Partnering with brands

feat. @kerwinfrost

Some people think partnering with brands is very plug-and-play. But if approached the right way, and with a passion to collab, it’s a chance to form a long-term relationship, and perhaps even be part of the company’s history.


Align yourself with brands you feel a true connection with.

Know what the brand is about, and what you bring to the table.

Say no whenever you want to. Don’t compromise your voice.

Use the ‘paid partnership’ label to be transparent.

Hey, I'm Kerwin Frost. Hey, my name is Kerwin Frost. I'm here with Instagram to talk about partnering with brands and brand collaborations. I've collaborated with some brands, over the the past two years, I've done this without a big agency behind me, just mainly me and my wife. When partnering with brands, there are a couple of key points to look for. So we're gonna talk about that and a couple other things.

Forming a true partnership

Kind of as a creator, you're limited to so much access to kinda create, whether it's a sneaker, whether it's a pair of headphones, you can't necessarily do that alone. So what I love about collaborations is that side of adding to a company's history and kind of leaving your imprint. It is a partnership. You guys are creating something as one.

Preparing for success

Be really passionate about the company you're working with, but also know their history, and kind of know what you're adding to the conversation. Some people wanna collab with a brand, they kind of only see their vision, and something that I think I do very well, is understand kind of what the company would wanna see out of it from a creative, and also, how far could I go as a thinker? It can seem like you just kind of bring your idea to the table, and they green light it, but a lot of times, in order to get your idea approved in a collaboration and have a successful release or a partnership, I think a lot of that lies in figuring out what's the best way to communicate the language of what you guys are creating. My first Adidas shoe, they wanted me to work with the Superstar. I had also understood the importance and the history behind the Superstar, so I didn't wanna to just put a color on top of it, I wanted to change the genetics of the shoe and maybe tell the history of the shoe within that. So we made it five sizes bigger than your actual size but padded to fit your foot, and we called it the Superstuffed. But, that's just an example of not just doing it kind of to do it, and having something to say, adding something to the conversation.

Claiming your creative freedom

With starting a collaboration or a partnership, there's a couple key points that I look at, and the first thing that comes to mind is creative freedom. How much could I actually add to the conversation? I did this one soft drink ad, couple years back, and I got 0% creative freedom on it. And kind of ever since that day, it's always been the strongest thing I've asked for, and I wanna earn the trust, because I'm more interested in having a long term partnership rather than kind of like a one off. Another thing is kind of terms, am I getting approvals on kind of how I look in this? I don't wanna look crazy or not like myself in this thing, I wanna make sure that it is a equal collaboration, we're actually working on something together. So those are two major things that I feel like I look at.

Figuring out your rate

A big thing with starting a partnership is discovering what you should overall charge for your talent or self worth, and kind of where that stands. Think about how long it's gonna take you to actually create what you're creating with that brand. The number of posts that you're being asked to post on your page, how much control do you have on the stuff you're posting on your personal page, versus what they're sharing on their page. If you're making content, what's the usage rights? Are they putting it on a global campaign? Is this gonna be just an Instagram thing? Do you get to work with other brands? Do you get to release your own product during that time? And again, how much creative freedom do you get? You have to really understand kind of where you are in your career. With starting with Adidas, one of my main things, I more wanna create, and I'll sacrifice this and ask for it. Also understanding that you can negotiate these things is an important part of it. But then you have to make sure you have artist integrity. Don't do things you're not comfortable with, and don't feel like a deal's completely gonna be off the table because you turned one down. It's not just about receiving a check. Something's not right for you, you shouldn't just jump at it because it's offering X amount at the time.

Key takeaways

All right, so these are the key takeaways I want you to bring home with you when you're done watching this video.

1/ Number one, work with the right brand for you. Figure out what's important to you, and then stick with that, and then evaluate it when looking at brand partnerships.

2/ Number two, don't compromise creativity. Ask if they can make what you wanna make, and then see what the best way is to get to that place.

3/ Number three, don't feel bad saying no if it doesn't feel right to you. There's always gonna be another one.

4/ And number four, make sure you add that paid partnership label to the top of your post. Instagram requires that you disclose promotional content like branded collaborations with the paid partnership label.

5/ Lastly, make sure you align yourself with brands you see a actual connection with. It'll pay back in the long run when you look back, and there'll be more to come. Keep creating, my name is Kerwin Frost, thank you for listening. Follow me on Instagram.