Eva Gerritse is Insights Professional of the year
Eva Gerritse, Business Lead Sponsoring Insights at Blauw Research, has been awarded Insights Professional of the year for 2022. She was awarded the prize during the festive ceremony of the MOAwards, where she was commended for her clear vision in the field of market research into the impact of sport sponsoring. What drives her in this area of expertise, and in what way does she make the difference?
Congratulations on your award! How were you able to convince the jury of your qualities?
Thank you! I am especially honoured to be named Insights Professional of the year. The jury's report says that the members saw I had a clear vision in terms of sponsoring research, an area in which we are very successful, and have built up a client portfolio to be proud of. And they appreciated the fact that I think it's important not just to perform good market research, but also that I strive to convey the results of the surveys in a way that highlights their impact and to ensure that our clients have results they can seriously work with.
Could you expand on the vision that the jury referred to?
I have a clear vision in relation to sport sponsoring and how you ought to be able to know whether sponsoring works for a brand. As far as this industry's concerned, my vision differs from the norm. If you talk to sponsor managers about surveys, they usually picture ways to express the media value of their sponsorships. That often has to do with how long their/a sponsor's logo was visible. Other market research agencies that specialise in sponsoring research often focus on that aspect, too. I want to help sponsors to increase the success of their sponsorships by giving them an insight into how they can use their sponsorships to get closer to their clients, by capitalising on the emotions that fans experience in relation to sport.
Our surveys do, indeed, focus on the extent to which brands can strengthen their bond with consumers thanks to the sponsorship. In that way, we help sponsors to understand how they can ensure that sponsoring really has an impact on the brand.
What is it that makes your team so successful at this?
I think that it's really a question of us not just looking back, but of actually helping our clients to keep moving in the right direction. In the world of sport sponsoring, a survey is often a 'snapshot' of the past. We believe in looking forward; in continuous improvement and never standing on the spot.
More to the point, we not only help our clients to keep improving: we never stand still ourselves, either. Our methods and analyses are always developing. We are continually working on how to make the process even better. The world may be in a state of flux but we constantly develop new models, so that we can keep showing how sponsors can further optimise the success of their sponsorship.
For instance, in the past year we have introduced the Sponsorship Involvement Model, which allows us to give our clients specific pointers for improvement that contribute to brand growth. Our Sports Media Profiler is also a great success. We identify in detail how sports fans behave when it comes to following sport. Sponsors let their media agencies determine strategy on the basis of the insights from our Sports Media Profiler.
You are Business Lead of the Sponsoring Insights team. That team has grown considerably over the past few years. How would you describe your role at this moment?
My most important task is to translate our vision on sponsoring research into a clear strategy. I determine the steps that we have to take to come closer to our goals. That plan relates to such aspects as people, products, methods and partnerships.
I want to provide the team with a clear focus, so that they know what is needed to hit our targets. And also to let them know that there are times when we can choose to turn things down. Apart from that, I just try to encourage everyone to get the best out of themselves and each other. In our team there is plenty room to develop your talents, to work on new methods or products, to come up with new ideas and even to make mistakes.
The jury's report also said that you regularly 'get on stage' to convey your message. How do you ensure that you reach your target group?
On the one hand I try to listen closely to the market while, at the same time, also explaining a lot of what we do. Wherever possible, I talk to people who work in the world of sport and sponsoring. They could be sponsor managers, marketing executives at sports governing bodies or sports-marketing consultants, for instance. In addition, we regularly publish infographics and reports ourselves that show what we can do with market research. I am also a columnist for a number of trade publications and websites. Another thing I believe is important is sharing our know-how and experience with professionals of tomorrow in our market. That's why I regularly give guest lectures, for instance at the Johan Cruyff Institute.
Lastly, you already work for a number of the largest sports sponsors and sporting organisations in the world. What are your ambitions for the future?
It's true; we do already work for some great brands that everyone knows, as well as for the largest sports governing bodies and events in the world. Our surveys address sport in general and individual competitions in particular, such as Formula 1, the football European Championships and World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, and we conduct surveys in more than 40 different countries.
My ambition with Blauw Sponsoring Insights is that sponsors and sports organisations see partnership with us as something that the success of their sponsorships depends on. I believe that we really can help brands to make the right decision every time and make sponsorships even more successful. I want to connect with the biggest sports sponsors in the world. They are large-scale international brands that, like me, believe in the power of sport sponsoring and have a strategy that is focused on deploying sponsoring for brand growth. I hope that we can help many more of them over years to come with smart studies.