Open Swim, Money

Open Swim, Money: Working with Sponsors


Tanner Woodford, executive director of Chicago Design Museum moderated a well-attended panel discussion at the Lake FX Summit, held at the Chicago Cultural Center. This was a large free convention for young artists and emerging entrepreneurs. Open Swim, Money: Working with Sponsors, was the title of the seminar, with selected panelists of diverse industries.

Tanner introduces himself and his role with Chicago Design Museum (ChiDM), a community-focused organization that shapes the living design community of Chicago. He then turns the conversation to Ashley Galloway, a lead market manager for Societe Perrier, which was re-branded from Perrier and now is a multi-art media, cultural source.  Mirrorball, a creative agency represents this lifestyle brand. Matthew Gowan, a branch manager at PNC Bank, shares his history of event planning efforts through a banking institution. Marguerite Singson, a field marketing manager for KIND Healthy Snacks, brings her brand to us, as consumers, by passing around fruit bar samples with an attached business card.

Tanner modeled the seminar on how three diverse companies build their brand, maintain partnerships, and give back to our community.

Firstly, he begins with how does successful collaboration work? Ashley explains that her target is art institutions and in securing long-term partnerships with annual events including the Art EXPO and Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). Their agenda is to creatively enhance the human experience by re-thinking the way brands affect our lives through advertising, social media, and philanthropy.

Matthew explains PNC’s charitable philosophy in how they successfully collaborate by building fellowships, setting up funds for early learning programs and research, as well as grant-planning programs.

Marguerite discusses how KIND successfully collaborates by establishing partnerships and providing consumers with samples as an interactive healthy experience and as a “kind act” in impacting people’s lives.

Next, Tanner asks how do these companies attract sponsors? Mirrorball Agency bases selection on the type of sponsorship benefits offered and the intensity of its programming involved.  As PNC hosts fundraisers with partnered sponsors, the demographics of these sponsors and their common connections attract similar demographics of potential new sponsors attending their events. KIND has a website link where you enter a charity cause and apply and “sell” for a potential sponsorship opportunity.

Lastly, Tanner asks how these companies achieve monetary success. The agency maximizes their approach by targeting Chicago, as a growing city allowing for tremendous sponsor growth. The bank sets up shareholder contracts for future planning and focuses on how much value can a charity support them in return.  The health bar builds strategies around their local demographic research. As strategies change, their reps must stay intact and think ahead for the next plan.

Nice job done in sharing with the Summit audience how a mixture of industries can contribute to society and gain long-term value for their company brand!


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