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SBJ/March 12 - 18, 2007/Forty Under 40
Published March 12, 2007
As a government account, it was up for grabs as part of a government RFP and eventually went to Interpublic Group shops, with McCann-Erickson handling advertising and Momentum getting event marketing and sponsorship work.
While Relay had poured its soul into activating and executing Army's sponsorships with NASCAR, the NHRA and the Professional Bull Riders, losing the account in late 2005 made Hayward realize that tactics would never be as important to the agency's future as strategy, even though Relay was founded in 2001 as an agency that linked activation with consulting.
"We were too caught up in tactics when what our clients really needed was strategic expertise across all live events," Hayward said.
Voila — there was a renaming of Relay Sponsorship & Event Marketing to Relay Worldwide. With that came less emphasis on tactics and more on strategy, especially on trend spotting, technology implementation, globalization and return on investment.
It's still early on in the transformation, but Hayward says the new approach has already helped Relay win business with Coke in China and Sharp Electronics in the U.S.
"It made us look at ourselves and restructure from the top down," he said. "Now I see the beginnings of the agency of the future."
The future appears to be now for that agency, with Hayward and Relay finishing in the Forty Under 40 money for the second consecutive year.
— Terry Lefton