Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sponsors should be there for a good time, not for a long time

As if celebrity sports stars haven’t had enough bad publicity in the last few months, last week’s news regarding John Terry’s extra-marital activities have given the football-mad English media even more fodder for their ongoing moral crusade.

Interestingly though, England team management showed that they’ve learnt some lessons from other recent scandals, acting quickly and decisively to strip Terry of the England captaincy, a decision Hill & Knowlton’s Head of Sports & Partnership Marketing, Andy Sutherden, was asked to comment on for Sky News.

This isn’t going to be a post about whether or not sponsors should stand by their talent in times of duress, but rather a look at how the logistics and terms of a sponsorship can be used to provide sponsors with additional layers of protection.

What I like most about Andy’s piece is his observation that sponsors need to start thinking in a shorter-term mindset. Rather than locking in a 2-3 year deal, looking instead for 6-12 month contracts instead.

Those sponsors locked into long term contracts may find themselves dependent on reactive measures, such as sponsorship bodyguarding, to safeguard their reputation if and when their association comes under fire.

However by having the foresight to negotiate shorter-term, possibly rolling contracts, sponsors can more easily distance themselves from a disgraced fallen idol (if that’s deemed the right thing to do). It’s a great example of thinking laterally about an issue to find a solution that mitigates risk, rather than trying to manage impact, and points back to previous posts we’ve written on the importance of behavioural change as a solution to an issue or crisis.

More labels for EU foodstuffs

News today that the European Commission has announced the winner of its competition to design an “organic logo”. According to the EC press release:

“From 1st July 2010, the organic logo of the EU will be obligatory on all pre-packaged organic products that have been produced in any of the EU Member States and meet the necessary standards.”

The competition was originally announced back in April of last year, and while the EC believes it will raise awareness of organic farming, from a personal perspective I’m not so sure. The standards required in order for a product to be labelled “organic” are already pretty stringent, and there’s no indication that the standards themselves will change.

Additionally, only 130,000 people voted in the competition. When you factor in that there are 27 EU Member States, and this country alone has something in the order of 50 million citizens, 130,000 represents a tiny proportion of the population.

The introduction of a new labelling intiative adds another level of complexity to the increasingly busy real estate that’s wrapped around our groceries. With a 1 July deadline the race will be on for manufacturers to get the new logo onto qualifying products and out into stores ahead of the competition. But beyond creating additional work for marketing departments and pack designers, are any of us really expecting one more logo to make a difference?

Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Report – Hill & Knowlton Public Affairs Analysis

Not strictly crisis-related but relevant to many of our readers, here’s a link to our Public Affairs team’s analysis of yesterday’s Pre-Budget Report.

From a crisis management perspective we’re very big on the importance of understanding what’s going on in the news cycle, and how this can affect a crisis you’re faced with at a given point in time. With the release of the Pre-Budget Report now done and dusted, the next six months are going to present us with one of the most pessimistic political debates most of us are likely to ever see. It will be fascinating to see how this affects the tone of reporting in the nation’s daily media, beyond the current doom and gloom camped out in the political and economic pages.