Our Diversified Offering in 2019 as Strategic Brand, Commercial & Experiential Agency
Bastion EBA, part of Australia’s largest independent agency, Bastion Collective, has diversified its offering as a leading strategic brand, commercial and experiential agency, working with some of Australia’s biggest and most exciting events and brands in the country.
In its tenth year in 2019, a lot has changed for Bastion EBA, led by CEO Simon Garlick along with General Manager Matt McCann who joined in 2018. Whilst the core belief of the agency still rings true; to connect people and brands through experiences and emotions, Bastion EBA can now offer a full service agency model, as a strategic brand and commercial agency that delivers exceptional experiences.
In the past month Bastion EBA’s Sydney team moved into the Bastion Collective new flagship NSW office in Waterloo with the nine other business arms. This allows Bastion EBA to work closely with its creative sister agency, Banjo as well as data and analytics arm, Stable Research, both of which were acquired by Bastion Collective in 2018.
According to McCann, the major difference is in the diversity of EBA’s offering. McCann said, “Over the past six months the agency has created a national team of 25 specialists across strategy, creative, commercial and experiential with a laser focus on having the customer front and centre.
“We spent a lot of time earlier in the year listening to our clients and scoping the market before implementing a revised structure and strategy going into 2019 and beyond. This has manifested with a completely new approach to our strategic thinking and building a team passionate about our clients business no matter the size. Not to mention being able to tap into the expertise of our sister agencies across the Collective which are now all in the same building. We can now completely deliver on the term full-service for our clients”.
Bastion EBA’s latest brand experiences include the Australian Open onsite activations for KIA and Garnier in 2019 and 2020, the 2019 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix with Ferrari, Microsoft’s Gears 5 XBOX gaming launch event, and the upcoming VRC Melbourne Cup Carnival which will see an exciting first-time activation in the Birdcage for Kennedy Luxury Group.
McCann added, “What we’re seeing is that clients benefit hugely when they can interact with people amongst their target audience and control the environment.
“Brands can control how people feel, from the moment they enter, to when they leave. They can truly immerse customers and activate all of their senses in an unforgettable way that creates a lasting brand impact. Then we turn impact into a data point that extends the customer journey for a much longer timeframe post-event”.
Garlick added “We have a rich history in sport and sponsorship which will continue unabated, but now we have a diverse, national skill base that delivers so much more than that every day.”
This article featured in Mumbrella here on 26 Sept, 2019.
Defining the Value of Sponsorship for Non-Traditional Rights Holders
For decades, sport has been the golden child of sponsorship. The goose that laid the golden egg, with more than 80% of sponsorship spend being invested in sport.
It’s not hard to see why, when as Australians, we continually talk about how sport is the foundation of our culture and our undisputed national pastime. So when it comes to investing in sponsorship, to align yourself with the things that Australians are most passionate about, sport becomes a no brainer, right?
The eyeballs, reach, awareness and profile are undeniable and despite the ill fortunes of our nation’s cricket and rugby teams of late, sport still demands the lion’s share of brand investment. But, sponsorship in this fragmented media market is becoming so much more than eyeballs, it’s in the experience.
This begs the question – what role do less traditional rights holders such as entertainment, retail and arts organisations play here? They don’t have the broadcast but they do have a physical (and I would argue, more meaningful) reach that rivals that of even the largest sporting organisations.
Consider major theme parks that see 6 million+ visitors pass through their gates every year, or better yet, major entertainment destinations that see up to 30 million people visiting their properties annually.
These numbers are staggering and present an enviable commercial proposition, particularly considering the MCG sees 3 million visitors in the same period.
So why have many of these organisations been late to the party when it comes to using sponsorship as a genuine business function to generate inbound revenue?
Over the last five years, we have helped to stimulate significant commercial growth for these non-traditional rights holders and surprisingly, our involvement is often the first formal steps these organisations have taken towards generating such a business function.
These entities understand the partnerships model (and even have a toe in the water in respect to out-of-home advertising assets or one-off pop up activations), but do not invest in a formal partnerships program because their ‘business as usual’ activity often generates far greater financial returns. In the case of an entertainment complex or casino, one can appreciate that the $500k-$1m odd in partnership revenue that could be earnt in the first year remains negligible in comparison to their gaming, F&B and hotel income.
But for many of these entertainment complexes, shopping centres, arts bodies and attractions, incremental revenue is not the only benefit to be gained here, in fact it is only a small piece of the total pie.
There are a number of indirect benefits that a well executed partnerships strategy can deliver for rights holders, their brand partners and consumers, which will eventually lead to powerful business outcomes. These include:
For example a retail district’s partnership with a cultural icon to stimulate additional appeal and visitation at a peak traffic period; such as Disney’s integrated Christmas campaign at Melbourne Emporium, where a premium Mickey Mouse themed Christmas Tree was revealed in conjunction with Mickey Mouse themed high fashion artwork.
Enhance the Customer Experience
The perfect fit brand partners have an exceptional ability to enhance the experience for the rights holder’s audience, creating longer dwell times, and influencing purchase behaviour. The Lounge enabled by Samsung at the Sydney Opera House is a good example where the very latest in Samsung technology is used to engage guests in an immersive and relevant technology experience.
Rewarding VIPs/Valued Customers
Engaging and rewarding customers through the things they’re passionate about is a great tactic to increase brand loyalty. For example The Star Entertainment Group invited a collection of VIP customers to a private cocktail event to witness the unveiling of a McLaren supercar in a bar on site at The Star Sydney.
Changing Band Association and Perception
A shopping centre’s partnership with a celebrity chef or restaurant chain can help reposition a retail hub into a cultural destination, all the while appealing to whole new audiences.
Rights holders can grow a supplier into a larger, more integrated partner which returns partnership revenue for marketing assets. An example of this is American Express’ ownership of the Taronga Zoos Twilight Series, where AMEX receive pre-release ticketing, express lanes for members, and exclusivity within payments systems.
I look forward to seeing more of these new world rights holders capitalise on partnerships to drive these outcomes and start to challenge the saturated sporting market. Afterall, greater competition and more options provide greater value for brands and will work to take the industry forward as a whole.
Matt McCann joins as New General Manager, Sydney
Leading specialist sponsorship and experiential marketing agency, Bastion EBA, have appointed Matt McCann to the newly created role of General Manager – Sydney.
Before his four year stint as Global Chief Operating Officer at influencer agency, The Projects, McCann held the role of General Manager – Media and Sponsorship at Telstra from 2012 to 2015 managing an extensive portfolio across 325 markets nationally. McCann has a distinguished career with over 15 years experience in media agencies across FMCG, Finance, Telco and Government.
Matt will be running Bastion EBA’s Sydney team, overseeing operations and delivery of services including Sponsorship Strategy, Acquisition, Management and Experiential Marketing, as well as key business development and further integration roles across the broader Bastion Collective agency group.
Bastion EBA’s CEO Simon Garlick said of the appointment: “Matt is a brilliant addition to our team. He is incredibly talented, well respected and connected and his extensive experience and ability to lead large scale sponsorship negotiations and think strategically from a rights holder, agency and most importantly brand perspective means he is incredibly well placed to both grow our operations and nurture and develop our people. We are rapt to have Matt join the business and are very much looking forward to what we will be able to do together”.
Matt added: “I am thrilled to be joining Bastion EBA in Sydney and working closely with Simon and the whole team. The calibre of work delivered, the people, and the engaged clients all demonstrate what a great culture has been developed already across both EBA and the wider Collective. I am really excited at the prospect of working with this highly creative, motivated and passionate group of people and continuing to grow and support the business as a whole.
“The Bastion Collective model sees clients access a breadth of services under one roof delivered by experts in their field but with service quality that is typically only possible in smaller businesses is a powerful one, can’t wait to join and do my bit.”
Bastion EBA’s clients include AIA, Garnier, Medibank, Nissan, Deakin University, Rebel Sport, Johnnie Walker, Tourism NT, The Star and Microsoft.
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Bastion Collective is the largest independent communications agency in Australia. We exist to be the Bastion of Australian Ingenuity. Our integrated agency network allows us to deliver simple, original and resourceful communications solutions to our clients' complex problems. Bastion Collective clients can use us for one specialist service or our entire integrated offering, delivered through one central point of contact. We do this all to help our clients create, grow, measure and protect their businesses.