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Mahindra culture curry has biz flavour

Last updated on: February 9, 2011 14:02 IST

Mahindra culture curry has biz flavour

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Arijit Barman in Mumbai

Anand Mahindra loves Muddy Waters - the nickname given to McKinley Morganfield, considered the father of modern Chicago blues.

But his personal passion had nothing to do with the Mahindra Group's blues fest in Mumbai last week.

 "In business, personal passion should not be an indulgence, but a promise of excellence," said Mahindra, the vice-chairman & managing director of India's leading farm equipment-to-software group.

The Mahindra cultural calendar is crammed with events that have nothing to do with the adjectives usually attributed to the group: Durability, strength or resilience.

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Image: Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra and Mahindra
Photographs: Courtesy: Mahindra
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It is collaborating with Sundance Institute, the Mecca of independent filmmakers, to award screenplay writers, as well as organising the Mahindra Sanatkada Lucknow Festival and Kabir Festival.

Blame it all on movement marketing, Mahindra's strategic mantra. In a post-meltdown world where trust is at a premium, corporations are realising that their association with consumers has to move far beyond a product or service offering.

"Companies need to convince consumers that they are worthy members of their community," explained Mahindra. And that's at the core of this new drive. It also dovetails with the group's new global brand positioning: 'Rise'.

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Rise is a rallying cry. The group wants a global community built around it - a community that loves films and listens to the blues. And a business can grow on the foundations of such strong bonds with potential or existing consumers, believes Mahindra.

His message is loud and clear: "We want to enrich your lives, we 'Rise' with you and also help you to 'Rise'."

There are still flagship events or associations that have a direct link to utility vehicle or two-wheeler brands. Mahindra Great Escape and the Engines Engineering MotoGP team make obvious business sense. But they are in-your-face product hardsell.

While participation in such events will continue, the focus now is to go beyond them and create a wider ecosystem.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"We won't do vanilla sponsorship of events any more. Each of our programmes or events has to have a strategic quotient," added a Mahindra Group executive, who did not wish to be identified.

What the group has figured out is that even culture can influence sales. So, it's no coincidence that the Lucknow festival, which aims to help revive local craftsmanship and the legendary Lucknowi tehzeeb, is the political and cultural capital of Uttar Pradesh - and a key market.

Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, now in its sixth year, is striving to popularise theatre as an art form on a national scale.

"It's aspirational for theatre groups to get that kind of recognition," said the company official.

 


Image: Performers at Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards night
Photographs: Courtesy: Meta Awards
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