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Most of us have heard the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” In our culture, professional athletes are looked up to like heroes by kids and adults alike, allowing them to possess great power of influence. While what they do playing their sport is certainly important, the impact that they can make off the field is undeniable. Whether they choose to accept this responsibility or not, is a choice they must make, but we’ve seen first-hand that those who do accept the responsibility are clearly making the world a better place.


According to a study by Harris Interactive, 45% of US adults believe that celebrities can make either a large (11%) or some (33%) positive difference to issues they are promoting. Whether athletes start their own foundations, support an already existing organization, or give generously to multiple charities, the time and money spent to helping raise awareness and funds for causes they care about encourages their fans and in some cases, whole communities of people to join them and take action.


During my career, I’ve been fortunate to be a part of many athlete events, organizations, appearances and special programs. For each of the good things athletes do that are publicized in the media, there are many, many more that we don’t hear about, often intentionally. It’s amazing the power an authentic and vested interest in a cause an athlete has . . . a power that can change lives.

Here are some wonderful examples of athletes making an impact beyond sports:

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The JJ Watt Foundation as provided over $2.3 million in funding to middle school afterschool athletic programs, giving these student athletes the opportunity to learn life skills including leadership, work ethic and accountability.

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Verlander’s Wins for Warriors Foundation advocates for and invests in resources that reengage veterans with their families. Additionally, each home game that Verlander pitches, he donates the use of his suite to veterans and their families allowing them a fun, family-friendly experience together.

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Wade launched Wade’s World Foundation to provide support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children in at-risk situations. He funds the Live to Dream Summer Reading Program at Marquette University, giving back where his college career in basketball began.

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In partnership with Gruber Law Offices, Rodgers was part of a series of videos that highlighted the work of amazing non-profit organizations. By being a part of these videos he garnered local and national visibility and funds for the highlighted non-profits.

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Williams works tirelessly in fighting breast cancer, Elton John’s AIDS Foundation, Hearts of Gold, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and more. She has been honored with numerous awards for her philanthropic efforts.

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The #Hartnelldown Foundation provides support to charities that support hockey, children and communities around the US and Canada. Among many things, the organization provides between five and 10 all-expenses paid scholarships for disadvantaged Philadelphia youths to attend the highly respected Minnesota Hockey Camp.

The power athletes in our culture have today is incredible. When an athlete respects that power and chooses to do good with it, their reach and impact transcends their sport. I’ve seen it transforms lives. It’s why I love doing the work that I do with athletes. In the end, it makes a difference.




Let’s take a poll – How many events, conferences, or dinners did you attend in the last year? Which one do you remember the most? What do you remember most about the event? Were there certain parts of the event and experience that resonated with you?

Take a look at the Capture Gallery Below! It is a collection of specific examples of event personalization that we’ve had the honor to create for our clients.

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Events are a large part of today’s marketing strategy and are about creating personalized, exciting and sharable experiences.

But what makes that one event so memorable? Personalization! Months prior to the event, planners sat down to research, digging deep to really understand who you were and what you were looking to take away from the event. They want you to have a specific relationship and experience with their brand. After research, planning begins. Personalization takes strategy and creativity – both require time. (And we all know how valuable time is.) But in the end, the time you spend personalizing your event will repay you seven-fold.


Renowned event planner, Bronson van Wyck told Business Insider in a recent article, “If we can make someone love something, they will not only buy it, they will also go and tell everyone they know.” He further stated, “We’re reaching the next level of emotional engagement, and you get there by having moments where people have fun.”

Not only that, but B2B marketers believe customer experience, personalization, and big-data hold the most promise in successful marketing over the next five years. A study revealed that 22% of the B2B marketers surveyed named customer experience as the greatest opportunity. (Econsultancy and Adobe via PureB2B)

So now the question becomes, “How can I create an experience that will become the new benchmark for all other, similar events?”

It starts with these five simple questions:


Are you inviting Consumers? Customers? Stakeholders? Supporters? End users? Friends? Coworkers? Decision makers? Will your guests be primarily male? Or female? Children? Families? Adults only?

Understanding who will be at your event is absolutely key before you start planning your event.


Once you know who you want to target, think about the type of events your potential attendees enjoy going to. If it’s a fundraising event – is it a dinner gala? Golf tournament? Charity sports game? Concert? If it’s not a fundraiser – is it a Celebration Event? Holiday Party? Anniversary Party? Sporting Event? Do your guests prefer an intimate atmosphere or something more lively? Do they enjoy the arts? Sporting events? The outdoors?


Location, location, location! Not only is it important to find the type of event your guests will enjoy, but finding a venue and location that is convenient and comfortable for your guests is just as important. Is the location convenient for guests? What type of atmosphere does the venue provide? How big is the venue in relation to your guest list? What is the parking situation? Will the event be indoors or outdoors? Does the venue or location have any significance to your brand?


What time of year will the event take place? What time will it start? Is the time convenient for your guests? Will your guests be driving in or flying in? If they are flying in, when do you expect your guests to arrive in town? Will the event be held after work or during the work day? Will it be on a weekend? Is it a multi-day event? Timing is critical to guest experience.

Picking a time that makes your guests feel rushed is not the way to start.


Why will your attendees want to attend? Are they looking to network with prospective customers? Current customers? Friends? Co-workers? Are they looking to learn something new? Are they just looking to have a good time? Support a cause?

Understanding why your attendees want to attend is critical in order to make their experience great.

Once you have the answers to these five questions, it’s time to connect the dots. How can you connect your attendees and the event experiences you provide back to your brand?

This is where the strategy and creativity part come into play. As a brand, what do you want your attendees to remember about your event? What do you want them to say or share with others when they leave? Let’s say your attendees LOVE fine dining and food presentations. Do some research on unique and creative food presentations and displays. Could the chef create a signature dish just for your company? Are there branding opportunities on the serving ware or napkins? Could you invite a well renowned chef to the event to do a live food presentation? Could the chef wear a company branded shirt or pin?

As you can see, when connecting the dots, you personalize the event and take the attendee experience to the next level. Remember to look at the experience opportunities inside out and upside down to find ways to tie those experiences back to your brand. Not only will this create an even stronger connection and experience for your guests and the future customers who heard about your event, but your event will be the new benchmark for events.


Let us know if you have an event coming up that you need help with. We’re here for you!