Celebrity endorsements of days gone by are no longer relevant — they’ve been replaced by brand partnerships. A recent deal between Beyoncé and Adidas to collaborate on Beyoncé’s Ivy Park brand is one of the most notable recent partnerships like this.

This move comes as Adidas is trying to attract more women in the lucrative athleisure space. Ivy Park was initially launched by British retailer Topshop in 2016 before Beyoncé purchased it. The singer now plans to contribute creative and design ideas while Adidas handles production and distribution.

The Beyoncé-Adidas partnership isn’t an entirely new concept, but it does represent a shift in how brands approach these collaborations. Executives and advertisers should track this partnership closely because it could provide a road map for how all companies can build their brands.

What Celebrity Partnerships Bring to the Table

In the past, companies would pay a well-known actor or athlete a few million dollars to feature them in TV spots and on billboards. All of these advertising efforts came from the company itself, and there was often a strange disconnect between the endorser and what he or she was endorsing. Think of Peyton Manning selling auto insurance — it doesn’t feel like a natural fit.

The Beyoncé-Adidas partnership takes a different approach, though. Adidas is not paying Beyoncé to endorse its activewear. It is paying her to design the clothes in a style that reflects all of the fresh and exciting qualities of one of the world’s most popular entertainers. In this way, wearing the clothes becomes less about dressing in a casual-chic style and more about becoming like Beyoncé, something the average pair of Adidas leggings can’t claim to do. Adidas now has Beyoncé fans interested in what they should be wearing to connect with her, not just her music.

Another advantage influencer partnerships have over basic endorsements is that they encourage organic promotion. The celebrity partner can share about the product or service on social media profiles (most fans will discover the Ivy Park brand through Beyoncé’s Instagram profile, not a TV spot). Ultimately, this strategy is about integrating products and influencers, not just reaching consumers through traditional, less dynamic means.

The best historical example of a creative partnership like this is the one between Michael Jordan and Nike. The iconic Air Jordan sneakers felt like a product of the legendary athlete himself, not just the company sponsoring him. On top of that, watching Jordan play in the shoes made an even more powerful impression than any Nike advertisement ever could. By being so tied to the product’s creation and execution, the influencer can integrate it into his or her life in a compelling way.

Lots of brands work with celebrities or influencers, but few develop true partnerships. Mountain Dew, for instance, pays for ads on NASCAR driver Chase Elliott’s car. But think how powerful it could be if it paid him to be a part of creating a Mountain Dew drink instead? Fans would flock to try it because it would feel authentic and novel. More than that, it would let consumers live vicariously through a celebrity they respect and admire.

In an era when most attention is on social media and people form deeply personal relationships with celebrities through those platforms, working with influencers is a smart strategy. They have the respect and attention of your target audience, so forming a partnership and offering them creative freedom is an effective way for brands to elevate their images and promote their products. Just as importantly, this strategy offers an important inroad to the maze of omnichannel marketing.

Extending Your Brand in Every Direction

One of the biggest challenges for today’s marketers is trying to reach consumers across dozens of different channels and platforms. Working with celebrities and other influencers eliminates a lot of the guesswork because people flock to them automatically. Here are a few examples of how you can use partnerships to span the omnichannel marketing world and bring creativity and authenticity to your brand:

  • Find the right partnership. Any company, from one that sells athleisure to one that sells insurance, can leverage partnerships, but those influencer partnerships need to be with the right person. That could be a global celebrity or someone with a small but loyal Instagram following. The important thing is that the partner speaks to your target audience and fits into your marketing budget.
  • Speak to followers. Instead of trying to align a celebrity’s image with your own brand or message, do just the opposite by using a social listening tool to explore what the influencer’s followers are talking about. Those insights will help you ensure you’re engaging with the audience instead of simply demanding its attention.
  • Be cohesive. The key to omnichannel marketing is to be cohesive across platforms and devices. So if your partner is active on YouTube, make it part of your strategy to produce videos, too, and create synergy between your efforts.
  • Commit to metrics. With any new marketing effort, it’s easy to resist goal setting and benchmarking because you’re afraid of failure. But then there’s no way to measure how campaigns are really going. If you’re confident in the campaign, track the five to seven metrics that matter most to your goals on an ongoing basis.
  • Look beyond sales. Tracking sales is important, but if you’re trying to raise brand awareness, it might be more important to track reach and engagement. Staying on top of social listening is important for the same reason. You need to look beyond the bottom line to see the true success or failure of the campaign.
  • Embrace data. Research shows that 77% of companies with strong omnichannel programs utilize data across channels, whereas only 48% of companies with weaker programs do the same thing. Collecting, storing, and analyzing as much data as possible is crucial for using an omnichannel strategy in your brand partnerships.

While the Adidas-Beyoncé partnership is not a guaranteed hit, it certainly seems like a likely success. Luckily, it doesn’t take Beyoncé’s star power for a celebrity partnership to work — all it takes is a willingness to let the influencers be your creative partners, influence your audience, and provide power to your brand.

Read more: Check B2C Contributor Profile: Jason Brigham