Bill Cooper, Chief Operating Partner
Every year, we send a handful of teammates to the IEG Sponsorship Conference in Chicago. IEG brings the sponsorship industry together, sharing best practices and insights. On top of attending IEG as a delegate, I also played host for a round table session on a great passion of mine: Ambush Marketing.
1. What have you learned from IEG that is trail blazing for our industry?
I think what most impacted me this year was the accessibility and functionality of technology around cause marketing. With crowd sourcing, online resources, mobile apps, online payments and increased marketing priority it seems like a watershed moment. The keynote from DonorsChoose.org definitely inspired me in choosing this development as my shout-out for trail blazing in the industry, but I also got a chance to chat with other smaller platforms that collectively put community investment right into the palms of consumers on a scale never before seen.
2. Which speaker/session was the biggest difference maker at the conference and inspired you the most?
I think collectively the audience seemed to be unanimous in their opinion that Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org was the most inspiring because of how he elevated the potential of his community. But for myopic reasons I am going to choose the session that was given by New Zealand Rugby and AIG. Specifically because late last year they filled Soldier’s Field in Chicago (65,000 people) for a Rugby match in a market where Rugby enjoys a comparable level of popularity to that of Vancouver. This partnership described their marketing strategy’s exceptional content and the heartfelt stories of their athletes and teams as key to their success in filling the stadium. As Canada prepares for our World Rugby Sevens Series in March 2016, we can leverage both elements in our pursuit of filling BC Place. And the prospect of a full stadium is inspiring!!
3. Chris Overholt spoke about the great success the COC has enjoyed since the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. What would you attribute to that success having been behind the scenes of the process?
- Patience and perseverance;
- The vision to build a bold plan and the courage to stick to it;
- Engaging the TwentyTen Group to ensure the Games’ commercial success so that their team could focus on athlete and brand success;
- The COC’s dedicated and focused investment into their brand and their meticulous attention to nurturing it;
- Their sustained voice in the market;
- The good fortune of momentum gathered from and continued long after the 2010 Games, and the good sense not to squander it.
4. What has been the biggest game changer in sponsorship this past year?
Wow – that is a big question. I wouldn’t have known it before IEG2015, but the Adidas campaign during the FIFA Wold Cup deserves consideration. And I also think that in the Canadian context the scale of activation, investment and storytelling that Canadian Tire Corporation brought to their Canadian Olympic rights deserves a huge shout out. Finally, and even closer to home, I think the Mackenzie deal with Snow Sports Canada is a massive game changer because they bought into and are meaningfully activating a brand that didn’t exist two years ago.
5. What keeps bringing you back to IEG year after year?
- First, I think it is the scale of the conference’s audience and the sheer volume of content;
- Second, the quality of discussion amongst delegates. The networking component is excellent, but more importantly great collaborative dialogue after sessions takes place amongst like-minded industry colleagues;
- Third, as a publishing company, IEG plays an important role in fostering dialogue and conversations within our industry and as a result, I think it behooves us to retweet and share content with them;
- Finally, I think learning in a stimulating environment like IEG is a hugely valuable team building experience, so we send a small and partially rotating group from TTC to attend on our collective behalf each year, which great for both personal and team development.