December 2, 2008

The Dance

I had a meeting today with a competitor to one of my longstanding sponsors. It's sort of an odd feeling - like betrayal or cheating - to pitch a competing brand, especially when you have a strong relationship with the original brand. In fact, I believe our partners are returning. But, the flip side is there are a fair bit of internal changes and reorgs. going on inside the company and I don't want to be caught by surprise. That's never a good thing. It happened to me once before and, let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. I once had a major company confirm its return as the festival's official automotive partner for a 2nd year. Awesome! So, I was waiting for the contract...and waiting...and following up...and waiting...and following up...and...finally, I received the dreaded call: all sponsorships - national and local - were canceled due to poor year-end sales. WHAT?? I found out towards the end of Q1 of that year, waaaayyyy to late to approach competitors. So, that was it. We had to suck it up and move on. Since I had received their confirmation of participation, I'm not sure what more I could have done. But, I still felt I learned a lesson: you don't have the deal until the ink is dry (or, as my family likes to say, you don't have a fish until it's in the boat). I love that saying. Okay, so, back to the situation at hand. I think (hope!) we're fine with our longstanding partner, whom I love, but I just want to be proactive and cover all bases. Plus, I pitched them a cool Cinedulce idea, which we're putting together in partnership with Remezcla. Soooo...even if the festival doesn't work out with this competitor (due to the return of our existing partner), we have a second, non-compete opportunity for their consideration. It's like a little dance between the two competitors and me. This leads me to a belief I've mentioned in prior blogs: whenever possible, never put all of your eggs in one basket because you JUST NEVER KNOW what's going on behind conference room doors.
~ Liz

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