Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

This unlikely brand partnership led to MAGICAL results! Find out how. [Tuesday: Return Driven Strategy]

December 19, 2023

Miles Everson’s The Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

One framework that has been helpful to me in my 30+ years of managing a business is Return Driven Strategy (RDS). 

According to Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo in the book, “Driven,” this pyramid-shaped framework is made up of 11 principles and 3 foundational elements that guide businesses to fulfill society’s needs.

Overall, the book is an insightful resource that will greatly benefit any company’s pursuits!

So, for today’s discussion, we’ll focus on the seventh principle of the RDS framework: Partner deliberately.

Read on if you want to learn more. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy

What first comes to your mind when you think of Sailor Moon”?

Magical transformations? 

Celestial guardians?

The eternal battle between good and evil? 

What about when you think of Jimmy Choo

Luxury shoes? 

Red carpets? 

High-end fashion?

In February 2023, manga and high fashion found common ground in an unexpected but delightful twist between these two names. Here, the brands struck gold in a unique and widely-acclaimed collaboration. 

Let’s delve deeper into how this partnership created something truly magical…

The Harmony of Jimmy Choo and Sailor Moon’s Fashion-Forwardness

“Sailor Moon” the manga follows the adventures of a schoolgirl-turned-celestial-guardian Usagi Tsukino, her magical feline companion Luna, and her squad of Sailor Guardians. Originally published from 1992 to 1993, the series was adapted into a hit anime, transcending cultural boundaries and resonating with fans of different ages and backgrounds.

Photo from Nerdist

“Sailor Moon’s”  beloved reputation, fan base, and commercial power has grown within the past 30 years. That’s why for its 30th anniversary, the manga-turned-billion-dollar-franchise announced a limited edition shoe line in collaboration with the luxury footwear company Jimmy Choo. Sailor Moon’s creator, Naoko Takeuchi, was happy with the partnership, explaining:

What has always been truly important to me is the youthful, pure imagination and power of the young girls. I believe that the Jimmy Choo brand also has these qualities.

At first glance, it may seem like manga and luxury shoes have little in common. However, both “Sailor Moon” and Jimmy Choo identified a shared appreciation for fashion-forwardness among their fan bases. 

A significant aspect of “Sailor Moon’s” appeal has always been the fashionable outfits worn by Usagi and her fellow Guardians in their everyday adventures. For years, fans have curated fashion pieces and shaped their wardrobes with inspiration from the Sailor Guardians’ looks. 

Jimmy Choo managed to tap into this deep well of affection by crafting shoes that captured the essence of each Sailor Guardian’s personality, style, and iconic colors.

Photo from JapanToday

For example: Makoto Kino a.k.a. Sailor Jupiter’s tomboyish personality and color scheme are represented by the green lace-up platform boots. Meanwhile, Usagi a.k.a. Sailor Moon’s feminine personality is mirrored in the bedazzled pink boots with a luxurious touch.

The variety in style and color in the shoe collection is a response to the diversity of the “Sailor Moon” fan base. Designer Sandra Choi, the creative director of Jimmy Choo, shared that the manga’s broad appeal was one of her motivations for venturing into this unique collaboration:

 “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon is a unique global phenomenon—a manga and anime that resonates, bridging cultures and languages, speaking to different generations, bringing us all together. That is what drew me to this project.”

Thus, from pump heels and platforms to patent leather loafers and bedazzled boots, the wide collection made sure to contain shoes that reflect every “Sailor Moon” fan’s taste in fashion. 

It’s no wonder fans were captivated by these beautifully-crafted footwear… and the result? 

The “Sailor Moon” and Jimmy Choo collaboration caused a stir in the manga and fashion communities! 

According to Carma, a media analysis and intelligence agency, there were over 36,000 mentions of the collaboration on X (previously Twitter) alone, most of which were brimming with positive sentiments. Moreover, fans from around the world expressed their excitement for the beautiful shoes and the unexpected fusion of two seemingly unrelated worlds.

In fact, the shoes flew off the shelves faster than a Sailor Guardian’s transformation, with many fans lamenting the fact on X! Carma commented on the social media activity by stating: 

It is interesting to note that the negative sentiments don’t indicate that the collection was largely problematic, but rather it picks up the overall tone, which is despair over not being able to get their hands on it.

Clearly, the collaboration not only generated buzz for Jimmy Choo but also drove high sales, cementing the partnership as both popular and profitable.

Partnering Deliberately for Magical Results

In the book, “Driven,” Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said well-planned business partnerships drive effective innovation, branding, and delivery of offerings. The authors discuss this in detail in Return Driven Strategy’s (RDS) Tenet 7: Partner Deliberately.

According to them, the best type of partnerships are based on two things: 

1) The ability to enhance the activities designed for achieving the higher tenets

2) The need for exclusivity in the partnership given the importance to the potential uniqueness of the offerings  

Regarding the second point, both Jimmy Choo and “Sailor Moon” were able to capitalize on the supposed mismatch between manga and luxury shoes, highlighting the uniqueness of the partnership’s offerings. With thoughtfully-crafted shoes, the collaboration resonated positively with the brands’ respective customer bases.

The partnership’s warm reception also helped both brands achieve higher tenets of RDS, such as breaking into new markets. This led to the introduction of luxury shoes and the Jimmy Choo brand to the global fan base of “Sailor Moon,” boosting sales and increasing potential patrons. 

Meanwhile, Jimmy Choo elevated “Sailor Moon’s” huge portfolio of partnerships, which includes a casual apparel line with Uniqlo in 2019 and a makeup line with Colourpop that sold out within minutes in 2020. Successful in both luxury and commercial collaborations, the franchise has cemented its reputation as a lucrative and versatile brand partner. 


In conclusion, the “Sailor Moon” and Jimmy Choo collaboration serves as a testament to the acclaim and high gains rewarded to businesses with the ability to build strategic relationships. 

This shows that sometimes, the most unlikely but well-planned of unions can lead to the most enchanting results.

We hope you enjoyed today’s topic! 

If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy, we highly recommend checking out “Driven” by Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo. 

Click here to get your copy and learn how this framework can help you in your business strategies and ultimately, in ethically maximizing wealth for your firm.

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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