National Business Awards Q&A: Jackie Fast, Slingshot Sponsorship
20th August, 2014
Jackie Fast is the Managing Director of UK-based strategic sponsorship agency Slingshot Sponsorship. Her organisation has been chosen as a finalist in the BlackBerry Business Enabler of the Year category at the 2014 National Business Awards; as part of Outsource‘s partnership with the NBAs, we got together with the finalists for this award to ask them a few questions about their activities and the changing nature of partnership and collaboration in a rapidly evolving business environment…
Outsource: In the words of the organisers, “The winner of this award will be the organisation that has best helped client or partner businesses to increase profitability by improving efficiency, develop talent or implement innovation.” How do you think your organisation has managed to do any one of these things to the extent that it has been shortlisted?
Jackie Fast: Our entire business model centres on how successful we are at identifying, uncovering and generating additional income through commercial gaps and sponsorship; therefore, this award could not be more suitable as every single aspect of our business is built on this.
When we launched only four years ago, we anticipated that this model would only suit smaller organisations who either didn’t have the resource to properly commercialise their opportunities or didn’t have the skill set. However, over the years, this applies to almost every business and can take an objective specialist view to really identify the opportunities that are being missed. Since inception, our clients have ranged dramatically from charities such as the British Heart Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund for London, to music festivals such as Outlook and Dimensions, to big B2B events such as the What Car? Awards. Ironically, regardless of the business or industry, the framework put in place is the same.
O: When a buy-side organisation engages with a supplier, how far do you think it transfers responsibility for innovation?
JF: This is a topic much debated at the moment as historically the brand was always responsible for the activation. However, it is in both parties’ interests to actively engage and ensure that the programme, event, or campaign is successful for the audience. Therefore, I would strongly argue that the onus is placed on the rights holder side to ensure that activation falls in line with the overall business strategy to help align objectives.
O: Do you think the very definition of partnership, in a business sense, is evolving and if so how?
JF: The output of partnership is still the same; however, the input of partnerships is radically changing, which is why there are discrepancies around definitions of what sponsorship or partnership is. Sponsorship makes marketing work harder and always has; however, who is involved in that partnership is different now through the advance of digital technology. This will inevitably change our industry.
O: What’s your definition of the perfect client?
JF: A client who understands their business and their reason for bringing on partnerships beyond the financial. A client who isn’t about just selling the logo.
Partnerships can deliver far beyond the investment of rights. When clients understand this implication and its potential, we then have the ability to create sponsorships that deliver value well beyond expectations.