By Jack Glasure
Word is that after bogeying hole No. 5 on Sunday at the Masters, Tiger’s caddie Joe LaCava took his client aside and offered some insightful advice and moral support that served as a turning point in the match and started the historic comeback victory. In short, LaCava reminded Tiger “who he was.”
With that in mind as I was driving back to our North Carolina headquarters Monday afternoon, I reflected on the past week in Augusta “caddying” for our business clients who were catering to their own customers and prospects on and off the golf course. From my experience in brand marketing and PR working major sporting events, Masters Week is similar to Super Bowl Week in that winning requires extensive planning, early commitments and cost control negotiation. Unless your company is one of the three official tournament partners – Mercedes Benz, IBM or AT&T – you will be largely ineffective in targeting golf patrons/consumers attending the event in Augusta. Fans are shuttled in and out of the venue with very little opportunity for brands to engage. And phones are not allowed at Augusta National, so social media is out.
On the other hand, corporate c‑suite hospitality rivals the Super Bowl as the Masters attracts elite executives and separates decision-makers from staff and smartphones, providing unobstructed access to develop relationships based on shared fellowship as the drama of competition unfolds over four days. Whether walking the course following the leaders, or viewing from a club-like environment at an offsite hospitality house, the conversations are hearty and connections invaluable.
Here are my Top 10 recommendations for doing business at The Masters:
- Don’t invest in consumer brand activation, especially in downtown Augusta. And there’s no central hub to capture foot traffic near the golf course.
- Corporate hospitality houses located along Azalea Drive are where business networking occurs daily, from breakfast through dinner, for as much as $750 per day, per person, all inclusive.
- The best B2B brand activation this year went to Wheels Up, which provided an exquisite sanctuary for their members on Azalea Drive every day, and welcomed over 3,000 invited guests to their backyard jam Thursday night.
- FWV didn’t do too bad either. This year, we negotiated to bring in LeAnn Rimes to drive ticket sales by performing for the Veteran Golfers Association over an exclusive $500 dinner with Chef Todd English. We also brought in celebrity athletes Evander Holyfield and Morten Andersen to open doors that mere mortals can’t penetrate.
- Many companies invite their best customers to evening catered cookouts at their homes, which are rented by the week and brokered through local travel hospitality companies. We co-hosted guests all week at a 13,000 s/f estate on the 18th fairway at West Lake Country Club. And we’ll do this again for 2020, so hit us up for details.
- Strong winds and rain seem to come through Augusta every year at some point during Masters Week, and the golf course closes for safety reasons. If you’re only there for one day, you may miss out. Plan to attend for at least two days.
- Evening concerts featuring well-known acts with corporate VIP tables are very popular with c‑suite execs during Masters Week, as hitmakers such as Darius Rucker, Zac Brown, Sheryl Crow and Josh Kelly are in regular rotation.
- There are limited tee-times available to play golf in Augusta during the Masters, but we do have an inside track at several phenomenal courses, including West Lake Country Club and Champions Retreat.
- If you want to mix it up with recognizable movers and shakers after a round, get on the waiting list for a Certified Angus Beef dinner at T‑Bonz on Washington Road, and yes, we can help you with that too.
- We recommend The Foundry Club at Rae’s Creek for VIP amenities, including housing and credentials, so check with us if you need an introduction to the club.
Finally, if you have interest in the business development activities surrounding the Masters, your brand should consider hiring a caddie that has experience reading the greens in Augusta. Contact us soon to plan your round for 2020.
By Jack Glasure
The opinions within this article are of the author and not representative of FWV.
French/West/Vaughan (FWV) is one of the nation’s leading public relations, public affairs, advertising and digital media agencies, with offices in Raleigh, New York City, Los Angeles and Tampa. National, international and local clients represented by the agency include Wrangler, ABB, Proximo, Melitta, Bassett Furniture, Volvo Trucks North America, the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Moe’s Southwest Grill and the N.C. Department of Transportation. Owned or affiliated companies include fashion and lifestyle PR firm AMP3 (New York City), pet and veterinary PR practice FWV Fetching and feature film development imprint Prix Productions. FWV is a partner inIPREX, a $380 million network of communication agencies with 1,600 staff and 110 offices worldwide. For more information, please visit www.fwv-us.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram.