marketing, pr advice

powerful partnerships: the value of brand collabs

The right brands coming together for the right reasons can make for a very memorable and powerful partnership. Case in point recently is the promotional pairing of Primark and Gregg’s. The nation’s favourite purveyor of sausage rolls (vegan or otherwise) meets fast fashion.

It’s an unlikely match made in heaven

With the 11-piece capsule collection exclusive to Primark offering everything from Gregg’s branded t-shirts and hoodies to trainers, bucket hats and boxer shorts, some stores sold out in minutes. Reports say that items were also up on eBay on the same day that the collab launched in store.

While the Primark and Gregg’s partnership is founded on fans of the high street bakery buying into the novelty factor, that in no way diminishes the credit due to the clever comms folks who originated and approved the idea. Not only has it resulted in reams of media coverage and viral social media content, but it also directly demonstrated the power of the right partnerships by resulting in immediate sales.

Really knowing the audiences and tapping into their psyche is essential when it comes to any lifestyle brand comms, as we discussed in our recent post. And, when it comes to collaborating on this level, it’s all the more critical as you’re aligning the brand values to another – the partnership has to amplify something that the brand already stands for to ensure there’s no risk in alienating your target consumer.



Top-of-the-range teamwork

Similar collaboration methods work across the board. For example, taking the exact same format, but transferring it to the luxury world, The North Face – well known practical, outdoor adventure brand – recently partnered with high-end fashion designer, Gucci on a new range. Tapping into the younger audience, the pair also hit the headlines with the collab because the cherry on the top of this alliance was featuring recent TikTok sensation and the internet’s favourite trainspotter, Francois Bourgeois in the advertising campaign.

The objectives behind a brand collaboration can be widespread. Some will be simply to get people talking (Weetabix and Heinz Baked Beans, anybody?), but others simply make sense and are more long-standing partnerships. For example, Siren client, Thames Clippers, and transport behemoth, Uber


Case Study: Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

Serving to add more instantly recognisable branding and pique the interest of visitors to the capital for the River Bus provider, the partnership also gives Uber more constant presence in London with fully branded catamarans sailing through the centre of the city seven days a week.

It was key for the two brands to strike the right balance at launch, second only to said launch being in the middle of 2020 and the pandemic playing havoc with their initial big plans. London’s leading River Bus operator partnering with a global transport technology business meant tackling the brief to ensure maximum exposure for both brands in a way that sat naturally with existing customers of both businesses.

Now, more than 18 months into the partnership and it’s working hard for both brands, delivering all that we thought it could. Playing the long game and banking on enduring collaborations can really cement the right partnerships in consumers’ minds and deliver lasting benefit on all sides.

Read more about the launch of Uber Boat by Thames Clippers here.



Case Study: The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain

For the beginnings of this partnership, we have to go all the way back to 2009. As the car scheme for disabled people, the Motability Scheme was looking for a way to engage the consumer media and reach potential customers, outside of the disability and motoring press. Thinking of routes to work with more lifestyle and travel outlets, we recommended a partnership with Rough Guides to create a guidebook to celebrate the accessibility of venues across the UK, and places disabled people could enjoy by travelling to in their Motability Scheme cars.

This partnership, now more than a decade strong has evolved over the years, but the core objective remains and continues to be met. Since the initial launch there have been multiple new ‘main’ editions of the Guide, we’ve hosted the Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards, brought in celebrity ambassadors in the shape of Ben Fogle and Chris Packham, created a Family Days Out edition and more. We’ve brought in various third parties too to strengthen the launch campaigns for refreshed reissues of the guide, working with the likes of the National Autistic Society and Carers Trust to ensure we’re doing all we can to make the guide content relevant to those core groups.

Now an online-only publication, the partnership remains strong. It’s the collaboration platform that keeps on evolving. You can view the current edition here:


How to know if a brand collaboration will work?

Alongside the examples of powerful, successful partnerships created, there’s a list of those that have gone disastrously wrong too. Think of the infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kendal Jenner, or that U2 and Apple collab which meant we were all burdened with an album on our iPhones that we hadn’t asked for.

There’s no scientific way to confirm that a partnership will be a 100% rip-roaring success, but it’s key that the aforementioned audience profiling and, crucially, understanding is met before jumping feet-first into aligning with another business or purpose. Choosing partners or a purpose that elevates what you already stand for as a brand, that adds credibility to your work or that taps into the passions of your audience is certainly a good place to start.

Find out how we can elevate your brand and create impactful campaigns, collaborations and coverage, get in touch.