Brand collaboration takes place when two brands join forces to promote a product or service — and it can be really powerful. The best brand collaborations help both parties reach new potential customers, increase social media engagement, promote a cause, boost sales, or achieve their own unique business goals.
And, worth noting, brand collaboration can be up to 25x less expensive than digital advertising, according to Later.
In a survey of 149 fashion and beauty brand executives conducted by Glossy, 38% said the brands they work for see collaborations as their greatest marketing opportunity. (Fifty-nine percent identified as being from a beauty or wellness brand, and 41% were from a fashion brand.)
Recently, many beauty brands have tried to secure hype-generating partnerships with companies in different industries. These cross-brand collaborations are predicted to be a key promotional strategy in 2022 and beyond, notes Glossy.
Here are three of the best brand collaborations in the beauty industry, plus key lessons you can learn from them:
3 of the Best Brand Collaborations
1. Fenty Beauty x Heytea
In 2020, Rihanna’s cosmetic brand Fenty Beauty teamed up with one of the most popular tea shops in China, Heytea, to promote their new Cheeks Out cream blush collection.
The collaboration was available to dedicated fans via a lottery system on China’s second-largest social media platform, Weibo. Winners received a limited-edition Fenty Beauty makeup bag and a coupon for a free Heytea drink.
Fans could enter by completing a series of tasks online, such as creating their own content (images or videos) featuring the two brands and following both brands’ Weibo accounts. This collaboration was very successful, with the campaign hashtag getting more than 14 million views and 30,000 comments on Weibo alone, notes Glossy.
So, why are these two brands a perfect match? First, they have the same audiences: young, lifestyle-centric females. Second, Heytea has a good reputation for cross-industry collaboration with many well-known brands like Clarins and L’Oréal. The brand has also built a large, strong fanbase on Weibo — providing Fenty Beauty with the perfect collaboration opportunity to increase its recognition among young Chinese consumers and drive sales for new products.
Key Takeaway: Shoot for a Dynamic Duo
Brand fit is key. Select a brand that has the same audience as yours and understands the market you’re trying to reach. The best brand collaborations have a dynamic in which both parties bring something valuable to the table and help the other achieve a high return on investment (ROI).
2. Lancôme x “Emily in Paris”
In 2021, Lancôme partnered with one of the most talked-about Netflix series, “Emily in Paris,” to create the For the Love of Paris limited-edition holiday collection. With Lily Collins as the star of the show and Lancôme’s longtime ambassador, this collaboration came as no surprise.
The capsule collection included Lancôme’s signature and best-selling Advanced Génifique Serum, an exclusive heart-shaped eyeshadow palette with 12 different shades, L’Absolu Rouge lipstick, and more. The brand created detailed product pages for these items and produced relevant content, like beauty tips from Lily Collins, to promote the collection further.
According to Lancôme’s global brand president, Francoise Lehmann, this collection is meant to celebrate the Parisian joie de vivre and the charm of “Emily in Paris.” “It is the perfect way to re-create that distinctive French girl beauty and interpret it your way at home, bringing French glamour and sophistication to all women around the world,” he says in Vogue.
Key Takeaway: Find an Influencer Who Authentically Aligns With Your Brand
Choose an influencer who aligns with your brand values so that they can represent your brand authentically. If an influencer works well with your brand, nurture that relationship and partner with them consistently. The best brand collaborations are the ones that show authenticity and consistency throughout the entire campaign.
3. ColourPop x “Sailor Moon”
Many brands have been turning to TV series from the 1990s and 2000s to capture the attention of millennials and Gen Zers. Their goal is to take advantage of nostalgia to win over these young audiences. ColourPop x “Sailor Moon” (the 1990s anime series) is a perfect example of this type of brand collaboration.
Knowing what fans wanted, Colourpop launched their most requested collaboration ever in 2020 — a “Sailor Moon” limited-edition makeup collection of an eyeshadow palette, two liquid lip duos, two blushes, and two glitter gels. This collection practically sold out in less than an hour, and it was so successful that ColourPop expanded from selling the products strictly online to selling them in-store at Ulta, as Allure reports.
So why is tapping into these TV shows effective for beauty brands? Nina Nowak, senior consumer researcher at GlobalData, explained on Prestige that it’s because “we feel connected to characters — especially ones that we grew up watching — and having an opportunity to in some way be connected to those shows can be enjoyable. The makeup market is pretty oversaturated, so using such pop culture-inspired themes could help a brand deliver a unique edge and help reach consumers that would not otherwise purchase.”
Key Takeaway: Understand Your Target Audience
Do thorough research on your target audience. Conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to discover what these consumers want to see, why they stick to your brand, where they often hang out, etc. The more you understand your customers, the easier it is for you to develop a successful brand collaboration strategy.
Start Capitalizing on Brand Collaborations
Brand collaborations are a powerful tool for reaching new audiences, creating hype around new products, and boosting sales. Learn from the best case studies above and start thinking about how your brand can fully capture this opportunity to grow.
Want to learn more about how the top beauty and personal care brands have succeeded on the digital shelf? Download our report, “The Winning Elements of Amazon Beauty & Personal Care Product Pages.”