You heard it here first

Pearlfinders delivers first-hand insight on the behind-the-scenes thinking at brands at every stage of their sponsorship planning process - in real-time. The sports partnerships below are now in the process of being activated, but in each instance we uncovered clues as to where the brands were heading much earlier...

 

HSBC & BRITISH CYCLING 

As recently as November 2015, the Head of Sponsorship Planning at "The World's Local Bank" told us he needed to partner with sports that have a global appeal. But when we spoke in June 2016 his focus was shifting to restoring trust, particularly in an industry prone to more negative perceptions about the success and stability of firms. Post-Brexit, we flagged the bank's announcement that it would be keeping its HQ in London as a further clue that the bank might be looking to deepen it's relationship with UK sport, as it did via a partnership with British Cycling.

 

THOMAS COOK & WEST HAM

June 2015 saw the travel brand's Director of Football notify us of a “transitional period” in its approach to sport. Instead of major branding activity through sponsorship, it was now looking for partnerships that would directly contribute to revenue streams - targeting 30-40-year-old males specifically. In May this year, we tracked yet another decision-maker move, and the new Head of Sport told us he was actively seeking a “Match Breaks supplier” across clubs, teams and organisations to expand the brand. Last month, West Ham became exactly that.

 

VIRGIN MEDIA & SOUTHAMPTON FC

Back in September 2014,  Virgin Media's Head of Advertising & Sponsorship told us exposure was a top priority in any sponsorship deal. However, a year later we revealed a major strategic shift, with focus no longer on mass exposure deals but "collaborative partnerships" to build direct links between properties and the brand's key values. In June 2016 we advised that partnerships to help increase the brand's presence and authenticity would be welcomed. Fast forward to September, when the brand increased both presence and goodwill by capping the cost of tickets for away fans travelling to St. Mary's...

 

INFINITI & INTER MILAN

In January 2015, Nissan's UK Comms Manager was already hinting at changes in strategy for its Infiniti brand, saying it was “debatable” whether it was getting the most out some of its F1 investments. While not always seen as a premium sport, football was later uncovered by Pearlfinders to be of interest, due to its capacity for connecting with communities. Shortly after Infiniti's Red Bull partnership concluded, we advised properties to get in touch towards the latter stages of the year - around the time this particular deal was being reviewed.

 

GILLETTE & Neymar

More than two years ago, Gillette's Global Brand Manager for Sports Marketing highlighted football and F1 as key sports for sponsorship. When the Comms Manager told us it was streamlining its partnerships outside of football in 2015 - the sport seemed an obvious choice to align with its chosen "manliness" messaging. May 2016 saw us report on the brand's wish to reach various domestic territories through partnerships that aligned with its young male target audience, as shown by its current deal with Neymar. Euro 2016's Golden Boot recipient was a bankable option.

 

COCA-COLA & BUNDESLIGA TEAMS

Some might argue the FMCG giant is blanket-investing across football, but its Senior Brand Manager told us last summer it would never invest in a property for the sake of just getting awareness. In June this year, we reported on a new five-year growth plan for the brand and shortly afterwards we reported it wanted to create "passion points" between the brand and its audience, aligning with the theme of happiness. A wide sponsorship portfolio across a whole football league is definitely one way to keep as many people as possible happy.