Business Partnerships

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Business Partnerships Part 1

A business partnership is a specific kind of legal relationship formed by the agreement between two or more individuals to carry on a business as co-owners. Despite a lot of partnerships in the world, to separate a normal business partnership from a world-class business we assume that a world-class business partnership consists of two or more world-class entities. The term ‘world-class’ can be defined as being one of the foremost and best of that type in the world. Applying this logic to a world-class entity, this would mean that a world-class entity is one that is reputable, respected and recognized all over the world. Hence, when two or more of these entities come together, we can refer to this as a world-class business partnership. World-class entities have the ability to remain on their own but long-term value and vision often prompt them to collaborate with others. This collaboration usually leads to mutually exclusive benefits to both parties. Below we look at 7 partnerships that we classify as a world-class business partnership.

Adidas and Kanye

21 time Grammy award winner Kanye West signed a deal with popular sportswear brand Adidas in 2014 for a reported $10 million dollar deal. This deal was preceded by a tumultuous exit from Nike in 2013 after spending 5 years designing foot wears for the brand. The Adidas and Kanye West partnership can be deemed successful even though it got off to a rocky start. Kanye’s initial shoe designs such as the Yeezy boost 350 and Yeezy boost 750 were sold out upon its release; however the same could not be said for his apparel releases. This led Adidas to withdrawing itself from Kanye’s future apparel production. After series of rumors about a crack in the relationship between Kanye and Adidas, Adidas showed its support for Kanye by agreeing a long term deal with the U. S rapper in 2016. This new deal saw Kanye given a dedicated team to work with on his YEEZY products. Since the release of Kanye’s first shoe, Adidas has seen its secondary sneaker market jump from 1% to 30% and also a 5% growth in North America.

GoPro and Red Bull

In 2016, American technology company Go Pro partnered with Austrian energy drink Red Bull on a multi-year deal. Haven worked alongside each other for years, both companies decided to become partners for mutual benefits and common goals. The multiyear deal would see both global giants partner on content production, cross promotion and product innovation and distribution across both Red Bull and GoPro’s digital distribution networks, including The GoPro Channel, Red Bull TV, Red and in the Red Bull Content Pool, Red Bull’s media service platform. Red Bull is expected to receive equity in GoPro, with GoPro expected to become Red Bull’s exclusive provider of point-of-view imaging technology for capturing immersive footage of Red Bull’s more than 1,800 media productions and events across more than 100 countries. After the announcement of the deal, GoPro saw their stock increase by 7%. In the future, the collaboration is looking to bring advanced technology to their exciting storytelling and marketing platforms.

H & M and Alexander Wang

Popular creative fashion director announced a partnership with Swedish fashion label H&M via Instagram on April 13, 2014. The Swedish brand expressed positivism and optimism in working with Wang after previously working with several high end designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson, Versace etc. The Alexander Wang/H&M collaboration was released on the 6th of November 2014 and was sold out in two weeks. H&M website was reported to have crashed on the day of the release due to server overload. Success of the collection was attributed to a host of reasons such as campaign and marketing, timeline and celebrity endorsements.

DHL and Auchan

The second largest supermarket operator in France, Auchan Retail entered into a partnership with DHL Global Forwarding in 2008. This partnership has brought vast amount of success to both parties in the deal which prompted a renewal of contract. During the partnership, DHL has managed more than 17,000 TEUs yearly for Auchan from origin countries such as China, Vietnam and Bangladesh to 14 destination countries including France, Russia and Senegal. This is greatly of help to by providing higher visibility as well as better control and predictability of their overall supply chain process. The head of operations DHL International Supply Chain France, Pascal Zakarias, was quoted to have said “Our dual dedicated control tower structure — Hong-Kong at origin and Dunkirk in France, at destination — remains a key factor of successful coordination of day to day operations with customer’s teams in Asia and France; it ensures on-time arrivals of Auchan’s shipments using the most cost effective mode,”

Bud Light and Tinder

Popular American style pale lager, Bud Light partnered with dating app Tinder to use its platform to attract a lot of milenials to its Whatever, USA party. The partnership which is called “It’s a Match” ads, will only be accessible by Tinder users who are 21 and older, It is expected to be seen in app while users are swiping on Tinder. Users of the popular app will be able to play, rewind and pause the video as they like, or follow a link to Bud Light’s external site to learn more on how to enter the contest. We assume that the success of this partnership for Bud Light is that by having access to 26 million Tinder users, Bud Light can select up to 1000 millennial for its Whatever, USA bash.

OpSec Security and NBA

Nearly 22 years ago, Opsec Security entered into an agreement with the NBA that saw it act like its Global Licensed Merchandise Security Authentication Partner. And in 2016, the NBA renewed its contract with Opsec due to the success of the partnership. The relationship has been maintained over the years as OpSec has been known to supply the NBA and the WNBA with exclusive authentication also providing security labels and hang tags which is uniquely serialized and can be traced back to the original manufacturer. "," said Ayala Deutsch, Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, NBA Properties has lauded the success of the partnership and praising Opsec saying. "OpSec has expertly packaged world-class security products with superior customer service. When we encounter unauthorized NBA products, we can rely on OpSec to work with us, providing technical expertise and other valuable information to help address the counterfeiting activity."

Toronto Raptors and Drake

Toronto native and rapper Drake was announced as the Team’s global ambassador ahead of the 2016 NBA All-Star games. Drake was appointed by the NBA Team to oversee re branding efforts and take the organization forward. Both parties have maintained their relationship over the years, with Drake having an annual tradition of ‘Drake Night’ which has been changed to Six game OVO Themed “Welcome Toronto” home games over the course of the season. Suddenly with the introduction of Drake, The Raptors seem to be of interest to the Toronto natives. We can assume that things have been going on well for both parties as the Raptors and Drake announced in January 2018 that there were plans in place to ‘elevate’ the partnership and take the collaboration further forward. The arrival of Drake has seen the popularity of the franchise increase skyrocket over the years and is expected to grow in the future. Popular Basketball players have applauded and commended Drake for his efforts in making the Raptors what it is today.

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Business Partnerships Part 2

World-class business partnerships, agreements between two highly successful companies who enter into a mutually beneficial relationship, can be formed for a variety of reasons including further developing technology, expanding marketing and audience reach, adding luxury to a product or improving customer experiences. Using precompiled lists and further research into each suggestion to ensure each partnership was current, we have identified eight such examples and provide a deep dive into our findings below.

Apple and IBM

First established in 2014, the partnership between Apple and IBM aim to make advances in the development of iOS mobile applications. Apple is well-known for producing products for individuals but had yet to break into the enterprise sector and achieve whole company adoption of its products. Therefore, the companies have teamed up to create IBM Mobile First for iOS including a suite of apps and technology solutions for enterprises. The app development process brings Apple's strengths in design together with IBM's data and analytics expertise to build a product that balances access to information and easy-to-use design. Companies then work collaboratively with the pair to build personalized business applications and as of 2016, 100 such applications had been created.

PayPal and Mastercard

In October 2017, the expansion of the partnership between PayPal and MasterCard to a global scale was announced. The aim of the collaboration is to optimize customer experiences, enhance customer choice and provide greater flexibility with online payment options. To do this, MasterCard is offered as a payment option alongside PayPal within the PayPal wallet and MasterCard can be chosen as a default payment method. Furthermore, the payment flow process has been improved to allow seamless access to money from MasterCard holders accounts through PayPal. Additionally, PayPal payments using a tokenized system will make physical point-of-sale transactions possible. Therefore, this partnership provides great benefits and technological advances to both parties.

Leica and Huawei

First announced in February 2016 and evident in the release of Huawei's P10 smartphone in April 2017, the partnership between camera brand Leica and mobile phone company Huawei is aimed at providing world-class advances in technology. Leica is known as a "legend" within the world of photography so the opportunity to incorporate their advanced lenses into Huawei smartphones provides a quality product that consumers and photographers alike will enjoy. Huawei is known for innovative technology so this partnership also provides Leica with a new audience and market for its optical expertise. For both companies, this collaboration is intended to help them stand out from the crowd and competitors by providing an outstanding and technologically-advanced product.

Macy's and Google

The partnership between Macy's and Google, through Google's Local Inventory Ads program, was first initiated in 2014 and continues today. The collaboration allows users on Google to search for items and seamlessly access Macy's inventory data to allow for easy in-store shopping. The program combines Google search, item descriptions and stock availability and Google Maps to show which stores stock the desired item. Macy's found that the adoption of the partnership provided a $6 return for each dollar invested in the program. It also helps to increase the retailer's online presence and drive customers in-store. For Google, there is a great deal of money to be made from such partnerships with giant, well-known retailers such as Macy's.

Louis Vuitton and BMW

World-class fashion designer Louis Vuitton teamed up with luxury automotive company BMW to produce a special set of travel luggage made to fit perfectly into the BMW i8 vehicle. Crafted from carbon fiber, the luggage epitomizes craftsmanship, innovation and leading-edge design, all characteristics that both brands specialize in. As stated by Louis Vuitton's Head of Special Orders, the collaboration presents the companies shared visions to express the art of travel. Again, the partnership provides advances in manufacturing technology and presents opportunities in new markets for each company.

Apple and Hermes

First established in 2015, the partnership between Apple and luxury apparel designer Hermes aimed to create a range of high-end straps for the Apple Watch. In 2017, four new designs were launched, each for sale in Hermes boutique stores and online on both the Hermes and Apple websites. Furthermore, the Apple Watch Series 3 features a watch face inspired by Hermes, featuring the Carrick font used by the famous brand. This world-class collaboration extends Apple's reach into the luxury apparel market and brings Hermes high-end design into the world of advanced technology, providing benefits to both parties.

Starbucks and Spotify

Starbucks has always placed importance on playing relevant and current music that appeals to customers so their partnership with Spotify is no great surprise. The collaboration allows users of Starbucks app to view the title and artist of tracks as they play in-store and to seamlessly add the songs to their Spotify playlists. Furthermore, Starbucks will also make their popular playlists available on Spotify. The partnership helps Starbucks stay relevant in the music world and allows Spotify to reach a new audience with Starbucks customers, as well as further developing customer experiences.

Ikea and Dreamworks

First established in 2014 but still in operation as of 2017, the partnership between world-renowned furniture designers Ikea and world-class storytellers DreamWorks has involved the joint production of animated short films that star the characters featured on Ikea's LATTJO range of children's products. The collaboration brings the companies shared vision of the importance of play to life and the value in telling and sharing exciting stories. The concept of bringing products to life in this way is an innovative one and further implements both companies within the children's product market.


We have presented eight world-class partnerships between well-known companies that have entered into a mutually beneficial relationship. These collaborations have been formed for a variety of reasons including further developing technology, expanding marketing and audience reach, adding luxury to a product or improving customer experiences.