Building Connections Beyond Business

The Evangelists’ Chapter 24, entitled: “Building Connections Beyond Business'' featuring JC Alarcon of Lalamove Philippines.

An Introduction to Brand Collaboration

The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Monica Padillo, this chapter is titled “Building Connections Beyond Business.” In it, C Alarcon, PR and  Partnership Lead at Lalamove Philippines, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in creating partnerships.   

Benefit from strategic partnerships and collaborations

Almost all marketing and communications professionals would agree that the industry runs  on partnerships and connections. Most businesses were able to attain corporate success  and even contribute to the alleviation of many societal problems just by collaborating  with influencers, other businesses, and even governments. This is why JC Alarcon, PR and  Partnership Lead at Lalamove Philippines, greatly believes in the power of partnerships. 

“We create beneficial relationships, so that it’s not just about trying to sell the company;  Lalamove will sell itself because it’s such a good product or service,” Alarcon said. 

One of the ways that Lalamove was able to build connections was through social media.  For Alarcon, social media acted as a “partnership currency” in a way that it helped Lalamove  team up with other businesses who had just as many, or maybe even more, followers as  they did. By reaching more people through other businesses’ social media pages, Lalamove  was able to boost its brand identity and awareness as well. 

“When you mount campaigns on Facebook, for example, a lot of people will see and share  them. Social media, for tech companies, is the holy grail or the holy channel to spread our  message,” he said. 

For example, Lalamove once partnered with an online community of food lovers called Let’s  Eat Pare to promote its “pabili” (direction to purchase) service. Members of the community  could avail a PHP150 discount when ordering from any of Let’s Eat Pare’s official vendors  and restaurants with Lalamove. The initiative became both a PR and partnership stint for  the delivery service provider. 

Aside from social media, Lalamove also made use of PR channels to get their message  across a wider audience. Alarcon cited an instance where Lalamove wanted to expand  its reach in Cebu by partnering with Cebu Daily News (CDN). But it was no easy feat;  CDN doesn’t simply feature brands and stories through financial arrangements. The news  outlet’s reach was massive in Cebu, and Alarcon and his team decided that they needed to  form the partnership right.  

Alarcon introduced Lalamove to CDN by showing the journalists how to use the app. They  also gave the journalists free credits that they can use on the app themselves. By forming  an organic and authentic relationship, they were able to tap CDN as a media partner in  Cebu for their PR campaigns. 

They also have particular verticals for their partnerships. For instance, Lalamove was also  working with Phoenix Petroleum on the automotive front. This partnership was especially  significant to the Lalamove drivers when it comes to getting benefits from gas stations. 

Building partnerships was also part of Lalamove’s brand building process and Alarcon said  this fell in line with the company’s corporate social responsibility or CSR initiatives. The company’s CSR activities essentially focused on creating beneficials relationships with  other companies and communities as well. 

In fact, Alarcon is particularly proud of Lalamove’s partnership with Gawad Kalinga, a  foundation that aimed to alleviate poverty and promote nation building in the Philippines,  for their third anniversary as a company in 2019. From a whole month, every Lalamove  booking was automatically credited as a donation towards the Hatid Kusina, Hatid Kalinga  (Deliver Food, Deliver Care) project, which created a community kitchen for children living  in Talipapa, Quezon City. 

When asked why Lalamove chose to support such a cause, Alarcon said the company  felt it needed to contribute in the alleviation of malnutrition in many rural parts of the  Philippines. As a company that catered to daily human problems, Lalamove wanted to  support a humanitarian cause as well. Alarcon was proud for being able to spearhead such  a campaign because they were able to help feed around 2,500 children every day for the  first month of the campaign. The kitchen is now permanently operational as funded by  Gawad Kalinga, continuously feeding the same 2,500 children. Lalamove also saw a spike  in bookings at the time of the campaign. 

“It’s not just a normal thing where you ask people to book three vans, for example, and  we’ll give them a PHP100 voucher. Most users won’t even do that,” he said. “I’m happy  with this campaign because our customers really took part in it and made it happen.” 

Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Lalamove didn’t fall short with its partnerships. The  company created a new service called Lalajeep in close coordination with the office of  Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte to support jeepney drivers who were displaced due to  quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila.  

He recalled one particular jeepney driver, Tatay Lauro, being one of the most interviewed  Lalajeep drivers because of his courage and ambition to earn for his family. Despite not  being too adept with technology prior to joining Lalamove, Tatay Lauro persevered and  mastered the use of the Lalamove app and other helpful tools. 

Through the Lalajeep initiative, Mang Lauro was able to earn around PHP12,000 to  PHP15,000 every week, which compensated for what he lost when he stopped picking  up passengers at the start of the pandemic. According to Alarcon, the Lalajeep service  addressed various aspects that Lalamove has always wanted to achieve: empowering  partner drivers, day-to-day users, and business clients. 

Of course, these successes were sometimes overthrown by mishaps that were often  either out of their control or difficult to resolve. Alarcon recalled an instance in 2019  when three Lalamove partner drivers were involved in accidents on the road. As a way of  adding another layer of security for their partner riders and promoting road safety as well,  

Lalamove teamed up with Chubb Insurance and automotive journalist James Deakin to  implement a safety campaign and communicate their message to more people. 

From the different partnerships to the CSR initiatives, Alarcon said he’s motivated to  conceptualize and execute these efforts because of his belief in the brand and its mission  to “deliver things that matter.” He believed this kind of dedication was what will help other  marketing and communication professionals with their own campaigns. 

“When you love the brand, you’ll really try to go the extra mile and create the best story. In  Lalamove, we don’t just wait for partnerships to form; we take at least three steps forward  before things happen,” he said. 

“That’s why in my perspective, PR practitioners must be proactive in foreseeing  opportunities, and anticipating issues or crises that they can mend and curb. PR campaigns  are not only instrumental in building brand credibility, but making your brand a paragon.”

 

To get more insights from other marketing leaders like JC Alarcon, please check out the full book, available for purchase here


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