Feb 16, 2022


by Jason Richardson

When Two is Better than One

We have all heard the old saying “two minds are better than one”, and within the ever-changing retail world it continues to be increasingly obvious just how much brands have to gain by working together. When done right, creative retail and brand partnerships have the potential to deliver both revenue and customer growth.  

Here are just a few ways successful brand partnerships are elevating today’s retail experience and creating a win-win(-win) for brands (and customers).  


Some of the best brand partnerships allow both brands to quickly access an expanded target audience; an effective way to gain new, brand loyal customers. 

It’s likely that you have recently seen at least one example of a big box retailer partnering with a smaller established brand…like Target’s collaboration with Levi’s. In 2020, while most retailers were in COVID crisis mode, Target teamed with Levi’s on a new ‘store-in-store’ concept as a way to introduce their signature, high end Red Tab denim to Target’s shelves. This partnership has continued to grow, now offering 100 exclusive Levi’s products that you cannot get anywhere else, including dog beds, pajamas, and even furniture. 

Target’s customers now have yet another reason to visit their stores and Levi’s can tap into this colossal customer reach, exposing their brand outside of their existing target market. 


Shared resources enable brands to expand their product and service offerings and while extending the reach of their brand messaging, which can be extremely powerful for both brands and diminish the risk of doing it alone.  

The ability to offer a product and/or service that your brand doesn’t already offer is one component of an effective brand partnership. Target’s recent partnership with Apple is a perfect example.  Target team members in select Target stores enjoy a more enriching experience through Apple’s offering of specialized training for them, and dedicated space for Apple products in those same stores doubles its footprint. This new space includes upgraded lighting fixtures and displays for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, and Apple TV, along with other Apple accessories, getting Apple products in front of, and in the hands of, more consumers while simultaneously building on Target’s strength as a go-to destination for consumer electronics. 

This collaboration has extended beyond the brick and mortar into the digital experience as well, where guests on or the Target app now enjoy a branded Apple experience through an extended assortment of Apple products. 


Access to a larger collection of customer data, which can be leveraged to learn about the demographics, interests, and shopping habits of different audience segments, can help focus marketing strategies to more specifically message and reach these consumers. 

A good example of this can be seen in the partnering of long-time, direct competitors Best Buy and Amazon. While their relationship began with Best Buy selling a few Amazon products like Kindle and Echo, it expanded significantly when Best Buy became the first retailer to offer Amazon’s Fire TV in a brick-and-mortar store. This partnership is growing again, with Best Buy beginning to include Fire TV’s operating system on a number of its in-house brand TVs; a smart move since research indicates that shoppers are reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars on a television that they cannot check out in person first. This allows Amazon to leverage the area of Best Buy’s sales floor that is dedicated to displaying high-end televisions. 

This example is especially interesting if you think about the fact that some analysts predicted Amazon might purchase Best Buy outright, potentially putting them on the same path as the now defunct Circuit City and Radio Shack. Instead, Amazon was able to leverage the benefits of Best Buy’s retail footprint through creative brand partnering. 


Ultimately, successful brand partnerships provide opportunities to increase exposure to new markets and revenue streams. Target’s partnership with LEGO on a limited-edition lifestyle collection that was launched just in time for the 2021 holiday shopping season is a great example. The nearly 300 items included in the collection reimagine the iconic colorful bricks to brick-inspired sweatshirts, color-blocked jackets, fanny packs, storage boxes, and tumblers, opening up new markets for LEGO and increasing sales for both brands. 

More and more of today’s customers have an expectation for one-of-a-kind retail experiences, like those created through successful brand partnerships that go beyond what either brand could offer on their own. When done right, these mutually beneficial collaborations are proving to be an appealing way to open businesses up to whole new worlds or opportunities and create more engaging retail experiences. 


Now that you have seen what others have achieved through partnering with other brands, have you ever wondered how those two brands came together? Executives in marketing and product activation teams draw from research and insights, often derived from “visioning” sessions. These open-format collaborative workshops, aided by virtual whiteboard programs like Miro, have expanded and democratized creative collaboration, resulting in the proliferation of new collaborations we are experiencing right now. Little can help walk you through this process and open the door for new opportunities to explore in 2022 and beyond. 


Jason Richardson

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