How a tie up with Cirque du Soleil helps DHL in brand recognition

When you think of logistics, you don’t necessarily think of a circus act.

But that is exactly the thought process global logistics provider wanted to tackle when it partnered up with leading entertainment company Cirque du Soleil. Taking an unconventional route, the two signed a contract in 2014.

The partnership between Cirque du Soleil and DHL was built on attributes such as: Pioneers, Innovation, Commitment to Excellence, Quality, Global Reach, and “Can Do” Spirit. The partnership saw the two global leaders in their respective industries engage in joint branding and marketing activities for their worldwide customer bases, partners and employees.

Marketing speaks to Julian Neo, head of commercial, DHL Express Singapore to find out what led to the unique partnership.He explained that Cirque du Soleil’s “breath-taking customer experience” can offer DHL the “perfect opportunity to engage a global customer base” and showcase its own commitment “can do” spirit.

According to Neo, despite the diverse industries the two come from, they are a good fit given their entrepreneurial beginnings and steady morph into global brands. In 2014 alone, a total audience of 15 million people were expected to attend any of the 19 Cirque du Soleil shows around the world.

“From a business standpoint, the partnership creates opportunities for DHL to demonstrate its logistics expertise and capabilities. With Cirque du Soleil’s new acts for TOTEM, logistics has played an instrumental role in bringing them to Singapore,” said Neo.

As part of the partnership, DHL integrated into Cirque du Soleil’s supply chain activities, with its DHL Global Trade Fairs and Events team, a subsidiary of DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, supporting the event logistics of Cirque du Soleil Big Top and Arena tours worldwide. Alongside the right to use the Cirque du Soleil brand and related imagery in its own promotional activities, the partnership allowed DHL an effective vehicle for community, customer, and employee engagement.

"It’s more than just putting our logo and brand on the event, it’s also demonstrating what we do for our customers every day," Neo said.

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In time with the opening of TOTEM on 28 October in Singapore, DHL also held its "Fun: Simply Delivered" social campaign, which saw a giant DHL Jumbo Box delivered to Chevron House.

Over two days, close to 25,000 red clown noses were distributed to the public and members stood a chance to win tickets to TOTEM if they posted their red nose selfies on Facebook and Instagram. This led to a total of 25 VIP tickets were given away to winners chosen from over 1,600 entries. DHL has also since hosted a series of customer hospitality events and internal contests for employees.

Since, DHL’s partnership with Cirque du Soleil, including delivery of the two new acts, was discussed at the global level and the information is commercially confidential, Neo was unable to share the monetary investments. He added however, the entire process of delivery is far more complicated than it may seem to the human eye.

“The delivery process can be quite a science and compromises are not acceptable. Extensive research has to be done, and producing prototypes is essential to validate the different material choices, keeping in mind functionality, durability and look and effect. Nonetheless this is a fantastic alliance for us, marrying two beloved brands known for their commitment to excellence in their respective fields,” said Neo.