Octagon visits Sport Management Department

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Members of Octagon, the largest sport marketing agency in the world, visited campus this past Wednesday (Feb. 28). The day’s discussions were led by Lisa Murray, the company’s Chief Marketing Officer, and the Sport Management Department’s Executive-In-Residence for this academic year. She and her team talked about much more than just sport marketing, however.  

Murray put an emphasis on four key ways to succeed in any industry. By taking risks, one is often able to move forward. “Losing out” on a risk isn’t inherently bad – it’s a different door than you originally thought, and just because it’s different doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be opened. Saying, “Yes” to opportunities that you’re unsure of is a good thing. It allows you to find your strengths and weaknesses, and better prepare you for the next venture. Being flexible and keeping an open mind to moving is imperative, she noted. Sometimes, to move up in a hierarchy, one must be able to move around. This flexibility, which others may lack, is a definite added edge. A final key mentioned was to simply be great. It is perfectly okay to not know if what you’re doing or where you’re going is right for you, but the only way to truly figure it out is to be great at it. No matter what, sharpen your skills, and become great. 

Kelly Duffy, a group director at Octagon, also shared stories of her experiences. She has worked on two fairly large accounts, one between the NBA and Cisco, and the other being Castrol and the Super Bowl. As it turns out, Cisco is named after a city in California where the company has made strides: San Francisco. Later, two gentlemen from Octagon’s Providence, RI office discussed their work between CVS Pharmacies and a number of events in Rhode Island. They shared stories of how they worked with Hershey’s chocolate to find wine pairings for Bark Thins, as well of their friendship with Chef Marcus Samuelsson.  

Later on in the afternoon, Murray and Noah Kolodny talked about aligning a brand with a sport property. The discussion included a matrix the company uses to help a client company find a sport or entertainment figure to represent them. This went along with focusing on ROO, Return On Objectives, as opposed to just trying to meet financial figures. A group of students will be headed to Octagon’s location in Stamford, CT later this semester.