Monday, September 8, 2014

Sports marketing veterans start specialized firm

Lending their clients a listening ear helped Greg Busch and Mike Boykin find a gap in the sports entertainment marketplace and make a move out of what they call the "big agency world."

An executive at a global sports marketing agency, Busch said clients wanted to see senior executives work "hand-in-hand" with brand clients versus the more "organizational-chart approach."

Earlier this year, Boykin and Busch stepped away from jobs as top executives at GMR Marketing, based in Milwaukee with offices in Charlotte, and created Bespoke Sports & Entertainment, a marketing solutions agency aiming to offer its clients consulting and marketing services tailored to their
specific needs.

Bespoke's offices on West Morehead Street, just west to the Bank of America Stadium, opened last week.

"It's not about a right or wrong model," said Busch, Bespoke president. "The large agency model certainly works for some brands that are looking for scale or global reach. It was really more about giving (clients) options. It's really a customized approach."

Busch, who worked at GMR Marketing for 15 years, left as the company's executive vice president for global sports and entertainment consulting. Boykin departed as the executive vice president of sports marketing. Together, they blend more than 50 years of sports and entertainment marketing experience.

"Through our big agency experience, we identified an opportunity in the marketplace to provide brands a personalized service offering," Bespoke CEO Mike Boykin said in a news release. "Our goal is to provide senior-level counsel to create customized brand solutions that drive tangible business results."

The firm will help clients market products, such as signs or advertisements specifically associated with a sports brand, as well as allow spectators at sporting events to interact with the brand via vendors and brand ambassadors, Busch said.

Bespoke will also offer clients strategy and consulting services, brand and sponsorship activation, creative solutions and digital engagement services reaching into social media.

When looking for a company name, Busch said he and Boykin wanted a moniker that emphasized what the firm would strive to do. They settled on "bespoke," an adjective referring to something made-to-order or customized to fit a particular person or thing, such as a "bespoke suit" or "bespoke medicine," he said.

Partners in the company include John Compton, former president of PepsiCo. and current operating advisor to Clayton, Dubilier and Rice, a New York private equity firm, and Gordon Whitener, former president at Host Communications and CEO at Action Sports Media, and current primary member of The Whitener Company, LLC.


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