Krystyna Frassetto, Managing Director at M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment
It’s been an extraordinary time for the sport & entertainment industry. Live events, stadium sport, music festivals, film premiers, media famils, global launch conferences - everything our business has been built on for the past 15 years - all put on ice.
But not all was lost for our team when sport and entertainment came to a halt - twice! In fact, we’ve gone from strength to strength over the past 12 months, and the reason for that is passions.
COVID forced all of us to reorder our values and reconnect with what we love - driving people to spend more time and money on what they’re passionate about. Australians' passion for sport, music, food, fitness, and health hasn’t changed. In fact, we’re all reading more, watching more and sharing more, so I would argue it’s stronger than ever.
Our challenge has been to find new ways to connect brands to these passions, which is what has driven us to radically transform M&C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment from a traditional sports marketing agency into a full-service PR and sponsorship agency with passions at our heart.
We’re building our new team based on five key trends:
1) Brands are refocusing efforts on purpose-driven PR & sponsorship strategies.
It’s no longer just about deals and ideas that deliver scale. We need to consider what's the problem that needs to be solved? What’s the strategy? What proof do we have? What’s the idea? And only then, how do we amplify it?
2) We’re broadening our definition of “sponsorship” well beyond sport to include arts, entertainment, culture and sustainability partnerships.
We’re seeing new sponsors, new channels and new fan expectations impact the industry. It’s no longer just the top end of town with big brands or big properties exploring sponsorships, but challenger brands and a wide range of potential partners dipping their toe in the water too.
3) In a crowded media mix we’re focused on full-stack leverage.
When you consider that more people engage with Seven News on Facebook than on TV, it’s clear PR amplification and leverage is no longer just about the broadcast. It’s far more complicated and dynamic. We’ve assembled a team of modern day PR thinkers, who challenge all of us to think about how we can make genuine news, or meaningfully take part in a conversation.
4) We’re taking our influencer expertise to the next level, focusing on ambassadors and advocacy.
As celebrities, athletes, musicians and influencers increasingly embrace direct-to-fan relationships, clients are looking to us for robust advocacy strategies connected to their brand purpose. Often bringing together various tiers and types of talent.
While major campaigns and sponsorships remain a powerful tool to engage audiences through the things they love, 92% of consumers say they trust influencers more than advertising. We’re helping brands to establish mutual and often long-term partnerships with talent that can bring to life their brand persona and key initiatives, not just endorse a product.
And finally, we’re looking ahead to events coming back - but not as we know it.
We’re going back to our experiential roots, rebuilding our activation, events and production team but with new smarts, technology and energy. Next year I’m excited to see live and virtual realities merge, with storytelling baked in, opening new opportunities for fan connections and experiences.