📈 LEVERAGE

A simple rule for boosting your output

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A simple rule for boosting your output

Gucci is just one of the dozens of brands that the London skate brand Palace has officially collaborated with (Palace Skateboards / YouTube)

WHO’S NEXT?

Working on a project this week, my creative director partner brought the efforts of one company —the London-based skate brand Palace— to my attention.

The work really grabbed me.

Palace has collaborated with, by my count, over two dozen different brands, including Y-3, Crocs, Mercedes, Avirex, Adidas, Gucci, Reebok, Calvin Klein, JanSport, Salomon, Vans, New Balance, Evisu, Porter, Oakley, and more (including the classic British china brand Wedgwood).

It's often said that collabs are the currency of fashion. Palace's wide-ranging efforts —and the amusing ad campaigns that they’ve commissioned to promote them— really underscores this fact.

They’ve also made me think deeply about the concept of leverage.

LEVERAGE

It’s a phrase we often think of in the context of money, or high stakes negotiations.

But Palace offers a great example of what it means to leverage non-monetary assets. The home grown British skate brand is leveraging their own IP by hitching it to larger, older, and far more famous ones, like Mercedes and Gucci.

What can we learn from that?

And what, exactly, does leveraging non monetary assets mean? What does “leveraging time” or “leveraging knowledge” look like?

And are there ways in which we all can do it more effectively?

Let’s dive in, shall we?

THE BASICS

At its core, leverage involves utilizing available resources in a way that amplifies your potential gain.

While most commonly associated with money —ie., individuals or companies using other people’s money in order to amplify their returns, before paying the money back— the concept of leverage extends beyond cash.

THE WORLD’S MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE

Time is often cited as, hands down, the most valuable resource in the world.

So, what does “leveraging time” mean?

This might sound basic to some, but it more or less means that old cliché of working smarter, not harder.

Practically, leveraging time could mean delegating tasks (ie., paying others to do stuff, so you can focus on more high-impact/valuable activities). It could mean automation (ie., using tech to perform rote or repetitive tasks), or batch processing, a criminally underutilized tactic that simply means grouping similar tasks together in order to maximize efficiency (ie., reconciling your accounts/paying your bills on Fridays, or plowing through your emails at a set time each day, rather than sporadically/randomly as they come in).

DON’T FORGET KNOWLEDGE

But, of course, knowledge can also be leveraged. And we can do that in all sorts of ways, for instance, by teaching a paid class, setting up a webinar, starting a paid newsletter, or writing a business book.

Consulting for others also counts as leveraging knowledge, especially if you do it as a side hustle.

But leverage doesn’t have to mean getting paid. Creating systems based on your knowledge (ie., writing up some standard operating procedures, or detailed workflows) that can live without your constant and active involvement, counts as leveraging too.

BUT, WAIT. THERE’S MORE

Relationships can also be leveraged. That last sentence might sound deeply uncool. It’s not. The connections that you have built over time are an extremely powerful potential area of leverage that can change your career —or even your life.

Quote-unquote “networking” gets a bad rap, but it makes logical sense that building and maintaining relationships with other people can open all sorts of doors to opportunities that you wouldn't have had access to on your own.

Endorsements are another example of leveraging relationships. Asking for and receiving a sincere recommendation from a widely trusted figure or otherwise famous person can instantly elevate your product or service in many people’s eyes.

Collaborations (s/o Palace) are a hugely powerful way to leverage relationships —and the act of collaborating is not just for fashion brands. Merging complementary skills or audiences often leads to results that neither party could have achieved independently.

LONG LIVE THE TEAM

In thinking about this piece, I realized that sometimes non-monetary leverage is literally baked into a business model. I’ve experienced the benefits of one such example, first hand. Believe it or not, the traditional advertising industry offers a classic example of leverage in action.

Back in the day (and in many cases, still today), the creative lifeblood of an ad agency was made up of a two-person team: the copywriter and the art director.

Each of these creative pros brings a unique expertise to the table, one with words, the other with visuals. The synergy there seems obvious in hindsight, but it was really novel when Bill Bernbach introduced it at his newly-formed Manhattan ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach in the mid 1950s. The genius of this pairing is, of course, the output it generates.

The synergy of the copywriter and the art director’s combined skills produces work that is richer, smarter, often more nuanced, and generally of superior quality than what each one would generate if they were working solo.

Doyle Dane Bernbach’s clever, innovative 1960s ads for Volkswagen are widely understood to not only have transformed the car company’s image and business in the United States, but to have completely revolutionized the creative advertising industry.

The sheer power of this dynamic has always impressed me. The fact that it hasn’t been more universally adopted has always baffled me a bit: why don’t more industries adopt this dual-expertise model?

From my personal observations and experience, the equation is crystal clear: 1 plus 1 equals something exponentially greater than 2.

Exploiting leverage, as evidenced by Palace’s ever growing roster of brand collabs, isn't just a theoretical exercise. It's a roadmap to greater relevance —and revenue.

Could that formula work for you?

More:

Palace Barbour launches Friday 27 October »»

The best Palace collaborations of 2022 »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Thanks for reading.

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