Sport talent agency Benchmark Talent has announced its relaunch as thinkBeyond Talent in a move designed to reflect what it calls a “radical shift in sports sponsorship as consumers demand more of their sporting heroes and brands.”
It points to a rise in cause-related marketing in sport and a parallel trend of athlete activism, highlighting reports that 86% of consumers want companies to take a stand on societal issues.
thinkBeyond Talent, whose clients include Michael Johnson, Lewis Pugh, Carl Frampton, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Kate & Helen Richardson-Walsh, Will Greenwood and Tokyo 2020 hopefuls Molly Thompson Smith and Jade Jones-Hall, will join forces with sister company thinkBeyond as part of the strategic move.
The sport-for-social-change consultancy, which is also part of the Benchmark group of businesses, brings a 10-year global track record in the space.
Feeling energised & inspired after @_tBTalent ‘s event last night!— Molly Thompson-Smith (@Mollytheclimber) January 17, 2019
Incredible to be a part of a team who acknowledge the difference sport can make in peoples lives
With their help, I’m looking forward to working towards causes close to my #inspired #UseYourPlatform
The new agency will have a dual offering, providing talent management as well as strategic support to non-managed talent, their agents and advisors, offering direction, strategy and implementation to help talent engage with social change while also delivering on personal goals.
Benchmark CEO Nick Keller explained: “It is clear that many athletes are not only compelled to make a difference in the world but also that they have a powerful voice and influence to make a positive difference.
“We will be merging our pioneering position in the sport for change movement with 20 years of knowledge of talent management to create a best in class global offering that will help personalities connect with society and to the ever-changing corporate world in their own unique way.”
The relaunch was announced at an event held at the Benchmark office in London, which brought together prominent UK athletes to share insights on the personal values that underpin their careers.
thinkBeyond Talent seeks to work with stars to build a narrative based on their values to create long-term and rewarding careers that blend good business with positive social change.
Examples to-date include the creation of the Michael Johnson Foundation’s Michael Johnson Young Leaders; and similar work with NFL star Brian Dawkins and endurance swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh.
thinkBeyond Talent client Michael Johnson said: “I have long supported global organisations doing incredible work in communities through sport but have often wanted to make more of a personal impact in the areas I care about the most.
“With the help of the thinkBeyond Talent team, Michael Johnson Young Leaders was born and in just three years has exceeded even my own goals. Today’s environment has been invaluable in this process, allowing us to build a global community of leaders supporting each other online, and allowing us to have new conversations with the corporate world.”
thinkBeyond Talent will operate out of London and New York, overseen by Executive Director Lisa Markey, who said: “Helping athletes to develop a clear focus on the issues they truly care about not only allows them to be more socially impactful, but also provides depth and identity to their personal narrative and brand, driving commercial opportunities, and forging links with like-minded organisations. Social purpose can not only be hugely rewarding, but can also drive good business.”