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To Collaborate & Co-create, the Roaring Mantra for Brands in 2020

From the very beginning, brands have somehow organically found each other to collaborate with – From joint CSR ventures, to collaborative awareness campaigns, so many brands have leveraged teamwork for the greater good.

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To Collaborate & Co-create, the Roaring Mantra for Brands in 2020

In times of a crisis, marketers are often thrown off balance. From realigning their agendas to ideating newer ways of engagement, they are enveloped in perplexity. 

With social distancing and nesting coming out as a natural consequence of COVID, major shifts in consumer attitudes & behavior have resulted in an increased focus on health & hygiene, varying ways to consume content, return of broadcast and cable television, to name a few. As a marketer, it is of utmost importance to gain cognisance of the incessantly changing consumer needs, act upon the insights and thrive in a volatile environment. Also, this is a time for companies to demonstrate how they are working beyond profits to stay close to their customers and fulfil their societal roles in a wider community.

While the new normal has enforced upon an urgent need to bring about innovative & safer purchase solutions, brands are keeping their nose to the grindstone to offer pertinent ideas on the table. It is interesting to watch how these brands are making the most of this time and converting adversity into an opportunity. They are entering into strategic alliances with other brands for curating unique products/ services, with an intention to carve a niche and attain a competitive advantage at the marketplace. 

Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India believes, “Brand collaborations have always been an interesting thing to observe, because the way different brands stitch their narratives together and engage an overlapping audience, is quite fascinating. A recent collaboration between Levi’s and Royal Enfield is a good example. The two brands have brought out a joint collection of riding gear and apparel with a bunch of rider-specific features like more stretch in the fabric, convenient pocket placement, etc.”

From the very beginning, brands have somehow organically found each other to collaborate with – From joint CSR ventures, to collaborative awareness campaigns, so many brands have leveraged teamwork for the greater good. “Perhaps the most quirky and public example of brands coming together to market seamlessly in this phase has been when Ryan Reynolds promoted his new movie on Netflix, alongside advertising Aviation Gin and Samsung TV within the same video itself. A masterstroke and an extremely fun ad to watch! That being said, I think brands need to do exactly this – find the balance between marketing efforts and social outreach/awareness efforts, leverage their own and each other’s strengths and reach out to the consumer with empathetic, engaging, positive and hopeful content,” adds Murthy.

Over the years, we have seen brands come together for strategic brand collaborations with others that share the common goals, values, target market, and business objectives. To testify, an exciting partnership was recently announced by Volvo Car India with the introduction of Volvo Car Financial Services in alliance with HDFC Bank to enable buyers receive easy finance for a Volvo car of their choice. HDFC Bank Country Head, Retail Lending, Arvind Kapil very gladly shares, “We are excited to partner with Volvo Cars to bring this service across its dealerships in India. Our endeavour is to provide not just convenience but an experience to customers availing of our range of products and services. To this end, this partnership is a win-win for all concerned as it offers customized and cost effective offers to customers ”

Another example of a brilliant co-creation idea is the recent collaboration between the Titan Company and SBI to launch India's first contactless payment watches. This product enables SBI account holders to tap their Titan Pay watch on contactless payment POS machine without the need of swiping or inserting their SBI bank card. Commenting on the above, C K Venkataraman, Managing Director, Titan Company Limited says, “Titan has always launched products to cater to the changing needs of our consumers. SBI is the perfect partner to introduce a payment solution for the new normal that is fast, secure and seamless. This product will not only satisfy the consumer’s banking needs but will also serve today’s evolving consumers with its classic and sophisticated designs.”

In my conversation with Vanita Keswani, CEO, Madison Media Sigma on the collaboration trend picking up, especially during the pandemic, she shares, “The COVID environment has led brands to undertaking some interesting initiatives, be it brand collaborations that aim to provide value to new consumer needs, or contextual co-created content. 

Titan being a best use case across both aspects - The #LetsGetIndiaTicking campaign nudge was a good example of co-created content, while the Titan and SBI range of stylish new watches with contactless payment functionality is an innovative collaboration.”

Owing to the pandemic, people are consuming more data and are spending more time with their families at home, leading to increased in-home consumption of food and beverage products. This was taken up as an opportunity by Pepsico & Airtel to offer a super digital experience this festive season. The former announced a special initiative with Airtel involving its most loved snack brands, and in the process also offering a special digital experience for all Airtel Prepaid customers. Ringing in the festive season, every customer would get upto 2 GB of Airtel Data with the purchase of LAY’S, Kurkure, Uncle Chipps and Doritos packs. Participating consumers can redeem the offer upto 3 times on every unique mobile number. Sharing his thoughts on the partnership, Dilen Gandhi, Senior Director and Category Head – Foods, PepsiCo India, said, “The ‘new normal’ has catapulted everyone into a more digital world than ever before. Our insights showed us that consumers are enjoying our products and seeking convenience while working and watching content at home. The partnership with Airtel is, therefore, a perfect fit that will further compliment the in-home experience of consumers. With festive season kicking in, the special initiative truly emphasises the importance of staying connected with friends and family.”

To conclude, in the past decade, businesses have been exposed to dynamic and turbulent conditions in the market, be it in the form of changing government policies, dipping sales, evolving choices of the consumers or the ever-growing competition. This, plus audiences being enlightened about the market conditions and operations of businesses, all thanks to digitisation, has pushed brands to opt for collaborations and present new and innovative products/services. 

On the brand’s front, they are under immense pressure to survive, thrive in a cohesive market and retain their loyal set of consumers. Hence, brand collaboration is sure their best bet, at least during these testing times!