“Data and online content will continue to prove more of a power play” | Rory Stewart-Richardson, Connexi CEO
After having to listen to his friends who worked within the sporting world, Rory Stewart-Richardson decided that he wanted a piece of the action.
Having harboured ambitions to work for himself, and having grown up an avid sports fan, Rory decided to set up Connexi, an ‘award-winning global sponsorship marketplace creating data-driven, commercially relevant partnerships between brands, rightsholders and agencies.’
Rather than basing sponsorship decisions on gut feel, Connexi have a considered approach backed up by data.
“Sponsorship used to be an emotional, vanity, purchase where often Marketing Directors liked to see their logos on the side of big venues, whilst not measuring the effectiveness of the investment.
“We currently pull on two key data points, with a further 2 planned for the future. The first two are detailed first party data aligned with real-time social data.
“One thing, I wanted to ensure was that Connexi was adding value to the wonderful world of sponsorship, and by ensuring each party (Brand, Agency or Rights Holder) remains in control.”
“Sponsorship used to be an emotional, vanity,
purchase where often Marketing Directors
liked to see their logos on the side of big venues,
whilst not measuring the effectiveness of the investment”
We also have an exclusive partnership with Industry leaders, YouGov Sport, which we have exciting plans with moving forward and also looking to build our own bespoke Fan incentivises tool which will allow us to start generating our own consumer profiling data.”
But before Connexi developed into the entity it is today, the idea formulated after Rory was helping a friend.
“Connexi came off the back of helping a very good friend land a large deal with a leading betting firm. The Tizzard racing yard had a famous horse called Cue Card, and they asked me to find them a sponsor.
“After a lot of hard graft, I managed to land them a leading Bookmaker and I am pleased to say the partnership is going from strength to strength three years later.”
At the time, Rory was working at an influencer agency, and saw the consistent increase of platforms trying to help brands find the most efficient, relevant and cost-effective influencer to work with.
“This further developed my idea, that there is a big gap in the market to add value to the traditional sponsorship market, without removing any of the control from people within it.”
At the beginning, Rory admits it was a case of learning hard and learning fast. Moving into the sponsorship world, Rory was forced to learn ‘at a rate of knots’ but had a strong and supportive team around him in the form of friends and family.
“The positive thing, which has continued to remain true, is that the users and the industry have taken to the concept extremely well which has led us to have on board over £400m worth of assets on the platform in under 10 months.
“Data and online content will continue to
prove more of a power play in my eyes,
as brands can measure the investment a lot easier”
And whilst the challenges continue, as to be expected with a start-up business, the concept is one that has been accepted by the market.
“The joy about our proposition is that it appeals to clients of all shapes and sizes. From the likes of the FCA Group and Unilever, leading Premiership Football clubs and big leagues, down to start up male grooming brands, such as Below The Belt and smaller exciting assets such as GB Archery.”
Connexi, with their revolutionary approach to sponsorship, could signal a shift in the way the market operates.
“The world of sponsorship is changing rapidly. Rights Holders are having to work harder in this buyers’ market and think smarter on how they package up their assets to answer bespoke business challenges that brands are experiencing.
“Data and online content will continue to prove more of a power play in my eyes, as brands can measure the investment a lot easier.”
For Rory, content and activation are key in the new age of sponsorship.
“The brand who creates the most commercially relevant partnerships is Red Bull. Their partnerships align with their brand values and audience interests, and it is topped off with fantastically engaging content across their channels.
“The brand that activates their message the best, for me has to be Paddy Power – I love their bravery and creativity on telling their story.”
The future of Connexi is looking bright. As they continue to expand their portfolio, they are also keeping one eye on global expansion.
“We have some really exciting plans for the next 12 -18 months, which include further development of our offering, opening up offices in new markets to support our existing local partnerships to finally ensuring that we create a global marketplace that allows Brands and Rights Holders to find one another, through a time efficient and commercially relevant solution, whilst each party remains in control.”
For more information on Connexi please visit www.connexi.co or email Rory Stewart-Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.