Brands and Influencers: Collaborations That Work

Collaborations amongst brands, influencers, and celebrities are quite popular these days, but which ones get people truly excited? Having spent the past 5 years immersed in influencer marketing and influencer commerce, I’m often asked about the future of collaborations…are they a tired phenomenon or are we only at the beginning?

Earlier this month my company Iconery was acquired by Heartbeat, an influencer marketing technology that connects brands with real people to run influencer-style campaigns on Instagram. With over 200,000 Millennial and GenZs users, there was no better way to answer this question than by launching a survey. Each question gathered over 5,000 responses in 3 weeks.

Which collaborations excite customers?

The results: People are most excited to see collaborations between brands and influencers. Nearly half (49%) of the respondents chose this option. Collaborations between brands and other brands (19%) or brands with A-list celebrities (18%) were the other most exciting options.

5,101 responses gathered over 3 weeks in April 2019

Favorite brands and celebrities

Which collaborations generate the most heat? In the survey, Fenty by Rihanna was the top collaboration (28%) chosen by respondents. Adidas’ partnership with Beyoncé was next (23%). And the top brand-with-brand collaboration was Supreme and Playboy (7%). Worth noting: Only 4% of respondents felt collaborations were passé. The best collaborations bring together ingenuity, buzz, and fun brand awareness in a fresh way.

7,419 responses gathered over 3 weeks in April 2019

Brand comebacks

The popularity of the Supreme x Playboy collaboration is intriguing. Playboy is a huge, iconic brand which lost most of its buzz and brand equity over a decade ago. Perhaps this collaboration is a sign it’s poised for a comeback?

Also, this may be a trend we see more of in the future: Hot brands of today pulling up the brand equity of those famous brands of yesteryear which have lost their luster but still hold caché in pop culture. Look out for the Polaroids and Lowenbraus of the world to reappear.


Brands and consumers should be connected. Heartbeat gives everyday people a voice, transforming them into influencers, survey fanatics, and brand champions. Click here to learn more.