Strategic partnerships need nurturing, and great communications, to succeed

Posted on Categories Brandonomics

Managing partnerships takes work, nurturing, focus and constant reassessment—somewhat like a marriage. Robin Tooms talks celebrations and analogies with Audrey Trevino, Global Branding Manager at MD Anderson Cancer Center.


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 to Brandonomics.

Audrey: Thank you, Robin. Good to be here.

Robin: Well, it’s wonderful that you’re here. I wanted to ask you a little bit about a diagram I saw you share at a recent American Marketing Association lunch. And, it was wonderful because you talked through this metaphor around strategic partnerships, and how you can go, everything from, you know, wedding to marriage, and I wanted to see what you could share with us on why that’s a great metaphor for you when kind of looking at these global brand partnerships.

Audrey: Sure. Relationships are hard; everybody knows this. They take work, and you can’t get complacent. So, I think that for me it was a natural analogy to build and to be able to speak from. And it also takes a village to keep a relationship on point, and you have to have your social circles, and your spheres of influence, and whatever turn of phrase you want to choose, but there are always a group of people that are around you that say, are you keeping it real? Are you being honest with each other? And, are you guys still getting something out of this? And so, for us, we deem the wedding, I suppose, as the day of announcement, right? Where you stand before witnesses, and you commit yourselves, and you say this is how we’re going to be, and we’re just going to move forward together on this. And, in our case, the two brands essentially come together to become one.

Robin: That’s a great celebration.

Audrey: It is. It’s a big party, and the day after the party people are usually like, yeah, okay, I’m just going to recover from the party. Everything’s going to be great; we’ve done the heavy lifting and it’s all good. You know, the critical nature of our relationships is that they need to continue to be cultivated, nurtured, and all the right people have to be around, and you have to surround yourself with the right stakeholders, all of the time. So, identifying those stakeholders, which I’ve outlined on that chart, and understanding who your audiences are and why they’re going to continue to stay in the picture, I think is really important. Managing and continuing to communicate those expectations.

Robin: Well, that’s great advice. I was about to say, any other final advice for marketers considering these partnerships?

Audrey: No, you know, have fun. Keep it real, but have fun while you’re in this relationship together. I think it’s very important to not lose sight of the mission, obviously. We are in a very serious business, but I think that everyone is marching toward that same goal, and if you can keep one another sort of on point and still have a little bit of fun in the process, I think that kind of centers you.

Robin: That’s good. Well, I think when you’re in a relationship and working towards a shared goal, it can be fun.

Audrey: It can.

Robin: Well, great. Well, thank you so much for sharing that advice.

Audrey: Absolutely.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top 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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