SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Game Changers

Game Changers: Lisa Baird

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MIKE NOWAK / SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
Baird stayed her course during a first year at the USOC
that was less than smooth sailing.
Lisa Baird
U.S. Olympic Committee
Chief Marketing Officer


During her first year at the U.S. Olympic Committee, Lisa Baird had three different bosses, but her approach to overhauling the organization’s marketing strategy stayed the same. She wanted to add new partners, develop events that made the U.S. Olympic team relevant outside the two weeks of the Games, and improve the group’s new media strategy. Her commitment to those key areas has begun to pay off and improve the overall health of the USOC.

Since Baird joined the organization in 2009, the USOC has added a host of blue-chip sponsors, including Procter & Gamble, Deloitte, BP and BMW. Perhaps the most encouraging sponsorship signing was Kellogg Co., which returned as a partner this year after dropping its sponsorship in 2008.

Baird has worked with those partners to activate earlier in the year and encouraged them to develop marketing programs that generate donations for the USOC. She also created a 100-days-out promotional event for the Vancouver Games in which partners were able to set up booths in New York’s Rockefeller Center and promote their support of the USOC.

Her latest effort is focused on overhauling the USOC’s new media strategy. The organization has been using Facebook more in recent marketing efforts and plans to unveil a revamped website in early 2012.

— Tripp Mickle
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever received?: Keep the fan or customer first and you’ll never go wrong.
  • Person who had the biggest influence on your career in sports: Paul Tagliabue.
  • Woman in sports business you'd most like to meet: Billie Jean King.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Keeping ahead of the innovation curve and being smart in investing limited resources.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Having a deep skill, whether that’s being a great communicator or strategic thinker. Being passionate about sports isn’t enough.
  • If I had to do it all over again, I would …: Exercise more patience so that I could learn more and not simply try to achieve.

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

“She’s elevated the United States Olympic Committee to be on the same marketing thought process as the NFL, NBA, NASCAR and other big boys. She understands corporate CEOs’ business and she’s creating assets that make the USOC more professional in the marketplace.”

  • Rob Prazmark, founder of 21 Marketing and a longtime Olympic sales executive
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