A past intern at S&E, Matthew rejoined the firm after completing his BBA degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in 2013. As a Manager, Strategy and Brand Development at S&E, Matthew is involved in both agency and client strategy. Matthew is active in the day-to-day management of the agency from thought-leadership initiatives to new business development. Additionally, Matthew works closely on a variety of strategic initiatives across S&E's client roster of Tier-1 brands.
1) What is your best advice for students trying to enter the sponsorship world?
I'm not sure there is advice exclusive or unique to the world of sponsorship. Regardless of the industry that students are considering entering, I think the fundamentally most important piece of advice would be to relentlessly pursue mentorship. Whether it is through internships or networking, finding a mentor is crucial to development. I have benefited hugely from mentorship from the entire leadership team at S&E, especially from my boss Matthew Logue (EVP and COO). There is no substitute to finding somebody who can be a champion for you within an organization or an industry and who will truly care about your personal and professional development. My philosophy upon graduating from business school was to "pick my boss/bosses, not my industry" as I knew it would yield the most value for me long term. Fortunately, we have a dedicated team of industry leaders at S&E who really invest in all of the employees.
The only other piece of advice I would offer to students is to prepare an answer to the "Why do you want to work in sponsorship" question that isn't "I love sports". It is okay to pursue an area of passion, but that answer is commodotized and will not differentiate you from your peers. Organizations want more than fans.
2) Outside of your brand, who do you think is setting the standard in corporate partnerships?
At S&E we are proud of the great work being done by all of our clients. Beyond the brands we work with, there are many that stick out. While I am not sure that there is one brand that is setting the standard, I do believe that there are moments of brilliance from a number of brands that can act as a source of key learning for all marketers, regardless of their industry.
In the telecom category, I'll point to Bell and the work they have done to help destigmatize mental health in Canada. They identified an underserved cause that had deep relevance with Canadians, was core to their purpose as a communications company, and then leveraged sponsorships (both within their current portfolio and in new investment opportunities) to amplify the reach of their messaging. In an industry where Canadians face little choice, Bell used partnerships to humanize their brand and demonstrate their leadership on an issue.
Sponsorship is not just a tool for multi-national corporations. Another brand with an interesting approach to endorsement and sponsorship has been Biosteel. As a category challenger against brands like Powerade and Gatorade who have massive budgets and are heavily invested in sponsorship, Biosteel has grown on the back of a roster of endorsers across many different sports (ie. Andrew Wiggins, Carey Price, Dez Bryant, Heather Moyse, etc.). For athletes evaluating endorsement opportunities, partnering with a smaller brand or category challenger can provide the chance to take on a more featured role, rather than being a small fish in a big sea of endorsers. I think we will see athletes increasingly seek out these types of endorsement relationships.
3) Who is your favourite athlete of all time?
I will name one from each of my beloved sports teams: the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Miami Dolphins.
Maple Leafs: Gary Roberts
Toronto Raptors: Jerome "Junk Yard Dog" Williams
Miami Dolphins: Zach Thomas
Job: Manager, Strategy and Brand Development
S &E Sponsorship Group
Education: Wilfrid Laurier University
Age: 23 years old