Not every agency will have this role but as a Sports, Leisure and Retail specialist agency, having a Head of Sponsorship on board really benefits our clients.
We thought about entitling this post ‘everything you wanted to know about being Head of Sponsorship but were afraid to ask’. Well, be afraid no more, Rob Singleton reveals all.
So, what does a Head of Sponsorship actually do?
The main goal is getting to know the key people in the client team and understanding what their key business objectives are so we can all work better together to achieve their goals.
Having a passion for a client’s brand becomes contagious, as does delivering best-in-class activation of the client’s contractual rights; that’s about knowing what they have and when, whilst making sure they stay ahead of the competition. We can be executing activation plans through all their channels – from TV to Twitter, their website to Apps.
This means a lot more than just sticking branding around a rugby pitch! You have to think about business challenges and understand how partnerships can help solve them.
Can you lead us through a timeline of a typical day in the office?
The simple answer is that no one-day is the same; my ‘to do’ list is constantly changing. I might be constructing a sponsorship activation strategy one minute for the whole season or a particular event, and then project managing a live activation or season launch at a venue the next.
The job can often be fast-paced, working across multiple clients across all aspects of sponsorship.
The job is mostly office-based, although I do travel regularly for site visits, client meetings, meeting suppliers and, of course, meetings with rights holders.
How do you become a Head of Sponsorship?
I came from a media background. Initially I worked on Aviva’s sponsorships’ of British Athletics and the Vendee Globe around the World Yacht Race. Also, Vodafone’s Formula One Sponsorship.
After that I worked for 3 years as Sponsorship Manager at the Rugby Football League and as Commercial Manager on the Rugby League World Cup 2013. I was working with the likes of Gillette, Specsavers, Marriott and Singha Beer, to name a few. Rugby League World Cup 2013 was a great experience.
What qualities are needed to be a Head of Sponsorship? And what have you learned since being in the role?
You need strong project/account management skills. You are working with lots of stakeholders, so being good at forming relationships is crucial. Aside from that, having an interest in sports is key. That way, you are more able to see opportunities for your clients.
I’ve enjoyed applying my backgrounds in both sports and media in setting KPIs, measurement and evaluation. I also love being able to offer best practice and recommendations in sponsorship activation. I get a kick out of helping a client achieve their key business goals.
Can you tell us about a project/task within your sponsorship career that you have particularly enjoyed?
I have found working on Kingstone Press Cider’s sponsorship strategy around them being the ‘Official Cider of Rugby League’ particularly fulfilling.
I joined Banana Kick just as we were setting out the vision with Satsuma Loans for their sponsorship of Yorkshire Carnegie. Since then we have activated their sponsorship across multiple channels. It’s great to see such a bold vision come to life with incredibly tight deadlines.
We have been working with Provident Personal Credit for a number of years on their sponsorship of the Bradford Bulls. This has focused all activity around the supporters, making sure they are the centre of attention which, in turn, drives positive engagement with the brand.
Our work with Kingstone Press has led to us managing their sponsorship of Tough Mudder. This is an unbelievable sampling opportunity for the brand as no other sporting event would allow you to hand out circa a 120k bottles of cider over the event season. The brand engagement and response from Mudders is unbelievable.
It does come with it challenges, such as keeping the product chilled, logistics and being in a field for 3 days coping with whatever the Great British weather throws at us, but that is all part of the challenge!
Most recently we have been working on Satsuma Loans sponsorship of Sunderland AFC.
This has been a great project to work on. Not only have we looked to excite, engage and educate through our stadium activation but we have set ourselves some really challenging targets. That’s from both a social media and SEO perspective, as we have created a content hub to house the sponsorship which enables us to really bring the sponsorship to life via rich content and blog articles utilising the assets that Sunderland can provide to us.
If you want to know more about Rob’s role please drop us a line!