From Luxury to F&B, Why are Brands so addicted to Co-Branding?




While brand crossover collaborationstrategies have become a business trend recently, crossover-branding is by no means new. Chinese consumers in particular seem to be postively stimulated by this approach. In this article, we'll take a look at three different crossover innovations: luxury, fast-fashion, and Chinese internet-famous co-brandings.


Luxury Brands


Co-branding can make a brand's image positioning more diversified and youthful, as luxury brands have a limited target consumer base, by updating their brand image, they can recreate a fresher and more distinctive brand image for consumers. At the same time, brands tend to lend to each other's individual strengths and work together when they find mutually beneficial value points.They can superimpose double or even stronger levels of attention and appeal, achieving a marketing effect of 1+1>2. 


One of the most impressive examples of luxury brands co-branding is the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collection from 2017. The most distinctive feature of this collection is that it features the logos of both brands: The white Supreme logo on the bright red Louis Vuitton leather material is quite eye-catching. More recently, in early 2021, Gucci's creative director Alessandro Michele launched a special Doraemon x Gucci co-branded collection to celebrate Doraemon's 50th anniversary and the Chinese New Year.

最令人印象深刻的奢侈品品牌联名则为2017年的Louis Vuitton x Supreme 系列。这一系列产品,最鲜明的特点便是同时拥有两个品牌的标志,其中大部分是在鲜红色的 Louis Vuitton皮具上附上 Supreme 的白色标志,非常鲜明醒目。而在2021年初,Gucci的创意总监Alessandro Michele为庆祝多啦A梦50周年和农历新年,特别推出了Doraemon x Gucci联名系列。

Fast Fashion Brands


The co-branding of fast-fashion brands has become increasingly normalized, from an initial collection launch once a year to several times a year in more recent times. In 2004, H&M collaborated with fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld for the first time to launch a limited-edition co-branded collection with the slogan "Karl Lagerfeld for everyone". The 30-piece collection was sold out within an hour of its official launch. In the 17 years since, H&M has also collaborated with Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, COMME des GARÇONS, Lanvin, Versace, Maison Martin Margiela, Isabel Marant, Alexander Wang, Balmain, Kenzo, Erdem, Moschino and many other influential brands and designers. For luxury brands, co-branding with affordable brands can not only ensure that they will not lose their original target demographic by “lowering” their position, but also promoting their own brand and design concept to potential consumers. In that way, brands can meet consumer demand for "entry lux" with "relatively low costs".

快时尚品牌的联名已经成为常态化,从最初的每年推出一次到每年数次。作为高街品牌与顶级设计师联名合作的鼻祖,一年一度的H&M设计师联名系列已经成为时尚界的固定节目和城中热事。2004年,H&M首次和时尚大师“老佛爷”Karl Lagerfeld合作推出限量联名款,打出“人人都能穿上Karl Lagerfeld”的口号。共30件单品的合作系列,在正式发售一小时内全部售罄。此后15年间,H&M还分别与Stella McCartney、Roberto Cavalli、COMME des GARÇONS、Lanvin 、Versace 、Maison Martin Margiela、Isabel Marant 、Alexander Wang、Balmain、Kenzo、Erdem、Moschino等多个具有时尚影响力的品牌和设计师合作。奢侈品与平价品牌联名的情况,对于奢侈品牌来说,与平价品牌联名既能保证其原始高层受众不会因为品牌“下凡”而流失,同时也能将自己的品牌和设计理念,推行到潜在费群体当中去,以满足消费者用“相对低价”购买“轻奢”的需求。

Internet Famous Brands


Overall, brand crossovers aim to meet the latest trend and create internet buzz. The more popular the brand, the more powerful the effect of the topic. Last year, Cornetto and HEYTEA jointly presented the ice-cream “Zhi Zhi Tao Tao” (Cream Cheese & Peach) and Black Sugar Bobo which caused quite a stir on the internet. The two sides co-branded the launch of the cream cheese and peach flavored slush, with the slogan "Cream Cheese and Peach frozen to eat". From the product to the packaging as well as the taste, it satisfied consumers pursuit of high value packaging with a trendy product, which is a common characteristic of the consumer groups of both HEYTEA and Cornetto.


In addition to this, we can find many other examples of successful co-branding strategies launched recently, such as: The joint launch of a floral water flavored cocktail by Liushen Florida Water and RIO which received hundreds of retweets and comments on both parties' promoted Weibo pages.; White Rabbit Rolls and MAXAM launched a co-branded lipstick, which was sold out in 0.5 seconds after its launch on Tmall; the first launch of Li Jiaqi's dog and the Perfect Diary co-branded eyeshadow palette was instantly sold out upon its live streaming sales drive. The abovementioned examples perfectly indicate the simple fact that cross-border brand marketing can not only create internet buzz surrounding the brands but can also effectively drive sales.


We can see that through co-branding, brands can achieve not only strong cooperation but also remarkable results. They can reinforce their brand image and create distinctive brand culture symbols. Both sides of co-branding can form complementary consumers in the respective target consumer groups, thus achieving the purpose of enhancing their brand influence. Finally, brands and IPs need to be deeply integrated and explore new ways to create products that can create new trends as well as to promote sales.


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