand collaborations can take multiple forms, including brands working with one another and with creators to launch and promote products and ranges. But what are the benefits of collaborating with external parties?

  • Increased brand awareness: collaborating can help each brand involved to leverage the other’s fan base and tap into a new audience. Plus, collaboration is a royalty-free way for brands to increase awareness levels, and can even be 25x less expensive than digital advertising.

  • Potential for product discovery: whether returning or new to a brand, collaborations allow consumers to discover new products to shop for. Today, social media and product discovery go hand-in-hand with 70% of consumers reporting finding new products via social channels where both brands and creators leverage their audience reach to promote collaboration projects. 
 
  • Improved innovation: launching a new product or range successfully requires creativity and innovation in order to capture and retain audience attention. A collaboration intrinsically brings together two or more brands each with deep industry and audience understanding, with such knowledge fueling both creativity and innovation potential. 

  • Increased conversion opportunities: ultimately, collaborating with other brands or creators allows a company to tap into a new consumer base and the opportunity to convert the audience into paying customers. It also brings something fresh to a product offering, encouraging existing customers to purchase again with the brand and has the potential to boost average order values.  

  • Opportunity for data acquisition: access to a wider customer base also brings the opportunity to gather and leverage data to harness in future. Be it through email communications, paid targeting or monitoring buyer behavior on-site, data can be a powerful tool for decision making and informing future brand activity. 

The impact of limited-edition products

Much like collaborations, brands can choose to work with one another or with creators on limited-edition products and releases. However, brands can also create releases as a solo brand and an extension of an existing product offering, without collaboration with an external party. Whichever direction a brand chooses, limited-edition products are defined by their short-term, exclusive nature.

Typically, products marketed as ‘limited-edition’ are viewed as scarce and exclusive, creating an urgency to purchase. In fact, 60% of consumers actually purchase due to a fear of missing out on products being available. When used strategically, limited-edition products can boost demand and revenue generating opportunities. By their timebound nature of being available only for a limited period, however, brands should always be aware that revenue and sales volumes will be temporary and are typically designed as part of a wider product strategy through which performance is more sustainable. 

Brand collaborations and internationalization

Brand collaborations can also play an important part in your internationalization strategy.
 
From capitalizing on pre-existing audience bases and boosting brand awareness to gathering insightful consumer data, brand collaborations are an effective way to drive an internationalization strategy. 
 
Partnering with local, non-competing businesses in your target market on a unique brand collaboration unlocks access to a primed, local consumer base. 
 
A cross-border collaboration allows you to leverage your partnered brand’s expertise on local consumer needs to not just collaborate on a product, but create it in a way that speaks to your new audience’s unique desires and preferences. 

Impactful brand collaborations and limited-edition releases

There are many examples of successful brand collaborations and limited-edition product releases across beauty, fashion, FMCG and beyond, here are a few that stand out for their impact in their industry and on their consumers: 

1. Gucci X The North Face

In September 2020, Gucci took the fashion world by surprise, launching a range in collaboration with The North Face. This was the first time Gucci had collaborated with another brand, and the collection featured a wide range of products, from jackets to tents. The collaboration was a huge success, causing the entire website to crash as products sold out almost instantly. During the second drop of the collaboration, Gucci and The North Face chose to expand their collaboration to include influencer and train fanatic, Francis Borgeoise. Capitalizing on Francis’s viral status at the time proved an immediate success with products selling out almost instantly.  

2. Myprotein X Iceland

In 2023, global leaders in sports nutrition, Myprotein, launched their collaboration with Iceland Foods with a range of frozen ready-meals to be sold in 1000+ stores across the UK. The range has since captured the attention of consumers seeking low-calorie meals within tighter budgets in the wake of the cost-of-living crisis, with the meals on offer said "to rival McDonald's and Nando's"

3. Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty was launched by singer songwriter Selena Gomez in 2020 with products available through the brand’s own direct-to-consumer site, as well as marketplace Sephora. The brand is renowned for its limited-edition launches and was reportedly valued at over $60 million just one year after its initial launch. 

4. Mrs Hinch 

Influencer Mrs Hinch went viral after she started sharing cleaning tips on her Instagram account during 2018. Since then, she has released a book, started a TikTok account, and launched her own homeware and loungewear collaboration which has proven popular in Tesco’s across the UK. She has also been involved in limited-edition products, recently partnering with Procter & Gamble to launch its largest limited-edition homecare range yet

Top tips to launch a brand collaboration or limited-edition product

  • Set a clear campaign goal: ask yourself what audience you’re trying to reach, how large the consumer base is and what the definition of success is for both your brand and any partner brands involved. Plus, ensure your goals align with other brands or creators involved.  

  • Choose the right partner: in brand collaborations it’s as much about who your partner with as what you’re going to market with. It is crucial to consider brand image, audience and what the partner or collaboration brand could offer as a point of difference, or a way of appealing to a specific target audience. 
 
  • Clearly emphasize exclusivity: a key selling point of a limited-edition product is it only being available for a short time, with low levels of stock up for grabs. This sense of scarcity across marketing and communications must be made clear to drive purchases. 

  • Align product launches to a trading calendar: seasonal limited-edition products should always be aligned with a brand’s trading calendar to optimize sales. A brand should have an ideation session to create a clear roadmap for product launch to ensure they know which products and brand collaborations will be featured in the coming year.  

  • Align activity across all social channels: promotion of limited-edition products or brand collaborations should be aligned across all marketing and PR channels to ensure consumers are receiving the same message through paid social and CRM campaigns, including pre-launch to build excitement ahead of the products being released. 

If you’re keen to explore how collaborations with other brands or the creation and launch of limited-edition products could play a part in your go-to-market strategy, get in touch with Ingenuity Commerce today.

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