Bart Given, Managing Partner
& Chief Innovator
Mitch Gudgeon, Consultant
& Strategy Development
Every spring, IEG hosts a sponsorship conference in Chicago that brings the industry together for a few days to share best practices and insights. Last week, Bart Given and Mitch Gudgeon packed their bags and headed to Chicago to enjoy the lingering winter weather, deep dish pizza and to hear from industry leaders and share our own insights. On top of being a delegate at the conference, Bart also played host for two round table sessions on Storybuilding™ and the Community of Sport.
Although neither brought us back any souvenirs from their travels, they did bring back insights from their time in the windy city.
Bart: The most powerful presentation was by Morten Albaek from Vestas Wind Systems. He was a powerful speaker who captured the audience with passion, frankness and great sound bites. Really appreciated his honesty about the pride his company took in monetizing their philanthropic efforts – but will mostly remember this quote ‘When humanism and capitalism intersect, you’ve created a meaningful brand. You can buy happiness but you can’t buy meaningfulness.”
Mitch: Coca-Cola was my favorite session as it showcased the true opportunities that partnerships can provide and illustrated the direction our industry is moving in. Listening to examples of Coca-Cola creating strategic partnerships with entrepreneurs to bring more innovation to their company and reach specific business objectives was inspiring and exciting.
Bart: I don’t think it’s an emerging trend – but there will be more brands looking to curate content. Many are chasing Red Bull.
Mitch: One trend I noticed was an increase in strategic partnerships to reach mutual business objectives, as well the importance of developing original content to activate on sponsorship.
Bart: It is always fun to share ideas with peers from across the globe. I had great conversations with individuals from NY, Florida, California and as far away as France – and we shared the same passion for our craft. That was a great insight. I also really enjoyed listening to the delegates get excited about the concept of Storybuilding™ and how it could elevate their brands.
Mitch: I thought the best round table session was by Performance Research as it gave a great overview of the keys to developing strong databases for sponsorship measurement and tracking.
Bart: The best was the Fiesta Movement campaign by Ford. Ford really demonstrated a willingness to put their brand narrative in the hands of their “agents”. If you’re not familiar with the campaign, check it out. Briefly, when Ford relaunched the Fiesta they put out a casting call across America for Millennials to take home a vehicle prior to its launch – and share their feedback through various channels. It was very risky but delivered content, following and sales.
Mitch: The TD Ameritrade team did a great job of Storybuilding with their sponsorship of the USOC. By understanding their brand and unique value proposition to consumers, TD Ameritrade was able to determine their market positioning and gain knowledge as to why their customers engaged with their brand. They then partnered with the USOC and ran the #itaddsup campaign which focused on how it is many small steps over time that will lead to the great result. This thematic was paralleled with athletes in that athletes train every day to one day have the opportunity to reach their goals. TD Ameritrade sponsored 7 USOC athletes and 7 Olympic hopefuls through their partnership. The Olympic hopefuls were brought to Sochi and TD Ameritrade let them document their experience of the Olympics and share their through social media. There was also a philanthropic side of the sponsorship with TD Ameritrade donating $1 for anyone sharing the #itaddsup on Twitter.
Bart: Apparently Mitch can pack away a lot of deep dish pizza.
Mitch: Bart ate numerous food and beverages with gluten in them, thereby making me question his “gluten allergy” that he makes such a fuss about all the time.