Tuesday Morning Focal Point

The Power of Collaborations – Make Partnerships Work


Recently I was in Tokyo and got a first-hand look at something that is currently trending in the fashion street wear industry. A “collab”. I was an early arriver at one of the most sought-after clothing line outlets in the world. Leading brands are joining forces and doing something unique; collaborations.

What’s a Collab?

A collab is a collaboration with a partner, and on this particular Saturday morning that I was in Japan, I went to experience a “drop”. I picked myself up a very exclusive clothing item.  These items are great to acquire, as they are unique and can be either worn and enjoyed or can be brought back to North America and resold for financial gain.  On this particular Saturday morning, BAPE was releasing a collab with Adidas.  Two very large and successful fashion companies getting together to leverage each other’s success and be even more successful.

Benefit of Collaborations

BAPE (A Bathing Ape) is a leading company particularly amongst youth looking for trendy street wear.  It’s right up there with Supreme, Gucci, and the like.  This company, like its competitors, does a weekly “drop”. This is where they will make available for sale (aka drop) new limited quantity products that you must be in person to buy.  As such, hundreds of people will line up for hours just for an opportunity to get into the store in hopes that something will be available when they enter.

There is a tremendous lesson in this regarding the power of strategic partnerships.  So often we are tempted to look at the competition as merely competition.  We want to be bigger and better which is just fine, however that can limit our thinking and strategy.  Sometimes it is far better to work with rather than against our competition.  Today, multiple leading fashion designers are doing collabs with others.  The result of the partnership is a whole lot more demand and a lot more profit to be enjoyed.WITH VS AGAINST

An Example of Collaboration

Some of our most successful clients in recent years have been those that have developed strategic partnerships and collaborations.  I work with one company for instance that all the President does with his time is go out and establish new partnerships.  These strategic partnerships have brought in more business than the company will be able to manage this coming year.  Partnerships and collaborations simply must be part of any business’s growth strategy.  There are many ways to grow a company, but collaborations must play a role.

Cameron’s Call to Action

  1. At your next strategy session with your strategic thinking council, talk about your competitors with a new lens and explore where there may be some untapped “collabs” to be considered.
  2. Review your overall growth strategy for this quarter, year and beyond. Does your growth strategy include intentional strategic partnerships?
  3. Determine which industry or sectoral relationships you already have in place that you may not be fully leveraging. Are there new collaborations you can seed that can bring about new product and business offerings?


Cameron is an Executive Coach and Consultant specializing in business growth and creating psychologically healthy workplaces.