Brand conversations, early and often, is critical in forming strategic partner relationships

Posted on Categories Brandonomics

Global branding with partners adds several levels of complexity that must be understood. Robin Tooms interviews Audrey Trevino, Global Branding Manager at MD Anderson Cancer Center to talk about finding those great brand partner matches.


Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I am Robin Tooms, VP of Strategy at Savage Brands and my guest again today is Audrey Trevino, Global Branding Manager at MD Anderson Cancer Center. So Audrey welcome back, I’m so glad you’re back on Brandonomics.

Audrey: Thank you, it’s wonderful to be here Robin; thanks.

Robin: Well you’ve shared so much with us before on the great global branding strategies that MD Anderson’s put in place and what I find interesting there is how much you have to counsel the outside team on looking at brand as part of those strategic decisions. So I’m curious, how do you counsel the team, or what are some of the things that you ask them to look at when making a partnership decision?

Audrey: So we look at everything from the alignment that their marketing group might have with their leadership team; everyone else from Business Development to Operations to Sales to whomever it may be to their customer service. We really want to have an understanding of how their inner workings look so that we can go in and find the commonalities between us. Some of that’s already done through our wonderful Business Development teams; we go out and aren’t just sort of picking randomly. We’re extremely selective about the relationships that we make. We’re looking for a culture fit, we’re looking for people who are aligned with our mission – it’s hard not to get behind our wonderful mission of making cancer history but I think that it’s tougher when you can – it’s easy to say but tougher to implement.

So we’re looking at the state of readiness, that cultural fit and really understanding the inner workings of how they’re structured. Beyond that I think it’s – for me – I think all of this courtship that leads up to coming together and announcing that you have formed a relationship, to me that is the nucleus of relationship marketing. I think that all of this legwork that you do up front is so critical and to understand it I think oftentimes people will say well, you’re marketing so just go ahead and do the plan and execute against that plan and it’s much more than delivering and deliverables. I think that while that’s extremely important and the quality is important and the stronger the input going in the better the work product is coming out of it, but for us so much about that education process.

We are educating them about who we are and why we’re there and what we look like and what we’re doing as much as they’re educating us about their market, about their patients, staff and faculty; so it is truly – I use this analogy a lot – it is dating, it’s like a courtship.

And so we just kind of work through it and get to know each other and work collaboratively.

Robin: So what I’m hearing then in terms of finding that best match, MD Anderson is so in touch with its mission it understands its “why,” when you’re talking with other organizations they need to understand that as well so they can determine.

Audrey: Absolutely, absolutely. Yes and I often talk more about the “why” than I like to talk about the “what.” The what is extremely important but I think if the why is clearly delineated and understood by both parties then the what comes more naturally. And so then you don’t have to keep going back and having what I call echo meetings to go back and review and re-review and deeper even.

Robin: Well I couldn’t agree more. Well thank you for sharing that Audrey.

Audrey: You’re very welcome.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at tops brands and their marketing strategies.

MD Anderson Cancer Center has a mission to eliminate cancer in Texas, the nation, and the world through outstanding programs that integrate patient care, research and prevention, and through education for undergraduate and graduate students, trainees, professionals, employees and the public. http://www.mdanderson.org

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