Two heads are better than one. Three is a magic number. Aint no party like an S-Club party – and 5ive will make you get down now. There’s no escaping that people working together are better than people working in isolation. And that stands true for brands and marketing efforts too. Brand partnerships have been a longstanding staple with Events and Email or Direct marketing but the recent developments in social have allowed for much more integration between brands across a whole host of platforms and channels. That’s why the fourth in our series of Social Media Trends for 2015 is Collaborations, something that only the most savvy (and well-coordinated) brands are likely to benefit from).

Throughout this series we hope to highlight the practices, techniques and platforms that we see taking off throughout the year – each of them another rung on the ever-evolving ladder of social media innovation.

If you have anything to add please leave a comment below, or if you would like to discuss how we might help you introduce these functions as part of your wider marketing strategy, please feel free to get in touch at:

4) Collaborations

Increasingly, the most targeted way of finding endorsements for your brand is to reach out to key influencers within your core audience. These could be high profile bloggers, or popular boy bands like One Direction but equally they can be brands. Brand partnerships are often overlooked when it comes to social media but if an overlap in audience exists, who’s to say it can’t be beneficial for all concerned. In its simplest form this could be a 30 minute Q&A between subject experts, each highlighting the expertise in their particular field. At its most orchestrated, we’re talking about paid celebrity endorsement which may or may not now require full disclosure using #Ad (Ed. While recommended by the ASA it rarely seems to be followed or enforced). Realistically we’re talking about anything in between. If PR sets out to convey messaging through a third party, and brands have themselves become individuals then that also makes them worthy third parties for PR engagement.

One of the best examples of this has to be Tesco Mobile last year. It began with a public invite from a follower, asking for a response to their friend using TescoMobile as a put down. They reply with a jovial, approachable tone of voice and the conversation gets going: “She’s obviously going through a rough time” Mutual agreement quickly leads to a hero/sidekick equation: “Me and you against the world”… “No-one can stop us” …and then he even ends up saying “Anything for you TescoMobile!”

So seizing the opportunity, they ask him to “Put the kettle on” and that’s when another brand, Yorkshire Tea joins the conversation. An observer sees what’s developing and invites Jaffa Cakes to the party before eventually Cadbury get involved too.  It peaks with a slightly surreal moment of Jaffa Cakes singing S-Club Seven to the other brands before tailing off with a debate about whether they’re a cake or biscuit…

All in all, a perfectly coordinated love-in between highly recognisable brands, each using their unique tone of voice to contribute to a virtual social gathering. Not to mention the fact that each of them manage to demonstrate their key USPs in the process. This particular example is perhaps the most elaborate but it just goes to show how creative and ambitious this trend can be.

Photo via opensourceway/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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