Catching Up With: Ed Skyler, Citi’s executive VP of global public affairs

Citi’s first Olympic sponsorship was on display at USA House in the London neighborhood of Kensington today, where the bank unveiled its “Signature Step” display, featuring molded footprints from some of the athletes Citi sponsors, like swimmer Cullen Jones and broadcaster Rowdy Gaines. We sat down with Citi’s executive vice president of global public affairs, Ed Skyler, to talk about how Citi’s sponsorship is faring so far.
How do you plan to activate over the next couple of weeks?

SKYLER: We’ve already been activating for months. We’ve been going strong with our “Every Step of the Way” program since the winter.
Are you doing anything extra to activate during the next fortnight?

SKYLER: It’s a continuation of what we’ve already been doing. Obviously, advertising really picks up during the Games. Just as we had a lot of ads on during the (Olympic) trials, you’ll see a lot during the Games as well. We think social media is really going to start to grow as people watch the competition.
Why does your Olympic sponsorships make sense for Citi?

SKYLER: It is our 200th anniversary, and we’ve never sponsored the U.S. Olympic team before. We’re an American company and we wanted to do something to say thank you to America for 200 years of support. Our mission as a bank is to support economic progress and support people on their personal journey. The tie-in to the Olympics to support Olympic athletes was really too appealing to pass up.
How are you gauging success? What is going to make you pick up a sponsorship for Rio in 2016?

SKYLER: We do a lot of testing to measure brand and measure the impact of the advertising. It’s a privilege to host the Games. We are cherishing and enjoying that. When it’s over and the Paralympic Games are over, we’ll look at data and we’ll make a decision for the next round.
What are you most looking forward to in London?

SKYLER: I’m really excited about swimming. I think that’s going to be fantastic. Personally, I fenced in college at the University of Pennsylvania. Dream Team basketball will be fun, too.

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