Rick Penn, Director/Global Sales & Sports Partnerships at Dow, discussed this subject during a session at IEG’s 2017 Sponsorship Conference.
And he suggested that activities linked to events ranging from the Olympic Games to motor racing enable the chemical company to engage with other enterprizes, and thus deepen its insight into marketplace needs and desires.
“We try to get closer to those types of companies that help us understand the heartbeat of what the consumer wants,” he said. (For more details, read WARC’s report: How Dow Chemical learned to define “authentic” marketing partnerships.)
The goal is simple: “We need to grow revenue. We are a for-profit company. We like to partner with other for-profit companies that focus on sustainable business solutions. If you look at today’s consumers, they care about the products that they buy,” said Penn.
“People now are really concerned about the plastic that’s being used in a bottle, the ingredients that are being used in shampoos, or in food. People are willing to pay to get better sustainable products, because they care about some of those challenges.”
By understanding consumer-centric companies, Dow is able to address the key concerns of its customers. “This helps us understand where we need to focus future innovation and technology [and help determine] where we are we going to put $1.6bn annually in R&D.
“If we’re closer to the [end] marketplace, we can hedge better bets upstream as we continue to develop these types of products.”
Penn offered the Coca-Cola Co. – a fellow Olympic sponsor, but one with a completely different marketing objective – as an example of the kind of partnership Dow hopes to engage at the Games.
“They know their customer very, very well. They know what their customer wants. They know what their customer doesn’t want. They do an unbelievable job of talking to that customer.
“If we can get close to Coca-Cola and [learn] they’re trying to solve a problem – or go after a new technology – that we can help with, it helps us if we understand why and what they’re trying to do.”
Data sourced from WARC