ABOUT THIS PROJECT
Saucony Australia are a global footwear brand who focus on form and function rather than fashion, which for a lot of runners is what’s important. They cater to grass roots through to elite, and have a long history of providing running shoes for runners.
We love Saucony’s choice of athletes, and their absolute conviction in their product. This conviction is the result of a company who have always been committed to providing running shoes that are performance driven not trend driven.
Saucony sponsor athletes and a number of sports professionals such as nutritionists and podiatrists, which means they are really entering the market from different angles as well as providing a diverse, relevant and reliable source of content for their marketing activities.
The sense we got from Jodi and her team was that they loved sponsoring athletes but didn’t enjoy the process.
They felt that everything was done ad hoc and as a result it put too much undue pressure on them at particular times in the year, and worse, they felt that they had missed opportunities and would continue to if something didn’t change.
Working with the team at Saucony was eye opening for all of us as we quickly unraveled some of the missed opportunities but also the incredible wealth of value that they had at their fingertips both in terms of what the athletes could offer and of the many ways that the company could put the athletes into action.
One of the biggest and most valuable realisations we had was as simple as getting local athletes to attend particular events in their area rather than the marketing manager travelling all over the nation to attend these events (i.e. retail training and instore activations).
It saved Saucony tens of thousands of dollars in travel costs not to mention the time of the marketing manager……. and then the added value of having an athlete representing Saucony and how engaging that was for the event attendees.
It’s also great social media content, further development of the athletes skills, network and profile. So many benefits from one simple change.
FROM JODI WOODFORD, BRAND MANAGER, SAUCONY
*Jodi has since left this role.
Before we worked with The Brand Builders, our Athletic Sponsorship took a great deal of administrative time with very little (to no) return on investment other than the “hope” that athletes were influencing others.
The process we were taken through was well managed, easy to digest and interesting. It offered the opportunity to brain storm ideas and gain tools to get the most out of sponsorship.
We learnt how to get a measurable ROI on sponsorship and also how we can leverage the relationships we have with athletes to allow us to save time rather than cost time in the business. It also offered solutions to manage not just athlete’s but other ambassadors and influencers which we deal with in our business.
Probably the most important outcome for me was the knowledge that we can get the athletes to add real measurable value to our business within the cost of the sponsorship by effectively acting as additional resources for our brand.
Vickie told us sponsors simply cannot avoid the ‘feel-good’ and in our case that is so true. It is exciting to get involved with athletes, and to share in their successes and watch them grow and evolve in their sport. They are generally extremely passionate people and love what they do. It is also great to see them take a real interest in our products.
I think one of the best thing that has come from our work with The Brand Builders, is that we are leveraging our athletes at a much greater level, we have them all “working’ for their sponsorship, which interestingly has them more engaged with our brand and more excited than when just handing out money or products. It has also now become very apparent which athletes are not engaged with our brand or who do not add value to our business.
Sponsorship of athletes needs to be more than just “cash for comment”. To get true value the athlete’s need to be your partners, they need to be engaged and aligned with your brand and its values.
Athletes as spokes people for our brand, help us gain credibility which has been highly influential, however we have found that consumers are very smart and if the athlete is just doing it for the “money or free product” that the sponsorship really does lose much of its value.