A Day in the Life of... Daniel Haddad, Octagon Strategy & Insights

Daniel Haddad 250

1. What does a Strategy Consultant do?

Simply put, we work with brands to create effective sponsorship strategies and with rights holders to optimize commercial strategy. 
With brands we act as strategic support across all elements of the sponsorship process. We help brands identify sponsorship objectives, evaluate potential properties for them and ultimately make recommendations on sponsorship investments. We are specialists in valuing sponsorship and helping our clients negotiate the best asset package based on their objectives. We are experts in understanding sports fans and what drives their fandom and use these insights to help brands create impactful activation campaigns.
We also consult rights holders on commercial strategy across a wide range of considerations including sponsorship, brand development, fan engagement, ticketing strategy etc.
2. Can you lead us through a timeline of a typical day in the office?
It may sound like a cliché but due to the variety of projects we work on it differs quite a bit. Some days will be very research, analysis and report writing focussed, and others will be more focussed around meeting with clients to present ongoing work or final project deliverables. I’d say the main difference between working in strategy rather than classic account management / activation is that over the course of a year we may work with a dozen or more different clients over varying lengths of time rather than having one or two clients that are your focus day in day out. 
3. How do you become a Strategy Consultant?
The most important thing is to get a foot in the door and learn as much about how the sports industry operates as possible. I started by working in activation which provides great exposure to a wide range of disciplines and a great platform to learn a lot very quickly. I think that after a bit of time working in the sports industry you will have a good idea about where you want to specialise, be it account management, sales, hospitality, strategy etc. 
Once you have identified the area that appeals it is vital to proactively seek out opportunities to get exposure working in that discipline. I spoke to our VP of Strategy who allowed me to get involved with some projects he was working on. The projects went well and I gradually started to be given more responsibility until eventually switching completely from activation across to strategy. 
The other key to success is committing to becoming an expert in your chosen area. Research, networking, thought leadership – it is important to take the initiative as much as possible to accelerate your learning and mark yourself out within your organisation as a specialist.  
4. What are the qualities needed to be a Strategy Consultant and what have you learned since being in the role (challenges/opportunities)?

Research skills, analytical skills and being able to articulate and present work with clarity and authority are all very important.
You need to be an expert in the field, so making sure you are completely up to date with what is going on in sponsorship, broadcasting, regulation, and the wider sports and entertainment environment is crucial. 
I have learnt that increasingly clients want us to use our expertise to make judgments on future trends and developments in the industry and what it means for them. Like any industry, everybody wants to be ahead of the curve.
5. Can you tell us about a project/task within your career that you have particularly enjoyed?
Working with both The Premier League and UEFA on projects has definitely been my highlight. For me they are the two rights holders that have made elite European Football the benchmark for the sports industry across almost all metrics – Global interest, commercial success, brand, regulation, innovation etc. The amount that you learn by working alongside the people in these organisations is incredible. 
I have also enjoyed working on MasterCard’s sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League – an iconic partnership that celebrated 20 years last season and a perfect example of a great brand / sponsorship property fit.


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