I recently ran across a podcast on the South African site Sporting Web of an interview with Serama Taukaobong, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN on their 2010 World Cup Sponsorship. It was a very informative interview highlighting some of the leading efforts MTN, a South African company AND official World Cup sponsor, has made in South Africa in the lead up to the games.
I wrote in an earlier post about MTN’s marketing efforts which began about 14 months before the beginning of the games. At that time, I had yet to see any marketing efforts activated by any of the official sponsors. I also recently wrote about MTN’s efforts to bring the games to the people by setting up huge screens in townships that will live broadcast the games (for those who can’t afford to make it to the stadiums) as well as broadcast other programming. These are just a few examples of their efforts to do some good in their community but also build their consumer base and brand, integral components to being a successful and responsible business.
Some tidbits from the interview:
On sponsorship as a part of employee engagement:
It is absolutely critical, I think certainly from an employee’s perspective… So there is also a big sense of unity as well, across cultures, across borders, that this is the one thing that is unifying MTN because I guess the World Cup is not about, put aside your country differences but there is one brand that is actually driving this together and I think that from an employee perspective, from a stakeholder perspective, it is also quite critical.
On the importance of integrating sponsorship and CSR activities into the core business…
And I think what really works for us is actually integrating it into the everyday part of our business, because often sponsorships are left as a standalone entity and not brought in into the core business and that is why you end up having to spend additional leverage budget to make the things stand up above its own.
Mr. Taukaobong brings a refreshing take on the business case for being a good corporate citizen. Perhaps they feel a greater responsibility since they are a South African company, but I am a firm believer that their efforts, regardless of being South African, will yield dividends in the long run.
Podcast and full text of interview can be found here: http://www.sportingweb.co.za/2009/07/podcast-serame-taukobong-chief-marketing-officer-of-mtn-on-the-2010-world-cup-sponsorship/