Raising the Bar: SportsPro Magazine Company Profile

Raising the Bar
SportsPro Magazine, June 2013

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Having spent seven years spearheading the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics’ sponsorship, sales and marketing activity, Andrea Shaw founded her own sponsorship agency, the TwentyTen Group. Three years on, it has trebled in size, added a number of major partners and continues to elevate standards in the sector.

The TwentyTen Group is a Vancouver-headquartered strategic marketing and sponsorship agency established by Andrea Shaw, the former vice president of sponsorship, sales and marketing for the Vancouver Organising Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), along with four key members of VANOC’s marketing team. Since its inception the company has expanded its workforce to 18, amassed an impressive portfolio of both Canada-based and global clients and opened a second office in Toronto. This rapid growth, Shaw says, stems from her team’s ability to elevate industry standards in strategic marketing and sponsorship, something she describes as the company’s “sweet spot”.

“Sponsorship done differently is what we are all about,” explains Shaw, who, along with the other members of VANOC, was responsible for generating a record-breaking CAN$760 million in domestic sponsorship revenue for the Vancouver Games. “We talk about elevating sponsorship to partnership, where there’s a win-win relationship for all. We really look at things differently and that comes from our experience in what we feel is the best learning laboratory ever by working on the Olympic Games project, where we literally turned the traditional sponsorship model upside down. The learning was in the importance of developing rich and rewarding partnerships with our sponsors.”

What separates the TwentyTen Group from conventional sponsorship agencies, according to Shaw, is its unique approach to service excellence, which applies to two core areas of the business. “We represent both properties as well as corporations,” she explains. “The property side is about auditing and assessing associated assets through guided discovery sessions with the client with the goal of developing the most relevant and meaningful value proposition in order to monetise their product to the greatest extent.”

To date the TwentyTen Group has been responsible for generating over CAN$200 million for its clients, including the Canadian Olympic Committee – which enlisted Shaw’s fi rm to restructure its renewal policy to ensure sponsorship revenue remained healthy once the ‘Olympic effect’ had worn off – numerous universities, ski resorts, non-profit organisations and the 2015 Canada Winter Games, a multi-sport competition designed to promote the development of young Canadian athletes. Most recently the TwentyTen Group was appointed as the sponsorship agency for a consortium made up of Canada’s seven national snow sports organisations.

Though the group has enjoyed enviable growth in its first three years and continues to expand its client base, Shaw remains level-headed and insists that a balance between ambitious goals and realistic growth objectives will be the key to long-term success. “I am very mindful about maintaining service levels at an excellent standard. I say, ‘It’s not good enough to meet client expectation; we’ve got to always exceed client expectation.’ So our biggest challenge, but also our biggest opportunity, is managing disciplined growth. I would prefer not to bring a new contract on and maintain excellent service levels than just growing for the sake of growing.

“We’ve got a very clear vision for the future: our five-year goal is to be Canada’s leading sponsorship and marketing agency. What we do see on the horizon is evolving the business into arenas of producing our own events, acquiring new tentacles of the business. We have a very clear vision for where we’ll be in 2020.”