SoftCo is a company that thinks about sponsorship and how it might work for its brand in very specific ways.
When it launched its new product SoftCo 10 it looked to see what might suit the small audience of decision makers it needs to reach and decided that signing two of the world’s best number 10’s in rugby was the way to go. Cue the arrival of Dan Carter and Ronan O’Gara to the SoftCo sponsorship family and people took notice.
When it came to the choice of Ireland’s Women’s Hockey team ahead of this summers World Cup in London, the choice had a little more personal influence but is still backed by a solid business rationale.
“I played hockey at school and Leinster level and the company CEO Anton Scott went further representing Ireland at international level,” said Founder Susan Spence speaking exclusively to Sport for Business.
“We like to support local and support our people and we back Monstown Hockey Club as a sponsor through our SoftCo Foundation.”
“That prompted Hockey Ireland to approach us a month ago with the offer of backing the Women’s National team and when we looked at what they had achieved in getting to a World Cup it looked like a good fit.”
“We hadn’t been aware that there was no sponsorship and we were surprised by that.”
“We had supported the U21 team in the past with some measure of backing but that opened our eyes to the difference in how teams playing at this level are supported in ireland as opposed to by other nations.”
“We felt that by backing the Irish team at the World Cup that we could bring them just a little closer to the level of backing that their rivals would be enjoying.”
“Being allowed to display the SoftCo logo on the shirts is a big plus given the amount of coverage the tournament will attract.”
“Playing against the United States and England in the Group stage at the London Olympic Arena also gives us a platform to entertain key clients in two of our most important international markets and reach out to them with a statement that at this world class level, SoftCo is a player.”
“Our clients are Governments, Lloyds Bank, Primark and others of that stature. You can never know whether the key people like rugby or golf or opera but supporting at a world class level in any field is a statement.”
Hockey has a demographic of active players that most sports would die for. Yet it has struggled in recent years to make the kind of strides that Cricket has, for example, over a similar period.
Could SoftCo offer advice beyond the supply of marketing material that wil help the organisation as a whole?
“We do have a sense of helping organisations to scale ideas,” continued Spence. “We like to be involved collaboratively and if they ask for our help in different areas then we would be willing to listen, to advise from our own experience and to help in whatever way we can.”
“We have yet to fully work through what the wider activation of the partnership will look like but we have an imaginative team here and they are already working on content ideas which will bring the story of players like Katie and her colleagues to life.”