Sponsoring Research Manager Noor van de Kraats: "As a sponsor, you want to know whether you've achieved your goal; the only way to do that is simply to measure it."
She certainly doesn't mind spending hours trawling through an Excel spreadsheet, so it's hardly surprising that Noor van de Kraats went straight from her studying days to work as a market researcher with Nielsen Sports. The experience and knowledge she gained there make her a valuable addition to the Blauw Sponsoring Insights team. In her role as both Research Manager and Sponsoring Consultant she will soon be working on the international client portfolio. A 'getting to know you' talk about her first weeks in the team, the value of new insights and completing the triathlon.
You recently started this new job. How have the first few weeks been for you?
Great! Everyone listens to you and there's time to talk and to think things over. Right away, you get the sense that you're a full member of the team. So I already feel right at home.
How would you describe your path to Blauw Sponsoring Insights?
After graduation, I started working in the fashion world. As it turned out, that wasn't quite what I was looking for, so I switched to Nielsen Sports. It was then that I found myself working with Philip Rouwenhorst and Sebastiaan Westerhout. It was really through them that I found my way to Blauw Sponsoring Insights.
At Nielsen Sports I was working in a small team, under the same manager for four years. That was fine until he decided to call it a day. Because of the distance to the management in France, it was clear that they didn't really know what issues we were facing. Of course, here at Blauw you see the opposite extreme. The team is a good bit bigger and the lines of communication are very short. Here, I'm working with at least two people on one project. What's good about that is that you have a sounding board.
So you started in the fashion business, before moving to Nielsen, making the switch to sport. How would you describe your link to sport?
There was always sport on TV when I was growing up. My father always watches sport, and my sister and I have made a habit of that, too. I particularly like watching skiing and cycling. For instance, I followed Lindsey Vonn in the skiing on TV for years. She's sponsored by a number of brands, including Red Bull. So It'd be really cool if I could work with Red Bull one day.
Other than watching sport, I like to keep myself physically active. I enjoy cycling and played field hockey for years. Also, when my brother was living in Barcelona for a few months in 2018, I finished the Barcelona Triathlon. 40 kilometres' cycling is no problem for me, but running 10 kilometres was awful. I did that on sheer willpower.
What is your precise role within the team?
My official title is Research Manager, but actually I'm more of a consultant. I act as the research manager on projects for the larger accounts. For the smaller accounts I work more in the role of a consultant. If things go to plan, I'll ultimately take on that role full-time, so also for the larger accounts such as PepsiCo. I can learn a lot from that, not just because it's a project that has been running for many years, but also because it's a study that is carried out in several countries at the same time.
Why is it so important that sponsors like PepsiCo research their sponsorships?
Each sponsor has an objective in mind when entering into a sponsorship. Ultimately, you want to know whether the target has actually been reached. The only way you can do that is simply to measure it. Of course, there's a lot of money to be found in the world of sponsorships, so sponsors want to get the most out of it. So it's also important for them to assess where there is still something to be gained. What you see is that some sponsors make decisions based on emotion. They might think, for instance: Wow - look at our sleek new logo! But it might easily be the case that sports fans don't associate the new logo with your brand, or that the logo doesn't quite cut it when the sunlight catches the billboards at the side of a football pitch.
How do you make the difference for the Blauw Sponsoring Insights team?
Within the team there are, of course, a number of people who have been with the company a long time and, as a result, have their own way of working. I come from a different organisation, though, so I have a fresh way of looking at things. I might suggest drawing up a questionnaire differently, or formulating a question another way. If you've been making questionnaires in the same way year in, year out, then it probably seems logical to do it that way. New insights can be very valuable for this sort of thing. They really give me the space to make your own suggestions. So it's not a case of someone saying: 'We've been doing it here like this for years, and that's not going to change.' You just see that the team continues to develop and that people really take the time to consider every aspect.