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Developing A Partner Activation Summit

Last March, I had the privilege of visiting the Phoenix Coyotes’ front offices in Glendale. While sitting down with the Coyotes’ EVP, Mike Humes, for a podcast, he mentioned an idea that I thought was very dynamic and hopefully could be copied even at the lowest levels of professional sports.

It was a partner activation summit.

The goal was to learn what the corporate sponsors, not the franchise, thought about the brand and how it could deliver better for those partners.

This doesn’t happen enough within the sports industry realm. Listening to what the partners wants often happens in a piecemeal, one-on-one exchange. But not overall, where each corporate partner is brought into a room, and meets with every other partner. Right there, that’s something that goes beyond signage or standard sponsorship. And it sends a message to every corporate partner about how serious the franchise is in developing a true sponsorship deliverables mechanism for anyone who affiliates with their brand.

Consider what the sports industry is willing to do simply to engage a season ticket holder. We are ready to listen to their needs, upsell the benefits, and move forward with a recommendation.

Why can’t the same be said for corporate partners?

Holding a partnership activation summit means that each constituency of another brand will have the ability to voice their opinion on how affiliating with the franchise’s brand can be more effective. By doing this in an organized fashion, each team member also fully understands their revenue streams and in turn, helps those partnerships grow deeper.

Most franchises do want to help their corporate partners. But a lot of them do not know how to go about it. Maybe they are listening enough to their partners individually, but in a group setting, they may hear new opportunities to engage. Sometimes, even the corporate partners do not know specifically what they need, just as long as the bottom line as actually hit.

And that’s the big payoff for most franchises: Finding the bottom line.

It’s all about finding ways to engage customers and get them to go through the sponsor’s doors. Signage doesn’t really do that the same way anymore, if it ever truly did.

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