Promo Close-Up - Super Bowl Score

One Distributor's Dedication Shows How To Win High-Profile Clients

Super BowlChris Morrissey, owner of Proforma Big Dog Branding (asi/491350), has had a long-standing relationship with many NFL teams dating back to 1999. His partner and sales representative, Arthur Bartell, has also established ties with key members of the league, including a close relationship with Hall of Famer John Elway. With Bartell's contacts and Proforma's capabilities, Morrissey has been able to provide ad specialties for the last 12 Super Bowls.

This past season, from the first game of the playoffs, Proforma was already preparing ideas and concepts to present. "We spent a lot of time and energy developing the artwork for samples of lanyards, luggage tags and wristbands, often working 16 hours a day," he says. Morrissey remained in constant communication with the teams and suppliers to discuss ideas and create samples. Concepts and samples were shipped overnight to teams to stay on track with the tight deadlines.

As teams fell out of the playoffs, Morrissey focused his attention on the remaining NFL franchises. "With our experience and industry contacts, we were able to close the deal with the Giants once they secured their spot in the Super Bowl," he says.

Working on such a high-pressure order can be grueling, and Morrissey initially sent the New York Giants several concepts. The team ultimately selected lanyards, luggage tags and wristbands. From there, he coordinated with his suppliers to get the 15,000 four-color process pieces into production. "It took endless conference calls, text messages back and forth and e-mails constantly flowing between us, the team and suppliers to fill the order," he says.

The items purchased had to be produced and delivered in two days. Proforma Big Dog Branding worked with its suppliers ahead of time to ensure that they were able to fill the order. One of the suppliers had the artwork on hand so that as soon as the conference championship game was over and the deal was sealed, they could immediately get to work. And all of that hard work paid off. Morrissey was able to provide the items that the New York Giants were wearing on the sidelines of the Super Bowl. More than $35,000 was generated from the order.

Hal Stinchfield, CEO and founder of Promotional Marketing Insights, Inc., recognizes that developing close relationships with prospective clients far ahead of a sale or potential sale builds trust. "They demonstrated that they knew very well the tight time constraints under which they would have to operate if they were to deliver to their client on a timely basis," he says. "They also lined up resources to be able to comply with imperative deadlines. So there was both client and project intimacy that were critical in this instance."

According to Stinchfield, this would be a good strategy to emulate because client chemistry and project intimacy are critical to the success of long-term client/agency relationships. Morrissey has learned the importance of these relationships. "My first tip for working with high-pressure clients is to build strong relationships with your suppliers," he says. "These relationships will be beneficial when you need to meet tough deadlines, and help ensure the products will be printed correctly and delivered on time." In addition, Morrissey recommends having money to invest in conceptual work. "It takes money to make money, and these high-pressure orders require working ahead," he says.