Sponsoring an event might be the most classic form of advertising, but Tim Hodgson, CMO for the Sydney Invictus Games, says brands are placing new emphasis on socially conscious events to improve their image among ethically-conscious consumers.
Once upon a time, showing your commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) meant writing a big cheque and showing up for your photo opportunity. Now, with 86% of millennials thinking that a business’ success should be measured in terms of more than just financial performance, you have to put more than just your money on the line.
According to Tim Hodgson, chief commercial and marketing officer for the Invictus Games, you need to be actively doing something to improve the world. “The more sophisticated marketers out there are realising you’ve got to give back to the community,” he said.
The Invictus Games, along with founder Prince Harry, will arrive in Sydney this October in what’s sure to be a wave of fanfare, to celebrate the determination of more than 500 veterans from 18 nations.
It’s this focus on the restorative power of sport for veterans that Tim said is instrumental in attracting marketing partners for this and future events.
“Once we defined our legacy around adaptive sport, around health and wellbeing, around the education of the nation and around veterans’ transition or employment, we suddenly found ourselves having conversations with CEOs and their core teams where you could immediately align a purpose.”
While this marketing has traditionally been considered a form of CSR, Tim pushes back on the label, which he says evokes tokenism, rather than real action that can change lives.
In part, this is due to the move towards brand storytelling and owned media, which gives brands a greater opportunity to showcase the lives they’re touching.
“When you have your clients in the room, it’s not like another sponsorship where they’re sort of trying to outgun each other for creative leverage and share of voice. You’re talking about the opportunities to drive longer term impact, which is good for everyone. You’re not just sponsoring eight days at the end of October,” Tim said.
In this episode of the CMO Show, Tim joins Mark and Nicole to discuss his role in bringing the Invictus Games to Australia, the changing world of event partnership, and how to take your brand’s CSR initiatives to the next level.
The CMO Show production team
Got an idea for an upcoming episode or want to be a guest on The CMO Show? We’d love to hear from you: email@example.com.
Participants: Hosts: Mark Jones and Nicole Manktelow
Guest: Tim Hodgson
Mark Jones: The CMO show is back, my name is Mark Jones.
Nicole Manktelow: I’m Nicole Manktelow.
Mark Jones: Thank you for joining us, we have a very interesting episode today looking at event marketing.
Nicole Manktelow: Mark, I think it puts us almost two degrees removed from royalty in fact.
Mark Jones: See now, isn’t that … What does that mean though? Like it’s ponderous. I think … Does it mean we’re nearly famous?
Mark Jones: Yeah, that’s right. In our own digital lunchboxes we are famous. But, the Invictus Games, Sydney 2018, it’s all the rage in Australia, certainly here in Sydney, where we are.
Candice Witton: Imminently happening.
Mark Jones: That’s right, coming up in October and we have the opportunity today to hear from one of the people who is driving this from a marketing and sponsorship perspective.
Nicole Manktelow: Okay. Tim Hodgson, Chief Commercial and Marketing officer for the Invictus Games, Sydney. Now, he’s the person who, when he saw this amazing athletic event which, as we all know, involves return service people (usually folks who’ve got some sort of disability or have had a lingering health issue) and it gets them competing at this olympian level and he was so inspired. He’s picked up the phone … I think he’s probably picked up the phone to royalty but we don’t really know for sure. But, it’s Prince Harry’s charity [inaudible 00:03:08]. Anyway, he’s talking with us today.
Mark Jones: Right. So, he had the idea, he’s responsible for bringing it to Australia.
Nicole Manktelow: It’s incredible.
Mark Jones: It’s an incredible story and you did the interview.
Nicole Manktelow: Yeah, I had the pleasure of talking to Tim about this because I just thought he was sitting on all these stories, not just his own story but, the story of the event and then all of the participants themselves will have amazing stories mainly because they overcome so much to get on the sporting field. And as a storyteller, I was almost a bit jealous.
Mark Jones:Well, let’s hear from Tim and hear what he’s got to say about how to get event marketing right.
Nicole Manktelow: You’re with the CMO show and I have Tim Hodgson who is the chief commercial and marketing officer at the Invictus Games in Sydney. Now Tim, as events go, there aren’t that many more special than this one. We’re talking about returned service people from around the world. People who have been wounded, injured, still recovering, permanent disabilities all getting together, having a go and being incredible athletes, and it’s got the stamp of the royal family supporting it. How blessed are you having a job like this?
Tim Hodgson: Absolutely. I feel incredibly privileged to be a part of something that’s so special and yes, it’s an event, but it’s much more than event now. It’s a movement, it’s a charity, it’s a changing people’s lives, saving people’s lives. So, it’s a privilege but it’s also a responsibility, I guess to make sure that we make the most of a moment that we have here in Australia. And it may or may not come again in Australia, but the movement will move on. It’s going to go to the Netherlands in 2020 and then who knows from there on? But it’s gathering pace and impact and scale around the world.
Nicole Manktelow: So how many times has it actually ran?
Tim Hodgson: And he saw games in the US called The Warrior Games and I guess he realised the power of sport to support rehabilitation. And he charged his mates to do something similar but I guess on a more global scale. They had 14 nations competing that games in 2014, and they raced at delivering that Games over about nine months from concepting it to delivering it. And in all honesty, I think they probably believed it was a one off at the time, or hadn’t had the chance to look beyond their own games until a few of us phoned up from around the world. So Australia, The US and Canada were all interested in the games having seen it in London.
Tim Hodgson: Separate parts of people, yep, who were just inspired by seeing what they saw. The BBC covered it in the UK and it was online so it received fair amount of coverage, but nothing like it does now around the world. And that’s only four years later.
Tim Hodgson: I did make a phone call? Yeah. My recollection is it was the day after the London one. I remember seeing online the closing ceremony. I remember seeing Prince Harry introducing the Foo Fighters on stage. And then I thought, “That seems interesting.” I looked back at some old vision from that week, which I hadn’t seen to be honest. It hadn’t hit Australia, the vision of the games during the week itself. And I was just inspired by sports. My background, I love sport.
Tim Hodgson: I played a bit of cricket for Essex back in the day, about five years. I was on the staff there and loved it. So I was growing up dreaming of playing for England and all that sort of stuff and trained hard and loved my sport, and fell out of that into a sports marketing agency in the UK. Moved out here with my now wife and we didn’t have kids when we moved in ’05, but we’ve got four now.
Nicole Manktelow: That’s kept you busy.
Tim Hodgson: So we’ll see how that goes, but they love their sport. It’s just a good thing and I think when you’ve been involved in sport at a serious level, there also comes a stage in life where you look at professional sport and you get a little bit tired of the stuff that goes around the edges, you know? The rubbish sledging, the bad behaviour, the over commercialization, all that sort of stuff. And whilst I still love sport and I still sit on the edge of the seat and shout at the TV every now and then, it’s amazing to be a part of something that is what sports should be all about.
Nicole Manktelow: Instead of the celebrity and the WAGS.
Tim Hodgson: And just being part of sports. I mean the games is not dissimilar in feel to when I watched my six year old’s athletics carnival last year, and you see that top three do the 200 metres and they finish and then the middle pack and then the-
Nicole Manktelow: The strugglers.
Tim Hodgson: The strugglers at the end they were doing it to take part, and they’re doing it because it’s a run, they’re doing it to have a go and the parents and all the kids come around the track and cheer them across the line. And for those guys and girls it’s about being there, it’s about taking part, it’s about being active. It’s about being part of that group of friends who are going to be taking part in an athletics carnival. And that’s what sport can do. It gets you off the sofa, it gets you outside, it enables you to be part of a team again. And for those suffering from an illness or an injury, it’s a support group, and it’s a focus and it’s a vision. And without that, bad things can happen. So it’s really simple, like the whole concept is ridiculously simple but it’s very, very powerful. And when you meet a lot of these competitors, a lot of them will tell you it’s saving lives, their own or friends of theirs.
Nicole Manktelow: I’m curious about this because you’ve gone from watching it online, thinking, “This is a great opportunity here. What a wonderful execution of a sporting event.” You are an event marketer and a lover of sports, so I can see that you initially were curious about it. And now you’re talking to me about the stories of the individuals. So have you had this wonderful journey about being able to connect with the people that are participating since then and has it changed your way of thinking about the event?
Tim Hodgson: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I don’t have a defence background. So I’ve learned a lot about the defence, I’ve learned a lot about service and the sacrifice of service and the challenges that service can lead to with individuals.
Nicole Manktelow: There’s 18 countries, they’re not all just the Commonwealth here, are we?
Tim Hodgson: No, they’re all nations that have fought together in recent conflict effectively, predominantly Iraq or Afghanistan. So you’ve got incredible stories from around the world. Yes, we’ve got 72 competitors in our Australian team for the Australian Games, but some of the stories from other parts of the world will be phenomenal to hear. And of course I don’t know them all. But yeah, when you hear some of our competitors talk about where they were physically or mentally before they got the sort of nudge to say apply for the Invictus games, it was a pretty dark place. And you see them now having competed in one or two games and you see them standing in front of a crowd or doing a talk to a lunch full of 200 people talking about their journey.
Tim Hodgson: And often for them that actual talk themselves is therapy and it helps them by being out there and speaking about their journey and speaking about the troubles and much of it is a mental struggle for a lot of people. PTSD is a big challenge, and talking about it to a group of people is incredibly therapeutic. And to see them come through, they’ve used the games, they’ve come out of the back end, people are interested in them, people are dragging them back into the community, they’re finding meaningful roles, transferable skills and they’re getting back up and running is really amazing to see.
Nicole Manktelow: The recovery process is not that different to running an event, I guess, or running a marathon. I think that sense of endurance that you require and you need to have that fixed goal in front of you.
Tim Hodgson: It’s the goal. Absolutely. I mean, you hear some lovely story. I remember when the team came back from Toronto, and we were very lucky the prime minister put on a reception down in Canberra. And all the team were there and I was chatting to one of their competitors, I hadn’t met him before, he was a swimmer. And I said, “How is Toronto? Didn’t you just love it?” Obviously it’s an amazing thing. The opportunity to compete in the games like this, yes, it’s not the Olympics or anything like that of course, but it’s not dissimilar. You’ve got an opening ceremony and closing ceremony, it’s broadcast live on TV. And these are your normal down to earth people who’ve just suffered from an adversity and they’re being thrown into these games, which is amazing.
Tim Hodgson: But the lead up into it, the application to be a part of the team, the trials and all that sort of stuff, it’s a real focus and a vision. It’s a real goal to be a part of it. So I ask this guy whether he’s going to try and try out for the Sydney Games and his motivation to try out was he didn’t win a medal in Toronto. Now the games isn’t about medals really. It’s not about Australia beating up the English on the metal tally kind of thing anymore. It’s actually about winning is getting to the start line. But individually they are competitive people so they want to get out there and they want to win. So, that’s a great thing.
Nicole Manktelow: They need a new goal each time, right?
Tim Hodgson: Yeah. He wants to swim faster and that’s brilliant. That’s what will get him up in the morning and training in the cold pools out there in the winter, and that’s good. If that’s what gets someone up and out, that’s brilliant. So it is having that goal and it is being … I guess exercise is addictive to a degree and getting on that sort of role of getting to a state level of fitness where you want to get up, get out and be there still in this, being part of a team where you can’t let teammates down.
Nicole Manktelow: Tell me about the first time you realised this was more than a game and more than event and you had the potential to help save lives.
Tim Hodgson: I think at the start I saw the vision, back in 2014 and just thought it was a brilliant thing. So my background in marketing is always about to drive an emotion in people to elicit some kind of action. And when you see a lot of traditional media out there, a lot of it doesn’t do that. So we’re all about partnerships, we are all about content and I love the sport. So when I saw the games I thought, “Wow, the emotion. And that’s amazing. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? And it’s obviously supporting people.” I didn’t quite realise it maybe at the time how impactful it could be. When we then got to pulling our organising committee together, and we started officially only the start of last year, so what’s that? Now sort of 19, 20 months ago. 19 months ago. We kind of quickly realised that for us to be successful, we needed to make sure that we had a group of stakeholders around us that could make the most of the spotlight that The Games is, because when the Games is on and when, the Duke of Sussex is here and when the media is here, it’s unbelievable. It’ll draw everyone into it, and so you’ve got to use that. And for us it’s much more than these games and if it’s going to save these lives and if it’s going to change people’s lives, and we’re not just talking about servicemen and women or veterans or the competitors, we’re talking about inspiring anyone and everyone out there who suffers from an adversity to get up, get out, be active and be connected.
Nicole Manktelow: And also the friends and supporters.
Tim Hodgson: That’s right. And absolutely to support the friends and family of those competing, the friends and family of others suffering out there, and the friends and family of those who have lost someone in service or otherwise. And so it’s all those adversities if you like that you can take inspiration from these competitors and how they’re going about their lives. So it’s really powerful from that point of view. So, we need to make sure that we kind of harness that moment that we have at the end of October. It was really critical for us that we had an understanding of what our enduring impact could be beyond the games and that we spoke to stakeholders about that. So whether that’s government, whether that’s corporate or whether that’s not for profit to come around this opportunity we’ve gotten and make the most of it.
Tim Hodgson: I could never have done it on my own, but I was passionate and keen to be involved and so after that phone call in 2014, and to be honest, the Invictus Games Foundation then didn’t have quite the idea of how they would turn themselves into an international sporting event that would tour the world, if you like. So it took them a little while to get that piece together, which they did very, very quickly. But in the meantime they introduced me to a bunch of people and eventually after a couple of months the two key people I met were at Deloitte. A guy called Patrick Kidd who’s now see CEO and Ben Rahilly, who’s now CEO of the organisation. Without Deloitte’s help who have been unbelievable, the games wouldn’t be here for sure.
Tim Hodgson: There’s been a lot of different people who have been involved in that, but the three of us sat down initially and kind of started scribbling on whiteboards and Deloitte took the brunt of the work there and they put a lot of manpower at it, which was great. I had a certain sort of craft skills and expertise that could help from the sort of sponsorship event content side, and we got to a point over a year where we thought we had something compelling, and we had a steering committee that supported us and eventually … Funnily enough, we’d sit at the end of the day and have a beer, three or four months into it thinking, sort of joking as if, “Imagine if.” We’re still together at the end of the closing ceremony having a drink, not really believing it might happen, but snowballs.
Nicole Manktelow: So that’s a task for you guys. You’re telling a story because you’ve got to elicit support from stakeholders and people who may not yet have a vested interest, you’ve got to get them interested. You’ve got to get the founders interested. So there’s a lot of work at that initial stage to say, “Yes, we’re going to do a thing.” Then the story changes. You’ve got to start getting people on the ground here invested in it. Competitors need a story as well. You need to be able to get people to believe that this is going to happen. How did you approach all of these different personas in marketing language.
Tim Hodgson: I think early on we needed to get the confidence of the Invictus Games foundation and Kensington Palace. We needed some high level support in Australia to say it’s happening, and we had that right from the very start. The Governor General was involved right at the start. The Defence Force put their hand up as a supporter right at the very start. Deloitte, right at the start. And as we went out to look for the city to host the games, New South Wales government and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, right at the start. They all sit now as our founding partners. They’re the sort of bedrock of the games if you like, and without them all this wouldn’t be happening.
Tim Hodgson: Clubs in New South Wales came on board, Legacy came on board and then RSL New South Wales. So, cross that body of founding partners, you’ve got a very powerful group of organisations who are in it for the right reasons, who can support financially, and who can I guess actually help us deliver the games, in many ways operationally. That got the confidence of our overseas stakeholders if you like, to award the games to us and then you need to wrap in the local community. And that was about for us understanding what our legacy might be, where enduring impact could lie, and realising … I think I felt very early on in scribbling a bit on a whiteboard that this wasn’t a traditional sponsorship.
Tim Hodgson: I wouldn’t be able to sell if you like, I’m not really a salesman, but I wouldn’t be able to sell sponsorship packages to corporates in a traditional sense. We weren’t going to have a TV network signed up by then. So value-wise, how does that sit when you’re speaking to someone.
Tim Hodgson: There’s a power to the games. It’s an incredible brand, it’s got an incredible x factor, it’s got a huge amount of profile. But more than that, once we defined our legacy, if you like, around adaptive sport, around health and wellbeing, around the education of the nation and around veterans’ transition or employment, we suddenly found ourselves having conversations with CEOs and their core teams where you could immediately align a purpose. And every organisation that’s come involved with the games in whatever level is involved for the right reasons effectively because they do have that purpose alignment. They do see the opportunity to engage their staff, engage their clients, be involved in something much bigger than themselves, give back to the community. And I kind of feel like the more sophisticated marketers out there are realising that you’ve got to give back to community these days. That the community requires the corporate world to be doing something to improve the world.
Nicole Manktelow: So the nature of the partnership is so much more than an event sponsorship as you say, it’s a CSR kind of relationship. How do you do contract around that? Do you have a letter of understanding?
Tim Hodgson: I mean, yes, sort of CSR. CSR I feel is a little bit … I don’t know what the word is. Perhaps a bit outdated. I think there are organisations out there who sponsor or market it themselves with real true social impact. When I think CSR, and the reason I say that, I think about the slight tokenism of having something on the bottom right hand corner of a website say that you do something as an organisation without following it through. And I think it’s one step further to say that you’re happy to market your organisations through driving real social impact. And we’ve got some brilliant brands who are showing that, that’s absolutely the case. Do we contract that? I think it’s a no, probably not. Once you get down to the detail of that level, it’s not dissimilar to a normal sponsorship agreement, but you know when you’re stepping into it that you’re working with an organisation who is going to leverage the games via one of our core legacy pillars.
Tim Hodgson: So if you look at Jaguar Land Rover, they’ve employed around 1000 veterans since our first games in London. They’ve been a presenting partner since the first games.
Tim Hodgson: Which is brilliant. So, there’s a nice linkage there to the skills of service men and women. Westpac are heavily involved in veterans’ employment, as are Sage, and AON and others. We’ve got six defence industry clients at the official support level who already employ a huge number of veterans. So there’s a great swell of support in that veterans’ employment space. And when you have a meeting with all your clients in a room, it’s not like another sponsorship where they’re sort of trying to outgun each other for creative leverage ideas and share a voice. They’re actually swapping cards and talking about meeting up to come around one of these initiatives and collaborate, which is a really powerful thing. So no, you don’t really contract around it, but you do talk about the opportunities to drive longer term impact, which is good for everyone. It shows that there’s a long tail to the games then you’re not just sponsoring eight days at the end of October.
Nicole Manktelow: When the game is over, the people we learn about and get to know, the competitors who will be broadcast, what happens then? What happens to their stories after that?
Tim Hodgson: The amazing thing about this is their stories are real and they’re evolving that they’re an amazing group of people, but they’re at different stages of their recovery. So some will go back into the service, some are current serving members and they will be working with the defence force to manage the ongoing rehabilitation. Some have jobs in the community, and some will be looking for roles in the community. And the next games is in 2020, so quite soon there’ll be an expression of interest out for those that want to compete over in the Netherlands in 2020. So yes, it moves on from here, but the team still exists, the environment still exists. What we’re really adamant about is that we’re going to have a legacy
Nicole Manktelow: Can you give me an example of adaptive sport?
Tim Hodgson: Well, adaptive sport is sport literally adapted for those suffering from mental or physical injuries. So sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, all our sports are … Sorry, we should probably just talk about sport really. But some of our sports are adapted to a degree to be more inclusive in that way.
Nicole Manktelow: I notice it’s only two years. It’s not the traditional sort of four years of the Olympics between events. Was there a specific reason for that? Is that just as fast as you can get another event going?
Tim Hodgson: Well, it’s been every year for the last three years. So it was 2014 London, it was 2016 Orlando, 2017 Toronto, 2018 Sydney. I don’t exactly know how that happened other than there were those three countries putting bids in and they were awarded those three in those three years. And in hindsight I think that’s been a little too much. It won’t happen every year moving forwards. The next one will be 2020.
Nicole Manktelow: So it’s really not long now at all. I imagine you finding it hard to sleep with the nerves?
Tim Hodgson: Sometimes.
Tim Hodgson: We really just want people to get involved in whatever they can in the games. So there are opportunities for corporates to still be involved as partners, and that’s a wonderful thing. That’s not just a cash thing, that is about how we wrap in organisations who can lift the moment that the games is and drive a legacy as we’ve talked about.
Nicole Manktelow: What about if you’re an organisation who maybe doesn’t have a longstanding history of maybe employing in particular veterans but you have aspirations of doing something good, maybe you just started on that journey? Is there an opportunity for the newbies?
Tim Hodgson:Absolutely, yeah. I mean you’d be involved in a group of stakeholders that are on that spectrum too. At one end there are organisations who are employing a lot of veterans and understand what that means, and the process and probably as much as anything, the great value that veterans can provide to organisations. And the narrative that came out of Toronto, it’s very much, “You’d be bloody lucky to get one”, kind of thing. This isn’t a charitable thing, but we should be looking at the veteran community as a great pool of resource for organisations out there. The challenge is sometimes trying to find that transferable skill because their lives have been very different in the service and coming into civilian life, but they’re absolutely there.
Tim Hodgson: So the AONs and Westpacs and J-Los and et cetera, et cetera, and the defence industry have all got great experience of and are delving deep into supporting veterans and finding roles in their organisations. So absolutely for the newbIes, if you like, as you say, in that space. So organisations getting involved in the games is one thing, the public, how the public interact with the games is both before the games and during the games and hopefully then inspired to do something after.
Tim Hodgson: Before the games, we’ve got an initiative starting … It was kind of started now, but we’re launching it, a soft launch on the 17th of August. It’s called Fly the Flag. So our flag is like the Olympic torch, but rather than us take it around the country on a tour which costs quite a lot of money and we’re very careful about how we spend every dollar, we’re inspiring the nation to buy a flag off us and fly it. And that’s going really well.
Tim Hodgson: flag I should say, could be a car sticker or it could be a midsize flag that your kids put up in the garden, or it could be an organisation that puts a big four by two metre flag up on that building. And we have organisations all around the world looking to do that for us, which is wonderful. We have people travelling around in camp events in Australia flying the flag just at campsites they stop at. We have people buying little hand flags that they’ll wave,. So we’ve got some great imagery coming in now,
Tim Hodgson:And then there’s tickets, this is all about supporting those wounded, injured and ill that will be featuring in our games. The competitors that fly around the world that may be their only trip over to Australia and show our support to them and their friends and family who travel with them. Ticket sales are out now. Virtually all our sessions are on sale. There are a couple of extra ones that come on soon, but we just want to fill those seats. There are only about $20 or $15 for groups over 10,
Tim Hodgson: So the engagement levels are high, but we want to set every seat. In fact we want standing room only at the back. We want to make sure we feel, or rather the competitors feel that full force of support behind them. So we still got a lot of tickets to sell, but it’s going really well. Our closing ceremony is on sale as well. It’s affordable prices, it’s the prices that are not as a barrier. It’s meant so that most people can feel that they can come along with their friends or family, and so I think be there.
Tim Hodgson: We’re really excited that probably over 10,000 school kids will come to the games, the department of education are building a programme that will go into schools before the games hopefully, then be an Invictus week in schools for years to come. And off the back of that, we’ll be bringing a whole load of children into the games, which is really brilliant. But buy your tickets, be there, don’t miss the chance because we don’t know when it’ll be here again.
Nicole Manktelow: That’s awesome.
Nicole Manktelow: I really want to thank you very much for those insights and telling us your story around the games. I want to hear that it goes on. I want to hear that it goes on to the next country, but for now we’ve got some questions, Kind of like speed dating questions.
Nicole Manktelow: And normally when I have Mark in the studio, we kind of tic tac a little bit. Now you’ve just got me. So, if you weren’t a marketer, what would you be?
Tim Hodgson: That’s a good question. A carpenter.
Nicole Manktelow: What would you make?
Tim Hodgson: I don’t know. I don’t know why I thought of that, but when I was a kid I used to love making things with my hands and just tapping away in dad’s little tool shed. I’d love to do that. I like doing tangible things. I think that’s what probably interests me in that world.
Nicole Manktelow: Who’s your hero?
Tim Hodgson: Who’s my hero? Oh my God, that’s a good question. Who’s my hero? I don’t know how to answer that. I just love people who sacrifice a little bit in their lives to support others, you know? You look at a friend of mine who set up the Tour de Cure, what a wonderful thing that is now and what it’s turned into. And that just comes from jumping on his bike and travelling across America with a friend and deciding that they should do something. Obviously, my parents were brilliant and my wife’s amazing, and if you talk hero, I think it’s the people who can find their way beyond their own lives to look at others around them and how they can support, which is the hardest thing for anyone to do really.
Nicole Manktelow: And a very important question. If you had to change your first name, Tim, what would you change it to?
Tim Hodgson: I wanted to change my name when I was a kid to Kevin because of Kevin Keegan. That was the first thing that popped into my mind. He played for Southampton for a season who I support. I’m not sure I’d do that now.
Nicole Manktelow: Tim Hodgson, thank you so much for joining us on the CMO show today and telling us all about your involvement with Invictus games. It’s a brilliant project and we wish you all the best and we’ll be looking on in October.
Tim Hodgson:Thank you. Thank you very much for having me along. I appreciate it.
Nicole Manktelow: Oh, I had a lot of fun and I think it’s for me, the idea that sponsorship is more than a logo on a sign. That was really quite revealing. So, this is organisations that do a lot more than just spend a little bit of money on a platinum sponsorship and get an event named after them. They have amazing programmes already in place dealing with people who need work when they come back from a war zone.
Mark Jones: It’s interesting to reflect on how important it is to get alignment between your brand and its values and the organisation that you’re sponsoring right?
Nicole Manktelow: Yeah. I asked him about contracts and yeah, his response was that they almost don’t need them. They have them but they don’t really need them.
Mark Jones: Right. In other words, because the purpose and alignment is so strong … It’s interesting too, this is an event that’s gone from yearly out to olympian every four, right?
Nicole Manktelow: Yeah
Mark Jones: it does create its own momentum in that context so, there’s sort a different level of purpose and intensity to it all.
Nicole Manktelow: Nice, like a bit of a rhythm.
Mark Jones: Yeah, I think so. So, fascinating to imagine then, in a commercial context, how would you take those ideas and create that level of commitment to the event? Because we see a lot of high volume particularly in different industry sectors where we work finance and tech and so. There’s this high volume, turn them over, lots and lots of events which of course sponsors can be kind of fickle in their commitment, right? So, how do you maybe reconsider the way that you engage your audience?
Nicole Manktelow: So maybe, less frequent events, more purpose, meaning and commitment?
Mark Jones: Yeah, right? And, If you don’t have the purpose thing sorted then, maybe its time to give that a good think.
Mark Jones: Be very clear about that theme. What’s that single message that you wanna get through?
Mark Jones: And, thank you for listening to us on the CMO Show. If this has been a show that you enjoyed, I do encourage you, let somebody know. If you could think of a friend or a colleague.
Nicole Manktelow:We just want to make sure that you like it, and take it and all the rest of it.
Mark Jones:Thank you once again and we’ll see you next time.
Mark Jones: In marketing, we hear a lot about authenticity and brand purpose. There’s a sense that in some cases, this goes from if you’re like an unpopular to a very popular idea, and we see the swings and roundabouts that goes back and forward and back and forward but, underneath it all, something that I’ve been fascinated for a long period of time now, is not these surfaced levelled decisions we make about buying something or engaging in something. We in marketing focus on how do I change somebody’s behaviour at that point of purchase?
Mark Jones: Let’s go a little deeper. We talk about brand purpose and another way to think about it is, what are the brand beliefs? What are the brand value systems? These existential ideas that we hold to be true?
Mark Jones: Your biggest challenge is, how do I create a belief moment? How do I engage the hearts and minds of my community, of my audience, of my stakeholders? And, how do I move them along a journey from not believing in my brand to believing in my brand? And it’s something that I speak about in a keynote series I’ve been delivering called Beliefonomics. And, if Beliefonomics is something that sounds of interest to you and you’d like to figure out, “How do I engage with people? How do I speak to this belief journey, this belief narrative and connect to brand purpose?” then I’d love to hear from you. Connect to me on Twitter @Markhjones. Connect to me on LinkedIn. Just search Mark Jones and you’ll find me at Filtered Media. And I’d love to hear your story about brand purpose and possibly in the future how you can be taking customers on their own belief journey.
Mark Jones: If you’ve got a question you’d like us to answer on the show, just tweet us @CMOShow or use the hashtag #TheCMOShow. We’d love to hear from you.
Mark Jones: The CMO Show is a podcast produced by Filtered Media and a quick shoutout to our incredible team Candice Witton, Charlotte Goodwin, Ewan Miller.
Nicole Manktelow: And our engineering wizards: Tom Henderson and Daniel Marr.
Mark Jones: You guys are the best!