Top-Performing Brand Collaborations and the Marketing Strategies Behind Them

Dash Hudson
4 min readMar 8, 2021

Few things are more exciting to fashion followers and marketers alike than watching two of your favorite brands team-up. While the fashion industry weathered many ups and downs in the last year, it also saw unique capsule collections and unlikely mashups from huge names. Any great marketer knows that with the right social strategy, the reach, brand awareness, and engagement that come from the power of combining forces can be huge. From streetwear to luxury fashion, we took a look at some of the most notable collaborations of last year, the strategies behind them, and how fans on Instagram reacted.

Crocs x Drew House

Justin Bieber and Crocs are the harmonious duo you didn’t know you needed but somehow just fits. The yellow Crocs, complete with custom Drew House Jibbitz, sold out almost immediately last fall and a Croc black market was briefly formed. This collaboration highlighted the importance of ensuring that the face of a collaboration is a brand fit and aligns with your target audience. Justin Bieber, who had been previously photographed in Crocs multiple times, was a natural match making the collaboration exude authenticity on social media. On Instagram, the collaboration was a smash hit with fans, seeing the highest average engagement of any other brand collab examined.

Image via Crocs on Instagram

Gucci x The North Face

Luxury and recreation wear united in 2020 with the Gucci and The North Face pairing. The contrast created a window of accessibility within consumer budgets and drummed up an insane demand for the glamping inspired collection. Creatives behind this collaboration took a guerilla-style approach, with large murals appearing on the sides of buildings in major cities including Milan, Hong Kong, London and New York. High-profile figures such as Billie Eilish, A$AP Rocky and Jared Leto were photographed in pieces from the collection and posted across various social channels. To no one’s surprise, it received tons of buzz on Instagram, reaching more users than any other pairing.

Image via Gucci on Instagram

Prada x Sotheby’s

Joining forces for a good cause is something everyone can get behind. Prada and Sotheby’s did just that last October when Prada auctioned off items from it’s Milan FW20 shows via Sotheby’s, with the proceeds benefiting UNESCO’s education initiatives. In this unique brand collaboration, the fashion house stressed the importance of using fashion to affect change, auctioning off everything from the garments to the runway decor. Speaking to marketing strategy, the campaign generated tons of buzz via press mentions and a handful of social posts by Prada. Together, this duo reached 64M Instagram users, +242% more than the luxury industry weekly average.

Image via Prada on Instagram


New York streetwear meets luxury automobiles? In a forward-thinking move, KITH and BMW teamed up to create both a line of racing-inspired clothing and a custom red whip. This was a unique approach to collaboration with both brands designing a branded product for the other. KITH owner, Ronnie Fieg, kicked off the marketing foundation of the project by telling the childhood story behind the collaboration through a series of Instagram posts. BMW then jumped in on social, echoing the true meaning behind the collaboration and emphasizing the importance of using social as a means to tell your brand story. The multi-faceted experience saw +129% higher engagement than the fashion industry average and +18.8% higher engagement than the automotive average.

Image via Kith on Instagram

The Power of Teaming Up

Finding the right match for your brand collaboration can be tricky but ultimately rewarding in terms of ROI. The organic reach, engagement, and community building that can come from pairing up with an authentic fit must be steered by the right marketing strategy that fits the collaboration. While we eagerly await the next brand mashup, check out Dash Hudson’s Fashion Industry Instagram Benchmarks.

Header image: @gucci

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Dash Hudson

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