Here we are, my husband and I, at a party, and I introduce him in my all-too-familiar way, ‘Hi there, this is my ‘other half’.’ And it’s the same drill at play dates, work events or any other social occasion. However, I always feel slightly guilty that I don’t utter the jovial ‘better half’ gag, because, well, I have to say he just might be. But while he may be my better half, I think the feeling is mutual. He thinks I’m the preferred side of the coin (pass the sick bucket). Indeed, isn’t that really the essence of a clever partnership? Realizing, embracing, and nurturing the positive attributes each player brings to the table? I’d say so. And it seems that the key players in the beauty industry have cottoned on to the very positive benefits a partnership can bring to their business portfolio – two heads are better than one as they say.
L’Oréal, of course, has latched on to the pull of a collaboration, and realised that to advance its technological prowess and keep pace with the industry’s digital development, getting a helping hand from those with more know-how is a must. Step up the company’s latest, and perhaps most innovative, product – the Kérastase Hair Coach. Launched to market by its successful salon brand Kérastase in conjunction with Nokia-owned digital health firm Withings, the hair brush uses sensors to measure the quality of the user’s hair, relaying data to a dedicated app. Would consumers buy into this product without the seal of approval from Nokia? Perhaps not. Butter London nail varnish brand meanwhile has linked up with Pantone to create a collection based on its colors of the year, including Greenery. And with the company being the go-to authority on the hues of the moment, it’s a shrewd move for a nail brand basing its sales on popular colors.
Not one to miss a trick, Clinique has gone down the same route and collaborated with the other color officiado Crayola with the creation of a limited edition Clinique Crayola Chubby Stick collection. Meanwhile US celebrity make-up artist Kat Von D has harnessed the selling power of Sephora with a new flash sale that offers consumers the opportunity to buy one of her Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks online before it goes on sale in store. Again, the cult-status of the US retail giant works in Von D’s favor, while Sephora is no doubt benefiting from the celebrity angle of Von D and the draw of a buy-before-it-goes flash sale. Indeed, just this week Unilever announced a collab with Playbrush on a co-branded toothbrush while AmorePacific is harnessing the powers of telecoms provider SK Telecom to help it develop customized products through the Internet of Things. These products and innovation routes definitely not having the same clout with consumers if they were a single-brand launch.
The success of these partnerships are yet to be seen, but there is little doubt that a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ mentality to one-off partnerships, exclusive collaborations and on-going hand holding deals are only going to showcase versatility, create a brand buzz and grab the attention of consumers that may need a little ‘pizazz’ in their beauty buying life.
The marketing teams that look to different industries in a bid to utilize other capabilities will no doubt be the ones coming up trumps, while also staying fresh and current with their existing consumers. Not to mention luring in new ones. Better together is definitely key, and we’ll keep our ears to the ground for the latest and most innovative partnerships rearing their heads this year.