When Science Meets Emotions on .RED
As the renowned neuroscientist Antonio Damasio says in his book, Descartes’ Error: “We are not thinking machines. We are feeling machines that think.”
That’s the Holy Grail for marketers: creating an emotional connection between consumers and a brand. Among marketing tactics, sponsored promotional events have strong potential to bring a brand to life and evoke powerful feelings that turn events into emotional experiences for consumers.
We recently connected with Adam Colthorpe, Senior Consultant at Beyond Red (www.beyond.red), a sponsorship activation agency. Their portfolio includes Ernst & Young’s Ryder Cup sponsorship; Betway’s 2014 Froch vs. Grove II match – the biggest U.K. stadium boxing match in living memory; the Lloyds Bank’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics, and many more memorable events!
Q&A with Adam Colthorpe
What is a sponsorship activation agency? That sounds pretty exciting!
Advertising is what a brand says about itself; sponsorship is what it does. Good sponsorship marketing is about engaging with your audiences in an emotional way, enhancing their brand experience – by immersing them in a unique experience and activating their brand connection. In the sponsorship activation industry, there are typically two types of agencies: one that sells event sponsorships to brands, and the other that helps brands execute on a sponsorship. We are the latter. And yes – it’s been very exciting!
How do you do it, and do it so well?
Let’s start with the “people” part of the business. Our team has been in the industry for the past 25 plus years. We have the connections. We know how things work and for how much. Our senior executives are very hands-on with our accounts. This direct relationship strips out layers of costs and wastage, and allows us to deliver very efficient campaigns.
And then there’s the “science” part of the business. While we go for big creative ideas, we actually have deep psychological understanding of consumers’ emotional engagement with a brand. When we take on a client, we always start by analyzing their brand: What are their brand attributes? How do they make money? How do they work? Who are their customers and how do they engage with them? What is the emotional journey they are creating for their customers? How can we help them accelerate that journey and give their customers a greater experience? We have a methodical and insights-driven approach to creating the specific experience that meets our clients’ and their customers’ needs.
What about your company name, Beyond Red? Is there science behind it, too?
Beyond Red was born from Redmandarin, a very successful sponsorship consulting company with over 15 years of history. Throughout the years, a lot of Redmandarin’s clients have been calling for help with sponsorship execution. That may not be their marketing teams’ core business, nor their advertising or PR agencies’. So last year Beyond Red was formally created to fill that gap. We picked this name because it can stand on its own while showing a connection to Redmandarin.
The .RED domain is obviously the perfect web address for your company: www.beyond.red. Did you consider other domains before settling on .RED?
First and foremost, we believe a company’s web address is one part of the brand, and it shouldn’t steer the brand. We want a web address that fits our branding and not the other way round. When we looked on .COM, “BeyondRed” and other variations are all gone. Being in the marketing business, we knew about the platter of new top level domains coming into the market. We did some active searching and we found the .RED domain. And beyond.red was available – just perfect!
A .RED web address also creates an interesting response amongst our clients – from confusion (they didn’t know a .RED domain existed) to curiosity to fascination! They are intrigued and therefore more likely to remember us, and that’s a useful emotional association we want to create for our brand.
In closing, what is your own most sensational client experience?
We had this client who wanted a large-scale sponsorship event done in four days! Four! We mobilized our troops, put together the best team, and we did it. It gave us a huge adrenaline rush! It also proves when you are the experts, have proven methods, and are passionate about what you do, even the seemingly impossible is achievable.