The Marketing Institute: What does a Sponsorship & Events Senior Manager at PwC do?
Jonathan Dever: My role is to support the achievement of PwC’s 3 year strategy by reinforcing our position as the leading professional services firm in Ireland while enhancing our client experiences. Through our sponsorship and events portfolio our goal is to enhance our reputation with clients and potential employees to increase consideration. Our thought leadership and networking events offer us a unique opportunity to engage with our clients and demonstrate our expertise in Tax, Assurance and Advisory services.
Therefore how we execute events is extremely important to us, we host over 150 events a year ranging in size from 40 to 400 people. In February we will be activating our Ireland U20s Rugby sponsorship as they face into their Six Nations campaign and onto the World Championship in France in May. Our focus will be on digital activations for 2018. I am lucky that I have a strong team behind me who I can rely on to execute our events to a very high standard.
MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
J.D: Gaining international experience was key. Prior to joining PwC, I worked in Shenzhen, China for 3 years as the lead Marketing Manager for PCH, a supply chain manufacturing company. That exposure to new business cultures and insight into global professional operations gave me a greater understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing a global brand like PwC.
Starting out in my career, the five years I spent as a Sales & Marketing Executive with the Irish Greyhound Board were formative, the culture there very much “all hands on deck” when it came to getting a job done and this stayed with me as I progressed into management. It’s an ethos I foster within my own team.
MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
J.D: As a busy marketing department in a global professional services firm, balancing competing demands for our time and expertise, from across the business, can prove challenging. Planning and communication are key to ensuring that my team and I focus our efforts on campaigns that support the firm’s strategic priorities.
MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
J.D: Adaptability – PwC operates in a complex, highly competitive environment. Events and opportunities can arise at short notice and it’s our job to ensure that we are in a position to maximize them, every time. With over 150 events annually and a growing portfolio of sponsorships effective time management is also crucial. Commercial acumen, not so much a skill as a trait is a huge benefit in a firm like PwC. We pride ourselves on bringing insight and expertise to our clients and I encourage my team to always strive to understand the “why”. Doing this ensures we deliver products, events and campaigns that exceed our stakeholder’s expectations.
MII: Describe a typical working day.
J.D: It’s a cliché, but the nature of the work that we do means that no two days are the same. An example of this is the fact that I have just returned from six days in Singapore for the PwC All-Stars tour.
Other days could start with managing a 7.30am client event in the firm’s corporate hospitality suite. Most days I will sit with other senior members of the team, such as our PR, Content, Digital and Internal Communications leads to discuss one or more of our upcoming marketing campaigns.
We work closely with our global counterparts across the PwC network and are continuously brainstorming and sharing learnings.
MII: What do you love most about your role?
J.D: Without doubt, the variety. Every day is different and involves a lot of moving parts. There is always something new on the horizon and I love when we take on a new sponsorship, activate it and elevate it to something great.
Unsurprisingly with a firm whose reputation is built on excellence and professionalism, PwC has an amazing culture - the people here are some of the best I have worked with and working alongside so many capable experts is something I really value about the role.
It’s an exciting time to be part of professional services firm, the world is changing at a rapid pace and we are at the forefront of advising clients on how best to prepare for the future. Innovation is a key focus area and we have fantastic plans to introduce newer technologies such as augmented and virtual reality into our activations.
MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
J.D: I thrive on the fast paced nature of my role and I definitely see myself staying in the marketing/sponsorship space. There are a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline over the next 1-2 years that I’m looking forward to managing and activating with my team.
MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
J.D: In PwC I am lucky to be surrounded by great colleagues who are invaluable when we execute our wider marketing campaigns. Two brands that I currently admire are AIG and Xiaomi. Obviously budgets are a factor when activating a sponsorship but I think it’s important to look what other brands are doing to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
AIG have rolled out very creative activation campaigns for both Dublin GAA and the All-Blacks Rugby team over the past few years. Xiaomi a Chinese Electronics brand have really executed their brand ambassadors with great effect to increase market share. Now they have entered the European market it will be interesting to see what is in the pipeline for 2018. Where possible we will try to bring more innovative ways of activation over the next 1-2 years.