NEW YORK: Edelman and United Entertainment Group have expanded their Olympic marketing and communications offering to help clients promote and protect their brands when communicating around upcoming global sporting events.
Mary Scott, president of sports and experiential marketing for United Entertainment Group, leads the offering, which is made up of an international team of roughly 50 experts. The agency decided to expand the offering in anticipation of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Clients will receive services including strategic communications planning and execution, sponsorship and experiential activation, athlete acquisition and management, and digital and social media engagement. The offering also touts new dedicated team members in the areas of global issues management and preparedness, employee engagement, social purpose strategy, and research and analytics.
Scott told PRWeek that crisis and issues management used to be added on at the end, if needed, for brands communicating around sporting events. But now, brands should be prepared from the get-go and have a clear understanding of the nuances of different events, markets, and countries the activities are taking place in.
"Global sporting events, like the Olympics and World Cup, have become a platform for activists of all kinds to use to talk about their issues," said Scott, referring to the criticism the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing received from human rights advocates.
She added, "It has become evident that Olympic marketing for brands in particular needs to be so much more than just promoting the brand; protecting the brand is also extremely important."
One way the offering will aid clients in protecting their brands is by helping them understand and engage various stakeholders, so they can maximize the ROI of sponsorships.
"I think the game of sponsorship has really changed, given the many factors that have changed our world – from the comms landscape, to the sponsor landscape, to the host city landscape – all of the things that now go into a sporting event," Scott said.
Respective leads for Olympic-related issues management, digital, employee, cause marketing, and research assignments include: Harlan Loeb, Edelman’s global practice chair for crisis and risk; Kevin King, global chair of Edelman Digital; Christopher Hannegan, US practice chair for employee engagement; Larry Koffler, EVP of Edelman’s business and social purpose group; and Mike Berland, Global CEO of Edelman Berland, the firm’s research and analytics arm.
The leadership team will work with the Olympic experts within Edelman and United Entertainment Group’s network on behalf of clients, which range from global and regional corporate sponsors to organizing committees, governing bodies, sports federations and bid committees, media rights holders, events, and athletes.
United Entertainment Group EVP Erin Weinberg heads Olympic business in the US for the firm; and Natalia Martinez, EVP at Edelman Significa, leads strategic programs in Brazil, currently with a focus on developing Olympic business. Martinez led multiple client efforts on the ground at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, according to a statement.
Edelman Significa has had a presence in Brazil for more than 25 years. The group worked with multiple clients to create brand awareness around the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.
In addition to staffers in Brazil, Edelman has dedicated sports and Olympic team members in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Austin, and London. The firm also has teams in South Korea and Japan, host countries of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and 2020 Olympic Games, respectively.
United Entertainment Group was created as a joint venture in October among Edelman parent company DJE, United Talent Agency, and Jarrod Moses, who founded UEG in 2007.
Fantasy sports website DraftKings recently brought on United Entertainment Group to help it boost brand awareness by "going beyond sports pages."
Last month, Ketchum launched an offering to help sports institutions and the brands that sponsor them contend with reputational challenges on and off the field.