Peter Raymond was named on 9 March 2023 as one of the four inaugural recipients of the ESA Fellowship. In this Q&A, Peter reflects both on the individual honour and the changing nature of the sponsorship industry during his years of service.
How do you feel to be selected as one of the inaugural ESA Fellows?
I’m greatly honoured, while also feeling slightly embarrassed, because the work is not done!
As Course Director of the ESA Diploma I’ve had the great pleasure and privilege of being able to construct something that has had a beneficial effect on so many talented young people. I often look at what Diploma graduates from 10 years ago are doing now, and while the Diploma is far from the only reason for their success, it has clearly aided a lot of people in their career progression.
It has been very rewarding to have had such enthusiastic help from the industry. I feel like I’m sharing this Fellowship award with the many colleagues who have provided content, marked assignments, delivered presentations and seminars … it is a massive team effort. I want to thank Ruth Luke, ESA Office and Admin, who has been a tower of strength throughout – her contribution is inestimable.
As far as my pre-Diploma career is concerned, I was very lucky to work on some incredible projects with visionary people. I suppose my own sponsorship journey reached its climax when Orange was recognised as European Sponsor of the Year in 2002. I was very fortunate to work in that position.
What have been the most profound changes in sponsorship during your career?
I worked in what was more or less the UK’s first major sponsorship agency, CSS Promotions, and I’ve seen the industry grow almost from inception to where it is now.
Across four decades I’ve seen sponsorship develop from being an industry that was all about perimeter boards and awareness generation to a data-driven, scientific profession backed up by detailed research and examination. Clearly, sponsorship is also in a great position to be a flagbearer for purpose-driven marketing in all its forms, and I expect many initiatives will be forthcoming to support the sustainable future of our world.
That’s the reason why sponsorship is arguably the leading element of the marketing mix. And that’s why the ESA Diploma is so important.
On the flipside what are the constants that make the industry remain strong across Europe?
Every major company in the world now uses sponsorship as a major marketing tool. If it wasn’t contributing massively to brand growth, it wouldn’t have achieved this level of usage.
Sponsorship is still looking to definitively prove that it can provide value for money in a strict ROI sense, but a lot of progress is being made in this area, and the future will undoubtedly show that money is well invested in sponsorship. But, again, the shift towards purpose-driven partnerships has demonstrated the vast potential for the industry to create meaningful connections between brands and their customers.
Who have been your role models / sources of inspiration in the industry and why?
I would like to dedicate this kind award to my first employer and the man who gave me so much enthusiasm for sponsorship, Barrie Gill.
Barrie played a vital leadership role in creating the initial version of ESA. His personality was so engaging and his energy and passion were boundless. His premature death was a tragedy for the industry, and he is still to this day my absolute inspiration.