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Of Indian weddings, Bollywood and Formula 1: The new face of partnerships and alliances

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Of Indian weddings, Bollywood and Formula 1: The new face of partnerships and alliances

The exchange4media group, in association with Dainik Jagran, organised the Pitch Marketing Academy workshop on August 21, 2010. The workshop was the first in the series of workshops on cutting edge marketing trends. The topic at in hand was ‘Marketing through Partnerships and Alliances’. The last two sessions were covered by eminent speakers, like Sadashiv Nayak, Joint CEO, Future Value Retail Ltd and Ravikant Sabnavis, Vice President - Marketing, Kingfisher Airlines.

One of the key trends in marketing practices over the years has been that marketers have embraced partnerships and alliances. It typically allows at least two companies on the value chain level of marketing the objective to tap the full potential of a market by bundling specific competences and resources. A good example of such alliance and partnership is that of Future Value Retail Ltd, which has a chain of over 120 Big Bazaar and over 70 Food Bazaar supermarkets.

Sadashiv Nayak drew an analogy between partnerships and alliances with an Indian wedding. He stressed on the importance of a strong relationship between the stakeholders based on trust. Nayak gave a plethora of examples of alliances and partnership which his group had undertaken. He stressed on the importance of planning in initiatives as the whole partnerships depended on it. “Execution of such plans is a nightmare, but we take the outmost care to chalk out such plans,” he maintained.

Talking about partnerships and comparing it to an Indian wedding his presentation, Nayak remarked, “Baraat- More the Merrier”. He further stressed that partnerships should be inclusive and should seek to encompass more and more people. He added, “We have a buying team that has been converted to a relationship structure with one-to-one link with vendors. We have named this programme ‘Sambandh’. We are very interested in such brand relationship development. Our aim is to cement our relationships with our stakeholders and consumers.”

According to Nayak, chains like Big Bazaar and Food Bazaar were still dormant and there was still a lot of scope for growth. Any new competitor in the market did not bother the group; rather, it only pushed them to strive harder for growth. Nayak concluded, “A grocer is never a competitor, he is far smarter and better in his business.”

The final session of the day studied the alliances and partnerships of Kingfisher Airlines. According to Ravikant Sabnavis, “In the airline industry, alliances hinge back to loyalty. There are so many loyalty programmes, with everyone selling the same thing. A programme with rewards against miles flown is just not good enough anymore. Ultimately, every player in the market needs to increase revenue. We did so by giving out memberships through loyalty programmes, distinct to both us and our partners. Surveys indicate 60 per cent of decisions to choose which airline to fly are influenced by the rewards programme. Hence, it is absolutely critical to stand apart from the rest and deliver ‘real’ value to the ‘right’ set of customers.”

Kingfisher Airlines has 60 partners over 11 verticals, which include those from airlines, co-brand cards, business solutions, finance, hotels, telco, lifestyle, car rental, investment, publishing and Kingfisher Holidays, which give the customer a wonderful experience beyond the airport lobby and the coveted flight. Kingfisher Airlines, added Sabnavis, “has an added incentive of being intimately connected with the Kingfisher Breweries, which gives it the leverage to connect better in its partnerships and alliances. Such alliances give the stakeholders branding, visibility and scope of cross-promotion amongst other benefits like discounts and special invites”. He also spoke about food and beverages partnerships, shopping partnerships and movie partnerships (‘Paa’, ‘Rajneeti’, ‘3 Idiots’, etc.) of Kingfisher Airlines.

The Force India F1 team is also a part of the Kingfisher Group. Sabnavis spoke of the partnerships that it has, citing the example of Wrigley’s Double Mint. The partnership has flourished and has given both the brands a surge. Contests and events like Fly to Britain, Pit Stop Challenge and Speed Nights had been a definite success, claimed Sabnavis. A successful partnership was a win-win situation for both the stakeholders, he maintained.

The workshop rounded off with Dr SR Singhvi’s (Professor of Marketing, International Management Institute) address, who summed up the important lessons learnt from the deliberations of the day. It was followed by a vote of thanks by Amit Agnihotri, Co-Founder and Director, exchange4media Group and Editor, Pitch magazine.

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