This week with OPRO I travelled to London and the National Science Museum to attend an ESA (European Sponsorship Association) ‘TEDesq’ talks event. 

Now, first I had to google what TED talks actually are. It started out as a conference where experts would speak for 20 minutes about their ideas on Technology, Entertainment & Design. Fast forward 30 years and it has turned into thousands of inspirational videos covering almost all topics. It appears they have massive appeal and are certainly worth a look online!

The event we attended comprised seven speakers each giving a 7 (-ish) minute speech on ‘The Future of Sponsorship’. These ranged from grassroots sponsorship for individuals trying to achieve certain goals to major sponsorship deals involving huge corporations with millions of pounds at their disposal.

Two speakers that did stick out were Bob Golazo with the Golazo movement, who rolled out the Bridgestone campaign for the Olympic Winter Games and Bonita Norris, a mountaineer.

Bonita was the first to stand up and she spoke about her challenge of being the youngest ever woman to climb Mount Everest. She had a love for hiking and walking and decided it was something that she had to do, it was her dream.

After weighing everything up it looked like she needed £50,000 all in to complete the expedition and she was currently at zero. She started to cold call companies and six months down the line got to just over a thousand and thought it was the end, planning to give up.

On a final push she appeared on Capital FM pleading with businesses to get in contact, it turns out one of the businesses she had already cold called (Vocalink) heard her story on the radio and got in contact telling her that they would take the risk and give her the full £50,000.

Vocalink had a mission of inspiring young people and thought this would be a good a start as any, Bonita explained that this was a huge leap of faith and trust from them because she could quite easily not have made it due to weather or injury and the money would have been gone. In return Bonita would go to hundreds of schools as part of their CSR programme telling her story to thousands of children.

From the £50k Vocalink invested they received £1.8 million worth of advertising through the PR they received over Bonita completing the trip.

It just shows how high the Risk - Reward at grassroots level sponsorship can be and how much trust is involved. But when something like this happens it can be priceless. We have athletes every year competing for sponsorship to get to the Commonwealth, World and Olympic Games. They all have the same goal of wanting gold and none are guaranteed anything so it is a huge amount of trust shown by companies to support them financially, with product support, but most of all, trust…