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Ed Carias

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What: Ed Carias, Sr. Brand Manager at el Jimador Tequila – North American Region, Brown-Forman, and a speaker at our upcoming PortadaLat conference next month speaks to Portada about what he has learned about strategizing and activating sport sponsorships and sports related ad campaigns. 
Why it matters:
 Sports marketing, particularly as it relates to sponsorships is an area that is strongly growing in the overall U.S. marketing landscape.

Sports background Free VectorWhen you build a sports marketing strategy for your brand, it is very important to first understand what you are trying to accomplish if you want your investment to be successful, explains Ed Carias, Sr. Brand Manager at el Jimador Tequila – North American Region, Brown-Forman.

“To sponsor a sports team or a particular player (celebrity)  may not necessarily  be the right choice. The decision to sponsor a particular property has to be aligned with the brands overall goals,” Carias adds.

The decision to sponsor a particular property has to be aligned with the brands overall goals.

According to Carias,  Sports marketing has become a widely used and accepted piece of the marketer’s toolbox,”  “Of course,  this doesn’t mean that because the opportunity is there you have to grab it. The sponsorship needs to make sense within the overall sports marketing framework. If a sports property can help you advance your overall brand or business goals then it becomes a really good opportunity and conversation, whether you are looking for awareness, or to make a connection with your target consumer.”

Choosing the Right Sport

Another challenge is to choose the right sport, Carias notes. There are so many sports to choose from, that you have to focus on the one that suits your brand best. A great example is what companies like Red Bull and Monster Energy have done through their association with extreme sports. “Once you decide that a sports partnership can help your overall business goals,” says Carias, “you have to take a look at what you want to accomplish with that, and at what resources you have available in order to  leverage  the sponsorship.”

Carias, a  member of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board,  notes that throughout his career he has had experiences with partnerships where he has not been able to fully leverage the rights or the name of the team. “We didn’t activate the partnership as well as we could have. That was a big learning for me,” he explains.

If you don’t have a plan that fully leverages the sports partnership then maybe you are better off doing advertisement around the sport.”

Through learning by doing it became clear to Carias that “if you don’t have a plan that fully leverages the sports partnership then you might be better off  doing advertisement around the sport.”

To know what works best in advance, you have to look at your overall plan and at the resources you have available, and then make a decision. Also, you might have a great marketing plan around a team sponsorship, but if you don’t have the money to invest in activities around the sponsorship,  you might be better off doing  something else.”

Carias has the following rule in order to make sure that a brand has the right level of resources to fund sports marketing efforts: “You need two dollars for every dollar invested in  a sponsorship in order to be able to fully leverage it.”

You need two dollars for every dollar associated with a sponsorship in order to be able to fully leverage it.

Major League SoccerSoccer Marketing…

“In the last ten years, soccer in the U.S. has continued to grow and to get bigger. The difference between  soccer and hockey is very small. They have almost the same popularity right now.” Carias believes.

“I don’t think soccer is approached  just as a way to target multicultural or Hispanic consumers anymore,” Carias emphasizes. In the last decade brands and fans have experienced that in addition to large metropolitan marketers, there is growth in smaller markets. MLS teams such as Seattle and Portland have shown that general market fans are as interested in soccer, “or maybe more interested in soccer,” than they are in other sports.

But soccer brands need to be careful when planning a sponsorship. There are many ways to advertise around soccer, you don’t need a partnership or a main sponsorship. “Billboard advertising as well as  stadium signage and other smaller sponsorship elements are also available.”

Subscribe to Portada daily Sports Marketing Updates!

What brands should be really looking for, is for customizable content that only they can provide to sports fans. The truth is, “soccer fans don’t need our brands to be fans, they already are, and they can find information about their team in one thousand different locations,” explains Carias.

Soccer fans don’t need our brands to be fans, they already are.

The key is to come up with content that really engages a brand’s target audience to interact with the brand. “That’s pushing us to do more custom content, and things that are unique.” For example, EL Jimador did a program with Tim Howard, the goalkeeper of the Colorado Rapids and the United States national team. The program  provided consumers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shoot a penalty kick against Howard and potentially win one million dollars.”

“More brands are getting into these  kinds of unique partnerships and custom opportunities versus just having our name on the shirt, or making posters with the team logo for display.”

Carias believes that brands have gotten smarter and savvier on what it takes to leverage sports properties. But part of the challenge is that fans are smarter too. “We have to be more and more creative on how we provide value to the fandom.”

A brand that did a great job, according to Carias, is Heineken and their official sponsorship of MLS rivalry week. “It is a great idea because the rivalry is what fans really get excited about.” Heineken found the way to connect with fans with something that they already want. “They want to celebrate their team and show how their team is better than yours.” (Heineken became the MLS’s official beer starting January 2015. The Dutch brand replaced 20-year associate Budweiser, with a $50 million five-year deal.)

el Jimador Tequila…and why El Jimador Chose Soccer: Celebrations

The place where El Jimador fits into soccer is when a celebrations takes place. That is a natural connection where soccer and sports fans are comfortable engaging with an alcohol partner.

Celebrations are natural connections where soccer fans are comfortable engaging with an alcoholic brand.

Soccer for us feels like the right platform for the strategy that we are carrying out today in the US and in Canada,  because we are trying to connect with a multicultural audience. As a platform soccer allows us to speak to a Hispanic audience and the general market in the U.S. It is a very flexible platform.

Carias notes that soccer is one of the most alcohol friendly sports, “as it is a sport you watch together with friends at a bar, or with a drink in your hand.”

Soccer fans are very smart about their fandom, so you have to be as committed to the sport as they are.

El Jimador’s biggest challenge, Carias concludes, is to understand the sport and the fans. “We have seen over the last few years that soccer fans are very smart around their fandom, so you have to be as committed to the sport as they are.”

PortadaLat Registration: We have added new Ticket Types to Meet Your Needs!

DAY 1: SPORTS AND TRAVEL MARKETING DAY (June 7):  The first day of PortadaLat will focus on how technological innovation is impacting key segments of business and marketing with emphasis on Travel and Sports. All sessions, keynotes and marketing-tech showcases are included as well as light food, sandwiches and beverages. (US $199)
GENERAL PASS: Attend the overall PortadaLat event on June 7 and June 8. All sessions, keynotes, networking, food and beverage included! (US$549)
VIP ATTENDEE: Meet up to 5 high-level brand, agency or media executives of your choice attending or speaking PortadaLat. These 10 minute meetings will take place in a separate room during the first and second day of PortadaLat and are designed to help you build valuable relationships. General Pass offering is included. (US $ 1,999).
DAY 2: BRAND INNOVATION DAY  (June 8)
The second day at PortadaLat will celebrate Brand Innovation and showcase how leading companies are boosting brand equity and increasing their relevance in a disruptive environment in Latin America and the U.S. Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Reception Food and Beverages included. (US$ 549!)
Secure your spot and start the PortadaLat journey!

We are thrilled to present Portada Sports Marketing Board, which will feature 12 brand marketing and agency luminaries. This announcement underscores our new commitment to serving the vibrant sports and soccer marketing sectors.As members of the Sports Marketing Board, these leaders and innovators will participate in Portada’s marquee events and provide thought leadership to Portada writers and researchers.

Portada Sports Marketing Board Members

    • John Alvarado, VP Brand Marketing, Crown Imports
    • Analia Benedetti, Director of Shopper Marketing and Multicultural, Kellogg
    • Ed Carias, Sr. Brand Manager el Jimador Tequila – North American Region, Brown-Forman
    • Ramiro Crespo, Multicultural Channel Strategy, Sprint
    • Jeff Garrant, Senior Partner, Director Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Maxus
    • Jorge Inda Meza, Marketing Director Region West, Anheuser Busch
    • Daniel Keats, Director Sports and Sponsorships, Consumer Marketing Allstate Insurance
    • Michael Neuman, EVP, Managing Partner, Scout Sports and Entertainment
    • Felix Palau, VP Tecate, Heineken
    • Mike Tasevsky, SVP U.S. Sponsorship, MasterCard
    • Ivonne Kinser, AFM ‎Director Digital Strategy & Innovation, Avocados From Mexico
    • Kymber Umana, ‎Hispanic Marketing Manager, Sprint

Meet the Board

Subscribe to Portada daily Sports Marketing Updates!

Creating a space to learn from each other

As members of the Sports Marketing Board, these leaders and innovators will participate in Portada’s marquee events and provide thought leadership to Portada writers and researchers.
“Sports offer the opportunity to establish a meaningful, authentic connection with our consumers and create (and deliver) great content, and successful shopper programs. I personally love Portada’s initiative: by putting this board together, Portada is creating a great space for us to learn from each other, share best practices and bounce ideas,” says Analia Benedetti, Director of Shopper Marketing and Multicultural.

Daniel Keats, the Director of Sports and Sponsorships for consumer marketing at Allstate Insurance, notes that “sports are a major passion point impacting consumers across all segments,” and that t is important to have a specific focus on unique content, programming, and market intelligence when engaging consumers through this powerful medium.”
“It is a real privilege to have the backing of this outstanding group of brand marketing and agency executives. This sports marketing board will be essential to our efforts to produce high-quality events and provide value for our partners and sponsors,” says Marcos Baer, the publisher of Portada. “Due to their rapidly growing popularity among overall U.S. and multicultural audiences, we are substantially increasing our coverage of soccer and sports marketing,” Baer adds.

Portada Sports Marketing Programming

March 22: Launch of Portada’s Sports Marketing site in Beta
April-May 2017: The 2018 Soccer World Cup Golazo Marketing Pitch Contest
June 7, 2017: The Portada Sports Marketing Platform Launch Party and Webinar at the PortadaLat conference, Miami
September 13,2017: The Portada Sports Marketing Forum, NYC, part of Portada17 (September 13-14)

For information on sponsorship opportunities and other creative ways to align your brand with Portada’s Sports Marketing Platform, please reach out to Sales/Marketing Director Kelley Eberhardt at kelley@portada-online.com