Head of Sponsorship
Give us a brief overview of Teneo as an agency in general and your approach to sponsorship and partnerships specifically.
Teneo Ireland provides strategy and communications, consulting, performance, financial advisory and people advisory services to brands and organisations.
The Sports Advisory team is made up of 15 people based out of Dublin but working with colleagues and clients across the international Teneo network of 1,650 people spread across 43 offices.
Our purpose is to use our passion for sport and entertainment to unite brands, organisations and fans to do great things for a better future. In simplest terms we help brands to solve business challenges through sponsorship and support rights holders in finetuning and developing their commercial and sponsorship propositions.
While sponsorship is a central pillar of what we do, we also provide strategic communications and CEO advisory to sports and entertainment organisations, and sports management and consultancy services to sports franchises and tournament organisers as well as towns / cities.
What approach differentiates Teneo and makes your sponsorship strategy unique?
Our company’s mission is to support CEOs in solving business-critical challenges.
We bring that DNA to our sponsorship offering having built a team of people from different personal and professional backgrounds who together have deep expertise in sponsorship strategy development, programme planning and activation and rights-holder support.
But the reality is that no team of 15 people can credibly claim to understand the myriad of issues that senior leaders face across all sectors.
Our client-first approach, calling on colleagues from across our corporate communications, management consulting, financial advisory, executive search, organisational performance and brand & digital campaigning teams, enables us to provide a world class service, truly getting under the hood of businesses to create sponsorship-first solutions and revenue drivers.
It’s that access, borderless collaboration mantra and ability to walk in our clients’ shoes that delivers nailed-on strategies and a platform for great creative execution. Coupled with this approach, we have developed bespoke sponsorship processes that have been refined over the years to ensure there is a science behind our work, which I mention more in the next question.
How has your approach to sponsorship changed since Covid-19? Have you created any new initiatives or altered your operations to reach sponsors and audiences in new ways?
Sponsorship budgets contracted during Covid, I think everyone in the industry felt the pinch. Our team has always been process-driven, invested in research and insight development, and built our own logic- and science-based ways of working.
These processes and approaches enable us to showcase sponsorship for its ability to drive business impact and to help us give better counsel to our clients. This approach helped when budgets were being scrutinised.
In the past few years we’ve doubled down on the development of these processes, helping our clients to secure more budget, reduce waste and demonstrate return on investment.
We’re currently looking at some new technologies to strengthen our measurement and evaluation products and globally our firm is working on AI products to capitalise on huge opportunity that exists in that space.
What are the current trends within sponsorship, and how are they affecting how you work and how you deliver on strategy?
Firstly, there is an increased focus on aligning business, marketing and sponsorship objectives and a move away from traditional reach evaluation metrics in favour of ones that show business impact.
Secondly, there is an increasing spotlight on the intersect between sponsorship, purpose and corporate narrative. Both sponsors and rights holders are seeing the opportunity to boost their brands, win over audiences and tell their corporate narratives by positively impacting society through partnerships and how they bring them to life. But doing so comes with a health warning – it has to be credible and authentic.
Other trends that continue to influence are portfolio diversification, cost-of-living crisis and resulting changing consumer habits, and we also have that watching brief on AI and how it’s going to impact the industry.
How has sponsorship changed for Teneo over the past few years, and what predictions can you make about how it’s going to change in the next five years?
Sponsorship has become more sophisticated, the industry has grown a lot in the past five years. Sponsorship as a marketing tool has really proved its worth and we are now seeing more and more brands put sponsorship at the core of their marketing activity.
Thankfully for all of us in the industry, the days of ‘Chairman’s choice’ are becoming less and less and those at c-suite level really recognise the business benefits that sponsorship brings.
That’s only going to increase, and with that comes great scrutiny, which will ultimately raise standards across the board.