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Apple’s Most Successful Brand Collaborations

an awning showing Apple's Successful Brand Collaborations

(Editor’s note: Bold is taking a deep dive into technology giant Apple Inc. In case you missed it, you can read the last installment–on Apple’s most innovative products–here.)

Whenever two brands collaborate, it could be the ultimate business success or a waste of resources. But despite notable hits and misses, brand collaborations and partnerships rack up attention and interest from consumers of all ages. Yet, not all companies can make the best collaborations that bring in big money like Apple does. In its nearly five-decade history, the most valuable company worldwide has created some of the most successful brand collaborations in the 21st century. Here’s how they did it.

Successful Brand Collaborations in an Apple store
Apple’s most successful brand collaborations have managed to shape both brand and market.

In recent years, 71% of today’s consumers enjoy co-branding partnerships and marketing, finding these collaborations more worthwhile and exciting. Co-branding provides special editions, new collections, and more options that could generate income. In addition, 43% of clients and customers are more likely to purchase products from two brands they like. Apple considers all these numbers, but it’s the additional factors like company attributes, diversification, and history that make their collaborations more successful than most.

Apple X New York Times

Although The New York Times ended its partnership with Apple in June 2020, there’s no denying that both brands made the most of their time collaborating. Apple’s collaboration with the famous publication peaked during the launch of the first iPad. During its product launch, the company showed how the iPad could bring media to life, encourage more engagement, and open new windows of possibilities for getting daily news and updates.

The iPad was Apple’s answer to the laptop industry’s quest to create a tablet computer. Although the idea made the iPad more exciting and appealing to the public, most people only considered it for recreational purposes, like gaming, digital sketching, and e-book reading. To counter these presumptions, Apple worked with The New York Times, one of the most distinguished and established news publications worldwide, to show what their new product could do.

During their collaboration with the NYT, Apple got to buff up their brand’s reputation, increase the hype of their newest product, and turn the public’s idea about it. The partnership implied to the discerning audience that while the iPad was new and exciting, people could use it for other things besides fun and games. It’s also a gadget for businesspeople, professionals, and serious consumers.

someone using an Apple tablet in their office
Who will Apple collaborate with next? Whoever it is, it will be a well-thought out move.

Apple X Nike

The best Apple brand collaborations are long-lasting and strategic, which ensures their high-level success. One notable example is Apple and Nike, which started in 2006 and is still ongoing. Nike and Apple’s initial brand partnership goals focused on combining music and exercise with the iPod. But their recent collaboration now revolves around numerous health and fitness-related projects, including the creation of the Nike+Running app. The new Apple app allows users to track their runs and share them with friends and is also a new part of the Nike Health app suite. Due to this partnership, Apple has access to the other company’s massive customer base and legitimacy in the fitness market.

Apple and Nike’s collaboration began to help increase the iPod’s reach and range in the market in the 2000s. From this initial co-branding endeavor, Apple and Nike got to expand their customer base, gain customer loyalty, and enhance credibility across industries and experiences. In addition, it made their presence more noticeable in every industry.

What makes the Apple-Nike collaboration memorable isn’t its financial returns, but the trust that both companies transferred from one another to their consumers. It ensured buyers of their reliability and their products’ value.

Apple X Hermes

best Apple brand collaborations on phones, keyboards and whatnot
The best Apple brand collaborations leave you wanting to buy more than just Apple products.

In almost fifty years in the market, Apple has some of the most well-known business partners across all industries. But none of them could rival the collaboration the tech company did with Hermes. Co-branding results are always interesting, but whether they’ll be a success is the question. But Apple made it work in their favor, considering tech and fashion luxury goods were new in 2015.

Planning to dominate the smartwatch market with the Apple Watch, Apple strategically partnered with one of the world’s high-end fashion houses, Hermes. Although the product is ahead of its competitors, Fitbit and Pebble, Apple knew they needed more to ensure the unrivaled success of their smartwatch line.

The Apple-Hermes collaboration ensured that by merging and highlighting both companies’ best-selling features, Apple’s technology prowess and Hermes’ expert attention to detail and craftsmanship. The Hermes Apple Watch had promised and delivered their users a fashionable yet technology-forward timepiece that would not clash with their chic outfits. In addition, their partnership was also the blueprint of all tech and fashion collaborations, showcasing to everyone how to marry technology to other industries that people love, especially luxury fashion goods.

Apple X Celebrities

Although many brand collaborations in history are with celebrities, they’re now more in demand with the rise of influencer culture. Apple is no different from other companies in this area. The difference is that they focus their celebrity-driven marketing strategy by collaborating with not only A-list actors and musical artists but also other creative artists.

In their 2015 “Start Something New” campaign, Apple collaborated with 11 global artists and incorporated Apple products and apps in their work process. Darren Pearson and William Hundley, well-known photographers and two of Apple’s 11 collaborated artists, helped showcase the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus’ abilities by taking a long-exposure photo art and a vivid photo piece with photo editing apps.

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