The not so legendary Nike x Tiffany collaboration

By Kashish Kalia

March 8, 2023

5 mins read


The not so legendary Nike x Tiffany collaboration

By Kashish Kalia

March 8, 2023

5 mins read


Around a month and a half ago, we all heard the rumours about potentially the biggest collaboration of the year: Tiffany x Nike. What followed was a saga in itself: the teaser, early reactions, brand campaigns, leaked images, the (not so) legendary reveal and post-launch commentary. From excitement, and confusion, to disappointment there has been a plethora of emotions and discussions around the now-touted: not-so-legendary collaboration. 

 

Partnerships in the luxury industry are not uncommon, but the reaction to this partnership has taught us one thing. Consumers are not settling for anything short of exceptional. Let’s have a look at what makes an exceptional partnership through the lens of Nike and Tiffany, and what they have done wrong or right…

 

 

 

Objectives for Partnerships

 

When partnering, brands need to be crystal clear about 2 things:

 

  • The commercial outcomes they want to achieve

  • The consumer needs they want to address

 

There are clear commercial reasons for Nike and Tiffany to partner.

 

Through the partnership, Nike can sell its products at a premium rate, priced at $400. The collaboration Air force1 costs 4 times as much as the normal Air force1!

 

Whereas, Tiffany can reach out to Nike’s younger, wider, and more ‘male audience’. One they have been trying to appeal to since the brand’s takeover by LVMH in 2021. To achieve this, they got LeBron James to post about the collaboration in a custom Nike x Tiffany jacket!

 

 

 

But the waters get muddy when we start looking at how well the brands are addressing consumer needs.

 

For Nike consumers, the need is status: making a statement brought by Tiffany as a luxury brand.  For Tiffany’s consumers, there is a clear disconnect. The accessories launched like the whistle and silver shoe brush seem to be attention-grabbing rather than serving any kind of need, from a product or status perspective. Tiffany does not seem to have the right products for the new audience they are trying to reach. If a consumer buys a pair of Nikes and suddenly decides to check Tiffany out. Will they find something they like? I suspect that the answer might be no. 

 

For this reason, consumers are not holding back. Many are calling the collaboration as gimmicky and not rooted in purpose. Due to unaddressed customer needs, it is no surprise that most criticism for this partnership is towards Tiffany rather than Nike.

 

Measures of Success

 

Let’s explore the measures of success for Nike x Tiffany.

 

For Tiffany, the biggest value driver is reach. As mentioned above, by collaborating with Nike, Tiffany can reach a broader audience base and engage (if not secure) a younger audience. 

 

Nike is a veteran in the collaboration game and has successfully partnered with luxury brands before. For example, the limited edition Dior x Air Jordan 1 was the biggest Nike release ever. The microsite for the shoes received five million hits (625 X as many people as the 8,500 total pairs that were available). Leading to “best of” lists across the world of sneaker media. Many shoes selling from $7,000 to $13,000 on aftermarket sites, it was an unabashed success, for both Dior and Nike. Firmly cementing the Nike Air Jordan 1’s status as a luxury item. 

 

Thus for Nike, success lies in both the hype it can create as a successful collaborator and the commercial value they derive from this reputation. The value comes from both the sale and resale value of the product. Even though the Tiffany collaboration has been touted as less innovative. Nike keeps proving that in an industry where there is little scope for disruption, they will always keep doing something new. 

 

 

Conclusion

 

There is immense power in partnerships in the current economic climate. Brands have always been and even more so now, stronger as a collective. Nike and Tiffany are two inspiring brands, however, they might have missed the mark. Simply because they entered into a partnership driven by commercial desire rather than understanding customer needs.

 

Consumers are starting to see through partnerships and there is a genuine need for brands to measure the value they can add to customers’ lives. Simply put, brands need to ask themselves one thing:  Are we building the right kind of partnership, to meet a customer need?

 

And as for Tiffany and Nike, I guess we’ll soon discover if there is a genuine customer need or not.  If there is, we’ll see it in their commercial performance when the shoes get released on the 8th of March….watch this space!

 


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