Images: Allure

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When we heard that one of our favorite childhood video games was being turned into a cosmetics line, our hearts thumped a little.

What do Tetris and Ipsy have in common, anyway? And why would they collaborate on a product campaign? Because, somewhere out there, a marketing guru dreamed up this tantalizing strategic partnership, melding the unlikely pair in an effort to boost revenue and attract new business for both brands.

According to Marketing91.com, brand collaboration, or a “collab,” as it’s called in the industry for short, is “the strategic alliance between two or more brands for curating a unique and specific product or service with an intention to carve a niche and attain a competitive advantage at the marketplace.”

Do They Actually Work?

Brand collabs work very well, indeed.

“Collaboration,” explains Bradley Sadler of AListDaily.com, “is an ideal solution: a smart marketer’s Swiss Army Knife, brand collaborations both engage and excite consumers, and when executed well, will generate long-term loyalty.”

As far as the Ipsy-Tetris alliance, time will tell how successful it will be. The campaign officially kicks off June 1st. But all signs point to a major win: Not only does the creative partnership pay homage to a beloved throwback that tugs at the heartstrings of at least two generations (Tetris turns 35 this year, and what Millennial or Gen X-er doesn’t want to celebrate that?); it also functions as a sure-fire sales pipeline for Ipsy to deliver its specialty beauty products to an ever-captive, digitally mature audience.

After all, Tetris devotees of the 1980s have advanced in years. They’re more sophisticated. They’re professionals with disposable income, many of whom wear makeup. And they are, with any luck, lining up in droves to order “Game On” eyeshadow and “Tetromino” lip gloss.

What’s the Catch?

There’s a cleverly dual-branded, revenue-generating twist to every successful brand collab scheme. In our example, eager Tetris fans will have to sign up for Ipsy’s Glam Bag Plus Membership program first in order to get the gloss, plus that free makeup bag.

Creative brand partnerships like these have been cropping up everywhere for the past few years, and they’ve been met with staggering, mutually beneficial results. The proof:

  • Starbucks’ collab with Spotify – Starbucks employees get free access to Spotify Premium and have the authority to curate their own playlists, while Spotify Premium customers earn free Starbucks drinks;
  • West Elm’s collab with Leesa Sleep – Leesa’s commitment to creating social impact aligns with West Elm’s company values, so West Elm chose Leesa mattresses to be featured in 80 of their stores;
  • Pottery Barn’s collab with Sherwin Williams – The paint seller created a line of seasonal palettes to color-coordinate with the home goods retailer’s specialty product lines, making it simple for shoppers to decorate their houses beautifully;
  • and many more.

Each of these companies has seen success through the process of taking customer loyalty for one product or service and embellishing it with another. The experts at CampaignDrive.com explain that strategic collaborations like these build trust, add value, and generate buzz.

But franchise owners need to be cautious when choosing a strategic brand partner, says Shirin Birjandi, Partner Success Manager of ISV in her post on Medium:

  • Make sure you understand who your own customers are and where you fulfill the greatest need;
  • Understand your company objectives and devise a plan for the outcomes you’d want to see from a partnership; and
  • Know, with certainty, what amount of money you’re able to spend before you enter into any agreements.

Still, while keeping issues like compliance and affiliate support in focus, creative brand partnerships can be a boon for businesses, especially for emerging franchises that are seeking broader name recognition and a wider customer base but may not have extensive resources.

“Not only do [local affiliates] get all the assets of a brand-to-brand partnership that come with media exposure and awareness, they can actually use some of these assets in their own local advertising. Things like new partnership logos or exclusive photography are a real advantage here. It means franchisees or other affiliates can basically piggyback on the brand’s goodwill and collaboration,” say the experts at CampaignDrive.com.

Imaginary Franchise Collabs We’d Love to See Someday

At BlastPoint, we’re a creative bunch that enjoys lively brainstorming sessions. That’s why, as we deepen our relationships with our own franchise partners, we just can’t help ourselves from riffing on their entrepreneurial energy as they plan exciting campaigns.

Considering how many unique products (especially digital ones) are being developed to keep consumers connected, and how many boutique services have been conjured up in response to people’s desire for personalized experiences, it makes sense that emerging franchises would want to tag-team to build a bigger audience and brand equity.

So, in the spirit of creative brainstorming, we came up with a few imaginary brand collabs that we think could be dazzling–or at least entertaining–if they were to emerge out of the franchise world someday. While our ideas are completely made up and only meant to serve as a spark for your business’s next ideation session, we hope they get the collaboration conversation going.

Without further ado, here are a few of our made-up collabs:

Fitness + Travel, Together At Last!

Ever come back from vacation regretting all those lavish meals you ate, kicking yourself over skipping your regular workout?

Thanks to the new “Buff World Traveler” program, that will never happen again. Book your next vacation package with the totally fictional One Very Special franchise travel agency and make sure to sign up for the “Buff World Traveler” program to earn Buff Perks.

Not only will you get discounts on tour packages and hotel rooms around the world, but because One Very Special is partnering with absolutely non-existent That Awesome Fitness (TAF) franchise, you’ll also receive a free introductory gym membership, along with a personalized, virtual workout regimen for the duration of your vacation.

Download the newly developed, dual-branded smartphone app and easily plan your itinerary—with time built in for daily workouts. Earn Buff Perks as you go, like priority booking at all local TAF workout facilities no matter what city you’re in, daily exercise prompts throughout the length of your booked travel so you can burn calories even if you’re stuck on the tarmac, and pre-recorded messages from your TAF personal trainer to keep you on track, wherever your travels take you.

Doggie Daycare + Subscription Pet Food Delivery Make All The Fur Babies Happy!

Busy professionals who adore their furry friends will love this hybrid service. Enroll your dog at the completely imaginary A1 Doggie Daycare and receive one free bag of faux XYZ Dog Food delivered straight to your door, plus a discount on your first monthly pet food delivery subscription.

Rest easy knowing Fido is being cared for all day while you’re at work, and save yourself the hassle of last-minute trips to the pet store for food, chew toys and treats. Subscribe instead!

Download the exclusive member app, enter your dog’s taste preferences and dietary needs, schedule services at the nearest A1 Doggie Daycare studio, and receive monthly discounts at both businesses!

Chocolate + Outdoor Gear: Don’t Sacrifice Luxury Just Because You’re Sleeping Outside!

No camping trip is complete without a campfire, and no campfire is complete without S’mores.

That’s why the entirely made-up Cool Sports Equipment (CSE) franchise has partnered with fictional Ace Chocolatiers—to bring you the best tents, camp stoves and fireside desserts available under the stars.

Visit any Ace location before you choose that campsite, and be sure to pick up a limited-time-only, CSE-branded, deluxe chocolate-covered graham cracker or chocolate-covered marsh mallow. Every wrapper contains either a discount coupon for new gear at CSE, advice on back-country survival, or a nature-themed motivational quote.

Plus, a Gold Level membership to CSE automatically enters you to win a brand new, truffle-shaped tent, along with a case of chocolate-covered graham crackers, to make your next campfire truly luxurious.

Who Will You Partner With For A Stellar Brand Collab?

Perhaps you’ve already tried a strategic partnership. If so, how’d it go? We’d love to hear, so please, tweet at us or shoot us an email! If not, we hope your creative juices have begun to flow and that you’re considering a strategic collaboration with a viable partner in the future.