The X factor: How brand collaborations and limited editions offer exclusivity and superior valuation of a product

At the 2023 Oscars, Ruth E Carter won the best costume design for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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Ruth E Carter, who won the best costume design award at the 2023 Oscars, collaborated with Indian fashion designer JJ Valaya for Queen Ramonda's costumes (above) in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

At the 2023 Oscars, Ruth E Carter won the best costume design for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The 62-year old designer collaborated with JJ Valaya to work on luxurious fabrics, elegant details, inspired prints and timeless embroideries to define actor Angela Bassett’s character Queen Ramonda’s costumes.

Wakanda Forever is a recent example of great brand collaboration. Collaborations offer exclusivity, superior valuation, brand recognition and better sales. For instance, Campbell’s limited edition soup cans in 2012 celebrated the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s 1962 famed work of soup. The soup brand introduced 32 Campbell’s limited edition cans of condensed tomato soup with labels derived from Warhol’s pop-art style in eye-catching orange, blue, pink and teal. The cans were produced under licence from The Andy Warhol Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation for the promotion of visual arts, and were exclusively available at most Target locations in the US for $0.75 per 10.75-ounce can, as per the brand website. It is estimated that the cans with the artist’s images were sold out in a few days of launch.

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Collaborations increase brand visibility and exclusivity that help brands ace their marketing campaigns and strengthen partnerships. Examples of brand visibility and exclusivity are: Adidas Originals brand ambassador and Gucci boy Ranveer Singh launched the Adidas x Gucci collection crafted with future-conscious material fabrications, including polyester, cotton and viscose sportswear products. Tata CLiQ Luxury, a premier luxury lifestyle platform, partnered with interior designer Gauri Khan to launch her brand Gauri Khan Designs on the platform. Celio, a French menswear brand also launched an exclusive Batman Collection with Batman symbol monogrammed T-shirts, hoodies and jackets.

A successful collaboration of a marketing campaign and partnership is Tata and IPL title sponsorship, for a whopping amount of over Rs 670 crore, bagged at a time when it launched its ‘super app’ TataNeu to expand its digital footprint in 2022.

Collaborations also promote collectors’ items. Following the tragic death of American basketball player Kobe Bryant, Nike partnered with Bryant’s family to honour his legacy, and focused on championing a new generation of fans and encouraging youth participation in sport. The first new shoe from the partnership, the Kobe 6 Protro ‘Mambacita Sweet 16’, honours Gigi Bryant, the player’s 13 year-old daughter, who, along with her father and seven others, died in the tragic helicopter crash in 2020. The profits from the shoe will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

On the other hand, a limited edition is defined as a work of art, such as a book, which is only produced in very small numbers, so that each one will be valuable in the future. Limited editions are successful as they instill a sense of fear of missing out (FOMO) in the target customers and the success of limited editions comes from their desire to ignite a hunger for the luxury of uniqueness.

“Creating a limited-edition product/campaign helps brands create a sense of scarcity and exclusivity. It provides die-hard fans, consumers a rare opportunity to express their love for the brand. It’s even better when limited edition products are collaborations between two brands,” says Sharmin Ali, CEO and co-founder, Instoried, a deep-tech and AI-based content intelligence platform.

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When a product is in low supply, it generally leads to higher demand and a greater sense of interest in the product. It is basic economics at play. And the same philosophy applies even to limited-edition products. The concept isn’t just product-based or industry-specific. “It’s mainly determining what customers want and tapping into the urgency of that desire. The success of such a strategy relies on when there is a clearly defined objective,” says Anshul Sharan, co-founder and CEO, Elever, a personalised, goal-based investing app.

Gold player Augmont launched a 24-karat limited edition coin minted by the India Government Mint (IGM) to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence. This coin is dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel with the Statue of Unity and the logo of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav engraved on each side.

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First published on: 19-03-2023 at 00:05 IST
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