Luxury Brands Aim to Stand Out with Smart Partnerships


Charlotte Wooding | February 20, 2017

Despite slower economic growth, 2016 set the bar high for luxury brands. From Virtual Reality to ethical initiatives, marketers pushed the boundaries when it came to innovations and tech. As we ease into 2017, the challenge for luxury brands will be to continue to innovate in ways that drive engagement and provide unique experiences.

Brand collaborations are an increasingly popular way to supercharge reach. WGSN’s recent survey for Walpole found that partnerships were a key tactic for bridging online and offline experiences, with 78% of luxury brands set to collaborate by 2020. Whether it’s for content distribution or the creation of a co-branded product, partnerships allow brands to explore new territories and engage with consumers in new and exciting ways.

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With the global luxury market set to reach €295 billion by 2020, we delve into how clever collaborations can help capture the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s consumers. What should brands be considering? And which brands are already leading the way?

Travel companions

Luxury and experience go hand-in-hand, and there’s now increasing pressure for brands to seamlessly integrate into people’s lifestyles. As consumer preferences shift from products to experiences, the thirst for travel is set to soar. A number of brands are collaborating to capitalise on the huge travel zeitgeist, ensuring that they can reach the right audiences in the right places in the right ways.

A brand doing just that is high-end department store Saks and its smart collaboration with United Airlines’ new business class experience.

Passengers in the newly launched Polaris cabin are made to feel at home with custom-made Saks’ bedding, which includes duvets, day blankets, slippers, pillows and pajamas, ensuring an elevated level of comfort.

To celebrate the launch of the Polaris experience, Saks Fifth Avenue teamed up with United to reveal an immersive window display, designed to make passers-by feel like they were walking through the luxurious cabin. Entitled "Now Arriving," the 14 storefront windows featured the various aspects of the Polaris experience, including the new seats, Saks’ bedding and even a replica of a United Airlines plane.

Travel provides an exciting opportunity for fashion brands, like Saks, to offer unique experiences and integrate their products in new and engaging ways.

Similarly, Alexander McQueen’s collaboration with Globe Trotter is another example of powerful partnerships in the world of luxury. The two British brands, both renowned for their flawless craftsmanship, united to create a limited-edition luggage range that strengthens both brands’ appeal. The label brings its signature details to the company's iconic luggage, featuring silver studs that wrap around the case and a lining of the signature McQueen black and ivory skull print pattern. 

Magellan Jets has used their brand partnership to focus on reaching and incentivising new members. They’ve teamed up with the new luxury label Passavant and Lee to design an exclusive version of the brand’s No. 25 briefcase. Any new client who booked a 10-hour holiday jet card could receive the briefcase as a thank you.

Collaborative content

It’s not just travel where luxury collaborations thrive. The content overload in today’s market is causing native advertising to become increasingly important as a way for brands to connect with consumers. And an original brand partnership is the perfect way to give weight to that unique content.

Gucci has partnered with world renown publisher GQ to create a native content campaign in an attempt to make a greater impact on its customers. Together they are exploring how individuals are inspired by people and places.

They profiled five men from five different high-profile occupations and asked them to choose a location anywhere in the world that inspires them. A series of five films followed these influencers as they were transported to their chosen destinations, with Gucci’s President and CEO Marco Bizzarri and GQ’s Editor in Chief Dylan Jones serving as hosts. The campaign “The Performers” is being run on both GQ and Gucci’s digital channels from the start of this month.

The bottom line

Collaborations are by no means a new way for brands to reach customers. But to truly standout and be effective, luxury brands should be leveraging relevancy, ambitions and exclusivity, whilst always making sure to put the customer first.

Do you want to know more about how to expand your brand’s reach and impact?

By teaming up with companies that are targeting similar audiences, yet with difference offerings, brands can maximise their impact reach and create unique experiences. And like all great collaborations, if well executed, the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.