Back On Board to Benefit From the Vendée Globe
The next Vendée Globe will not start until November 8th in 2020 but there are several enthusiastic companies already fully embarked on their follow on projects, returning to maximise the duration of their returns.
Pleasantly surprised, perhaps, some did not realise how positive and long term the benefits of being associated with the race can be. That is both internally, for their employees and customers, and externally where the public profile can be substantially raised and leveraged. One important thing about being tied to a skipper and his team is that the sporting result is not necessarily important, it is about the story, the human adventure and how it is told, relayed to an inspired and enthused audience. And, actually, most of the work is done before the race.
"It was our first Vendée Globe, and there were plenty of things we did not do," smiles Samuel Gabory, the director of Etamine du Lys, looking back as a partner at their association with the 2016 Vendée Globe of Roman Attanasio. "We were beginners then and we learned as we went. And now here we are starting again with a more established, known project. "
"Our employees feel a real pride in supporting such a challenge," says David Giraudeau, General Manager of La Mie Câline. The retail bakery brand which has stored throughout France is committed for the next four years to Arnaud Boissières, following on from the partnership which started out with a meeting in 2015.
"The Vendée Globe brings us significant visibility among 42 million consumers. That means that there are still some people out there who do not know us yet!” He laughs.
Giraudeau adds: "The partnership with Arnaud has helped double the number of times we were quoted in the media. This type of project is sustainable because the Vendée Globe is more than a race, it is a real long term partnership. "
Companies who were hitherto unfamiliar with sports sponsorship far less financially supporting sailing have taken the plunge with the Vendée Globe. They are entirely taken by the non stop race around the world with no outside assistance,
"As Romain said, the Vendée Globe is a problem every day. The day when there is no questions we ask ourselves questions. And that is a metaphor, a maxim for business. It is just like that, "says Samuel Gabory. "The skipper puts into words his or her adventure but that is also like life in a company. Sometimes everyone gets tired of the boss ranting on, of him or her speaking. With our being part of the Vendée Globe I believe that our employees are becoming more receptive to the notions of setting and achieving objectives, of overcoming challenges and ensuring successes. "
A different image.
The Vendée Globe can reflect the world of a company?
The organizers of the race recognise this and so take every chance to link or network companies in the business community.
That starts at home in the Vendée region,
"As a Vendée company I had been asked many times," says André Liébot, president of Liebot Groupe which owns the K-Line brand, co-sposnor of the boat Initiatives-Couer. "But I always refused. It wasTanguy (de Lamotte), speaking more about the children he helped to save than the 2014 Vendée Globe race which he has just completed which turned me, which convinced me. It is normal that the main Vendée companies are interested in a race that gives such visibility in the area. But everything that increases our visibility works for us. The company is increasing its visibility with the national clientele who, thanks to the Vendée Globe, has a very positive image of us. "
"We changed gear"
It is not just Vendée companies which are lined up for the next race. Newrest, a company from Toulouse was known for its involvement in Toulouse football. It took the knowledgeable journalist-sailor, Fabrice Amedeo, to inspire an agreement with Olivier Sadran, the founder of the business-to-business catering services group. Newrest which has 30,800 employees in 49 countries was Amadeo’s co-partner in 2016-17 and will be again for the next edition.
"For 2016 firstly it was about an internal communication objective. Getting known to the general public really was secondary, but the spin off profile around the world was good to have, "recalls Matthieu Jeandel, Vice President of Finance at Newrest.
" What surprised us in a very positive way was how positive the skipper's communication channels were for us. There was so much proactive interaction with his blog, his Facebook pages and so on and we had not anticipated that at all. That was very positive. "
And so they are stepping up a level, going up the gears for their next participation. "We have changed gear," says Matthieu Jeandel. "Fabrice has set sporting goals which are higher and correspondingly our financial commitment is greater. Internally, people from our communication and marketing unit are working on the project. The environment is more demanding. What was a trial run on the previous Vendée Globe is no longer the case, we are stepping up.”