Dare to be different – ISES Master Series Event Recap

When trying to nail your next sponsor – Ignite passion, loyalty and rituals

Last Wednesday night, I finally came out of my first trimester hibernation and attended the ISES (International Special Events Society) Master Series Event with Bill Cooper from the Twentyten Group on Sponsorship.

The event took place at the Diamond Alumni Centre at Simon Fraser University. With a 5:30pm start, I was frazzled to try and make it on time, having never been to SFU, I got lost on campus (don’t rely on your phones built in GPS!) trying to find the place and unfortunately missed the networking part. The venue, although far from downtown, is beautiful and the food they laid out looked amazing (sadly, in my haste to get there I had inhaled drive-thru and wasn't hungry for their seafood spread!).

ISES Vancouver Chapter represents event professionals from British Columbia and with over 5000 members in seven countries, benefits includes an expanded network, connections to suppliers and planners in your city, and opportunities to expand your business. Most of their events are open to non-members but if you are an event planner or supplier, you may want to have a look at their full list of benefits and consider joining the group.  It was great to experience the true sense of community and to be made to feel so welcome.

Having heard guest speaker Bill Cooper talk at a previous event, I knew his experience in the sponsorship world included “small” gigs with the  Vancouver 2010 Olympics & Paralympics Games, ESPN and Bell Canada. As Chief Operating Partner of the Twentyten Group, he works with brands such as Whistler Blackcomb, the Canadian Olympic Committee and City of Vancouver. I was also aware that he may draw on these experiences to talk about sponsorship. Expecting him to talk about sponsorship on a large scale, I was focused on making it work for smaller organizations. I work in Disability Sport we just can play on the same playing field as the bigger organizations.

While Bill did use his client Whistler Blackcomb as his example in explaining his philosophy, his approach takes you outside the box and I found I was able to apply it to my work with the Disabled Skiers Association of BC and BC Wheelchair Basketball Society.

Here are my take-aways from his talk:

  • Sponsorship has the potential to generate PASSION, LOYALTY and RITUALS in ways other types of advertising don’t.
  • Harness PASSION to ignite consumer enthusiasm, community engagement, employee engagement, and stakeholder engagement
  • Harness LOYALTY to ignite brand loyalty, brand affinity, brand equity and employee pride
  • Harness the RITUALS of participants to generate buying habits, consumer loyalty, brand ambassadors and employee  engagement
  • Challenge yourself to be a Leader.. Try something different, something totally outside the box rather than using the same methods everyone else uses. What can you offer a potential sponsor that is unique and different? For example, my organizations could offer access to Paralympians for motivational talks with the partners’ employees.
  • Be great at knowing why your organization is different and unique. What sets you a part
  • Show a sponsor how they can be a part of the consumers authentic path
  • Tell your story rather than focusing on the benefits of sponsoring a specific event.
  • Make it relevant to your sponsor above and beyond the banner, logo placement on the program, or mention in social media

I asked Bill about scaling things down to the level I needed and he really helped me put his concepts into perspective in my world. So while stressing to get there and still missing the beginning of the event, it was well worth it. I love when that happens.

ISES Vancouver's next event is November 14th. Keep an eye on our site for a full listing of their events as they become available.


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