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Volume 21 No. 2
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What I Like: Tim Crow, CEO, Synergy

As the Summer Games grow nearer, London-based sponsorship specialist Synergy is helping brands such as Coca-Cola and BMW get the most out of their Olympic partnerships.


Photo by: DOLLY CLEW
What I Like …

An insight: A great sponsorship activation should feel like something that only your brand can do. If you can easily substitute another brand into the activation — especially one of your competitors — start again.

An influential person in my career: Karen Earl, chairman of Synergy. I’m privileged to have known Karen for most of my working life and to have worked with her since I joined the business in 1999.

CEO, Synergy

What I do: My role spans three areas: advising clients, leading Synergy and contributing as a partner to Engine (the LLP of which Synergy is a division).

Where I'm from: I grew up in Halifax, in Yorkshire.

Where I Went to School: I have a degree in English language and literature from the University of Birmingham.

My First Job: Working behind the bar of my local pub in Halifax.

An out-of-the-box idea: Don’t think of fans as communities to be managed — think of them as ecosystems to be nurtured.

A timeless idea: There are only two sorts of deals: good ones and bad ones.

A sports facility: Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. Watching a big match there is an unforgettable experience.

A naming-rights deal: The O2 in London. Naming rights reimagined as 21st-century marketing, not 20th-century badging.

A sports event: London 2012. Fairly top-of-mind right now!

A hire: Manchester United hiring — and in the early years staying loyal to — Sir Alex Ferguson.

A brand: Apple. Quite simply the brand of our times.

A strategy: P&G’s “Proud Sponsor of Moms” Olympics strategy. Credible, powerful and very differentiating.

A marketing campaign: Since Nike found their soccer voice 10 years ago, watching them evolve their soccer business through a series of consistently brilliant campaigns has been fascinating.

A trend: The revolution in sports and entertainment marketing created by social media.

An innovation: Real-time and location-based marketing: 2012 will, I suspect, be a breakthrough year.

A Twitter user/account: I follow around 200 people, but if I had to single out one it would be Paul Kelso (@pkelso), the Daily Telegraph’s chief sports correspondent, who is consistently intelligent and entertaining.

A story that bears watching: The evolution of sports marketing in the BRIC economies.  

An idea I wish I had thought of: Facebook.

A fantasy job: Founder, Time Machines Inc.

What I Like About …

Sports: Matchups between immortals, such as Ali v. Frazier when I was growing up, or more recently Federer v. Nadal.  

Sports media: Nowadays, the ability to customize it.

Sports technology: In golf, it’s helping me to improve despite getting older!

The future of sports business: The inevitability of improved governance.

Sports fans: The humor.

What I’d Like To …

See: More of my wife and daughter.

Change: The overcommercialization of much of sport in recent years.

Change in what I do: Have less competitors!

See more in sports: Good governance.

See more of in sports business: Marketers.   

See less of in sports business: Salesmen.

See different: An increased emphasis on qualitative research.  

Eliminate: Rights holders making cut-and-paste pitches to brands without doing any prior research on them as businesses.

What I Don’t Like …

In general: Apathy.

Pet peeve: Poor spelling and grammar.

In business: People who live by rules rather than values.

About sports fans: The minority who use their support as an excuse to be anti-social.


What I Like …

That would surprise those who know me: I find a lot of sports boring.

About myself: I’ve been a non-smoker for over a year now.

Heroes: Nelson Mandela, Seve Ballesteros.

Players: George Best, Tom Watson, Viv Richards, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi.   

Team: FC Halifax Town.

Olympic sport: Anything Team GB wins a medal in at London 2012.

City: New York City.

Possession: Wedding ring.

Memento: My late father’s wallet.

Music: I have eclectic tastes but default to Miles Davis.

Books: I love Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories. So much better than the Bond movies.

Authors: If I had to choose one it would be Charles Dickens.

Gadget: Kindle.

Trip: We love heading up to the North Norfolk beaches.

TV: “The Wire.”  

Concerts: London theater and musicals.   

Artist: Caravaggio.

Food: Sushi.

Dessert: Ice cream.  

Drink: Vodka.

Scent: Freshly mown grass.

Vacation spot: Miami Beach.

Car: Mini Countryman.

Aftershave: Davidoff Cool Water.

Singer: David Gilmour.

Quote: I’m hoping to hear Jacques Rogge say “This was the greatest Games ever” at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony in August.