An idea that came about after a meeting earlier this Summer soon became a reality last week, as the inaugural Brandwave NetworkB event was launched in central London. An evening designed especially for the European sports industry, to get together outside of the usual manic ISPO, FIBO, OutDoor, EuroBike & UK tradeshows.
For the first event we chose to focus on collaborations. A word and an idea that often gets thrown around in our industry timelessly, seemingly associated with fruitful partnerships and brands high fiving as they whack a ‘x’ in between each of their logos. However, we wanted to dig deeper. To uncover the ingredients and hear first hand from brands in our industry, what exactly does it take to achieve collaborative success?
To create an unprecedented event and to discuss the topic in question we invited over 100 sports marketing minds from across the UK & Europe. Collectively these figures covered action sports, bike, run, tri, snow, outdoor, automotive, marine, FMCG, tech, clothing, nutrition, retailers and distributors.
To kick off the evening, we asked our South coast neighbours over at Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) and our client the RNLI to present how they had both formed collaborations and the immense added value those partnerships had delivered.
The audience were enthralled and it was fascinating to hear how they both had previously, and are planning to fully utilise the power of collaborations to achieve collective goals and expand their reach to new audiences.
To get a wider perspective on why collaborations fail or succeed we opened up the discussion to our panel formed of Xavier de le Rue, co-founder of Hexo+ & 7 time world champion snowboarder, Rich Philip, Head of Marketing at Amer Sports, Jan Michaelis, European Marketing Director at O’Neill Wetsuits and Kate Kandiah, Marketing Manager at Cayman Islands Tourism.
Whilst many ideas and approaches to collaborations were discussed, there were a couple of key points that everyone agreed on. Firstly, when selecting a potential partner it can’t just be a tactical business decision to exploit a particular strength, value alignment is absolutely crucial to making it a success. You also need to establish your goals and success factors from the very beginning. Don’t ask what’s in it for me, but what’s in it for us, then communicate that clearly and make an agreement. Lastly, you need to seize the opportunities when they arise; priorities and circumstances change and the chance to work together may slip away, so take it while you can!
With the guests now suitably inspired at what collaboration could do for their brand, the room was buzzing with excited conversation. Now the real networking could begin over a few beers and canapés…
For the first Network B attendance was free, however we did ask for a voluntary donation in support of the RNLI, a charity we have supported for a number of years. You can check out more of the event in the official event round-up video below and the full picture gallery over on our Facebook page.