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‘Strategic alliances create wider opportunities of growth for brands’, says Apeejay alumna and brand partnerships manager 

Akshita Makin, a Brand Partnerships Manager with BYJU’S explains key difference between branding and brand partnerships and how each of these factors contribute to the success of a business

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How did it all start?

Born in Dehradun and brought up in multiple cities, Akshita Makin, an alumna of Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC) learnt the importance of being a good communicator at a very young age. She said, “A new city every few years meant rebooting life completely, new school, new friends, the challenges of adjusting to everything new that was happening back then were unreal. I always felt lucky though that I could find like-minded people in every school that I went to and with some of them I ended up becoming really good friends later.”  The Apeejay alumna realised that the ability to talk to new people and mingle with them made her feel inclusive as well as somewhat secure. And today she jokingly mentions having friends from all around the country! 

Her stint with Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication

After 12th, Akshita moved to Delhi to pursue her graduation in English from the University of Delhi. When asked how she ended up joining AIMC, she said, “I was inclined towards journalism after that but something was stopping me from pursuing it as a full-fledged career. However, I surely wanted to get into the communication industry as that was something I knew I could be good at.” So after exploring a few options, advertising drew her attention the most and that’s when she decided to join AIMC to master in Advertising and Marketing communication. 

Her learnings 

Akshita mentioned that from starting to know what advertising actually is to building herself as a professional, the amount of learnings she had has shaped her career the way she always wanted to. “I always had the tendency to learn from my peers and take away one good thing that each one of them had. I happened to do the same at AIMC. In addition to the super insightful sessions by the faculty, I grasped and learnt a lot from my batchmates. The learnings made me one of the first few students to get placed. My first job was as a management trainee at TBWA, an international advertising agency.” 

Her journey from TBWA to BYJU’s 

The Apeejay alumnus is currently working as a Brand Partnerships Manager with BYJU’s. At present, Akshita has more than six years of professional experience and she believes that every chapter not just made her a better person but also improved her professional abilities. She added, “I truly believe there’s so much to learn from everything there is around you, you just have to be aware and open to broaden your horizon.” 

The brand expert has also worked with WeWork India and that’s when she found her new love for brand partnerships. Therefore, from automobile to FMCG, Akshita has worked on and with multiple brands and that has given her  the confidence to step up and grab new roles each time they knock at her door. 

As a Brand Partnerships Manager at BYJU’s, her key role is to communicate with new brands everyday and grow the partnerships function.

And what’s her key to motivation

Like mentioned above, she primarily is responsible for establishing partnerships that drive growth for BYJU’S and it’s partner brands across markets- which means dealing with multiple external brands on a daily basis and cracking different deals with them to make BYJU’S the most trusted ed-tech brand in the world. The thing that drives her interest is the complexity and uniqueness of every partnership. “Every deal is different, every brand is unique and the value that I draw out of each brand is also very different. In the end, it’s about creating a strong alliance and providing growth opportunities to each other and achieving great results together,” explained Akshita.

So, is branding and brand partnerships all the same?  

No, they are not! Branding is all about creating a unique identity for your business. Your target audience (TG) should be able to identify you, connect with you and remember you as a brand. How your brand looks, feels, communicates and is perceived is very critical to your business.

If you talk about brand alliances or partnerships –it’s when two brands come together to foster a mutually beneficial relationship to drive growth for each other. Strategic alliances create wider opportunities of growth for brands and help them achieve their goals together with innovation and bringing something unique for their audiences.

Myth that got busted

Strategic marketing and advertising are the same!
This is a very common belief. Advertising is used in conjunction with a range of different marketing strategies but the reality is that advertising goes hand-in-hand with a variety of other marketing methods. After being caught by an ad, SEO (Search engine optimisation) and tailored content pushes people to continue exploring your products and services.

Skills that matter to work in this field

To be a successful strategic alliances professional you should know the art of negotiating and have the power to establish strong relationships with your partners. It’s all about how you generate maximum value for your brand by minimum investment. In a partnership, you and your partner both should be able to drive the benefits and being clear with your objectives will make it easier and fruitful for you. Strategise, find the right partner, negotiate the best deal and reap results!

Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.

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