Kanye West – coming soon to an IKEA near you?

BIG Partnership account manager, Emma Glacken, touches on Kanye West’s latest bid to collaborate with IKEA and discusses how, when chosen wisely, collaboration can make for successful campaigns.

Poor Kanye West has needed a break from all the Kim Kardashian and Taylor Swift Snapchat drama of late. So, he did what every normal person does when life gets too much and took a trip to IKEA.

However, since this is Kanye West, there was little chance of the trip ending with the trunk of the Maybach being filled with flat-pack furniture and a side of Swedish meatballs for little North. Kanye announced that he wants to design his own range for the furniture giant. Obviously.

Will it work? Will Kanye be able to design and create furniture that will fit within Ikea’s functional, affordable and mass-market appeal? And – perhaps most importantly – will IKEA want to have the controversial rapper affiliated with its brand?

One can only assume that IKEA is currently consulting, the same way all businesses should before embarking on a collaborative campaign, on whether it’s sensible for Mr West to come on board.

Properly managed, collaboration can be a very powerful tool. A collaborative campaign can be one of the most cost-efficient and effective ways to promote your business and increase your ROI.

It can seriously change the way people view your brand and allow you to build a relationship with companies whose customers you might otherwise have struggled to reach, who already trust your collaborative partner and who, in turn, might be more likely to trust you.

So how do you strike the perfect balance and make sure the campaign is a win/win for both parties?

Pick your partner wisely

Before you enter a partnership think very carefully about the kind of brand that you would like to be associated with. Make a ‘wish list’ of brands who you would consider to be a good match for your own. Make it as aspirational as possible – even if you know you’re not going to realistically work with the likes of Coca-Cola for example, you can possibly identify a smaller company with similar ethos and values. You also need to think about the kinds of brand your customers would like to see you associated with, so consider what brands they like to buy, what their interests are and who they like to follow on social media. IKEA will no doubt be more concerned about what Kanye actually posts on social media.

Make sure you get YOUR message out there

Yes it’s a collaboration but you need to make sure your partner doesn’t become an overbearing drag on your own message. Having a firm idea of how you want the customer to feel or act when they see your campaign can help shape your strategy and keep you on track with your messaging. Make sure this is communicated with your collaborator, and of course be prepared to listen to what they want in return, so you can both agree on the best approach. What you want to avoid is feeling like Taylor Swift at the VMA’s in 2009 when Kanye crashed her award speech.

Be open minded, but don’t change your image

A collaborative campaign is a great opportunity for you to be creative, but remember that you should stay true to your brand image and values. You want to use this as an opportunity to show added value to your customers, not give them cause for concern that you’re changing your image to suit another company. And let’s be honest, even the Kardashians struggled to look good in the Yeezy collections.

Make sure your campaign reaffirms to your customers that you are a consistent and reliable company which is loyal to its customers and its business partners. A collaborative campaign should add to your business value, not jeopardize it. If only Kanye came with an instruction manual, eh IKEA?