Prompted by falling brick-and-mortar store traffic, the woes of retail, and Amazon’s looming threat, a growing number of brands are joining forces. It’s mostly a matter of synergy, the whole being more significant than the sum of its parts, but in the rapidly expanding world of American commerce, it’s a trend that seems to be taking hold.

Branding and fashion are joining forces in a big way. And not only are businesses in these areas booming but, as reports, other trends are joining forces with them, 149’s guide being one of them.

Buy It or Build It?

When companies are looking for ways to expand, most ask themselves, “Should we buy it or build it?” The answer to that question is usually pretty easy to answer.

If your company is a big brand and wants to attract a new customer segment, you could stretch and create a derivative. That can be dangerous since you could overextend your resources. This is especially true if you plan to move away from your current customer base. Sometimes, however, the strategy works, as in the case of one American apparel retailer that recently announced its plans to introduce a line of fashion products that infused with CBD that included as part of its pitch the claim to reduce soreness in wearers.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

There can be little doubt that 2020 was the year that brands and fashion merged and will probably continue to merge. As good as that new might seem, there is usually one question remaining. That is what will be left? Certain people will be sacrificed, especially when it comes to individual departments like HR and accounting, which are duplicates anyway.

Still, the bigger question is what the remaining company will look like. This is where brand value comes in since. Obviously, each company in a merger wants to be the surviving entity. Fortunately, the choice of who wins and who loses is usually apparent when it comes to brands apparent, even from the beginning. And in the case of management, what matters most isn’t the company, it’s the brand and the identity it takes with it.

Not a Cure-All

So, when you blend a brand with fashion, which comes out the winner? The customer, of course, when that merger is done right. The customer doesn’t care as long as they get what they want. Better yet, if the blending is done well, the transition will be transparent to the customer.

Of course, the result is that when things are done right, the customer experience will improve. Even with changes, things like brand story and product curation will continue to evolve. But there is also a marketing advantage when brands and fashion merge. The market is freed up and, more often than not, more and better products are introduced.

So, What Does Amazon Have to Do With This?

With companies changing forms due to merging, they usually still feel like a lion—Amazon—is licking its chops ready to devour them at any moment. And rest assured that the pressure won’t end anytime soon, but it should be realized that the most important difference is the planning that goes into a merger of brand and fashion that will determine who survives and for how long.