The theme for the 2023 MLSE Partnership Summit – was Community. Culture. Connection. – strongly resonated with the 600-plus partners and guests attending Scotiabank Arena on April 6th. It was a fantastic collection of attendees representing a large swath of the sponsorship community with the privilege of connecting to influence culture. (See what I did there?)

The Community pillar shone through special guest Joanna Griffith’s conversation about how she has built her powerful brand Knix. As she said, who would have imagined talking about period underwear on the same stage that hosts mega-celebrities? But, Knix and Joanna have earned that right by serving their Community and being an integral part of their brand community. 

The impactful words and lessons of keynoter Jarvis Sam powered the Culture pillar. His ability to weave facts and friction, yes friction, to deliver a lasting message is second to none. Jarvis breaks down the barriers we face to achieving equality in a way that has you wondering why we are still on this journey that Julian Franklin spoke so eloquently about when he thanked Jarvis. 

Connection with your customer is a metaphor for brand power, and MLSE showed this off in spades. Yet the best connections of the day were the ones made between the attendees. So no matter how much tech or social amplification we experience in our business, it all begins with live engagement. 

If you are a mid-size or smaller property reading this, you may have convinced yourself that you can’t pull off a powerful summit like an MLSE can. I would beg you to extinguish those thoughts from your mind. You most definitely should stage such a summit to build your business. Because I like to be repetitive, I will argue that you can use a framework such as What Sponsors Want to program a day that mirrors the fantastic program that MLSE shared. 

  1. Leverage your organization’s EQUITY by showcasing your value proposition to your attendees. One thing I enjoyed that MLSE did was showcase rising stars in their organization. 
  2. Tell a great STORY or five about how you have worked with partners. OLG and several other brands had a chance to have their activations highlighted during the day. 
  3. ENGAGE your stakeholders, which, quite frankly, is the act of hosting the summit. 
  4. Show PROOF as MLSE did, where they demonstrated how their technological activations are driving more substantial results for partners. 
  5. Get your clients PROMOTED. This summit was a thought-provoking day that gave everyone in the room new ideas they could use, whether it be with their MLSE partnership or any other of their programs. 

Community. Culture. Connection.

It could be the next and best three chapters in any book about sponsorship marketing.