Looking Back And Looking Forward With Andy Sutherden


A new year is a time of reflection: about what has just been and what is to come. It’s a chance to take stock about our ambitions and goals for 2019. At the end of last year, Andy Sutherden, Global head of Sports & Partnership Marketing was asked a selection of questions about the last 12 months and the 12 months to come by PR Week. Here Andy shares his responses as they cast a light on some of the most notable industry moments from 2018 and on some trends to look forward into 2019:

Describe the past year – and make your predictions for the next 12 months.
The next 12 months will be like the 12 before: living with the certainty of uncertainty. Tenacity and great ideas will be even more important in 2019 and anyone bored of Brexit should stay at home, power off, curtains drawn.

What’s been your favourite campaign of 2018 (not one you were involved in)?
Nike’s ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’: one of the most culturally relevant and resonant campaigns of the year.

Which person or organisation handled PR most adeptly in the past 12 months?

Easy. Gareth Southgate. At last an England boss who has put the national pride back into our national game. Managed his team, the media and public expectation with equal aplomb.

 …And which most poorly? ”...
there was a possibility there never had been any drones at Gatwick”, said Detective Chief Superintendent for Surrey & Sussex Police, Jason Tingley... much to the delight of the 140,000 people who were affected as services were delayed or cancelled just before Christmas

What is the PR industry’s single biggest challenge to develop as a profession?
More a case of re-developing the core craft of earned media. The industry has become enamoured with buying its way into the public’s cluttered feeds and cluttered lives. Creating stories that demand positive public attention, rather than pay for it, is a ‘Back to the Future’ moment for

PR What’s the most important practical step your organisation can take to improve the mental health of your workforce?
Seek appropriate ways to redress the credo of ‘always on’ and look to France for any lessons learned from their employee ‘Right to Disconnect’ legislation passed at the beginning of 2017

In which sector/sectors are social influencers now more important than traditional media? Please give one or two examples
Any sector where audience insight demonstrates social media influencers are more effective at a) reaching the desired target market and b) having a positive influence when they do so. If proven to be the case, the next most important question must be ‘which’ social influencer?

I also enjoyed this post by industry commentator David Cushnan at the beginning of January: an excellent A-Z perspective on the year ahead which I found a thought-provoking read. How about you?

It is well worth a read for a thorough overview of the year ahead in sport, but in particular there were a few entries that I found particularly interesting:

A - Athlete Influence. More athletes, with their own direct media channels, feeling empowered to talk openly and honestly about issues that matter, far beyond mere sport. And much more behind the scenes nonsense too. 

E - Expansion. Across world sport rights holders are looking for more. Football, of course, leads the way, for good or bad. Is this the year when a 48 team FIFA World Cup becomes a reality? And what are the next moves in the seemingly inevitable expansion of the club game

G - Gambling. The US is discovering (as if it didn’t know) that there’s money - and lots of it - in betting. We should be able to paint a clearer picture of big winners and losers among leagues, betting operators, media companies and the major data players in the next 12 months.

L - Latency. The BBC claims to have a solution (click to read it) and if they do, it’ll be a game changer for live sports streaming, especially in relation to how it works with social media conversation.

Q - 1/4 By 1/4 The NBA offering the chance to pay to watch the final quarter of games is a move that ought to be closely watched by leagues the world over, just in case the sports-watching future really is micro-transactional.

 R - Retail Sport has lots to learn about ecommerce & the customer journey, as teams/ league develop subscription services. Amazon, meanwhile, builds out its live sports portfolio - including the Premier League & ATP Tour in 2019. Also, worth watching the IOC/Alibaba relationship.

V - VR Expect lots more noise around virtual and augmented reality as the quest for ever more immersive content, taking consumers to the very heart of the action, continues to be front of mind for broadcasters and rights holders. 

X - Xi (jinping) China hosts the Basketball World Cup in 2019 and is prepping for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The wider impact on sport of Xi, Trump, Brexit, Saudi Arabia, Russia and other factors that might be classed as ‘geopolitical’ is anyone’s guess.

Z - Z (Gen) It’s mobile, platforms, bitesize (or bingeing), Facebook (perhaps), Instagram (a lot), it’s Snapchat (a bit), it might even be Tik Tok (look it up), it’s esports and it’s doing whatever you can to grab & hold their attention. It’s not easy. It is set to be another turbulent, but exciting year in the industry; full of change, full of opportunity. I know our work will continue to create conversations around the world and provide H+K with case studies of pride, that help differentiate our business in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

This interview was originally published in the Hill+Knowlton Strategies Front Row publication. Read the original article here.

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