In 2018, one of the world's biggest online fashion retailers, ASOS, launched a new brand, COLLUSION. The brand was designed to ensure that ASOS stayed relevant to a new generation, Gen Z. Gen Z may be young (still under 24), but they are arguably the smartest, most complicated, most cynical, most woke generation in history. And they are already spoilt for choice when it comes to fashion. There are 850 brands on the ASOS platform alone. So, we had to find a new way in.
We did this by creating a brand not just FOR Gen Z, but BY Gen Z. We hired six Gen Z artists, activists and tastemakers - the COLLUSION Collaborators - to help us shape the brand. But, collaboration is challenging and intense. Organisationally and culturally. It makes the typical approach to customer-centricity pale into insignificance. Collaborating with teenagers means discussing everything from scratch, rather than relying on received wisdom. There's little room for 'that's just the way we do it'. Sometimes that's incredibly powerful. Sometimes it's a waste of time. The strategic skill comes from deciding which is which.