Back then: Steve Baskin (in tie) vp-brand development and sponsorships and team were sprinting over the Brooklyn Bridge with the win of a lifetime a Grand Ex Award for ING’s title sponsorship of the New York City Marathon. The financial-services company activated the city’s annual event on all fronts with guerrilla efforts a community outreach and an informative captivating exhibit at the runners’ health and fitness expo.
Now: Baskin is still running strong at ING. Here’s where it’s all headed next:
What has changed since June 2004?
The biggest change is that in 2004 we were at the beginning of building a sponsorship platform. Since then we have added a number of properties in the running space and others such as multicultural marketing and working with our global group on a Formula 1 sponsorship. We have added the ING Miami marathon and half-marathon the ING Bay to Breakers 12K in San Francisco ING Georgia marathon and half-marathon which debuted this March ING Trestle Valley marathon in Minot ND Twin Cities marathon and Denver marathon. We rolled out the Run For Something Better (RFSB) program a charity that supports in-school kids’ running programs from New York to the title sponsorships we have in the U.S. and other races around the world. Orangelaces.com which also benefits running programs for kids now is in Miami Georgia Bay to Breakers as well as New York.
What is your biggest achievement since the Grand Ex?
ING is one of the largest providers of retirement plans and services for teachers and for city government workers in the U.S. RFSB helps us tie ING’s brand into schools in the markets where we sponsor and into the city governments so it is a very tidy business activation process for us. We’re doing good for the community and for the brand at the same time. It’s really satisfying to have put this together over the past few years.
What’s your biggest challenge in the year ahead?
We’ve done a really good job of raising awareness and making people feel good about ING as a brand. Our numbers are really strong; favorability toward ING shows between 20 to 30 percent improvement in folks interested in doing business with ING in sponsor markets. What we are faced with in 2008 is transitioning from awareness building which we needed in the first few years since ING is a pretty new brand in the U.S. to using events to leverage business for the company. The work we are doing right now is 100-percent focused on getting our sales guys and products in front of the right people. Running is still a good platform for us; we think the ING Presents Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony En Concierto concert tour which launched in September is going to be a good platform for us. We’re transitioning to business-driving initiatives versus awareness initiatives.