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CohnReznick – The Business of Baseball

Source is proud to continue telling CohnReznick LLP‘s story though the Major League Baseball Business of Baseball series. The rule changes this season are just one example of how businesses can innovate to optimize their product and results. We created this branded content series with MLB four years ago to help CohnReznick achieve its objectives of increasing brand awareness and elevating brand perceptions and it continues to deliver.   #sportsmarketing #newrules #BusinessofBaseball

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CohnReznick Gamechangers in ESG 2022 Awards Program

To help CohnReznick support its heightened focus on ESG, Source developed The Gamechangers in ESG Award concept and leveraged assets in the MLB Business of Baseball partnership to promote it. The award recognizes companies that are making ESG a priority in how they work today and a commitment in how they strategize to work in the future and honors a Next Gen student recipient as well. CohnReznick celebrated the 2022 Gamechangers in ESG Winners at a special event at MLB Network studios, emceed by MLBN host Lauren Shehadi, joined by CohnReznick CEO David Kessler and MLB VP of Social Responsibility April Brown. Watch this recap video to hear about each winner’s sustainability story and its relevance to their stakeholders.

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The World Congress of Sports

Abe Madkour (SBJ), Bill Daly (NHL), Todd Goldstein (AEG Global Partnerships), Amy Howe (Fan Duel), Kate Johnson (Google), Sandra Douglass Morgan (Las Vegas Raiders) and Steve Phelps (NASCAR)

Sustainability. Equality. Globalization. Fan Experience. Digital Transformation.

Key themes that we learned about at this year’s Sports Business Journal World Congress of Sports and all incredibly important trends that will shape the sports world for years to come. But the most important takeaway that we have from this year’s conference is that relationships are still vitally important to any successful league, team, brand, agency and any organization. Developing positive relationships with the communities your organization serves drives true success and Source is ecstatic to continue to building these relationships with our exceptionally talented staff, valued clients, and impactful partners that we work with every day. Thanks to all of the speakers for their insights and to SBJ for putting on a great event – already looking forward to next year!

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Ideas Inspiring Action: How We Think

Thoughts from President and Founder, Larry Rothstein

After 39 years in business, if there is one lesson I have learned, it is relationships matter.

We’ve worked with many companies for over 20 years. We’ve had individual clients who have changed companies 3 or 4 times and keep coming back to work with our agency. We’ve had media and sports team partners who confidently refer us business. And we’ve had employees return to Source at different stages of their careers.

Why? Because we have earned their confidence and respect. They know we say what we mean and we do what we say.

Yes, it is a lot about our business mantra – “Ideas inspiring action” – innovative, unexpected ideas that deliver on objectives and deliver real results. But importantly, it is also about HOW we do business.

It is about how passionate we are about our clients’ businesses. We immerse ourselves in the category, the consumer, the competition and we become our clients’ true partner. We listen. We learn fast. We see the possibilities.

Importantly – we deliver. On time, on strategy and on budget. We give our clients options so they are never boxed in and we pride ourselves in helping to lead the thinking to exciting new places.

We’re good at what we do, and we love it – and that makes working with us a lot more fun too.

Good relationships are built on good work and good people. And enjoying the combination of those two makes them last a long, long time.

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Ideas Inspiring Action: How We Think

Thoughts from President and Founder, Larry Rothstein

As advertising professionals working at the top of the marketing funnel, we face the daily  challenge of addressing ROI. How do we demonstrate that building brand awareness and increasing brand perceptions help deliver the KPIs at the bottom of the funnel?

At Source, we build a strategic platform based on ROOdelivering our clients the best Return on Objectives.

Where do we start?

  1. Understanding the key target audiences to reach and the specific objectives for each audience.
    –  e.g. awareness, customer loyalty, recruitment, distributor/wholesaler/retailer engagement, salesperson incentive/recognition, trial/sales, web traffic…
  2. Establishing priorities among the audience groups.
  3. Developing communications strategies and messaging for each group.
  4. Crafting the creative marketing idea that is “on brand” and delivers the motivating benefits in an unexpected, inspiring away.
  5. Determining the best platforms and assets to deploy to most effective reach to engage the audience and elevate the message ― selecting across media, sports, entertainment, and content.
  6. Integrate and ACTIVATE.
  7. Post program, conduct valuation to measure how well the campaign, sponsorship and/or promotional program delivered against objectives to demonstrate return on objectives.

Objective-driven advertising and sports marketing programs work. 

What’s your key objective for 2023? 

How can we help you maximize ROO? 

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Ideas Inspiring Action: How We Think

We don’t understand why so many brands fail to integrate their sports marketing creative and messaging with their brand advertising.

As sports marketers, we are always evangelizing that sponsorships are more than just signage and that the best programs must be activated…

Our experience, the best activation comes from integration across the entire marketing program. Sponsorship marks should be used in the brand’s advertising. Brand advertising assets and messaging should be brought into the venue, social media, and sports media. Current and/or legacy players should be used as ambassadors or spokespeople. Promotions should leverage sports assets and be communicated through sponsorships, brand-owned media and paid media. Paid sports media should be considered to amplify the in-venue and organic creative/sponsorship synergy.

Why? Because if sports is part of the plan, it’s because the brand believes in the multiplier effect of the fan connection ― and that can and should be reinforced at every point of contact between the brand and the target audience.

We saw it turn around declining sales in the salty snacks category by implementing integrated campaigns with three MLB teams. We saw how it contributed to increased awareness and perceptions for a national professional services firm as a result of their partnership with MLB. We saw it drive traffic and sales in QSR in multiple markets across the country. Source’s most robust and longest-running example was in the bank category― an integrated campaign featuring two legacy NFL players and leveraging an NFL team sponsorship― led to dramatic increases in bank deposits, brand awareness, ad recall, bank perceptions, and ultimately, an acquisition.

1 + 1 + 1 = 4X+++   Integration across the marketing mix increases the power of your plan!

#advertising #sportsmarketing #brand

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LENNY & LARRY’s Launches the Boss Cookie

Lenny & Larry’s launched a brand new high protein cookie “The Boss” to their line-up of healthy, plant based cookies. Source jumped into to help introduce the new ‘Boss Cookie”, targeted to a post-workout audience, and created the “Boss Challenge” featuring Ninja Athlete and TV personality Jessie Graff. The challenge was created to introduce a new audience to a healthier alternative to high protein bars. “I mean who doesn’t like a cookie as a reward for a great workout”, said Graff.  Source facilitated all production for the “Boss Challenge” including branded content, out of home, digital & social media as well contest logistics and prizing. Three finalists were selected from social video entry. Each contestant traveled to Frisco, Texas at Ninja Nation to compete in the final competition. Winners were announced on Lenny & Larry’s social channels with the final competition airing on IGTV. The winner received a private training session with Jessie Graff and a years supply of “Boss Cookies”. Plenty of protein to keep up their Ninja training.

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Eli and Archie Manning are “Born to Grill” for BBQGuys

Eli and Archie Manning, legendary father-and-son NFL quarterbacks (and proud BBQGuys investors) have officially joined the BBQGuys team! The grill’s been preheating on this one for a while, but we couldn’t possibly be more excited to welcome these new “Chief Commercial Makin’ Guys” to BBQGuys HQ. Wait, that can’t be right. Eli Manning… Archie Manning… Nope, it says right here: “as our marketing department.” 

This is just the “beginning” with the “Big News” kick-off content video, part of the new BBQGuys Marketing campaign developed by Source. The Source team built a new narrative for the Manning family that will unfold in the coming weeks. “This innovative multi-level integrated media approach will allow BBQGuys to reach a whole new audience, said Larry Rothstein, President and founder of Source Communications. It really is an exciting time for the BBQGuys brand. We can’t reveal the rest but check back for updates and more content for the new campaign from BBQGuys, the very best in grillin’ and outdoor livin’!!

About BBQGuys

BBQGuys® is the leading e-commerce retailer of premium grills, BBQ smokers, and outdoor living products for both homeowners and professional builders. What began as a humble brick-and-mortar store in 1998 has since evolved into one of America’s fastest-growing private businesses — one that has served over one million happy customers nationwide. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and annual recognition as a leader in the online space, BBQGuys has cemented itself as the most trusted voice in the grilling and outdoor living industry. Were you born to grill? Visit us at BBQGuys.com.

Brand Velocity Partners Acquires BBQGuys. Source tapped as brand marketing partner.

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Brand Velocity Partners (BVP), the innovative private equity firm that applies its best-in-class marketing and business development resources to supercharge growth for portfolio companies, today announced that it has acquired BBQGuys, the largest e-commerce platform of higher-end barbeque grills, grilling accessories, and outdoor kitchen products.  

Since its founding in 2000, BBQGuys has established itself as the category’s leading e-commerce platform. The company’s impressive 27% annual growth over fifteen years has been driven by unmatched customer service, online content, and subject matter expertise; married with its scaled, sophisticated infrastructure that enables rapid order fulfillment.  

As part of the transaction, BVP also acquired Blaze Outdoor Products, an affiliated company that designs and sells premium-quality barbeques and accessories. Blaze has experienced similarly remarkable adoption (averaging 50% annual growth over the last seven years), a testament to its superior value proposition coupled with its strong distributors supporting more than 1,100 retailers nationwide.

“BBQGuys has an entrenched and scalable position in this large, fragmented, growing market,” said BVP co-founder and managing partner, Steve Lebowitz.  “The backyard is the new vacation spot. With the company’s market expected to grow from $9.7 billion in 2019 to over $11.7 billion by 2024, BBQGuys will benefit from a strong demand profile and secular tailwinds. We’re excited to partner with such a talented management team to build the brand.”

“BBQGuys has built a remarkable brand reputation among both consumers and professional builders, and it’s their commitment to quality, selection, and customer service that enables the company to thrive,” said Russ Wheeler, incoming CEO of BBQGuys and former president of Build.com. “Having spent a majority of the last decade growing Build.com into one of the leading interior home design e-commerce platforms, I’m extremely excited about BBQGuys’ potential to reshape and redefine the outdoor living lifestyle. Furthermore, I’m thankful to have a partner like BVP committed to building upon BBQGuys’ incredible track-record of innovation.”  

“We started BVP to bring both an entrepreneurial and empathetic ‘eye’ to private equity. It allows us to better serve our portfolio companies and the people who make them special,” said BVP founding partner, Drew Sheinman. “Capital is a commodity that anyone can provide. We provide capital, but it’s our unique composition of creative marketing strategies and connections that can truly help sound businesses continue to develop as well-loved brands.” 

BVP was founded in 2019 and is run by partners with deep experience across private equity, brand marketing, and business development.  

BVP’s unique alchemy thrives with experience from managing partner Steve Lebowitz who combines more than twenty years of investment expertise with a disruptive approach to implementing value-add strategies; and founding partner Austin Ramos, a private equity veteran who has an extensive track record of building sustainable, scalable businesses through an operationally driven approach.

The firm’s partners also have extensive experience in brand marketing and business development.  Founding partner Drew Sheinman has a storied career of brand innovation and new venture development across Endeavor (WME-IMG), Coca-Cola, Madison Square Garden, and the New York Mets; and partner Larry Rothstein through Source Communications, the nationally recognized full-service ad/marketing firm he founded, has led transformative activation programs for Amtrak, Subway, CohnReznick, Investors Bank, and Hewlett-Packard, among others. 

Including BBQGuys, BVP has made three platform acquisitions within the past year.  Recent portfolio additions include Original Footwear, a leading designer and manufacturer of footwear for the military, first responder, and consumer markets; and Magma Products, the largest designer and manufacturer of stainless steel barbeque grills for the Marine and RV markets.

The Manning family (Archie, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli)—along with NFL Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Steve Hutchinson—and lifestyle entrepreneur Landyn Hutchinson joined in on the transaction as strategic investors with BVP. 

Other influential investors bringing their expertise include Aberdeen Capital Management, ACE & Company, BPEA Private Equity, Cardinal Capital, The Cordish Companies, Darco Capital, Hermes GPE, and Landon Investments, LLC, among others. Whitehorse Capital provided term loan financing for the transaction as agent and sole lender in addition to investing in the equity.

For more information, please visit www.BBQGuys.com and www.BrandVelocityPartners.com

About Brand Velocity Partners
Brand Velocity Partners (BVP) is an innovative private equity firm focused on acquiring consumer and information service businesses well-positioned to benefit from BVP’s deep, in-house marketing and business development resources along with its influencer networks.

In partnership with BVP, Source Communications’ full-service agency develops and executes marketing plans for BVP portfolio companies. Portfolio companies also leverage BVP’s vast sports and entertainment networks to create accretive deals with athletes, teams, leagues, celebrities, and other businesses. In addition, BVP’s collection of industry leaders (the “Accelerators”) from different facets of marketing (e.g., digital, research, analytics, brand-building, behavioral decision making, and influencer connectivity) augment best-in-class solutions for BVP portfolio companies.

Accelerators include Whitney Johnson (one of the 50 leading business thinkers in the world as named by Thinkers50); Ian Schafer (co-founder & CEO of Kindred, founder and former CEO of award-winning global ad agency Deep Focus, and a world-recognized social media expert); Sanjay Sood (faculty chairman and professor of marketing and behavioral decision making at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management); and Edwin Wong (senior vice president at Vox Media, previous roles at Pinterest, Veoh, and Yahoo, and leading expert in digital consumer behavior).

SOURCE Brand Velocity Partners

Related Links


Misconceptions Keeping Brands Away From The Sports Marketing Game

Sports Marketing is a proven strategy to help establish presence in a market and demonstrate brand commitment to the team’s fans. Source uses sports marketing as a ​multiplier that tugs at the emotional connection and passion fans have for their teams to drive them to be your brand’s fans!

Utilizing ideation, valuation, negotiation, implementation, promotion and activation, Source develops customized holistic programs and integrated campaigns for any budget level. The sports multiplier can help brands enter new markets, increase awareness and help you achieve your goals.

Source has long-standing relationships with professional and collegiate teams and athletes. We have expertise with all leagues, venues and sports media and can build a customized program to put your brand in the game.

Click here to read more about the 9 misconceptions keeping brands away from sports marketing.

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