Every day I try to follow the news on alliances that comes to me through some keywords I have set up in Google Alerts. That daily feed contains a lot of alliance announcements and press releases. Reading these can be a challenge; clearly writing press releases and announcements is an art by itself. These announcements follow the familiar structure in the sense that they describe the deal, have a couple of quotes from both sides, and include some company contact details.
What I am looking for in an alliance announcement is what the two parties really bring to the table. What makes it a strategic alliance, what is the result they are aiming for that the partners cannot easily achieve alone (remember the definition of a strategic alliance), and always, what is the value proposition? The value proposition should really be the driving force for an alliance. A good alliance value proposition will be built on a triple win: both partners and the customer will win from the result of the value proposition. When the value for one of the parties is missing, there is no reason to partner. As important as the value proposition is, when reading through the alliance announcements it is often very difficult to find it.
On May 16, 2012, Bharti Airtel and Axis Bank announced a strategic alliance. Their announcement shows that these parties are teaming up to reach a result one cannot easily achieve alone, but also clearly shows that they understand the power of a proper communication. The value proposition can be nicely deduced from the announcement: “This alliance will leverage the companies’ respective strengths in telecom and banking sectors to empower financially excluded citizens of India with banking products and services towards enhancing their livelihood and quality of life.”
Each of the parties will bring in its part (mobile and banking) to deliver a service (banking products) to the customer (financially excluded), something that they currently don’t have. As the partner’s core competencies and services are essential for the solution and cannot easily be copied, each of the partners needs the other to be able to build this solution. The customers’ win is also clear: access to banking products with the opportunity to enhance their livelihood and quality of life.
Naturally this announcement also contains the usual executive statements and company information. However, in this case the announcement very clearly states what new value is to be created and its commercial viability.
When done right, an alliance announcement can be a powerful tool.
Think about it: “what is in your strategic alliance announcements?”