"Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything." - George Lois
Like any strategic commercial piece of work, it's imperative to first understand the partner’s business, brand and marketing objectives – the critical first step. At Bastion EBA, when assessing what a partner is trying to achieve out of a partnership, we always work closely with the Right’s Holder to understand the existing asset landscape.
Having a full comprehension of all existing and potential assets sets the ideal foundation to assess creative ROO-driving solutions. You may not need to reinvent the wheel here, rather tweak existing assets.
However, if we ascertain the partnership is well aligned and have exhausted existing assets, but can’t find the right mix, we can turn to creativity to drive a commercial outcome.
Creativity, at Bastion anyway, is not the sole domain and responsibility of the creative director and team, nor should it be just the sales director’s role to brainstorm ways to creatively elevate partnerships.
Firstly, you don’t need to wear a Deus t-shirt to be creative, and it’s remiss of the process not to tap into a full breadth of talent when scoping innovative solutions. Calling all HR Managers, Event Executives, Membership Managers, Performance Managers, former players, and interns, yes interns, we need you.
With a team of lateral thinkers, possessing a cross-functional understanding of the business and a qualified facilitator guiding the process, you have the breeding ground for a creative playground.
While you can undertake a creative session on home soil, it’s best to get under the skin of your prospectus partner and host the session in situ. Yes, I’m talking about running a creative workshop in Maccas if you are looking to pitch to them for business, or a tyre dealership as a backdrop if Continental Tyres are on the radar.
Now, with the creative workshop sorted, it’s time to again refer to the prospectus partner’s business, brand and marketing objectives and use those as guiding principles to inform the creative ideation.
At Bastion we have our full-time creative facilitators who work across all internal projects with a fist full of partner objectives, while also facilitating externally with sports clubs and codes.
With the partner objectives directing the process, it’s over to the trained facilitator to tease out and capture new asset options that have the potential to not only generate additional revenue but also help partners cut through the sponsorship clutter with new and innovative ideas.
This is where all tangents are explored (and encouraged) from the introduction of third party suppliers to help tell a story, to cutting edge tech to distinguish the brand from its competitors.
Of course, while I’m using a Right’s Holder lens it’s also applicable from a brand perspective. With the same end goal, the creative fundamentals stay consistent, just viewed from an alternate angle.
At Bastion, we straddle both sides of the artistic fence, working with Rights Holders as well as brands like Blackmores, Tourism NT, HCF, rebel sport and Nissan to create ROO-driving assets.
From innovative digital ‘Well Bot’ kiosks at the Australian Open to a fully functional water hole in the middle of the concrete jungle that is Martin Place.
With creativity at its core, we also helped HCF differentiate and stand out from other Sydney Swans sponsors in a new and novel way. We tracked the heartbeat of 5,000 SCG fans, in real-time during a match, with each heartbeat being captured in a LED emitting bracelet, which lit up their bay like a bonfire.
Creativity isn’t only restricted to team assets like LED signage and apparel, with a number of domestic and international players leading the way in using creativity to stand out.
A personal favourite, from the vault, is Garry ‘Buddha’ Hocking's deed poll name change to "Whiskas" in the late 1990’s. The half PR stunt, half creative manoeuvring of a player’s IP garnered local and international exposure for the cat-food company.
Today’s equivalent to Buddha's cat chow coup has to be Leicester City defender and captain Wes Morgan, who signed a sponsorship deal with rum brand Captain Morgan that includes a slew of headline-generating and ‘creative’ assets.
Check his twitter, he has to say, "There's only one Captain Morgan" when he enters a bar and buys a round of drinks, while also being legally obliged to dress as Captain Morgan at any costume party he attends.
His face has also been superimposed onto the bottle of a limited edition run of the spiced rum, which is sure to whip any Leicester City super fan into a rum frenzy.
So if you sit on either side of the commercial fence and want to get a little more creative, just let us know.
Feature Image via The Drum