Product brand mash-ups are so much fun! When companies join forces and come up with a hybrid between two disparate product brands, delight ensues. It’s always a curiosity to discover two well-known product brands juxtaposed on each other. Often times, it makes perfect sense. And sometimes, two seemingly unrelated products are married in surprising ways. But in both cases, when product brands collide to create a new customer experience, it broadens the appeal of a product and reaches out to a new crowd—the loyal fan-base of the partnering brand.
Take, for example, the just-released Moleskine Lego Limited Edition Notebook. Not only is there a real Lego on the cover, there are also delightful sketches and stickers inside that let your kid (or the kid in you) create his or her own Lego avatar. What better way to get younger people to think about buying a journal?
What’s also intriguing about the collaboration between these two industry leaders is the marketing behind their hybrid product. The video is a fun watch and does the job it’s supposed to do. It makes you want to buy one.
Here’s another great idea: infusing outdoor wear with bug repellent. ExOfficio promises 70 washings before your tick, ant, fly, chigger and no see ‘em protection washes out of your new BugsAway®shirt. Pretty handy for a walk in the woods. While the insect repellent brand is not promoted in this collaboration, somebody was thinking right when they added bug spray to outdoor clothing. That is, of course, if it really works.
We all now expect to see Starbucks at our neighborhood Barnes and Noble. And at the grocery store. But did you know you can now get a ceramic Starbucks travel mug designed by Band of Outsiders, an edgy, rebellious line of casual wear? According to the Starbucks website, “Inspired by [Band of Outsiders Designer] Scott Sternberg’s favorite coffee slang, drip, the one-of-a-kind mug features black or multicolored paint dripping down Starbucks® signature coffee cups.”
In other words, it’s pretty cool. Just like the Starbucks and Band of Outsiders brands.
Mixing Product Brands: Proceed with Caution
While a joint venture between product brands brings something fresh to the market, the strategy behind it must be undertaken with great care. Each company should consider its own customers and what type of impression the other brand will make on them. By joining two factions, a company may be at risk of creating associations that don’t serve their brand. While the intention is to create a ‘brand boost,’ it’s important not to compromise the integrity of one’s own product brand by aligning with a brand that might bring with it negative associations.
Back in the old days, giant conglomerates hoarded their brands and rarely ‘let anybody else in.’ But in the spirit of the global village, that doesn’t work anymore. A well-developed brand feels almost like a friend. And for most people, it’s a happy thing when your friends become friends with each other.