How to Do Brand Collabs the Right Way

Justine Moore
March 21, 2022
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How to Do Brand Collabs the Right Way

Gucci x Adidas. OPI x Xbox. Supreme x Tiffany. Love them or hate them, brand collabs are trending. In an increasingly crowded advertising landscape, some of the world’s biggest brands are teaming up to capture consumer attention.

If you’re an e-commerce operator, this may sound like an attractive proposition. Many brands are experiencing a “CAC crisis” - acquiring customers is getting expensive, thanks to over-saturation of digital channels and new consumer privacy rules.

Instead of throwing money at Facebook and Instagram, what if you could partner with like minded brands and market to each other’s audiences? Here’s how to make it happen:

Four ways to execute a brand collaboration

There are a few common strategies for brand partnerships. We’ve ranked them below, from least to most involved:

1) Instagram posts

Olipop hosted a keto-focused giveaway on Instagram.

Instagram posts (typically giveaways) are the low hanging fruit of brand collabs. These posts allow brands to tap into each other’s Instagram audiences - to enter the giveaway, users typically have to follow all the brands involved.

Giveaways and other joint Instagram posts are easy to execute, but have some problems. Do they generate real purchases, or just help you grow your IG following? And are users really motivated to follow a bunch of brand accounts?

2) Events and pop-ups

Activewear brand Rhone hosted Hydrow rowers in its pop-up shop.

Events and pop-ups enable brands to join forces to drive traffic to a physical (or virtual!) destination. They can also be a great way for brands with no brick-and-mortar presence to reach shoppers in the “real world” by leveraging another brand’s store.

However, these initiatives take time and resources, and the results are tough to measure. Are you driving real sales, or just increasing brand awareness? How do you know if you’re getting a solid return on your investment?

3) Bundles

Copper Cow Coffee and Tea Drops package their milk creamers and chai tea drops into a latte bundle.

Bundles allow brands to offer complementary products together, making it easy for consumers to try something new. Unlike IG posts and events, measuring the impact is simple: you can see how many shoppers buy the bundle.

This sounds like a great idea, but it’s hard to execute. You have to ship your products to the other brand (and hold their products), which complicates inventory planning and fulfillment. And you have to figure out how and when to split the revenue from orders.

4) Co-branded products

Glossier and Bark created dog toys inspired by two of Glossier’s most iconic makeup products.

Co-branded products are a great way to make a splash! But creating an entirely new product can be a tall order - can you invest the time and resources to design, source, manufacture, and sell it, especially if you aren’t sure about consumer demand?

For most brands, the answer is “no.” While co-branded products may generate some initial hype, they don’t drive long-term growth.

Power your collabs with Canal

A Canal-powered partnership enables Fly by Jing to sell Sanzo’s sparkling water directly on its website.

Brand collabs can often involve a trade-off: do you want something that’s relatively quick and painless to launch, or are you looking to drive measurable results? At Canal, we think you shouldn’t have to choose.

Canal makes it easy to drive real sales by partnering with like-minded brands, without the usual time or resources from your team. Within minutes of installing our Shopify app, you can launch a fully native partnership on your own website. Sell another brand’s products on your website, or offer your own products on their website.

You don’t need to worry about shipping inventory or routing orders because Canal provides the pipes that power these transactions. We make it seamless for you to unlock distribution or increase your own product catalog, all while helping another independent brand reach new customers!

Not sure which brands to partner with? Our curation team will help you match with brands in our network! Tell us you're interested by filling out the form below.

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Justine Moore
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