Influencer marketing is long past the stage of being optional and has already established itself as an effective online marketing strategy. Today more than ever, small brands and A-list businesses alike are starting to feel the need of coming together with creators that can make their next marketing campaign a success.
But, like all other things, some influencer marketing campaigns are more successful and effective than others. In this article, we made a list of 15 brand collaborations with influencers, as well as small key lessons you can learn from each.
15 Best Brand Collaborations
1. Best Clothing Brand Collabs
Zara, one of the largest clothing companies in the world, has 57 million followers on Instagram, and that impressive number is partially the result of the brand’s influencer marketing efforts. Over the years, Zara collaborated with a number of fashion influencers to promote their emerging collections and the brand overall.
Zara’s #iamdenim campaign is one of the most famous influencer marketing campaign examples. As part of the campaign, the brand collaborated with influencers and ordinary people to promote their new line of denim jackets and jeans. Fashion influencers-slash-models Teesh Rosa, Lina Hoss, and Odette Pavlova are featured in the campaign video, alongside models and ordinary people.
Key takeaways: By collaborating with real people and Instagram influencers, Zara could appeal to wider demographics, and send them a signal about the accessibility of their new collection.
Founded in 2015 in Sweden, NA-KD fashion is an industry newcomer that extensively used influencer marketing and brand collaborations with creators, among other strategies, to elevate itself to the ranks of industry mammoths like Zara.
The main approach the brand adopted is a collaboration with micro-influencers, who shared authentic reviews on Instagram about the brand products they have been gifted. Over the first year of its online presence, this strategy helped the company gain 750,000 followers.
Today, the brand is in non-stop collaboration mode with thousands of influencers a year, as a result of which it’s one of the most mentioned brands on Instagram.
But the strategy of NA-KD fashion is not limited to gifting: the brand offers one-time paid partnerships and invites influential creators to become brand ambassadors. It even collaborates with select influencers, inviting them to create their own capsule collection, available for purchase on its website in a dedicated section.
Currently, there are 5 collections available on the platform, including a collection by well-known influencer Hanna Schönberg.
Key Takeaway: NA-KD Fashion approached its influencer marketing strategy with creativity and flexibility, working with creators of all sizes and mixing and matching collaborations of all types to generate a buzz around their name.
Old Navy x Meghan Rienks
Old Navy is a veteran of influencer marketing, having worked extensively with style and fashion influencers on Instagram to promote their lines of clothing.
One of the most successful collaborations of Old Navy was with lifestyle influencer and podcaster Meghan Rienks, with whom the brand worked over the years in the frames of several campaigns, the best-known of which is the #happyistrending campaign. As part of the campaign, the brand created several different video ads, each of which was dedicated to a specific occasion connected to the Christmas holidays, like Christmas gift ideas, a Christmas dress party, a Christmas date, and others. Each video featured Meghan trying on and choosing several outfits consisting only of Old Navy items.
What’s interesting about this campaign is that Old Navy is a brand known to go by the book. However, the campaign videos shot with Meghan at the end turn into something hilarious, featuring fun and unexpected bits people wouldn’t expect to see from Old Navy, and that’s what won the hearts of the audience and made the campaign a huge success.
Key Takeaways: Old Navy wasn’t afraid to go “break the rules” and approach this collaboration with readiness to create something unusual, and it helped them to achieve the results they were looking for.
H&M: User Polling Through Influencers
H&M needs no introduction. One of the biggest names in fashion today, the brand has some of the largest following on social platforms among fashion brands, and this is partially due to its effective influencer marketing strategies.
In 2018, H&M’s new brand Nyden collaborated with nine influencers, including Refinery29’s senior editor Alyssa Coscarelli, lifestyle blogger Javvy, and influencer Amanda Orelli, in their effort to tap into the design preferences of the influencers’ followers. In the frames of the brand collaboration, the influencers posted stories with the then-newly launched polling feature and asked their followers to vote on which of the garments they preferred. According to reports, the polls attracted more than 425,000 views over two weeks and resulted in. 35,000 votes. Nyden then used the results of the votes to inform the design of two of its newly-launching dresses.
Key Takeaways: Through this smart marketing move, H&M introduced the idea of democratization of fashion, and put the audience at the forefront of the brand’s works, at the same time raising awareness about its new brand.
Luxury brand collaborations
Famous luxury brand houses caught up on the benefits of influencer marketing too and collaborated with influencers to come up with some wonderfully creative and empowering campaigns.
Moncler: #MonclerBubbleUp Campaign
The Italian luxury fashion brand Moncler used TikTok to gain popularity among the Gen Z audience through its #MonclerBubbleUp campaign.
In the frames of the campaign, the brand collaborated with such TikTok stars as Charli D’Amelio and Bella Porch. The campaign consisted of influencers wrapping themselves in an item resembling a Moncler product (e.g. a blanket) with the songs Bubble by 24 hours and Ty Dolla $ign in the background, but then the look had to be completed by the influencer wearing a Moncler item. The campaign resulted in more than 7.6 billion views, improved recognition among Gen Z, and a boost in sales.
Key Takeaways: TikTok stars helped Moncler, a luxury brand previously unknown among the Gen Z audience, become more recognizable. Additionally, the fun challenge made a lot of people jump into the wagon and create their own versions of the videos because their favorite TikTok creators were doing that.
Holland Cooper x Inthefrow
Another example of a wonderful influencer-luxury brand collaboration is between Victoria Magrath – better known as Inthefrow – and British heritage fashion label, Holland Cooper.
Victoria is a well-known fashion influencer who has previously worked with Burberry and Dior and had a highly-engaged audience of followers based on their mix of contemporary and traditional aesthetics. This mix made her a perfect choice for Holland Cooper, with its own fashion-forward approach to classic British heritage tailoring.
As part of the collaboration, Victoria was allowed to make picks and create stylings of the new Holland Cooper collection. A series of videos that included the selection process and the thought process behind each look was created and shared both by the brand and Victoria, giving the campaign an authentic and reciprocated look.
Key Takeaways: By finding an influencer that matches the visual style and the vibe of their brand, and has the same values, Holland Cooper was able to achieve a collaboration that seemed authentic, and tap into an audience that would be a natural fit for them.
Swarovski: Mother’s Day Campaign
Swarovski is among the luxury brands that don’t shy away from using brand collaborations to promote their products on different occasions. In fact, influencer marketing has been one of the most successful strategies for the brand in reaching new audiences.
One of the most effective and famous collaborations of the brand is its partnership with the fashion blogger Melissa Celestine Koh as part of its Mother’s Day campaign.
As part of the collaboration, the influencer posted two photos, in which she was gifting her mother Swarovski earrings and they were both trying on the earrings. For the brand, Koh was a perfect choice, because the creator had earlier worked with both luxury and affordable brands, and her audience consisted of people who were interested in both options. This way, Swarovski was able to “move away” from the stereotypes of being unaffordable, yet it maintained its status as a high-quality luxury brand. The campaign was finalized with the #BrillianceForAll hashtag, which further indicated that Swarovski’s brilliance can be accessible to all.
Key Takeaway: By collaborating with the right influencer, the brand positioned itself as a luxury brand that is, however, accessible to the public, and that can be a perfect gift for Mother’s Day.
Beauty industry brand collaborations
Dior: 67 Shades of Dior
The 67 Shades of Dior Campaign is one of the most successful and famous influencer marketing campaigns which have focused on micro-influencers. The campaign was created to celebrate the launch of Dior’s Forever Foundation, which had a range of 67 unique shades. Dior collaborated with the influencer marketing agency Buttermilk to plan and execute the campaign.
For the campaign, the aim of which was to generate buzz around the launch as well as spread awareness about the wide range of available shades, Dior collaborated with 67 influencers who could match the 67 unique foundation shades.
Influencers then posted one picture each day, for 67 consecutive days. The posts were then cross-promoted on @diorbeautylovers’ Instagram stories, with the story introducing the creator and the shade they were wearing.
The campaign was a great success, reaching 2.66 million people and getting 591,000 engagements.
Key Takeaways: Through a creative approach, in-detail planning, and smart execution of the campaign, Dior was able to create global awareness about the product launch among diverse audiences.
Glossier: Regular Women
The Manhattan-based startup Glossier, which saw unprecedented growth in a very short time, owes much of its cult-like status to its effective collaboration with micro-influencers, as well as its network of devoted fans.
So, instead of coming up with specific campaigns and paying big names to promote their brand, Glossier chose a different approach, the philosophy of which was that, in the words of CEO Emily Weiss, “every single woman could be an influencer”. So, the brand introduced a referral program, which allowed influencers of all sizes, as well as regular women, to collaborate with the brand and promote its products. Through this program, the brand allows creators to offer product discounts and other incentives to their followers, and earn in the process themselves.
This approach has been incredibly effective because micro-influencers while having a low individual reach, are highly trusted by their followers, which brings higher engagement rates. In addition, through this approach, Glossier managed to create a community of devoted fans, who don’t only simply purchase products from the brand but see themselves as a part of it.
Key Takeaways: by being open to collaborating with creators of all sizes, as well as regular people instead of relying on big names with millions of followers, Glossier was able to create a close-knit community of devoted brand fans.
Food and Beverage Brand Collaborations
Absolut: Planet Earth’s Favorite Vodka Campaign
The “Planet Earth’s Favorite Vodka” campaign by ABSOLUT Vodka was launched in 2019 with the aim of promoting the brand’s commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment. The campaign showcases the brand’s use of sustainable ingredients, water conservation efforts, as well as environmentally friendly production methods.
The primary aim of the campaign, which lasted for 8 months, was to increase social engagement on Instagram and Twitter, as well as to shed light on all the efforts Absolut dedicated to promoting sustainability. Over the course of the campaign, the brand collaborated with 95 influencers of different sizes, who created 612 posts. The company organized a series of events in different locations to create a unique brand experience for creators and their followers.
Overall, the campaign generated 68.4M total impressions, 7.714M views, and 8.6M total combined engagements, and went on to become the Gold Winner for the Best Food and Drink Campaign at the 2020 Influencer Marketing Awards.
Key Takeaway: Absolut collaborated with creators to spread the word about an important issue — the need for sustainability — and shed light on all the efforts the company is taking to do the right thing.
Dunkin’ Donuts: #CharliXDunkinContest
In their effort to promote their donuts and beverages, Dunkin’ Donuts collaborated with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio in 2020.
However, instead of just Charli featuring herself holding a Dunkin’ Donuts drink, the brand has deepened its collaboration with the influencer on several fronts. Firstly, Charli posted a video of herself on TikTok ordering products from Dunkin’ Donuts. The brand went as far as to temporarily rename the influencer’s signature drink as “The Charli” on their website and app. This gave almost instant results, as the very next day the brand witnessed a 57% increase in app downloads and a 45% rise in cold brew sales.
Lastly, the fans were encouraged to participate in the #CharliXDunkinContest by recreating a popular Charli moment. At the end of the challenge, five lucky winners received a virtual hangout with Charli.
Key Takeaway: By collaborating with Charli so thoroughly on several fronts, and creating a fun little challenge, Dunkin’ Donuts managed to create hype around its products.
Sport/Fitness Brands Collaborations
The sports and fitness are one of the leading industries on Instagram, benefitting from brand collaborations with relevant influencers. Here are a few examples of sports and fitness brands doing influencer marketing right.
Fiji Water: Bodyworewhat
You may know Fiji Water, but did you know that in brand collaborated with Danielle Bernstein, who is perhaps better known by her Instagram account Weworewhat, to craft one of the most effective collaborations of 2017?
Fiji Water, which was looking to position itself as a beverage of choice among body- and health-conscious people, saw Bernstein, who at the time had 150,000 followers, as the perfect choice for a brand collaboration. The duo came up with the #bodyworewhat campaign, in the frames of which the team shot 8-minute workout videos with Bernstein and her trainer, sharing them across social media and generating the engagement and awareness Fiji Water was looking for. The campaign was a huge hit among Bernstein followers and helped to showcase Fiji Water’s dedication to the people putting their health as a priority.
Key Takeaways: Fiji Water adopted the approach of crafting truly useful and valuable content, even if it took more resources, to showcase that it cares about the well-being of its audience, and this greatly resonated with them.
Gymshark: #Gymshark66 Change Your Life Challenge
The fitness clothing giant Gymshark launched a campaign called #Gymshark66, the aim of which was to motivate people to change their lives by forming positive habits. The campaign leveraged the idea that it takes 66 days to form a habit, and asked the people to “try their best for 66 days” to change their lives for the better.
To kick off the first campaign on 1 January 2021, Gymshark worked with fitness industry influencers as well as its brand ambassadors, to spread the word about the challenge. For example, the main promo video of the campaign featured Jessica Olie, a yoga and fitness influencer and a Gymshark ambassador.
The brand asked people to use the hashtag #Gymshark66 to share their journey and progress pictures. It also encouraged users, especially those who were new to fitness and didn’t know where to start to download the Gymshark app for more guidance, thus subtly marketing their products.
The campaign was a huge success, so much so that Gymshark launched a video series called “Stories of the 66” where people told about their 66-day journey and the progress they made. Since its initial launch in 2021, #Gymshark66 became an annual campaign.
The campaign generated 240 million views, and there are now more than 800,000 posts under the #Gymshark66 hashtag.
Key Takeaway: Gymshark understood the pain point of its existing and potential audience (the hardship of getting started with working out) and leveraged it by offering a relatively simple solution of giving it a try for 66 days, a relatively short amount of time. The campaign also helped to build a community devoted to each other and to the brand.
Other Brand Collaborations
Sprint: Live Unlimited
Sprint, the telecommunications company, launched its #LiveUnlimited campaign in 2017. The idea behind the campaign was to promote the idea that people should be able to live their lives to the fullest, without limitations.
Series of TV commercials presenting different individuals engaging in their favorite activities were the centerpiece of the campaign. The ads were accompanied by the hashtag #LiveUnliminted.
Sprint used the same hashtag to also launch the campaign on social media to encourage people to share their own stories of living unlimited using the hashtag #LiveUnlimited. The campaign featured influencers with massive social media presence, including YouTuber Lele Pons and Elite Daily founder Gerard Adams. The campaign also included experiential marketing elements, such as pop-up events where people could participate in various activities and share their experiences on social media.
The campaign was well-received by customers and industry experts alike and significantly helped Sprint to improve its brand image and market position.
Key Takeaways: By collaborating with influencers, singers, and entertainers, and investing considerably in social media, Sprint, which was struggling to get its share of the telecom industry, positioned itself as a “young” brand and managed to garner the interest of millennials, who resonated with their message.
Audible is an Amazon-owned audiobook subscription service, through which people can subscribe and listen to audiobooks of their choice.
In 2017, Audible rolled out its #AudibleAnywhere, in the frames of which it collaborated with micro and nano-influencers. The goal of the campaign was to highlight that with Audible, people could read books and learn wherever they go.
Influencers shared personal stories and anecdotes about their experience with Audible and audiobooks in general, some serious, some sprinkled with some humor, such as telling stories of the time they got so engrossed in the audiobook that they missed their subway stop. The overall aim was to showcase the flexibility and convenience of Audible’s services.
Key Takeaways: Regular people and influencers usually share the same interests, and the campaign successfully managed to convey this. By sharing their concerns, stories, or experiences, influencers could make themselves more reliable, and people saw first-hand how exactly they can benefit from Audible.
What is brand collaboration?
Brand collaboration with an influencer is a marketing strategy when a brand and a creator come together in the frame of a specific campaign to jointly promote a product or a service. The idea is to leverage the strengths of both parties and create a partnership that will benefit both parties. For example, through a successful brand collaboration, influencers can increase their visibility and reach, build a portfolio, and earn an income, while brands access the audience of the influencer, thus increasing their reach, and brand recognition, and eventually boosting sales.
How do you get collaboration from brands?
There are several ways influencers can get brand collaborations, but the place to start is by building a strong personal brand and establishing yourself as a credible authority in the niche you’ve chosen. For this, you need to be sure of what industry you are targeting (fashion, sport, cooking, science, etc.), and then build a following around high-quality, valuable, engaging, and relevant content, and engaging with the followers. Once you have an initial presence, start reaching out to brands and offer them partnerships. Make sure to also contact other influencers, and offer them collaborations that will improve the visibility of you both.
What is the objective of brand collaboration?
The main objective of the brand collaboration for the brand is to improve its visibility by getting in front of the following of relevant influencers. Depending on the campaign, the desired result can be event promotion, brand recognition, increased reach, or boosted sales.
What kind of brand collaborations are there?
There are several types of influencer-brand collaboration, and each can be a good fit depending on the final goal. Some of the main types of brand collaborations are one-time sponsored posts, long-term brand partnerships (known also as brand ambassador programs), affiliate programs, as well as collaborations to jointly create products, such as clothing or skincare lines.