Airline + Fashion? How Unlikely Partnerships Bring New Customers

Today, Virgin America flight attendants debut their new uniforms, designed by Banana Republic.  Flyers can buy items from the new looks right from their seats, and Banana has put a full line of airline-inspired clothing in their stores.  (Read more about it here.)

This may strike you as an odd partnership… an airline and a clothing store???  The reason it works is that the two businesses share similar customers.  Banana Republic is betting that many of Virgin’s passengers will appreciate the styles, and buy them in-flight or come into a store.  And Virgin gets a great new look for its team, likely at a discounted price from Banana (in exchange for the publicity value).  What a great win-win!

How to Make Your Own Unlikely Partnerships

Who could you partner with in your business?  To answer this question, first ask, “What other products or services do my customers like to buy?”  Think about your customers’ demographic, lifestyle, likes and dislikes. 

Once you have a few things in mind, then brainstorm how you might be able to work with them.  In the Virgin/Banana example, one company made a product that the other company used in their customer-facing operations.  Could that work for you?  Or maybe a cross-promotional event?  My gym knows that its members like to eat healthy, so every month the gym invites local healthy restaurants to cater free appetizers in the gym lobby.  The restaurant gets its name out to potential new customers, and the gym offers a fun perk to its members.  Another win-win.

In the comments below, let me know what partnership ideas you have!  Or what you’ve tried or seen that worked well.

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